Ryan says constituents 'overwhelmingly' support budget plan

Contrary to some of the angry scenes at certain of his town-hall meetings, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Friday that the crowds are "overwhelmingly supportive" of his budget plan. 

Ryan claims that his constituents know him well and appreciate that he is trying to reduce the nation's debt and deficits with his 2012 budget plan, which is strongly opposed by Democrats.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Oh, they are overwhelmingly supportive. Have you actually attended these meetings? The crowds are overwhelmingly supportive," he said when asked if his constituents back his proposal during an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Ryan is looking to downplay efforts by Democrats and their allies to make him the poster boy of constituent anger over the House GOP's budget proposal.

The House Budget Committee chairman was met with boos at one of his town-hall meetings last week and had to leave another under police escort due to security concerns about a demonstration outside the building where the event was held. 

Democrats and liberal groups have highlighted the incidents, as well as others around the country, as evidence that the public is opposed to the Ryan plan, which would cut $5.8 trillion over the next decade and make drastic changes to popular yet fiscally troubled entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid. 

But Ryan's staff has also highlighted positive reports of his numerous town-hall meetings that include standing ovations, in some instances.

Ryan conceded that "people don't like change," especially when it comes to "difficult and thorny issues" like entitlement programs. But he said that he and his colleagues have a "moral obligation" to lay out what their plan means and how it would fix the nation's fiscal woes. 

He expressed confidence that his message is getting through to his constituents.

"So I'm really — I'm taking a lot of solace in this. I'm very excited," he said. "They know what I believe in, what I stand for, and so they are excited about seeing one of their elected leaders try to tackle these problems."

-- This post was updated at 5:29 p.m.