Obama advisor berates Ryan for not divulging numbers

The Colorado Statesman

Senior campaign adviser to President Barack Obama, Robert Gibbs, joined with Colorado Democratic political dignitaries on Tuesday afternoon just a day before the first presidential debate, criticizing their Republican opponents for an economic plan that has a “math problem.”

Gibbs — who attended the rally at Veterans Park, just steps away from Magness Arena on the University of Denver campus where the debate would take place on Wednesday — pointed to recent comments by Mitt Romney’s running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in which he told “Fox News Sunday” that he didn’t have the time to explain the math behind Romney’s tax plan.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, fires up a crowd of President Barack Obama supporters on Tuesday, just one day before the first presidential debate in Denver.
Photo by Peter Marcus/The Colorado Statesman

When Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Ryan to explain the specifics of the tax plan — which includes lowering all individual rates by 20 percent but still raising enough revenue to keep the deficit from going up — Ryan said on Sept. 30, “It would take me too long to go through all the math.”

Gibbs, who served as Obama’s former White House press secretary, targeted in on the comment on Tuesday, berating Ryan for not having explained the numbers behind the tax plan.

“It wasn’t a time problem that Paul Ryan has, it’s a math problem,” Gibbs said to chuckles from his Democratic supporters standing behind him in the warm afternoon sun.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also attended the rally, as well as Colorado State House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, and Sens. Joyce Foster, D-Denver, and Irene Aguilar, D-Denver.

Gibbs pointed to Ryan’s comment as being one of the most “stunning” moments of the presidential campaign, which has included Romney campaign blunders such as telling wealthy donors at a private fundraiser in May that 47 percent of Americans will support Obama’s reelection, but are government freeloaders who pay no income taxes and can’t “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Gibbs said Ryan’s comment on Sept. 30 might compete as being one the most memorable remarks of the election cycle.

Bennet joined in on the Ryan bashing, stating that the Romney-Ryan tax plan would “explode the deficit, not reduce it.”

“Paul Ryan went on national television this weekend and said that he didn’t have the time to do the math on how he and Romney would pay for their $5 trillion tax plan. I actually don’t blame him for that because he could have sat there all day with a calculator and it wouldn’t have added up,” quipped Bennet. “No wonder he didn’t have the time to do the math.”

Ryan explained his comment on Monday, telling Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes that he likes Wallace too much to explain the math behind Romney’s tax plan.

Ryan and Romney believe that their plan would balance out mathematically by eliminating deductions and loopholes in the tax code that could lower all individual rates by 20 percent without ballooning the deficit.

“I didn’t want to get into all the math of this because everybody would start changing the channel,” said Ryan.

Peter@coloradostatesman.com