Remember when Paul Ryan voted last year for the Budget Control Act that triggered automatic cuts in defense spending if Congress couldn’t come up with a different plan? Turns out, according to Paul Ryan, voting for the Act wasn’t really voting for the Act. Just try to figure out what he’s saying here.
O’DONNELL: Congressman, these defense cuts are part of the Budget Control Act. You voted for the Budget Control Act. In fact I went and looked, you put on the a statement at the time it was passed and you called it a victory, and you called it a positive step forward.
So, you voted for defense cuts. And now you’re criticizing the president for those same defense cuts that you voted for and called a victory.
RYAN: No, no, I have to correct you on this, Norah. I voted for a mechanism that says a sequester will occur if we don’t cut $1.2 trillion spending in government. [...]
O’DONNELL: Congressman, it’s my understanding that as part of the Budget Control Act there was not just the sequestration, the defense sequestration, but there is also $1 trillion in immediate spending cuts, which included the defense cuts, almost $400 billion that were proposed by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Mr. Dempsey, as well as Secretary Panetta. And you also voted for those.
And now you’re saying that you didn’t vote for them?
RYAN: We can get into this nomenclature. I voted for the Budget Control Act but the Obama administration proposed $470 billion in defense cuts. We don’t agree with that. Our budget rejected that. And then on top of that is another $500 billion in defense cuts.
O’DONNELL: Right, it’s a trillion in defense spending. And you voted for it.
RYAN: No, Norah, I voted for the Budget Control Act.
O’DONNELL: That included defense spending.
RYAN: Norah, you’re mistaken.
Norah was not mistaken and Ryan is playing “nomenclature,” whatever that might mean in Ryan-speak. He voted for the Budget Control Act, including the automatic cuts to defense. He voted for the whole kit and kaboodle—and lavishly praised the bill on the floor, as the video above shows—and is now just flat out lying, trying to weasel his way out of the vote.
It wasn’t the only thing he tried to weasel his way out of. O’Donnell asked him about that marathon thing. He says he wasn’t really lying about his time, he was just misremembering. “It was an honest mistake,” he said. “I was 20 years old. I hurt my back when I was about 23 or 24 and I had to quit running. [...]. So I just lost perspective on what normal times are. I ran an ordinary race and I thought the answer I gave was an ordinary time.” Yes, this sports and exercise freak failed to remember his time on the only marathon he’s ever run. More than that, he never even knew what an “ordinary” time for running a marathon would be. Right. That’s entirely plausible.
White House senior adviser David Plouffe summed the whole thing up neatly later in the show:
“He voted for the sequester, he voted for the Budget Control Act. [...] He was running away from them with the kind of pace I guess he ran in that fictional marathon you asked him about.”