Paul Ryan Schools Piers Morgan: Obama Has 'Made Things Worse'

When CNN's Piers Morgan argued that President Obama needed time to fix the economy, Paul Ryan answered him on Wednesday that Obama slowed what should have been a quick recovery.

"You have to give President Obama a bit of time just to get things back on track," the liberal CNN host pushed. Ryan countered that "usually when we have a deep recession in America, we come bounding out of it with fast economic growth and quick job creation," before adding "We're limping out of this recession right now."

Morgan even shifted the goalposts for the Democrats when he made the "real comparison" in asking Americans if they are better off now than three years ago, versus four years ago as Republicans are asking.

"[T]here, I think, the Democrats have a much more compelling argument – look at the auto industry, and so on – to say, you know what, once we were able to stabilize things, we haven't done too badly," Morgan sounded.

Ryan noted what Morgan didn't – that Obama enjoyed a Democratic majority in Congress for the first two years of his term. "Don't forget, Piers, for the first two years of his presidency, his entire party controlled all of government. He got to pass nearly every single item on his agenda. And we are suffering as a result of that."

A transcript of the segment, which aired during CNN's coverage of the Democratic National Convention on September 5 at 7:32 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

PIERS MORGAN: Would you accept then that by some of the criteria you're laying down at Barack Obama's feet that America was a worse off country economically at the end of eight years of President Bush than it was under Bill Clinton?

PAUL RYAN: Well look, Barack Obama inherited a very difficult situation when he came into office, there are no two ways about that. Any fair assessment of his record needs to take that into account, Piers. The problem is, President Obama made it worse. We've had 42 months of unemployment above eight percent. Nearly one in six Americans are living in poverty today. We have 23 million people struggling to find work. That's a result of bad policies coming from this administration.

And so I think what President Obama is basically offering is four more years of the same. That's what he means when he says he has an incomplete record on jobs. We're going to offer a different vision. We've got bold solutions, that's what the Romney-Ryan plan for a stronger middle class is all about. And we're going to give the country a choice of two futures, one where we think we can get people back to work, grow the economy, create opportunity, create jobs. That's a stark contrast to the last four years under the Obama administration.

MORGAN: You have to give President Obama a bit of time just to get things back on track. Their argument is look, once we got things back on track we've now had well over 20 months of consecutive job growth, the stock market is beginning to soar again, et cetera, et cetera. You've heard the argument. How much of a pass do you give them given that you yourselves believe that what happened at the end of President Bush's tenure was pretty catastrophic?

RYAN: Well as I mentioned, you have to give President Obama the fact that he inherited a very difficult situation. But Piers, I think he made things worse. Look, usually when we have a deep recession in America, we come bounding out of it with fast economic growth and quick job creation. We did that after the '81-'82 recession with Ronald Reagan. We did that after the tough '70s recession we had.

We're limping out of this recession right now. Economic growth is stagnant. Job creation is stagnant. The labor force participation rate is stagnant. Look, the unemployment rate today is higher than it was at this time in the Carter era. The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in July of 1980, today it's been above 8 percent for 42 months. So to make the argument that they're putting us on the right track, I think just defies logic. It just – it flies in the face of the facts. 23 million people are struggling to find work.

(Crosstalk)

MORGAN: Right, but I mean, just to jump in there – right, just to jump in there. Obviously the unemployment rate is only marginally higher now than it was at the end of George Bush's presidency, so if you're going to hammer Jimmy Carter and you're going to hammer President Obama, are you prepared to fairly hammer President Bush, because the figures are not dissimilar?

RYAN: Well, but before the economic crisis the unemployment rate was far, far lower. We had a mild recession in the early part of the last decade –

MORGAN: But that's like saying – hang on, that's like saying before an avalanche, the snow was great.

RYAN: Piers, hear me out. I'm telling you yes, we had an economic crisis in 2008, I was very familiar with it, I was there. The problem I'm saying is President Obama's so-called solutions didn't fix the problem. They've made it worse, and so President Obama, for the last two years, has not been offering solutions. He's been attacking the other party. Don't forget, Piers, for the first two years of his presidency, his entire party controlled all of government. He got to pass nearly every single item on his agenda. And we are suffering as a result of that.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014