CBS News' Norah O'Donnell put Paul Ryan's feet to the fire for criticizing President Obama for defense spending cuts after he supported them himself.
Mitt Romney's "Meet the Press" appearance put the cuts back in the spotlight on Sunday. The candidate said that Republicans made a "mistake" when they agreed to a debt ceiling deal that would decrease defense spending by $500 billion over the next ten years.
O'Donnell did not give Ryan on an easy pass on the issue. "He's talking about you because you voted for those cuts, correct?" she asked him.
Ryan said that he voted for the cuts because he was trying to find "common ground" with the Democrats to reduce the budget deficit. He added that he wrote a bill that would have reduced spending elsewhere and prevented "the president’s irresponsible, devastating defense cuts."
O'Donnell continued to press Ryan, saying that the defense cuts were part of the Budget Control Act and that he supported the act. She went a step further and quoted him calling the legislation a "victory" and a "positive step forward."
"So, you voted for defense cuts, and now you’re criticizing the president for those same defense cuts that you voted for and called a victory," O'Donnell said.
"The goal was never that these defense cuts actually occur," Ryan responded. He said that he supported a sequestration measure, which would have triggered automatic cuts if the supercommittee did not reach a deal. O'Donnell said that the act also contained $1 trillion in immediate cuts, including the defense cuts.
"And you also voted for those, and now you're saying you didn't vote for them?" she asked. He said that the Obama administration proposed $478 billion in defense cuts, in addition to cutting about $500 billion in defense from the sequestration.
"Right. A trillion dollars in defense spending, and you voted for it!" O'Donnell shot back.
"No, Norah. I voted for the Budget Control Act."
"That included defense spending!"