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Paul Ryan Actually Praised President Obama After SOTU

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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) was confronted during a listening session in Racine, Wisconsin Wednesday by a constituent who said Ryan's recent comments regarding inner city men and poverty appeared to him to be racial.Frank Thorp / NBC News

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Reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday predictably followed the usual pattern – Democrats praised it, while Republicans criticized it.

But there was one INTERESTING exception: Paul Ryan.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday, Ryan – the GOP’s 2012 vice-presidential nominee and current chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee – lauded Obama’s speech when it came to trade and taxes.

“I agree with every word he said in the speech with respect to trade,” Ryan said. “The president’s in the middle of negotiating a trade agreement with Asian nations, representing 40 percent of global GDP. This means more jobs for America. This means more exports for us. This is something we have to get on top of and I agree with him on that.”

On tax reform, Ryan added, “We'll see if we can get a tax reform package done. I'm glad that he sort of held back on the partisanship and demagoguery.”

If you’re the Obama White House, these words are a big deal – because as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Ryan is the gatekeeper for getting taxes and trade done in the 114th Congress.

There truly hasn’t been a more important reaction we’ve seen.

- Mark Murray

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