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Ryan: Obama 'Shadowboxing a Straw Man'

1:01 PM, Jan 22, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan knocked President Barack Obama for "shadowbox[ing] a straw man" in his inaugural address. Speaking Tuesday morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show to guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ryan responded to Obama's statement that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security "do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great."

Paul Ryan

Ryan called Obama's insinuation that he and other reform-minded Republicans consider recipients of these benefits "takers" a "switcheroo."

"It's kind of a convenient twist of terms to try and shadowbox a straw man to try to win an argument by default," Ryan said.

"No one is suggesting that what we call our 'earned entitlements', entitlements you pay for, you know, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security, are putting you in a 'taker' category," Ryan continued. "The concern that people like me have been raising is we do not want to encourage a dependency culture. This is why we called for welfare reform. This is welfare reform in 1996 was. This was what the new rounds for welfare reform we're calling for do, which is to increase social mobility, economic opportunity, self-responsibility, those sort of things."

"I understand the president will continue to use straw man arguments, affix views to your political adversaries they do not have in order to try and win an argument by default," Ryan added. 

As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan has authored a proposal to reform Medicare, which became a part of the budgets passed by the House in 2011 and 2012. His leadership on the issue led to his selection as the running mate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. In the last weeks of the campaign, Ryan argued for a conservative agenda on poverty and upward mobility.

Listen to the interview here.

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