Elections 2012: Romney and Ryan Talk Taxes, Medicare In Their First Joint Interview

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan sat down with “Face the Nation” anchor Bob Schieffer in High Point, N.C., on Sunday for their first TV interview since Romney announced Ryan as his running mate.

CBS News chief Washington correspondent and anchor of “Face the Nation” Bob Schieffer sat down with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on Sunday for their first interview since the Republican presidential nominee announced Ryan as his running mate. Photo: monkeyz_uncle/Flickr

Paul Ryan, appearing alongside Romney on “60 Minutes” for their first joint media interview, seemed poised and assured throughout the 15-minute segment. When pressed with a question about tax returns — a topic that has dogged Romney — Ryan had a ready answer, reports The Huff Post.

The Wisconsin Republican said that while he turned over “several years” of tax returns to the Romney campaign during his vetting process, he would only make two years of tax returns public for voters.

“It was a very exhaustive vetting process,” Ryan told CBS’s Bob Schiefer. “It is a confidential vetting process. So there were several years. But I’m going to release the same amount of years that Governor Romney has.”

“But I got to tell you Bob — two, I’m going to be releasing two, which is what he’s releasing -– what I hear from people around this country, they are not asking, ‘Where are the tax returns,’ they are asking where the jobs are? Where is the economic growth?”

According to CBS News, Romney also responded to critics who say Ryan’s Medicare plan will hurt the ticket’s chances, especially in Florida.

“There’s only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare,” Romney said. “What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it’s there for current seniors.”

“No changes, by the way, for current seniors, or those nearing retirement. But looking for young people down the road and saying, “We’re going to give you a bigger choice.” In America, the nature of this country has been giving people more freedom, more choices. That’s how we make Medicare work down the road,” said Romney.

“My mom is a Medicare senior in Florida,” added Ryan. “Our point is we need to preserve their benefits, because government made promises to them that they’ve organized their retirements around. In order to make sure we can do that, you must reform it for those of us who are younger. And we think these reforms are good reforms that have bipartisan origins. They started from the Clinton commission in the late ’90s.”

Meanwhile, Ryan’s focus on domestic issues and his reputation as a rather wonky budget hawk confirm that Romney sees the November contest with President Barack Obama as a referendum over the U.S. economy and the size of the federal budget.

However, although U.S. voters overwhelmingly cite economic issues as their main concern, they also want reassurance that their leaders can execute the role of commander-in-chief, writes Reuters.

“I think his (Ryan’s) experience as a vice presidential candidate is thin; or for a future president and commander-in-chief, it’s virtually absent,” said Tim Roemer, a former congressman and former ambassador to India.

However, Romney campaign officials claim that Ryan does bring experience in the foreign policy department, particularly when it comes to dealing with the defense budget.

“This election is going to be about which candidate has the right vision for growing the economy and balancing our budget, but Governor Romney chose Congressman Ryan first and foremost because he’s ready on day one to step in as commander-in-chief, should he need to assume that responsibility,” said Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck.

Romney and Ryan “share the view that America’s leadership position in the world is based on a robust national defense, strengthened relationships with our allies and a philosophy of peace through strength,” Buck said.

Eric Fehnstrom, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “Paul Ryan has the same amount of foreign policy experience that Barack Obama had when he was sworn in as president.”

Share this article

We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language, all capital letters or appear to be spam, and we review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Coinspeaker Ltd.