Jon Stewart had a field day with former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan for his remarks claiming that President Obama used a "straw man" argument during his inaugural speech:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) reacted to President Barack Obama's inauguration speech in an interview on "The Laura Ingraham Show" Tuesday, complaining that Obama used a "straw man" argument to purposely misconstrue the Republican position on entitlements.
During his speech, Obama argued that America was "not a nation of takers." That rhetoric of makers and takers, frequently employed by the former Republican vice presidential nominee, came under scrutiny during the 2012 election. Many observers interpreted Obama's mention of "takers" as pointed criticism of Ryan and his political ideology.
When asked about Obama's comment, Ryan said the president used rhetoric to muddy the GOP's position on entitlements.
"No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements -- entitlements you pay for, like payroll takes for Medicare and Social Security -- are putting you in a 'taker' category," he said.
"When the president does a switcheroo like that, what he's trying to say is that we are maligning these programs that people have earned throughout their working lives. It's kind of a convenient twist of terms to try and shadowbox a straw man in order to win an argument by default."
However, as Nick Baumann of Mother Jones points out, Ryan has repeatedly included government benefits such as Medicare and Social Security when using the phrase "makers and takers."
Stewart responded by showing a number of clips of Ryan using the makers vs. takers terminology to describe Social Security and Medicare, and then explained what the definition of a "straw man."
Stewart also pointed out that Ryan didn't share that same opinion about Social Security benefits turning you into a lazy moocher back when his family needed them -- something I wrote about here back in April of last year: Paul Ryan Touts His 'Self Reliance' During His Teenage Years, Ignoring His Family's Reliance on Social Security Benefits.
Stewart went on to show the part of Obama's inauguration speech where he said our social safety nets strengthened us, and finished up with this:
STEWART: So the rhetorical device Obama used wasn't a straw man. It wasn't even passive aggression. It was plagiarism.