The Hill: Ryan: Obama 'dialed it down a bit'

January 23, 2015

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday praised President Obama for his remarks on trade in the State of the Union address.

[Reposted from The Hill  |  David McCabe  |  January 21, 2015]

"I agree with every word in his speech in respect to trade and Asia, and getting in there and helping write the rules instead of China writing the rules," he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

The president is seeking greater authority to negotiate a trade deal with Asian nations, something many Democrats oppose.

And at a time when many Republicans are saying the president was too political in his speech, Ryan said he thought Obama had struck a conciliatory tone.

"I'm glad that he sort of held back on the partisanship and the demagoguery," he said. "I guess I'd say in his speech, he dialed it down a bit. We're used to seeing more divisive speeches from the president, he didn't do that as much. I think that's a good thing."

"I've got to say: The guy is a really gifted communicator. The solace I got out of that is that the Democrats don't have anybody in the stable who can match that," Ryan said.

But Ryan also said that Obama seemed to be painting a picture of an "alternative universe" on the economy and foreign policy.

The Wisconsin Republican will be pushing this year for an effort to reform the tax code as chairman of the powerful committee. While he said that some of the president's newly proposed tax increases were nonstarters, he again praised the president's speech as striking the right tone.

"He just offered a big tax increase. He knows we're not going to do that. I'm glad he dialed down on the partisan class warfare rhetoric on that yesterday, because he knows we're not going to raise taxes," he said.

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