Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) tsk-tsked conservative media for “coarsening our debate” and vowed to “do my small part” to keep things civil before spontaneously praising President Obama’s recent foreign policy decisions.
In an interview for Meet the Press‘s “Press Pass” segment, Ryan and new host Chuck Todd might have been mistaken for being on a “No Labels” panel discussion as they both lamented how politicians are rewarded in “advocacy media outlets” for bold rhetoric and standing firm in their positions.
Todd lamented that “members of both parties” often “get standing ovations for the rhetoric,” to which Ryan replied, “I don’t like that.”
“I think it’s coarsening our debate and our civil debate in getting things done here in Washington. I want to do my small part to try and move the political system, the political debate to be a little more civil, to be focused on outcomes and policies and not on just trading barbs and hyperbolic rhetoric,” Ryan said.
“Let’s not look at people who disagree with us as enemies but perhaps as adversaries that we need to have a better debate with,” he added.
Then, unprompted by Todd, Ryan began to praise Obama’s recent foreign policy decisions. “I can say a lot of ugly things about his past foreign policy but I think he’s now getting it better and a little more right,” Ryan said.
Ryan has drawn criticism on the right for his role in pushing the House to pass legislation to provide citizenship to millions of illegal aliens. Ryan has said he is working “every day” to pass the legislation and is the most significant force pushing the issue forward among House Republicans. Weeks before Obama, facing stiff political headwinds, punted on unilaterally extending amnesty by executive fiat, Ryan said the GOP should be running on amnesty in the midterm elections. Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham has said Ryan’s amnesty push would end his presidential chances.