Smart, real smart. I was waiting for this headline.If I were running either campaign, this would be the headline about which care and that will win the election: Ryan Says GOP Win Would Spur a Tax Deal .
Rep. Paul Ryan said the presidential campaign, despite its contentious tone, is putting a focus on taxes and deficit cutting that could pave the way for a bipartisan overhaul if running mate Mitt Romney wins the White House.
Mr. Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, said a Romney administration would be able to work with Democrats to pass a tax overhaul, including Mr. Romney's plan for a 20% reduction in individual tax rates. But he said the GOP ticket wouldn't detail which tax breaks it wanted to scale back in order to prevent the tax cut from adding to the deficit, and that it was sufficient for Mr. Romney to lay out general principles.
"We shouldn't be negotiating the details of tax reform in the middle of a campaign," Mr. Ryan said in his first interview with a national newspaper since he debated Vice President Joe Biden last Thursday.
The Wisconsin congressman also said that Mr. Romney had asked him to take on the role of working with Congress on fiscal matters if he is elected vice president. "This is one of the reasons why he asked me to sign on" to the Republican ticket, said Mr. Ryan, who has championed plans to cut federal spending and overhaul entitlement programs from his post as chairman of the House Budget Committee.
"It was because of my leadership and the reforms I'd been pushing that he asked me," Mr. Ryan said. "He said, 'I need help. I want your help to help me save this country from a debt crisis, to get this economy back on track.' "
The interview came as the Romney campaign was making a renewed effort to gain support in Ohio, where polls show the GOP ticket continuing to lag behind slightly amid its surge in the national polls.
Whatever the outcome of the Nov. 6 election, Mr. Ryan will hold tremendous sway either from the executive branch or the House of Representatives over fellow Republicans as the two parties work to craft a deficit-reduction plan that could include changes to taxes and entitlement programs.
Before year-end, Congress and the president will be forced to confront a series of tax cuts that are set to expire right as billions in automatic spending cuts take effect.
Despite the increasingly bitter tone of the White House race, Mr. Ryan expressed optimism that the two parties would come together if his ticket won the race, arguing the overhauls he and Mr. Romney are pushing have historically garnered Democratic support. He cited the Medicare overhaul plan he co-authored with Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, which would give beneficiaries the choice between traditional Medicare and subsidized private insurance. He also pointed to the so-called Simpson-Bowles commission on debt and deficits that recommended cutting tax rates and reducing deductions, although Mr. Ryan, a commission member, voted against that recommendation.