Paul Ryan, Debbie Wasserman Schultz Clash over 2016 and the Economy
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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, is increasingly thinking about running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 -- and drawing fire from a prominent Florida Democrat.
Ryan, who made nine stops across Florida earlier this month in a tour for his new book, appeared on “PoliticKing with Larry King” on Ora.TV on Thursday, talking to that longtime talk-show host about his future ambitions.
“I'm gonna make that mind up with my family in 2015,” Ryan said about a possible presidential bid. “I feel I have an opportunity to add a voice, to offer ideas, to show alternatives, to -- to help build a conservative movement in a Republican Party that's aspirational, inclusive, and, you know, shows alternatives. I don't like the direction the country's headed; I feel like we should offer an alternative. I can do that no matter what it is I choose to do in the future, and on that question I'm gonna make that ... decision in 2015.”
Looking ahead to 2016, Ryan said Republicans “should expect” former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run on the Democratic side.“ I think her party is gonna be desperate to get her into the race,” Ryan said of Clinton.
Ryan said many Americans were being left behind in President Barack Obama’s economy.
“I think a lotta people are slipping through the cracks in this economy, in this country, and I don't think the country's on the right track,” Ryan told King. “I believe a lot of people agree with me, but it's not enough as an elected official simply to criticize, point fingers. I feel we owe Americans a different way forward, another idea, another plan, and that's what I think I have a responsibility of doing. That's what I'm doing here. How do we take ... the country's founding principles, apply 'em to the problems of the day to show the country better solutions to have a healthy economy that creates more opportunity and better jobs, keeps America's standing in the world so we stay safe, and give hard-working taxpayers the kinda government that they deserve but are not getting? I think there's a better way to go, we can do so much more as a country, that's why I decided to write this book.”
Ryan told King that Republicans need to be more than just the opposition to Obama, calling for the GOP to remain conservative while appealing to minority voters. Calling him “my mentor," Ryan cited another Republican vice presidential hopeful who came up short -- former U.S. HUD Secretary Jack Kemp -- as an example of how a conservative can reach out to minority voters.
But Ryan drew fire from U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), who also appeared on King’s show. Wasserman Schultz dismissed Ryan’s presidential prospects come 2016.
“Paul Ryan said he will decide next year if he’ll run,” King said. “If he ran, would he be formidable?”
“I think he’s already been rejected by the voters along with his running mate, Mr. Romney, because the American people, when presented with a very clear contrast between Democrats under President Obama’s leadership direction, which was -- if you work hard and play by the rules, that everyone should have an opportunity to succeed, not just the people that already are successful,” Wasserman Schultz said. “And Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s plans ... were to turn Medicare into a voucher system, increase premiums for seniors, repeal the Affordable Care Act, move toward privatization of Social Security -- and he’s doubled down on that now with this book. So no, I don’t think he’s going to be a very formidable candidate -- certainly not if he actually makes it to a general election. But the tea party certainly will welcome him with open arms.”
Calling Republicans “hell bent on obstruction,” the Florida congresswoman took aim at Ryan.
“Put aside the sequester, Paul Ryan still pushes through his budget that ends Medicare as we know it, that would work -- move toward privatizing Social Security, that cuts education and increases taxes on the middle class, so that we can -- so that we can cut taxes for the wealthiest, most fortunate Americans,” Wasserman Schultz said. “That's why Americans are concerned that we're not going to actually be able to maintain the prosperity that we've finally returned to.
“We should be working together,” Wasserman Schultz continued. “You know, Paul Ryan and his tea party buddies should stop trying to obstruct and stop the president at every turn. He should let go of his obsession with ending Medicare as we know it and turning it into a voucher system. Larry, that would cost seniors.”
Wasserman Schultz praised Obama’s handling of the economy.
“If you look at Americans' opinions about the economy -- Americans actually have quite a bit of confidence in the economy,” Wasserman Schultz told King. “They're feeling that the progress that we've made ... is a good thing. We've -- we've had 51 straight months of job growth in the private sector ... the last six months straight, more jobs -- more than 200,000 jobs created. That's the first time since -- that's happened since 1997.”
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