The Atlantic / By Nancy Cook and Rebecca Kaplan
In the weeks before Rep. Paul Ryan released his latest budget blueprint this year, he urged all of the presidential candidates to follow his fiscal lead. He critiqued GOP front-runner Mitt Romney’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference as “pretty good,” but cautioned that all of the candidates needed to take bold policy stances. “We need to have an election with a mandate, so we can fix these problems,” he said at a breakfast with reporters in mid-February.
He was equally noncommittal about his allegiances weeks later, when he praised both Romney and Rick Santorum for broaching the topic of entitlements on the campaign trail. “Their specifics have jived perfectly well with what we’ve been saying,” he told National Journal. “We’re all saying the same thing, and that’s very good in my opinion.”
And, when his big budget was finally unveiled in late March, the chairman of the House Budget Committee dared the GOP candidates to not follow suit. “I expect the Republican nominee to offer the country the legitimate choice that they deserve,” Ryan, of Wisconsin, said. “I expect our nominee to propose how to get us out of a debt crisis.”
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