On April 13, 2011, President Obama unveiled a $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan at George Washington University. During the speech, Obama tore apart a similar budget proposal famously produced by Congressman Paul Ryan, insisting that there was “nothing serious” or “courageous” about it, and calling it a “deeply pessimistic” vision for America, one that would force sweet old grandparents and adorable poor kids to go without health insurance while giving tax breaks to millionaires. Regardless of whether or not these accusations were true, Paul Ryan took the criticisms as a personal attack, since he was sitting in the front row at the time. When the speech was over, Ryan stormed out, telling a top economic aide to Obama, “I can’t believe you poisoned the well like that.”
In retrospect, that could have been handled better, Obama admitted recently to Bob Woodward:
“I’ll go ahead and say it – I think that I was not aware when I gave that speech that Jack Ryan was going to be sitting right there,” the president told Woodward according to audio transcripts of their conversations, provided to ABC News.
“And so I did feel, in retrospect, had I known – we literally didn’t know he was going to be there until – or I didn’t know, until I arrived. I might have modified some of it so that we would leave more negotiations open, because I do think that they felt like we were trying to embarrass him,” Obama continued. “We made a mistake.”
Anyway, no disrespect to Jack Ryan, or Paul Bunyan, or whoever that guy is.