The talks blew up over the issue of raising taxes on the wealthy, and Ryan was seen as instrumental in scuttling the deal.
“That wasn’t even close to fixing the problem. That was a medium-sized deal,” Ryan said of the effort.
Ryan was responding to criticism that he has unfairly attacked Obama for “ignoring” the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson deficit commission earlier in 2011. The White House said the grand bargain talks were modeled that plan.
Ryan served on the deficit commission that crafted the Bowles-Simpson plan and voted against sending it to Congress, primarily because it did not cut Medicare and other healthcare spending.
“In the next paragraph of my speech, I said we offered an alternative. If you don’t like this idea, then offer your own. That’s what we did in the House,” Ryan said. “President Obama said, 'I don’t like this plan,' and offered nothing in return.”
Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Boehner, said Ryan is right that the proposals that were discussed wouldn’t have gone far enough to cut the deficit.
"Paul Ryan is right. The Obama-Boehner talks would have made a dent in the problem but we've got a lot more work to do to fix our long-term debt crisis, which is what Republicans have focused on in our budget. The fact that the president has shown no serious interest in solving our long-term debt problems is another sign that we need the Romney-Ryan ticket now, more than ever," Smith said in a statement.
— This story was updated at 7:57 p.m.