Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan acknowledged Sunday the campaign has made some missteps, but expressed confidence about victory -- saying the presidential debates will offer voters a “very clear choice” in the final weeks of the race between failed policies and a stagnant economy or a “brighter future.”
Ryan said on “Fox News Sunday” that Mitt Romney will have the chance during the first debate Wednesday to “give the American people the choice we are offering.”
“We owe the country a very clear choice of a different future,” said Ryan, R-Wis. “We can either have a dynamic, growing economy that produces opportunity, or we can have a stagnant economy that fosters dependency. We can stick with the failed policies of the four last years … or we can get a brighter future.”
Ryan brushed aside recent polls showing President Obama leading Romney, and suggested that the so-called “mainstream media” has helped the president’s re-election effort.
“We’re going to win this race,” Ryan said.
The roughly 20-minute interview covered a wide range of topics, including both candidates' economic policies.
Ryan said he and Romney want a 20 percent cut in all income tax rates, which would be paid by closing loopholes and deductions.
Ryan said Romney has been specific, but declined to say which loopholes, saying, "It would take me too long to go through all of the math."
The Obama campaign responded by saying: "Romney has promised $5 trillion in tax cuts skewed toward millionaires and billionaires, but refused to say how he'd pay for them without raising taxes on the middle class or exploding the deficit. He’s promised to repeal ObamaCare, but refused to say what he’d replace it with to protect the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. He’s promised to repeal Wall Street reform, but refused to say what he’d replace it with so that big banks aren’t writing their own rules again."
Ryan acknowledged that Romney’s remark about 47 percent of Americans not paying taxes and being dependent on the federal government was a misstep.
“Mitt acknowledges himself that was an inarticulate way of describing how we're worried that in a stagnant Obama economy more people have become dependent on government because they have no economic opportunity,” said Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. “It was an inarticulate way to describe what we're trying to do to create prosperity and upward mobility, and reduce dependency by getting people off welfare back to work.”
With five weeks remaining before Election Day, Romney and Ryan are facing sharp criticism about why they are not leading in polls amid high unemployment and sluggish Gross Domestic Product, numbers that have historically sunk presidents seeking re-election.
Ryan argued that the Obama campaign has done “a very good job of distracting people.”
He also confirmed that Romney is set this week to deliver a major foreign speech, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans and after the administration’s response.
“Their response was slow. It was confused, it was inconsistent,” Ryan said. “It’s part of a bigger picture of the fact that the Obama foreign policy is unraveling literally before our eyes on our TV screens.”
Ryan also disagreed with the assertion that the debate message of a “clear choice” is a departure from the earlier campaign message that the race is a referendum on Obama’s past four years.
"It's not a change in strategy,” he said. "It's a phase of the campaign we've now entered into. Because I think it's important. The president is trying to paper over his problems. The president has been trying to mislead and distort a record. It's a failed record. We think it was very important to point that out.”