Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hammered President Obama — and Republicans — today on “Meet the Press” for enacting defense spending cuts that were part of the debt ceiling deal last year.
The problem: His vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, was one of 174 Republicans who joined 95 Democrats in supporting those defense cuts.
“I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose them,” Romney said of the defense cuts. “I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it.
“The president was responsible for coming out with specific changes they’d make to the defense budget. It was supposed to have come out this last week. He has violated the law that he in fact signed. The American people need to understand how it is that our defense is going to be so badly cut.”
The defense cuts have been something of a theme for Romney and even Ryan lately, who both have attacked Obama on the issue.
During the week of the Republican National Convention, Romney spoke to thousands of veterans at the American Legion in Indianapolis and warned about the cuts.
Here’s a look at Ryan’s evolution on the issue:
- In January 2011, he said defense cuts would be an option because of the “waste” stacked up in the defense budget.
- Ryan’s 2011 budget essentially cut $78 billion over five years, a comparatively small reduction from Obama’s plan.
- Ryan voted for the Budget Control Act, which forced automatic defense cuts if Congress failed to reach a compromise later in the year on a debt deal. (It did, as the so-called “supercommittee” failed its purpose.) Ryan defended this plan in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity shortly after the compromise.
- Ryan is now walking back on the issue, calling the cuts “reckless and devastating.”