WASHINGTON — Rep. Paul Ryan says he's apologized in a telephone call to the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman for accusing the military of not giving its "true advice" on President Barack Obama's budget plan.
Generals are required under oath to provide lawmakers their personal views on security matters, even if those views conflict with the White House. In this case, Gen. Martin Dempsey had testified that he thought Obama's $614 billion plan for defense spending next year was adequate. Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs chairman, said he stood by his testimony, despite Ryan's remarks.
On Sunday, the Wisconsin Republican said he was wrong for suggesting the generals weren't on the up and up. Ryan said he "really misspoke."
“I really misspoke to be candid with you,” the Wisconsin Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Politico reported. “I didn’t mean to make that kind of impression. So I was clumsy in how I was describing the point I was trying to make. …
“What I was attempting to say was President Obama put out his budget for the Pentagon first -- $500 billion [in cuts] – and then they began the strategy review to meet that number. We think it should have been the other way around.”
Ryan made the initial remarks at a National Journal breakfast, Politico reports, saying: “We don't think the generals are giving us their true advice. We don't think the generals believe that their budget is really the right budget.”
Ryan appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and ABC's "This Week."
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