Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sat down with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd on Sunday, September 14, to promote his new book “The Way Forward” and was met with a barrage of questions challenging his conservative principles.
Ryan appeared on Meet the Press’ Press Pass and was asked by Todd to comment on Governor Sam Brownback’s (R-Kan.) 2014 reelection bid. The NBC Political Director insisted that if Brownback “loses re-election, he’s going to essentially have lost because he cut taxes too much.”
As Todd’s line of questioning continued, he asked Ryan “is there a point -- what happens to the Republicans’ economic philosophy of cut taxes if he does lose? Are you concerned about that?” For his part, the Wisconsin Republican rejected Todd’s claim and argued that “there are a lot of pundits who try to fix a reason for a person having lost. Todd did concede that “no doubt everybody, you do find one thing and you jump on it.”
Todd wouldn’t let up with his line of questioning and suggested that a potential Brownback loss could threaten the entire Republican Party’s economic philosophy:
But is there something then for the national Republican Party to learn? I mean this is sort of this fight inside your party. Right? Where is there room for a bigger tent? Is Kansas an incubator here? Is there a lesson to be learned nationally?
Todd never bothered to question the political motives of so-called moderate Republicans who refuse to remain loyal to their governor as he faces a tough reelection campaign. Instead, the NBC reporter was quick to try and get Ryan to admit that one of the core pillars of conservatism, lower taxes, should be abandoned in favor of “a bigger tent.”
Chuck Todd has a long history of challenging Paul Ryan since he became Mitt Romney’s running mate during the 2012 election. On August 30, 2012 Todd claimed that Ryan’s criticism of President Obama following the closing of a GM plant in Wisconsin was “technically factual” but “distorted the truth.” On October 16, 2012 Todd did his best to create controversy for Paul Ryan by claiming the Republican was washing dishes that were already clean during a campaign photo-op.
See relevant transcript below.
Meet the Press’ Press Pass
September 14, 2014
CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you, you worked for Sam Brownback when he was senator. He is in a tough re-election fight. If he loses re-election, he’s going to essentially have lost because he cut taxes too much. Okay? That's really become a referendum. Is there a point -- what happens to the Republicans’ economic philosophy of cut taxes if he does lose? Are you concerned about that?
PAUL RYAN: First of all, I don't think he is going to lose. He's one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever known in politics. And the economic renaissance in Kansas, just look at Kansas City, Kansas versus Kansas City, Missouri. There is a huge difference and you are seeing some impressive economic growth. I don't think that that would be why he will lose. There are a lot of pundits who try to fix a reason for a person having lost—
TODD: No doubt everybody, you do find one thing and you jump on it.
RYAN: And I know a little bit about Kansas politics from working with Sam. And there are some [sic] partisan issues that are at play here. And so there are some moderate Republicans who have crossed over. And so I think it is more of a political thing than a policy decision.
TODD: Okay. But is there something then for the national Republican Party to learn? I mean this is sort of this fight inside your party. Right? Where is there room for a bigger tent? Is Kansas an incubator here? Is there a lesson to be learned nationally?
RYAN: Well I think the key is, what I try to outline in this book is we need to be principled. And so Sam was applying core principles. We need to be principled and do it in an aspirational, inclusive way so that we can grow our majority. We can’t go to the voters with a margin of error in the electoral college of one state. This is not going to work for us. We need to open up the field, bring people in our tent without diluting our principles. And the argument I keep making is take those principles and apply them to the problems of the day to show that we have better solutions. That’s why I’m talking about poverty, that’s why I’m talking about better ideas for health care. We have to show people that we actually have more realistic solutions based upon our founding principles which are far superior, in my opinion, than the liberal Progressive agenda that we are experiencing right now which isn't working.