Speaker Ryan: The President Has a 'Myopic' Vision | Speaker.gov

Following President Obama’s last State of the Union address, House Speaker Paul Ryan sat down with USA Today’s Susan Page to discuss his reaction to the president’s message, as well as what he thought about Gov. Nikki Haley’s Republican address. Below are excerpts from their conversation:

On the President Obama’s #LastSOTU address:
“I thought it was a fairly typical speech for the president. Apparently ISIS is a bunch of guys riding around in trucks and a picture of good foreign policy is Syria. I think he glossed over the economy. I think he glossed over our foreign policy failures. I’m used to seeing what I call strawman arguments from the president. And I’m glad he talked about the polarization in our politics in America, but I got the sense that he was basically saying that it was other people’s fault. It’s not just the president’s fault, but there’s culpability here, particularly when it’s the president of the United States saying it. So look, we’re the opposition party. We see things quite differently. I think the country’s headed in the wrong direction. And as a result of that, I think we have an obligation of showing people how we would do things differently. That’s what we intend on making 2016 about. It’s gonna be a year of ideas for us.”

On Obama’s myopic vision:
“I’m in the opposition party, so you know I’m going to say things critical, but my observation is that he looks at the world as if it is what he wishes it would be, not as it is. So I believe he just looks at the landscape of things whether it’s domestically or particularly the foreign policy, and he sees through a lens of what he hopes and wishes it was as if that’s what it is, when it really isn’t. . . . I think he has really cloaked himself in that kind of vision. And I think it’s very myopic. And I think it ignores the reality and the facts on the ground. I think he believes it’s better, or I think he believes that his policies are succeeding when they’re not. And I think all of the evidence is in, particularly on foreign policy.”

On Nikki Haley’s Republican address:
“I think Nikki [Haley] is a star. . . . I think she’s made her point pretty well, which is as conservatives we’ve got great principles, great ideas. And these are inspirational, these are optimistic ideas, these are inclusive ideas. And that means we have a conservative set of philosophies and principles that give us policies that actually should be inclusive and appealing to people. And I believe what Nikki Haley did is go out and help win converts to conservatism, which is something I think is necessary for us to do if we’re going to have to win the kind of election we have to win to put the policies in place we need to put in place to save the American Idea for the vast majority of Americans who don’t believe it’s there for them anymore.”