Paul Ryan 'Not Mad' at Barbara Lee for Dog-Whistle Racism Charge

Paul Ryan 'Not Mad' at Barbara Lee for Dog-Whistle Racism Charge

Earlier this month, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) responded to comments made by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for his remarks about the generations of people in the “inner cities” not “learning the value and culture of work.” She accused the Wisconsin Republican of racism.

On Tuesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel, Ryan explained offered his thoughts on the situation, maintaining he was not racist nor was he mad at the California Democrat.

Partial transcript as follows:

RYAN: Well, I have known Barbara for many years. Look, there was nothing racial whatsoever in what I said. And if you listen to all the full context of all of my remarks, it’s pretty clear. So what I would like to do and I mentioned this is let’s get beyond throwing baseless charges at people. Let’s not impugn people’s motives or characters. Let’s have a real conversation about what we really need to do to fight poverty in America. If the status quo was working so well, then we wouldn’t have to do that. It’s not. The highest poverty rates in a generation. And so we should have a conversation about addressing these root causes of poverty and the problems that are facing poverty without throwing names at each other. 

O’REILLY: OK. Did Congressman Lee apologize? Congresswoman Lee apologize? 

RYAN: Barbara and I have known each other for many years. I at the present time clarify the point I have been making. 

O’REILLY: How did she reply to your clarification? 

RYAN: She does not believe that I have these views. She knows me well. 

O’REILLY: Then why did she say you did? 

RYAN: She knows I don’t have a racist bone in my body. 

O’REILLY: Why did she imply you did? 

RYAN: You would have to ask Barbara that. 

O’REILLY: Did you ask her? 

RYAN: I made it very clear that what i said had nothing to do with race. 

O’REILLY: Are you mad at her? 

RYAN: No, I’m not mad at her. 

O’REILLY: I would be. 

RYAN: I’m a big boy. I understand if you challenge the status quo, that if you get into these issues. Sometimes you will be misinterpreted but also I believe we have to have a real conversation about how to fix these things. 

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor