Barack Obama told Bob Woodward that he regretted criticizing Paul Ryan at his budget speech last year. Obama said he would not have attacked Paul Ryan if he would have known Ryan was going to attend the speech.
The Obal reported:
President Obama told book author Bob Woodward he “made a mistake” criticizing Paul Ryan during a 2011 speech that Ryan attended.
“I’ll go ahead and say it — I think that I was not aware when I gave that speech that Jack (sic – Paul) Ryan was going to be sitting right there,” Obama told Woodward, reports ABC World News, which reviewed an audio tape of the interview.
Woodward conducted the interview on July 11, a little less than a month before Republican candidate Mitt Romney tapped Paul Ryan as his running mate, ABC reported. The interview was done for the Woodward book The Price of Politics, which hits stores Tuesday.
Obama gave a speech in April 2011 on the federal budget and debt, and used the occasion to criticize Ryan for his proposed budget.
“And so I did feel, in retrospect, had I known — we literally didn’t know he was going to be there until — or I didn’t know, until I arrived,” Obama told Woodward. “I might have modified some of it so that we would leave more negotiations open, because I do think that they felt like we were trying to embarrass him.
There’s just one thing…
Obama personally invited Paul Ryan to the speech… And Paul Ryan RSVP’d the White House saying he would be there.
Paul Ryan responded to the disgusting attack after the speech:
“I’m very disappointed in the president. I was excited when we got invited to attend his speech today. I thought the president’s invitation to Mr. Camp, Mr. Enserling and myself was an olive branch. Instead what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate and hopelessly inadequate in addressing our country’s fiscal challenges… Rather than building bridges, he’s poisoning wells.”
Before the speech began, according to the Times, then-White House Chief of Staff William Daley “spied an unexpected guest in the audience: Rep. Paul D. Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, whose budget plan Mr. Obama was about to shred.”
The story says Daley told an aide to try to warn Obama and appears to imply that Obama might have toned down his rhetoric had he known Ryan was in the audience.
The problem with this account, Ryan’s office says, is that the White House invited Ryan to the speech.
“Chairman Ryan was invited by the White House. Ryan RSVP’d in the affirmative to the White House, and he was given his seating assignment by the White House,” spokesman Conor Sweeney said.