Video: Ryan won’t replace Daniels in presidential race

  1. Transcript of: Ryan won’t replace Daniels in presidential race

    simple: on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women's caucus, and there is no override provision. Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more." And with that, the field narrows. I want to begin here this morning, and I'm joined by the chairman of the House Budget Committee , Paul Ryan . Chairman, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS .

    REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI): Hey, good morning, David . Nice to be with you .

    MR. GREGORY: I want to get your, your reaction to the Daniels news because he is, in many ways, a kindred spirit on a lot of these fiscal issues, fiscal discipline . He won't be a part of that 2012 conversation as a candidate. A big blow to the party, do you think?

    REP. RYAN: Well, he called me last night and gave me the news about this, so quite frankly, yes, I am disappointed. I think his candidacy would have been a great addition to this race, and I think it's unfortunate that he's not going to run.

    MR. GREGORY: What about your own plans? There's a move afoot this morning, one of the big trending stories is whether you might actually join the race with a fiscal discipline message for 2012 . Will it happen?

    REP. RYAN: Well, look, I've been very clear about this. I'm not running for president. I feel, because we are in a big budget debate, I'm in a great position as chairman of the House Budget Committee to really weigh in on this debate. And I feel at the moment we are in, I want to stay focused on where we are right now, and that is getting our fiscal house in order.

    MR. GREGORY: So under no circumstances would you run or be on the ticket as a number two?

    REP. RYAN: Look, I, I'm not going to get into all those hypotheticals. I'm not running for president, I'm not planning on running for president. If you're running for president, you've got to do a lot of things to line up a candidacy. I've not done any of those things. It's not my plan. My plan is to be a good chairman of the House Budget Committee and fight for the fiscal sanity of this nation.

    MR. GREGORY: Understood. There's a little bit of door opening there, though, the door's a bit ajar. And you know how, you know how this works.

    REP. RYAN: It's not door opening, it's just -- I do know how this works, and I'm not going to get into all these hypotheticals in the future. My point is I'm not running for president. You never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road. I'm not talking about right now. And I want to focus on fixing the fiscal problems of this country. And I really believe, David , where I am as chairman of the House Budget Committee puts me in a great position to, to be a great contributor to this debate.

By Tom Curry National affairs writer
updated 5/22/2011 10:51:32 AM ET 2011-05-22T14:51:32

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R- Wisc., said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday that he was disappointed by the decision of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to not run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Ryan left only the slimmest chance that he himself might run, or accept a draft.

“It’s not my plan” to run, he told NBC’s David Gregory. “I’m not going to get into all these hypotheticals for the future. My point is: I’m not running for running for president. You never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road.”

Ryan has been driving the fiscal debate in Washington with his plan to cut federal debt and fundamentally redesign Medicare and Medicaid, the two entitlement programs that now account for more than one-fifth of federal spending.

Arguing that the plan, passed by the House last month,  imposes too heavy a burden on older Americans, Democrats see it as a huge liability for Republicans in the 2012 campaign.

Gingrich comment 'a gross mischaracterization'
As he has for weeks, Ryan again gave a vigorous defense of his proposal, saying it would avert a debt crisis.

He said the criticism of his plan voiced last week on Meet the Press by GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was “deeply inaccurate” and “a gross mischaracterization of the House Republican budget plan.”

Last week, Gingrich denounced the Ryan plan as “right-wing social engineering,” but, in the face of furious criticism from Republicans, recanted that statement and eventually tried to claim he hadn’t really been referring to Ryan’s proposal.

But Democrats gleefully cited Gingrich’s “right-wing social engineering” comment as proof that Ryan’s plan was dangerous.

Video: Gingrich: Ryan’s Medicare proposal is ‘too big a jump’ (on this page)

Referring to the furor over Gingrich, Ryan said Sunday that “we’ve got to get beyond this” and proceed to serious consideration of the nation’s fiscal problems. “We need to pre-empt and avert a debt crisis,” he said.

Why people are scared
“Of course people are scared of entitlement reform, because every time you put entitlement reform out there, the other party uses it as a political weapon against you,” he explained. “Look, both parties have done this to each other.”

Analysts are looking to Tuesday’s special election in upstate New York’s 26th Congressional District, a district that has been Republican for years, as a test of whether the Ryan Medicare plan is hurting Republicans.

In a fund-raising e-mail Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "This Tuesday, we can deliver a stunning setback to the Republicans’ reckless agenda by winning a special election right in their own backyard."

Medicare has been a big issue in that race, in which Democrat Kathy Hochul faces Republican Jane Corwin and Democrat-turned-Tea Party candidate Jack Davis.

Video: Explainer: The Gingrich-Ryan debacle (on this page)

Despite the political risks, Ryan said it would irresponsible for the nation’s leaders to deny that a debt crisis was inevitable and to refuse to take action to prevent it.

He added, referring to Medicare and Medicaid, “If we don’t fix these programs, people who rely on these benefits are going to get cut first, are going to be hurt the worst under a debt crisis.”

What Ryan's plan would do
Under Ryan’s proposal, eligibility for the existing Medicare program would not change for people who are age 55 or older by the end of 2011.

People who turn 65 in 2022 or later years would get payments from the government to help them purchase private insurance.

Video: The presidential Medicare test (on this page)

The Congressional Budget Office, in its assessment of Ryan’s plan, said it “would significantly reduce mandatory outlays for health care” and result in “much lower deficits and debt in the long run.”

But the CBO also found that under Ryan’s redesigned Medicare, “most elderly people would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system.” CBO said by 2030 those on Medicare would pay more than twice as high a share of the cost of their medical care than beneficiaries in the current system do.

The CBO also warned that without some steps to change Medicare and cut the growth rate of federal health care spending, the nation faces "rapidly growing budget deficits and mounting federal debt." 

The CBO further cautioned that a growing federal debt “would increase the probability of a sudden fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget and the government would thereby lose its ability to borrow at affordable rates.”

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