Former Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says that his party lost the White House in 2012 because so many "urban" voters went to the polls, not because Americans rejected his Medicare and other budget policies.
"We were surprised with the outcome," the Wisconsin Republican told WISC-TV's Jessica Arp. "We knew this was going to be a close race. We thought we had a very good chance of winning it. I think that the surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which definitely gave President Obama the big margin to win this race."
"There's always an Electoral College strategy to winning these things, and you know what states you need to win to get to 270 electoral votes. When we watched Virginia and Ohio coming in, those as tight as they were, and looking like we were going to lose them, that's when it became clear we weren't going to win."
Ryan added that it was "disappointing" because "losing never feels good," but insisted that the race had not been a referendum on his budget plan, which would have slashed the size of government and turned Medicare into a voucher program.
"I don't think we lost it on those budget issues, especially on Medicare," the former nominee explained. "We clearly didn't lose it on those issues. I think what people want us to do is tackle the country's problems, and what I got out of this is they don't want only Republican ideas or only Democratic ideas, they want us to come together for common ground and to work this out."
Although exit polls showed that six in ten voters wanted tax rates to be raised, Ryan said he didn't believe that was what Americans really voted for.
"I don't know if I agree with that because we have divided government," he remarked. "They also voted for House Republicans to maintain their majority, which took a very clear stand against that."