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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

Ryan Sidesteps Criticism of Bush

In radio interview, VP candidate stresses he's a follower of Reagan and Jack Kemp.

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
September 4, 2012

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Tuesday tried to walk a fine line over a defense of President George W. Bush's economic policies, painting himself as a Republican in the mold of President Reagan and former vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp and sidestepping criticism of the last administration.

"As you know I was raised by [radio host] Bill Bennett and Jack Kemp politically and economically and philosophically, which is the Reagan style, and it is different than the past administration and the challenges we have right now are different. And so we're offering very different ideas and a very different governing philosophy," said Ryan on Bennett's syndicated radio show.

Democrats have argued that Ryan and Mitt Romney are merely offering a warmed-over version of Bush's economic policies, which many Americans still view as responsible for the recent recession. Ryan, like most Republicans, voted for policies such as the tax cuts of the early 2000s and the 2003 Medicare prescription-drug benefit.

 

"I think they'd like to paste us with the Bush thing because they have nothing else to talk about," he said of Democratic attacks, asserting that he wasn't trying to distance himself from Bush's administration. "This is sort of what, you know, cynical politicians do when they can't run on their record. They try to talk about the other guy in the worst possible light. But we're talking about our agenda."

Unlike Romney, who is spending Tuesday out of the public eye as the Democratic National Convention gets under way, Ryan has events scheduled in Ohio and Iowa.

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