Media figures spent Wednesday morning mocking vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s inability to defend his budget plan or provide any specific numbers in what should have been a softball interview with Fox News’s Brit Hume.
Media Matters reports that Ryan, who is widely lauded as a “budget guru” and a man of ideas within the confines of Fox News, talk radio and the rest of the right wing media world, was forced to admit to Hume that “we haven’t run the numbers yet” on the very budget that he is proposing, a pronouncement that seemed to leave some commentators genuinely flabbergasted.
On Wednesday morning’s edition of “Morning Joe,” the panel sat in stunned silence for a beat after they watched a clip of the uncomfortable encounter between Ryan and Hume. Hume asked Ryan, among other things, how much in savings his plan would produce. Ryan immediately got evasive, “The point is — we, we — I joined the Romney ticket,” he said, but that the savings to Medicare would come “for the next generation.”
Hume then asked when Ryan’s plan would balance the budget, which made the congressman even more uncomfortable. After hemming and hawing about bringing the size of the government down to 20 percent of Gross Domestic Product by 2016, and being asked again by Hume when the budget will be balanced, Ryan finally made a genuinely startling revelation. He doesn’t have any idea.
“Well I don’t know exactly when it balances because — I don’t want to get wonky on you, but we haven’t run the numbers on that specific plan,” Ryan said.
It was that statement that left the “Morning Joe” panel blinking and stunned until host Joe Scarborough quipped, “You know, because I hate when people get wonky on me.”
Co-host Mika Brzezinski added, “You know what I hate more? When they don’t run the numbers.”
The panel were left wrestling with the possibility that Ryan was being evasive because he knows what’s in his plan and that the numbers don’t in fact add up, he knows what’s in his plan, but not in his new boss’s plan or even that the Republicans’ new “idea man” doesn’t know his own plan well enough to defend it on the air.
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien said, as an aside, in an interview with Romney campaign co-chair, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), “He doesn’t want to get wonky because he hasn’t run the numbers because the plan is very vague.”
That interview culminated with Pawlenty insinuating that O’Brien, who is of mixed ethnicity, does not fully comprehend the English language, even though she only speaks English fluently.
Watch video of the Morning Joe panel, embedded via MSNBC, below: