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Asked to explain his choice of Rep. Ryan, Gov. Romney said: "This guy's a real leader. [...] He's reached across the aisle. He's worked with Democrats, Republicans. Tried to take on the toughest issues America faces."
TPM takes a close look at both the "leader" and the "across the aisle" parts of that statement. As a leader, Ryan comes up lacking when it comes to the real measure of a congressional leader: bills passed. He's only had two bills that he introduced pass and become law. One renamed a post office in his district. Tellingly, one of his most ambitious bills, to privatize Social Security, was a measure "so far-reaching that the Bush White House called it 'irresponsible.'"
For the bipartisan part, Ryan was a member of the can't-we-all-get-along crowd's wet dream Catfood Commission, and not only voted against the Bowles-Simpson recommendations, but attacked them. But the big "bipartisan" bugaboo that all Romney surrogates have been instructed to repeat ad nauseum is that he worked with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on a blueprint for what might be done with Medicare. That's all they got. And Wyden is having none of it.
Gov. Romney is talking nonsense. Bipartisanship requires that you not make up the facts. I did not ‘co-lead a piece of legislation.’ I wrote a policy paper on options for Medicare. Several months after the paper came out I spoke and voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget. Governor Romney needs to learn you don’t protect seniors by makings things up, and his comments today sure won’t help promote real bipartisanship.
Of all the whoppers that pour out of Mitt Romney's mouth on a daily basis, there probably isn't a bigger one than claiming his new running mate is a bipartisan leader. Paul Ryan, the very powerful Budget Committee Chairman, has never even seen one of his budget's become law. A guy whose ideas are too extreme for Bush/Cheney is not a guy who is going to be able to play well with others.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 09:56 AM PDT.