The co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton apparently agrees with conservatives that vice presidential pick Paul Ryan is “amazing” and that he displays an impressive intelligence for economic policy.
In a 2011 clip uncovered by HotAir.com, Erskine Bowles criticizes the White House spending plan and praises Ryan as “amazing” and calls him “sincere,” “honest,” and “straightforward.” Bowles’s praise represents a sharp difference in rhetoric among Democrats, who have tried to paint Ryan as an ideological radical and extremist as soon as he was announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Bowles is one of the most respected economic minds in the Democratic Party and has even been mentioned as a front-runner for Secretary of Treasury if President Barack Obama wins a second term.
“Have any of you all met Paul Ryan?” Bowles asked in the clip. “We should get him to come to the university. I’m telling you this guy is amazing.”
Bowles continued, “I always thought that I was okay with arithmetic, but this guy can run circles around me. And he is honest, he is straightforward, he is sincere. And the budget that he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, serious budget and it cut the budget deficit just like we did, by $4 trillion.
“The President came out with his own plan and the President as you remember, came out with a budget and I don’t think anybody took that budget very seriously,” Bowles said in the clip. “The Senate voted against it 97 to nothing."
“He, therefore, after a lot of pressure from folks like me, he came out with a new budget framework and, in that new budget framework, he cut the budget deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years. And, to be candid, this $4 trillion cut was very heavily back-end loaded. So, if you looked at it on a 10-year basis and compared apples-to-apples, it really was about a two and a half trillion dollar cut.”
Ed Morrissey, writing on HotAir.com, said, “Remember this when you start to hear the Obama campaign rip the Ryan budget as an unserious attempt to kill Medicare and allow rich people to feast on the bones of the poor. Bowles has his own issues with Ryan’s plan, but Bowles acknowledges this as a good-faith effort to fix the structural crisis in American finances.”
“That’s more respect than Bowles gave Obama’s budget,” Morrissey wrote, “which he noted got voted down in the Senate 97-0, and for good reason. Bowles even tweaks Obama for dishonestly attempting to evade a true comparison and for back-loading cuts in order to claim $4 trillion in reductions over 12 years.”
On another occasion in a March 2012 PBS interview, according to Fox News, Bowles repeated his sentiment that Ryan is a "very smart, stable, honest, hardworking guy." And in 2010 on PBS, Bowles said: "I wish we had more people like Paul who are thinkers and do their homework."
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