There are loads of stories in print and online on the video that surfaced in which U.S. President Barack Obama allegedly praises Paul Ryan, the Republican congressman Mitt Romney chose as his V.P. running mate. The media has had a field day with it.
There's isn't so much to say about this one. Yeah, it does exist, but it's just Obama delivering a speech at a Republican retreat in Baltimore in 2010, making general points on Ryan's budgetary 'Roadmap for America’s Future.' The talk was intended to highlight bipartisanship and he said he'd read the document from the chairman of the budget committee, which naturally he would.
But as endorsing as the U.S. President gets is to say Ryan "has looked at the budget and has made a serious proposal." Wow! Stop the presses! He also says, repeatedly, he doesn't want to misrepresent Ryan's complex work and so is not detailed in his remarks. He keeps his comments general to avoid having to veer from the bipartisanship intentions of his talk. Again, he was speaking at a gathering of Republicans.
Barack Obama seeks bipartisan dialogue
There has been nonsense of the highest order made of this since Fox noted the existence of the video. I've read many bleatings that were laughable, one from Bloomberg's Ezra Klein, who has as much chance of delivering fair reportage as Mitt Romney has of mastering foreign policy. Klein wrote that President Obama "couldn’t stop talking up that Paul Ryan guy" and he described it as a "lovefest." If the President's speech was a lovefest then handshakes are an orgy.
The reality is Obama and the Democrats find Mr. Ryan's plans about as palatable as the Catholic Church does, the church Ryan belongs to. A group of American bishops have spoken out against Ryan numerous budget proposals in a variety of ways, including letters to Congress detailing their abhorrence of plans they say would target the poor and damage the social fabric of America.
Their criticism wasn't simply about the privatization of social security, they also maintain that overall Ryan's plans “will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and workers who cannot find employment" and that the cuts proposed are "unjustified and wrong.”
Obama video on Ryan: President reaching out
What the video of Obama talking at the Republican retreat shows is a U.S. President who seeks to make his country better and recognizes bipartisanship - the finding of common ground - is a much needed tool to accomplish that goal. He worked to remain positive about Paul Ryan while not getting into the things he finds objectionable and likely knew some of his words would be used against him.
But he did it anyway, feeling it would help America, and Americans should be proud he went and proud he sought common ground. And to those Republicans who are forever whining about their party getting the shaft from media, the dozens of overblown stories this 'news' item generated suggests it may be the GOP getting the biggest leg-up from the press.
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