Obama attacks Ryan budget as effort to ‘impose a radical vision’

President Obama on Tuesday took aim at House Republicans, calling the budget proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) "a Trojan horse" that seeks to "impose a radical vision" on the United States. 

"It's nothing but thinly veiled Social Darwinism," Obama said at a luncheon hosted by the Associated Press. "It's antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who's willing to work for it, a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class."

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Obama called the GOP proposal a “prescription for decline,” and argued it would gut the middle class. 

Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, shot back at Obama after excerpts of the speech were released this morning, saying “we all thought” he “would be better than this.”

“He had potential, making his leadership failures so disappointing,” Ryan tweeted.

The Ryan budget cleared the House on Thursday in a 228-191 party-line vote, setting up an election-year contrast with Democrats on spending and the debt. The proposal aims to cut $5 trillion more than Obama's 2013 budget proposal and would create a "premium support" option for future Medicare recipients.

The proposal is not expected to pass the Senate, but Republicans plan to base their election-year messaging around the plan, touting it as their “vision” for where the country should go.

Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, has endorsed the Ryan plan. The president drew a contrast with Romney in his speech Tuesday, saying the next president, “whoever he may be,” would inherit an economy that is “recovering but not yet recovered.”


"Too many Americans will still be looking for a job that pays enough to cover their bills or their mortgage," Obama said. "Too many of our citizens will still lack the sort of financial security that started slipping away years before the recession hit. And a debt that has grown over the last decade, primarily as a result of two wars, two massive tax cuts and an unprecedented financial crisis, will have to be paid down."

Obama said that "broad-based prosperity" hasn't come from the wealthy but from the middle class.

"That's how a generation who went to college on the GI Bill, including my grandfather, helped build the most prosperous economy the world has ever known," the president said. 

Conor Sweeney, a spokesman for Ryan, said the president is trying to distract voters from his failed policies.

“For four years the president has refused to honestly confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history,” Sweeney said in a statement. “Instead, he has accelerated the nation toward this looming debt-fueled crisis with reckless budgets, always accompanied by partisan speeches that seek to divide the nation in order to distract from his legacy of broken promises. If he thinks there is no political price to pay for this total abdication of leadership, he is due for a rude awakening."

Russell Berman contributed.

This story was first posted at 8:51 a.m. and was updated.