JANESVILLE — One week ago, Paul Ryan flew through Milwaukee where he hosted an Election Eve campaign event — genuinely confident he would soon become the vice president of the United States. However, the presidential election did not go well for Ryan and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and now Ryan is headed back to Washington to continue his service as 1st District congressman. FOX6 News spoke with Ryan on Monday, November 12th — nearly one week post-election.
Off the campaign trail, Ryan is now looking back on a whirlwind four-month stretch he spent as the Republican vice presidential nominee.
FOX6′s Mike Lowe: “What are the lessons that you learned, now that you’ve had time to sift through the results?”
“To be honest with you, I haven’t turned on a TV other than to watch football and a movie with my kids. I’ve been just sort of decompressing, getting back into family things. The boys are at Y basketball and Cub Scouts and Liza is at volleyball. She just passed her hunter’s safety this weekend, so Janna and I have basically just been getting back to family. As I sort of decompress and think about this, number one, I’m grateful for the opportunity. It was an honor to serve with Mitt Romney on the ticket. It was a great experience we will cherish. We didn’t win the election. It didn’t go our way. I congratulate the president. He won the election fair and square,” Ryan said.
Mike Lowe: “As you reflect on the campaign, why do you think you lost?”
“I think we lost because the president did a better job of getting his voters to the polls. We didn’t win. That’s just how it goes sometimes. Now we’ve got to make divided government work,” Ryan said.
Mike Lowe: “Governor Romney was reportedly shocked by the results. Did you have a sense of the way it was going. Did you see the writing on the wall?”
“Flying into Boston with my family that day, we felt pretty good. We knew it was going to be close, but our analysis of the polls and the numbers showed we had a very good chance of winning, so yes the loss was a bit of a shock,” Ryan said.
Mike Lowe: “Were you particularly disappointed with the results in Wisconsin?”
“Sure, but we knew we had an uphill battle all along. Barack Obama won Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008. He won by about half that amount this time. We haven’t gone Republican since the Reagan ’84 landslide, but we still really were fighting hard for it because we won the recall elections,” Ryan said.
Mike Lowe: “I think people are always interested in the behind-the-scenes things that happen. How did you say goodbye to Governor Romney?”
“Janna and I rode over with Mitt and Ann in the car to the concession speech, to the convention center in Boston. We just basically talked about our families, the country, I thanked Mitt for asking me to join him on the ticket “
Mike Lowe: “It seems crazy to talk about the next presidential election, but your name is being bandied about as a leading contender in 2016 — does that interest you?”
“Mike, aren’t you tired of covering campaigns? I think we’re all a little tired of it. That is so far down the road, we shouldn’t be even thinking about this stuff. We’ve got problems, let’s fix our problems. We can worry about politics later,” Ryan said.
Mike Lowe: “Safe to say we won’t see the kind of gridlock that marked the last two years?”
“No, I mean, we’ve got to fix these problems. It is math. A fiscal crisis is coming. Are we going to be able to fix the fiscal crisis in the way that I wanted to? No, because we didn’t win the election. But because we have divided government that means we need to find common ground to do that — and how exactly that’s going to be, I don’t know,” Ryan said.
Mike Lowe: “Are you staying in Congress?”
“Yes,” Ryan said.