Paul Ryan spoke with the NBC affiliate in Reno, Nevada, yesterday, and offered a defense of Mitt Romney’s criticism of the “47 percent” of Americans he sees as lazy freeloaders (thanks to reader F.B).
The part of this that’s generating the most chatter seems to be Ryan describing Romney’s comments as “obviously inarticulate.” And it’s certainly fair to say that running mates don’t usually use phrases like that when talking about their party’s presidential nominee.
But there’s something else that seemed noteworthy about this. After saying Romney was “obviously inarticulate,” Ryan also told the reporter, “The point we’re trying to make here is under the Obama economy government dependency is up and economic stagnation is up, and what we’re trying to achieve is getting people off of government dependency and back to a job that pays well, that gets them on the path to prosperity.”
Nice try, but no. That is not even close to the point Romney was “trying to make” in the video, as anyone who’s actually watched it knows.
“[T]here are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement and government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. … My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
To hear Paul Ryan tell it, the “point” of these comments is Romney’s intention to “get people off of government dependency.” But that’s clearly not what Romney was talking about – this wasn’t about economic policies and “economic stagnation”; it was about chastising Americans that Romney perceives as lazy and parasitic.
Ryan may find the facts difficult to spin, but he shouldn’t just make stuff up.