By Justin Sink - 04/10/12 12:24 PM EDT
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday defended his budget from what he described as "verbal tantrums from the president" and gave his strongest indication to date that he would consider joining Mitt Romney as a running mate in November.
Ryan told NBC's "Today" show that he hadn't "given enough thought to [the] question" of joining the ticket, and that he had not personally discussed the issue with the former Massachusetts governor.
“The way I look at this is, it’s somebody else’s decision, it’s months from now. I’m busy trying to do my job in Congress," said Ryan.
“So, if we have to cross that bridge, I’ll make a decision then, but I haven’t given it the serious kind of thought, you know, with my family, to give an answer," he added.
But Ryan cautioned that Romney still needed to wrap up the nomination. “I think he still has to go through the process of nailing it down. He still has opponents,” he said.
In a later appearance on MSNBC, Ryan defended his budget from President Obama's blistering critique last week, which he denounced as "over-the-top rhetoric."
"We proposed to increase annual federal spending from $3.6 trillion a year to $4.9 trillion over a 10-year period instead of the president's $5.5 trillion. Apparently the difference with this makes us Social Darwinists," Ryan said.
The Budget Committee chairman went on to describe the president's criticism as a "verbal tantrum" and say he believed Obama was employing "a rhetorical broadside to distract from the fact the president isn't proposing solutions."
Ryan also discounted the Buffett Rule, a proposal by the president that would raise the tax rates on investment income for those making more than a million dollars to match the rates they pay on regular income. Ryan said Democrats were describing the plan like "pixie dust" to fix the budget deficit, noting the effect would not bridge the gap and would "represent a huge tax increase on job creators."
But when Ryan was pressed on how he would specifically reform the tax code and set new cutoffs for entitlement programs, he remained elusive.
"I don't even want to get into this cutoff … I'm not going to give you what I think is a rich person and what's not a rich person, because these are job creators," Ryan said.
Still, Ryan seemed open to some tax reform that would shift taxes from middle-class Americans to the wealthiest — although he was reticent to say where that cutoff would occur.
"It's not as much as what tax loopholes are in the code as much as who gets them. The top 1 percent gets over $300,000 on average on tax shelters," Ryan said.
This story was updated at 9:03 a.m.