In the blunt and overly harsh interview that felt more like gotcha journalism at times than it did hard-hitting, Wallace left no stone unturned, asking Ryan why he and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney were so far behind in a race that is theirs to lose and why he’s allowed Romney to change him more than he’s changed Romney.
Through it all, Ryan mostly stayed on message, repeatedly citing President Barack Obama’s attempts to “distort” their campaign’s message, ‘divide” Americans and “distract” voters from the real issues. He brushed off Wallace’s assertions that he and his running mate were losing, telling the FOX host that “[w]e can debate the polls” and pointing out “that in these kinds of races people really focus near the end.”
“See the forceful case we are making for economic opportunity, see the specific plans we’re putting on the table, the bold solutions,” Ryan countered. “Mitt Romney has never once asked me to temper anything down. He said, ‘Go out there and sell this.’ ”
Ryan did lose his cool half way through the interview, however when Wallace pressed him on the math behind his supposedly revenue-netural budget.
“I don’t have ti–” slipped out of his mouth before the candidate caught himself. “It would take too long to go through all the math,” he said instead.
After the interview aired, Wallace did criticize Obama during the live portion of the show for not making an appearance on the program in the last 1,617 days, despite promising him during his last interview that he would come back on soon. He also noted that Biden has not appeared on his popular Sunday morning show in 1,841 days.
After his interview with Ryan, however, he shouldn’t expect either of the Republican party leaders to come back on either time soon, either. Although many of the questions were appropriately tough of a campaign that’s blowing it for the GOP in the perspective of many conservatives, an equal amount of questions came from left field during an interview most viewers – including the Romney-Ryan campaign – would have expected to be a breeze for the GOP darling.
The most bizarre line of questioning came when Wallace asked Ryan what examples of mainstream media bias toward the Republican ticket Ryan could provide.
In an Aug. 27 interview with The Hollywood Reporter Wallace acknowledged that, “The president gets very gentle treatment from the mainstream media.” Additionally, he claimed that in 2008 the mainstream media “helped Obama at the expense of John McCain.”
“If Paul Ryan had said what Joe Biden said to a crowd of African-Americans in Virginia, that the other side would put you all back in chains, there would be calls for him to be pulled off the ticket,” he said in the interview.
Sunday, Wallace seemed to have changed his tune, however, refusing to let Ryan off the hook until he answered his questions.
“I’m not gonna go into a tit-for-tat or litigate this thing. But as a conservative, I’ve long believed and long felt that there is inherent media bias and I think anybody with objectivity would believe in that,” Ryan said.
“Do you think the mainstream media wants Barack Obama to win?” Wallace followed up.
“You’d have to ask mainstream media that,” Ryan said
“No, what do you think,” Wallace said angrily.
“I think most people in the mainstream media are left of center and therefore they want a very left of center President versus a conservative president like Mitt Romney” Ryan finally confessed.
During the wide-reaching interview Ryan also talked about his upcoming debate against Vice President Joe Biden, who he attempted to portray as a skilled debater and politician in order to raise expectations for the VP’s performance in the Oct. 11 debate. He predicted that Biden would not make a gaffe during the debate because he usually makes those on the campaign trail in off the cuff remarks, not during serious situations.
“At the end of the day, I’m just going to go in there and be me,” Ryan said of his debate strategy.