Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE (R-Wis.) on Tuesday attributed Republicans' strong election night showing to American contempt for "big government" now "in practice" under the Obama administration.

In remarks on Fox News, the former vice presidential candidate contrasted this year's midterms with the GOP's failed bid for the White House two years ago.

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"In 2012 Mitt Romney and I had a challenge in that we were running against big government in theory," Ryan said. "It was sort of Obama’s word against our word."

Ryan said that while President Obama signed his major achievements in 2009 and 2010, including ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank, their implementation was delayed to 2013 and 2014. 

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"Now we have big government in practice," Ryan said. "It doesn’t look anything like the rhetoric that was used to sell it, the results are untethered to the rhetoric, so I think people are beginning to realize, this doesn’t look like what they told me it would look like."

"I think we have big government in practice, and that's what's different from 2012, when we still had the hope and the change and the rhetoric and not the results that we are now seeing," he added.

Obama and other Democrats, for their part, have pointed to a Senate map heavy on red states to explain the results.