From msnbc.com's Carrie Dann and NBC's Shawna Thomas
Just hours after sitting in the front row while the president verbally walloped his plan to reduce the debt, Rep. Paul Ryan called President Obama’s speech on deficit reduction “a political broadside” and accused the White House of “poisoning wells” on the budget debate.
"What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander in chief,” Ryan said. “What we heard today is a political broadside from our campaigner in chief.”
Calling the president’s speech “very sad,” the House Budget Committee chief said he had previously viewed Obama’s invitation to attend his remarks at George Washington University as an “olive branch."
“Instead what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country's fiscal challenges,” he said.
Obama did not mention Ryan by name in his address, but he issued a fierce condemnation of one of his plan’s most controversial proposals: phasing out Medicare in favor of a privatized voucher system. “"Put simply," Obama said of Ryan’s plan, “it ends Medicare as we know it.”
On Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid reforms floated by House Republicans, Obama made the case that “we would not be a great country without those commitments” to those in need of safety net programs.
Ryan countered Wednesday that Obama’s remarks contained no new solutions to address the debt issue and that the president’s remarks merely exploited fear rather than proposing a serious solution.
“We don’t need partisanship,” Ryan said. “We don’t need demagoguery.”