• WisPolitics


Friday, February 4, 2011

 9:06 AM 

Ryan shrugs off questions about higher office

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan again said Thursday he won't run for president in 2012 and shrugged off a question about a veep bid.

“Who knows?” he said during “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” at Marquette University. “That is such a hypothetical situation.”

Some conservatives hope Ryan will challenge Dem U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl in 2012. But Ryan, R-Janesville, said he hasn’t given any thought to such a bid and said for now he only has one job as House budget chair -- correcting the budget deficit and lowering the national debt.

Earlier in the day, Ryan announced spending limits for the remainder of the current fiscal year he said would save $74 billion compared to the president’s budget request.

Ryan was dismissive of the president’s State of the Union promise to veto any bill that contains pork barrel spending. Ryan said that conservative lawmakers wouldn't pass the bills anyway.

“He can't get bills with earmarks in them because we won’t let him get bills with earmarks in them,” Ryan said.

Gousha and audience members were curious to know how Ryan planned to overcome the deep partisan split that permeates Washington.

“I hope there is room for negotiation,” said Ryan. “I would like to think that he (Obama) is willing to cut spending.”

A large portion of the hour-long conversation was devoted to health care reform. Ryan said health-care entitlement programs are key to solving a looming debt crisis.

“The health care entitlements are the cause of our future debt crisis,” Ryan said. “When we should have been reforming the entitlements that add to our debt, the government added two new entitlements. ... I think it is going to collapse under its own weight.”

An epileptic student who said he pays more than $3,000 a month for medication expressed fears over the GOP push to repeal health care reform. The student said he was concerned repeal would eliminate the ability to stay on his parents’ insurance until the age of 26. He feared having to make a choice between weekly seizures and going deep into debt.

Ryan assured the student that people with extreme conditions would still receive subsidies from the government for treatment.

The tone of the conversation lightened considerably when Ryan was asked about GOP U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's Tea Party response to the State of the Union that some saw as competing with the official GOP response that Ryan delivered.

“She keeps 'Saturday Night Live' and `The Daily Show' off my tail,” Ryan joked.

- By Jimmy Theo
For WisPolitics


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