Romney and Ryan Reunite in Chicago, Interviews

Image: Romney and Ryan Reunite in Chicago, Interviews Mitt Romney interviews his former running mate Rep. Paul Ryan at the Union League Club of Chicago on Aug. 21. (John Gress/Getty Images)

Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 09:20 PM

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Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, are reuniting in Chicago in their first joint public appearance since their unsuccessful White House bid two years ago.

Ryan is on tour to promote his new book as he weighs a presidential campaign of his own. Romney will interview Ryan Thursday night on stage at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Appearing on Fox News Thursday night, they also called for a fair investigation into the police shooting that has rocked Ferguson, Missouri for two weeks.

"The federal government needed to communicate that this is a high priority and provide confidence to the people in the community that this was not going to be swept under the rug," Romney said on Fox News' "The Kelly File." "I think it's appropriate to have that level of involvement. And I think people expect and can believe that there will be the full oversight of our justice system in this setting. And the right conclusion will occur.

Added Ryan: "Justice has to run its course. The facts have to be gotten. We all have to take a deep breath, not prejudge this situation and make sure that the truth comes out so that justice can be served.

"People of all backgrounds, of all communities, need to know that that's going to be the case," Ryan said. "And the confidence in that is very important."

Romney also spoke on the current situation in the Middle East and the rising threat of ISIS, the Islamic State if Iraq and Syria.

"I believe the president has made extraordinary errors with regards to the Middle East that contributed to the growth of ISIS and the danger that it represents to us and to the world," Romney said.

"One of those things was not putting in place a status of forces agreement that would allow us to have troops in Iraq. Another was not taking action in Syria at an early stage to coalesce behind moderate voices, so we couldn't have al-Qaeda affiliates and ISIS grow and thrive in Syria and spread," he said.

"The president has a foreign policy that has failed once again. He underestimated the extent of the threat of terror in the world and specifically ISIS. As a result, we now find ourselves facing a very severe and horrific series of scenes on the world stage."

He said that Obama "did a couple of things that were in error" when he attacked Romney's statement of Russia being the nation's biggest geopolitical foe during the 2012 presidential debates.

"He underestimated the objectives of Vladimir Putin. He mischaracterized what I said. I indicated that Russia was our geopolitical foe, not a threat. I said the greatest threat America faced was from a nuclear Iran. And the president got those things wrong. Unfortunately, he underestimated Russia."

The Chicago event comes on the brink of the fall election season, with Republicans driving for the six-seat gain required to grab the Senate majority. Success would put the GOP in control of Congress and dramatically shape the final two years of President Barack Obama's term.

Even before Romney and Ryan took the stage, Democrats said the pairing is a reminder of failure. The GOP ticket lost both the Electoral College and popular votes to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. In a statement, the Democratic National Committee listed some of the Republican candidates' most memorable political gaffes, including Romney being caught on video telling donors that 47 percent of Americans would automatically vote for Obama because they don't pay income taxes and are "dependent upon government."

Romney has been campaigning for GOP candidates across the country, most recently for Rep. Tom Cotton this week in Arkansas. And Ryan, who says he doesn't know whether he'll run for president, has been promoting his book. Romney himself reviewed Ryan's manuscript and offered notes. And Ryan even sought advice from former Romney speechwriters and advisers during the writing.

The book includes the fullest account yet of how a 15-year-old Ryan found his alcoholic father dead in bed from an apparent heart attack. Ryan told The Associated Press recently that the event shaped him as a politician and family man, and figures heavily into whether he'll seek the presidency in 2016.

Romney and Ryan became friends during the bruising Wisconsin primary, and Ryan proved a loyal and disciplined partner on the road, during both the primary and general elections.

Although writing a book is often seen as a prelude to a presidential campaign, Ryan has said he's not sure he's ready to spend more time away from Janesville, the small Wisconsin town where he grew up and where he and his wife, Janna, have raised their three children.

In his book, Ryan lays the policy-heavy groundwork for a presidential campaign — or perhaps an expanded role in the House. He is expected to give up the gavel of the House Budget Committee and shift to the powerful Ways and Means Committee early next year.

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