Sen. Ron Johnson tells Newsmax he is “jazzed” by Paul Ryan’s selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate and insists that the GOP can still win the Senate race in Missouri despite Todd Akin’s damaging comments about rape.
The Wisconsin Republican and a tea party favorite, attending his first convention as a senator, also says the tea party’s priorities “mesh perfectly” with those of Romney.
Watch the exclusive interview here.
And he declares that he is optimistic that the Romney-Ryan ticket can win in his state in November despite polls to the contrary.
Johnson was elected in 2010 in his first run at public office, defeating three-term Democrat Russ Feingold.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Sen. Johnson offers his thoughts on his first convention.
“It is pretty exciting. It is really fun to be part of the Wisconsin delegation,” he says.
“Whenever I open one of my talks, ‘I am Ryan Johnson, I am the new Senator from Wisconsin,’ there is my biggest applause line. People recognize what happened in Wisconsin, the leadership that Gov. Walker demonstrated [in battling public employee unions], the courage that the members of our legislature demonstrated.
“It is a really important example for Washington and quite honestly for our nation. They are pretty excited about what that leadership represents and of course I certainly could not be more jazzed by the selection of Paul Ryan as our vice presidential nominee.”
Although a Rasmussen poll shows Romney slightly ahead of President Obama in Wisconsin, two other surveys including one by the New York Times shows Obama with a strong chance of taking the state in November.
“I disagree with those results,” Johnson states.
“We turned a blue state very red in November 2010. Why? My candidacy for the senate was basically on two main issues: repealing the healthcare law and seriously addressing the deficit issue.
“What has changed in two years? We are two years closer to the implementation of the healthcare law, the very unpopular, very partisan law, and our debt has grown by $2.5 trillion. The situations are worse on those same issues that are every bit as important now as they were in 2010.”
Asked if he believes that Romney will in fact win in Wisconsin, Johnson responds: “I like to use the words ‘cautiously optimistic.’
“Again, I just don’t see what has changed from November 2010. We are a fiscally conservative state. The voters of Wisconsin as well as voters of the Midwest have this common sense notion that the government ought to live within its means. They are trying to elect officials that will basically govern as they campaign, and that is about getting our debt deficit under control.”
Discussing several of the Senate races, Johnson tells Newsmax: “Certainly my own state of Wisconsin is looking pretty good. Gov. Tommy Thompson, who won the primary there, is the father of welfare reform. On his watch we enacted school choice and were one of the first programs in the nation to do that. I think he has a real good chance of picking up that seat.
“One of the close ones that [Republicans] might have a chance at is Ohio with Josh Mandel, who is a great candidate. And I am not giving up on Missouri. I really do hope Todd Akin has changed and has recognized that he is just not going to recover from that really mortal wound that he took on himself with his campaign.
“Let’s hope that he makes the right decision and we get a candidate that should be able to beat Claire McCaskill.”
Several tea party favorites slated to speak at the convention have been scrapped due to the weather-related schedule changes.
Asked if that might create friction between tea party congressmen and other Republicans, Johnson says: “It shouldn’t, no.
“The tea party understands this political process and there is a party that they need to cooperate with, and it is the Republican Party. It is very cooperative in Wisconsin. I think the same thing is true here.
“The problems facing this nation are so obvious — our fiscal situation, the fact that we have to end this healthcare law — that certainly the Tea Party priorities mesh perfectly with Gov. Romney’s priorities and the Republican Party. I do not think there is even a scintilla difference between the two groups.”
Johnson also says the recent sharp increase in the number of filibusters in the Senate is “an attempt to slow down the growth of government.
“We are trying to block all these bad things that the government is trying to do to control our lives.”
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