Republicans defend Ryan’s speech, inaccuracies
TAMPA, Fla — Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer Thursday defended inaccuracies in GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech by attacking his own employer, CNN, one of several news organizations that has pointed them out.
“I’m sorry to report but those statements that said it wasn’t true, those statements aren’t true,” Fleishcher told FOX31.
News outlets including CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post and even conservative Fox News all reported on statements Ryan made that stretched the truth, including his claim that President Obama “raided” Medicare even though Ryan himself supports the same spending reduction mandated under Obamacare.
“There is no question about it that this administration took money out of Medicare intended to go to doctors and hospitals to pay for Medicare services and used it to pay for Obamacare,” Fleischer said. “It is as true, as true as true can get.”
It is also true that Ryan’s controversial budget plan also approved that very same $716 billion reduction in Medicare spending, something Ryan didn’t mention in his speech, nor did Fleischer address it.
Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary during President George W. Bush’s first term, is now a contributor for CNN and has been featured heavily during the network’s coverage of the Republican National Convention here.
He spoke to FOX31 Denver and other Colorado media after addressing a breakfast for the state’s RNC delegation Thursday morning; and he addressed another reported inaccuracies in Ryan’s remarks, the attack on Obama for “[doing] nothing” with the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles Commission on Deficit Reduction even though Ryan himself served on the commission and voted against the group’s recommendations.
“Simpson-Bowles, he voted against it because it did not do anything about Medicare and Medicaid and big entitlement drivers of the deficit,” Fleischer said. “So he’s intellectually consistent with what Simpson-Bowles represents, bit it itself fell short.
“The administration didn’t do something about Simpson-Bowles,” he continued. “I don’t think anyone who’s studied Paul Ryan can say Paul Ryan didn’t do something about the budget.”
Ryan also blamed Obama for the closure of a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisc., his hometown, even though it was President George W. Bush who closed the plant.
But members of the Colorado delegation, like Fleischer, casually dismissed those fact-checking reports that pointed out Ryan’s demonstrably misleading statements.
“Sure, we all have an obligation to be honest. What Paul Ryan did was share an honest assessment of our nations economy, our federal budget and the challenges that families face,” said Colorado statehouse Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch.
“Democrats don’t have a message. They don’t have ideas. The have failed in their promises. They haven’t kept their promises. So what they’re left with is this nitpicking of what was a truly remarkable speech. I think he nailed it.”
Lori Horn, a Republican delegate from Centennial and an activist with the conservative grassroots group “R Block Party”, blamed the mainstream media for focusing on this few questionable statements and not Ryan’s broader arguments, tone and vision for the country.
“I think Paul Ryan had his fact straight, I think he is correct in what he said,” Horn told FOX31 Denver.
“I think the mainstream media paints this picture because they have the bias. And I think they don’t even realize they have the bias, but they do. But the things they choose to highlight paint a picture.”