Tags: Obama | Ryan | budget | scold

Obama: I Was Wrong to Scold Ryan Over Budget

Monday, 10 Sep 2012 09:50 AM

By Dan Weil

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President Barack Obama admits to making a “mistake” when he criticized GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in a speech at which Ryan was present in April 2011.

Obama made the confession in a July interview with Bob Woodward for his new book “The Price of Politics,” ABC News reports. Obama’s address concerned the budget, and Ryan is the House Budget Committee chairman.

"I'll go ahead and say it, I think that I was not aware when I gave that speech that Jack Ryan was going to be sitting right there," Obama said. The president could have confused Ryan’s first name with that of the Republican who was set to run against him in the 2004 Senate race before withdrawing amid a sex scandal, or the hero of many Tom Clancy novels.

"I did feel, in retrospect, had I known — we literally didn't know he was going to be there until — or I didn't know, until I arrived. I might have modified some of it so that we would leave more negotiations open, because I do think that they felt like we were trying to embarrass him. We made a mistake."

Ryan attended the speech because he thought Obama was trying to cooperate with Republicans on the budget. But after the president blasted the plan with Ryan in the front row, the Wisconsin congressman was steamed, rejecting the speech as "excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis."

The April speech preceded contentious budget negotiations over the summer that ended up collapsing. It also set the groundwork for the budget debate in this year’s presidential election. Obama’s address came shortly after Ryan released his budget plan that was approved by the House.

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