Coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

Wisconsin Republicans blast President Obama over budget, national debt

MILWAUKEE -- Some of Wisconsin's Republicans took President Barack Obama to task over the national debt, and a promise he made four years ago to the day on Tuesday, July 3rd.

"Four years ago to the day, the president said that it was wrong to add $4 trillion to the debt -- that it was unpatriotic.  Well, he's added over $5 trillion to the debt. That's over a 70 percent increase," U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan said.

President Obama made a speech four years ago, saying adding to the debt would be unpatriotic, yet the debt has increased by nearly $5 trillion under his watch.

Wisconsin state Senator Chris Larson, speaking for the Obama campaign, said the argument lacks context -- namely the recession that occurred after those remarks and the declining federal revenues that came with it.

"President Obama inherited that mess and he's been trying to fix it for the last 3.5 years, so while we're in the process of fixing that, very few people want to go back to the same failed policies that are only going to take us further behind," Larson said.

Democrats say President Obama was ready to cut a deal to reduce the national debt last year, but House Republicans scuttled it.

Congressman Paul Ryan says that's not true. Ryan chairs the House Budget Committee.

"We don't need a chief executive who can cut a clever back room deal, so he has plausible deniability that those talks ever occurred. That's not leadership.  We need a chief executive to show us what he's going to do to fix the country's problems, do it in the light of day, do it in public, the way we should do it -- through our elected representatives," Ryan said.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says his record in Wisconsin's budget is a blueprint for fixing the fiscal and economic problems facing the country.

"Revenues are actually up because we saw a growth in personal income and we saw a growth in the number of jobs through the Department of Revenue. I would say while it's smaller in size, it's similar in proportion to the challenges the federal government faces. You have to have both a pro-prosperity and a pro-frugality agenda," Gov. Walker said.

"He has the worst jobs record in the Midwest, so instead of criticizing the president, he should be finding ways to work together to help put people in our state back to work," Sen. Larson said.

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