Time to break out the violins: Paul Ryan got his feelings hurt by President Obama, it seems. Though Obama regrets it now, it was a delicious moment at the time:
President Obama told author Bob Woodward that he didn't know Rep. Paul Ryan was going to attend at a major speech he delivered last year on spending and debt, and says in retrospect that it was "a mistake" to dress down Ryan and his budget plans to his face in that setting.
In the interview conducted July 11 -- about a month before Ryan was tapped as Mitt Romney's running mate – the president also misstated the first name of the man who is now on the opposing presidential ticket.
"I'll go ahead and say it – I think that I was not aware when I gave that speech that Jack Ryan was going to be sitting right there," the president told Woodward according to audio transcripts of their conversations, provided to ABC News.
"And so I did feel, in retrospect, had I known – we literally didn't know he was going to be there until – or I didn't know, until I arrived. I might have modified some of it so that we would leave more negotiations open, because I do think that they felt like we were trying to embarrass him," Obama continued. "We made a mistake."
And so the ego of that humble and honest and humbly honest guy from Wisconsin was bruised:
Ryan thought it was a planned attack, and he was incensed. Ryan rushed out of the room even as Gene Sperling, a top Obama economic aide, tried to stop him to explain that the speech "wasn't a setup," Woodward writes.
"I can't believe you poisoned the well like that," Ryan told him.
Back at the Capitol, Ryan denounced the speech as "excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis." He said he was "very disappointed in the president," adding that he thought his invitation was an "olive branch."
Here's the the full quote:
RYAN: I'm very disappointed in the president. I was excited when we got invited to attend his speech today. I thought the president's invitation to Mr. Camp, Mr. Hensley and myself was an olive branch. Instead, what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate in addressing our country's pressing fiscal challenges. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander in chief. What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief.
As we observed at the time:
If Ryan is going to accuse the president of being "dramatically inaccurate," he better be ready to back it up. As you can see, Obama's evisceration of the Ryan budget was based on a set of well-established facts.
In the meantime, I'm sure you'll all join me in playing "Cry Me a River" on the world's smallest violin for Ryan. Especially when he calls Obama's budget outline "doubling down on the failed politics of the past." Projection, anyone? There was no greater failure than the economic politics of George W. "I Never Met A Tax Cut For the Wealthy I Didn't Like" Bush -- and Ryan's plan is Bushism on steroids.
And let's recall: Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" plan itself was an open broadside at Obama. Here's how it opened:
For years, both political parties have made empty promises to the American people. Unfortunately, the President refuses to take responsibility for avoiding the debt-fueled crisis before us. Instead, his policies have put us on the path to debt and decline.
The President and his party’s leaders refuse to take action in the face of the most predictable economic crisis in our nation’s history. The President’s budget calls for more spending and more debt, while Senate Democrats – for over 1,000 days – have refused to pass a budget. This unserious approach to budgeting has serious consequences for American families, seniors, and the next generation.
We reject the broken politics of the past.
You want to play hardball, Mr. Ryan, then you should expect some brushback pitches from time to time.
It's especially touching, don't you think, that Ryan was playing classic Republican attack politics while pretending to be moving "forward" with a gussied-up version of the very same Bush policies that led to the disaster of 2008.
Can we start calling him Paul "Dramatically Inaccurate" Ryan now?