Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spoke out for the first time following the Republican presidential ticket’s loss last Tuesday in an interview with his local Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper, saying he was shocked on Election Night.
Recognizing that President Obama “won fair and square,” he described the scene watching the returns come in with the Romneys in a Boston hotel, calling it “pretty sad.”
“We were with the Romneys when we knew it was over,” he said in the interview. “Our comments more or less revolved around our concern for the country.”
Ryan did win one election on Tuesday: his House race. Though, he won it by his smallest margin yet, 11.5 percentage points. Overall, however, he called the experience of running for vice president positive and said the Romneys treated him “like family members.”
“I know some people have come away with different conclusions on these experiences,” he said. “This is a very net positive experience for us.”
Although giving the president credit for bringing out the votes needed to win, Ryan would not admit that his loss was a failure of policy.
“Well, he got turnout,” Ryan said. “The president should get credit for achieving record-breaking turnout numbers from urban areas for the most part, and that did win the election for him.”
Continuing, he said: “It’s clear we have a country that is divided among a number of issues. We thought that the best thing for the country is to get ahead of our fiscal problems. We offered specific solutions. It didn't go our way. So obviously we're disappointed by that. We're not going to be able to fix this country's fiscal problems along the way I thought we should have. Whether people intended it or not, we've got divided government.”
Ryan said that the divided government of the last two years did not work and that the two parties are going to have to work together better to solve problems, specifically the national debt.
“I guess the shock that we felt that evening, a shock to where the country is headed,” he said.
He declined to answer questions about his potential involvement in the presidential contest in 2016, saying the country was a tired of politics after the election.