Paul Ryan insists: ‘The polls are close’

Paul Ryan speaks to supporters during a campaign event in Derry, New Hampshire September 29, 2012.
Paul Ryan speaks to supporters during a campaign event in Derry, New Hampshire September 29, 2012.
Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters

An increasing number of polls show President Obama widening his lead over Mitt Romney, both nationally and in swing states. But Paul Ryan is maintaining that Americans should take those surveys with a big grain of salt.

“The polls are close,” Ryan insisted to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

Wallace pushed back, saying, “But you are trailing.” Ryan replied that he and Romney are “running against an incumbent president” with “incredible resources.”

Ryan said he didn’t think the presidential debate on Wednesday would drastically alter the state of the race. Like many other partisans on both sides of the contest, he attempted to lower expectations for his team, saying that Obama “is a very gifted speaker.”

“The man has been on the national stage for many years,” he said, whereas the first debate will be “Mitt’s first time on this kind of stage.”

Wallace noted, however, that Romney has had to participate in approximately two dozen debates to make it this far in the race.

As for the floundering Romney campaign itself: Ryan admitted that his ticket has made some “missteps” over the past few weeks, but said he was confident they would win come Election Day. 

“We’ve had some missteps. But at the end of the day, the choice is really clear. We have pro-growth solutions … you’ve got the president basically offering four more years like the last four, of stagnation and dependency,” Ryan said.  “Here and there, we have not been able to frame that choice as clearly.”

Ryan also addressed Romney’s derisive remarks on the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax. Ryan described the comments as “an inarticulate way to describe what we’re trying to do to create prosperity and upward mobility, and reduce dependency by getting people off welfare back to work.”

He vowed that Romney’s tax plan would lower tax rates for all Americans, though he offered little details of how the plan would remain revenue neutral.  

“You haven’t given me the math,” Wallace said.

“It would take me too long to go through all of the math,” Ryan replied. “But let me say it this way,” he continued “You can lower tax rates 20 percent across the board by closing loopholes and still have preferences for the middle class for things like charitable deductions, home purchases, for health care. What we’re saying is people are going to get lower tax rates and therefore they will not send as much money to Washington.”

Debates, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

Paul Ryan insists: 'The polls are close'