Rep. Paul Ryan defends the Republican budget plan

Congressman reacts to Rick Santorum dropping out of the GOP Presidential race


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 10, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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INGRAHAM: In the "Unresolved Problem Segment" tonight, with the national debt running at about $16 trillion, the U.S. government has got to find a way to cut the spending. Enter Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. He is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and he recently unveiled the GOP's budget plan that proposes $3.3 trillion in deficit cuts by overhauling Medicare and the tax code among other things.

Last week, President Obama attacked the Republican budget plan.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This congressional Republican budget is something different all together. It is a Trojan Horse disguised as deficit reduction plans. It is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.


INGRAHAM: the radical social Darwinist Trojan Horse himself from New York is Congressman Ryan. Congressman great to see you.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE: It's good to be with you, Laura.

INGRAHAM: Ok we're going to get into this tussle about the budget and so forth. But before we get to that, now that Rick Santorum has dropped out all the eyes are on Romney and his vice presidential pick. And if Romney asks you to be his VP, I know I've asked you this before.

RYAN: You have.

INGRAHAM: But come on the times change.

RYAN: I'm not going to give a different answer, look --

INGRAHAM: I told them you wouldn't.

RYAN: -- I'm not going to give you a different answer. It's something that you would have to consider. If he would ask me to consider it, I would consider it but he hasn't so I'm not.

INGRAHAM: Now you just called him and this -- this broke a couple of hours ago. You said that Romney is kind of a throwback to the 1950s.

RYAN: Yes.

INGRAHAM: He's a funny dude. What does that mean?

RYAN: No this was taken out of context. Number one what I was saying is he -- he has these great aspects from the greatest generation. He is very civil; he is very principled; very honorable. He has an earnest way about him like -- like leaders from the 50s. And when I say he is he a funny dude is he's got a very witty sense of humor. I said he's got a very quick mind and he's -- he's very quick on humor and wit.

So this is what happens when bloggers slice and dice your -- your comments and make that kind of appearance. What I said was, this man reminds me of leaders from the greatest generation -- civil, honorable, earnest; and he's got a very fast mind and he's a really funny guy.

INGRAHAM: I got it. Ok we'll see I have always called him Ward Cleaver. But I love Ward Cleaver.

RYAN: Yes Ward Cleaver that's -- that's what I think of.

INGRAHAM: Some people don't -- yes.

RYAN: I think of, you know I grew up watching "Leave it to Beaver" idolizing Mr. Cleaver, Ward Cleaver. And he has this great attributes which is a very nice civil man. He's very earnest.

INGRAHAM: We need someone to set us straight and Wally and Beaver too.

RYAN: Yes, yes.

INGRAHAM: So we need an honest mature adult in the classroom.

RYAN: Exactly. That's the point I'm trying to make.

INGRAHAM: Ok all right, I get it. Ok I get it.

Congressman, let's move on to this budget question because the President clearly is seeing you -- whether you're the vice presidential nominee or not -- seeing you and your budget as a target in this campaign.

RYAN: Yes.

INGRAHAM: And one of the things he is really saying is, well, what your plan does is you put more of a burden increasingly on the elderly. So they're going to have to pay for more of their healthcare down the road.

Dana Milbank says that's $770 billion of new fees and burdens on the poor. It adds up to trillions over time. And that's the wrap on you.

RYAN: Look. We're used to these verbal tantrums from the President. This is just like the speech he gave last year. What the President is basically decided to do instead of offering solutions of his own to prevent a debt crisis, wait for the Republicans to offer their solutions then attack them.

I think he's decided rather than run on his record, which he can't, distort ours and speak to us as Americans in divisive ways to distract and distort the country. Distract them from the election.

Look, here is what happens, Laura, if we have a debt crisis, something that the President's policies bring us toward. People who need government the most, people who are poor and elderly, they are the ones who get hurt the first and the worst if we have a debt crisis.

By getting our fiscal House in order, we prevent a crisis from happening so that we can protect those who need government the most. With respect to the poor, Obama's policies aren't working. We had the highest poverty rates we've had in a generation. One in six Americans are in poverty today. These policies are making it worse.

So why should we keep throwing money at failed programs? And what we're saying is let's reform these programs and get people off of welfare and back to work. Let's get economic growth policies so we can actually have a growing economy with job creation and economic opportunity to the people who've never seen it before.

We want to take those successful ideas we used in the late 90s for welfare and -- and put those in place for the other welfare programs so we can get people on to lives of self-sufficiency. We want to attack the root causes of poverty to break the cycle of poverty rather than just trying to treat the symptoms to make it easier to live by which I thinks is the practical implications of the President's policy are.


INGRAHAM: And Congressman what -- what is clearly happening in this - - in this larger debate. It's not even really a debate, right? Because other than you and a few other serious people on Capitol Hill. No one is even having the substantive debate.


INGRAHAM: It becomes the politics of division of demonization.

RYAN: That's right.

INGRAHAM: And so the President has a vision. For his -- he came out with his budget. No one in the House would support it but he came out with his budget. And -- and I say now Mitt Romney is going to be in this position of defense, unless he goes on the offense. Right? Because he's going to be portrayed as he is the rich guy in La Jolla and Lake (inaudible), he's out of touch. He doesn't know what regular people are going through.

You give him advice -- I'm sure you would like to give him advice on a daily basis. What's the one piece of advice you would give to him in this current climate that you know the President is operating at.

RYAN: Well I think he's doing it. if you listen to Mitt Romney's speech in Appleton, Wisconsin or his -- his speech election night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was perfect.

It said to the country, "We're going to go to the country and give them a clear affirming choice. Do you want Barack Obama's government- centered society, a nation on the path to debt and decline or do you want the American idea? Do you want the opportunities in society? Do you want growth? Do you want opportunity?"

This is the choice that we're going to give the country. We're going to at least give the country the choice of picking which path they want America to go on. Because this election we will be choosing a path. And the question is do we do more of the same, do we go down the President's path of debt and decline or do we reclaim the American idea back to prosperity? And that is what Mitt Romney is offering the country.

INGRAHAM: And Congressman Ryan were you surprised that Rick Santorum didn't pledge that he would support Mitt Romney on the campaign trail and begin campaigning with him.

RYAN: I just heard about this. So I didn't hear what he said in Gettysburg. My guess is he's probably talking about his own campaign. And that he'll have plenty of time later on for supporting and rallying around the nominee. But right now I think he did the statesman like thing. He should be proud of the campaign. We're praying for his daughter. We all should be doing that.

INGRAHAM: Absolutely.

RYAN: And I think Rick has his due today. And I think he didn't want to probably, my guess is he just wanted to talk about his own family, his own campaign. There will be plenty of time for rallying around our nominee.

INGRAHAM: Congressman, thank you so much.

RYAN: You bet.

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