Huffpost Politics

Paul Ryan Questioned On Defense Cuts He Voted For But Is Campaigning Against

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GOP vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was questioned Tuesday on a central contradiction in his campaign rhetoric: why he is opposing the defense sequestration for which he voted as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act that ended the showdown over the debt ceiling.

"So we don't agree with that. That's the point we're trying to make," said Ryan.

"But did you vote for it?" interjected reporter Ben Swann, of Fox affiliate WXIX in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"I voted for a bipartisan budget agreement. The president insisted on these defense cuts as part of that compromise, and then I offered legislation to cut spending in other areas of wasteful Washington spending to prevent those defense cuts. We passed that out of the House. The president won't support it."

When asked about specifics on how foreign policy would be different in a Romney/Ryan administration, Ryan immediately mentioned that they would not "gut our military."

The Washington Post reported that the Obama administration wanted the sequester -- an automatic cut of $1.2 trillion over 10 years that will go into place in 2013 after the congressional "super committee" failed to come up with an alternative -- to trigger the repeal of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans countered that they could accept that if it also triggered the automatic repeal of the Obama health care law's individual mandate. That was too much for both sides, so cuts in defense and social spending were adopted.

Ryan sponsored a bill to repeal the cuts authorized by the sequester, but received no Democratic support.

The same reporter asked President Barack Obama earlier in September about the so-called kill list, the existence of which the president did not acknowledge.

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