10/12/2012 01:49 am ET Updated Oct 12, 2012

Paul Ryan Employs Same 'Failure To Lead' Gambit He Uses Against Obama

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have now both dodged questions about their tax plans by saying in essence they would copy a strategy that they describe as "failing to lead" when President Barack Obama has done it -- leaving details to Congress.

In Thursday night's debate, Ryan did it in refusing to disclose the tax loopholes that he and Romney say they would close to "broaden" the tax base and pay for a tax cut estimated to cost at least $5 trillion. They assert that by closing those loopholes, their tax cut would be entirely paid for.

But neither man has suggested a single loophole, such as the mortgage deduction or deductions for charitable giving, that they would close.

Instead, they want Congress to make those choices.

"We want to work with Congress -- we want to work with the Congress on how best to achieve this," Ryan said.

"We said here's the framework, let's work together to fill in the details," he said at another point. "That's how you get things done. You work with Congress."

But when Obama has offered broad outlines and asked Congress to fill in the details, Republicans -- and some Democrats -- accused him of a failing to lead.

Ryan did so later in the debate.

"Leaders run to fix problems. President Obama has not even put a credible plan on the table in any of his four years to deal with this debt crisis," Ryan said. "I passed two budgets to deal with this. Mitt Romney's put ideas on the table.

"The president likes to say he has a plan," Ryan said. "He gave a speech. We asked his budget office, 'Can we see the plan?' They sent us to the press secretary. He gave us a copy of the speech."

"You see, that's what we get in this administration -- speeches -- but we're not getting leadership," he added.

He did not note that he thought it was okay when he and Romney only have a plan.



Vice Presidential Debate