President Obama said it was a "mistake" to criticize Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE and his budget proposal as strongly as he did during a speech in April 2011.
During that speech, in which Ryan sat in the front row of the audience at George Washington University, Obama specifically called out the House Budget Committee chairman's controversial budget reform proposal. Obama said that the plan painted "a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic."
In an interview with Bob Woodward in July, Obama said he did not know Ryan would be sitting in the front row and that if he had, he probably would have toned down his criticism.
"And so I did feel, in retrospect, had I known — we literally didn't know he was going to be there until — or I didn't know until I arrived," Obama said, according to audio transcripts published by ABC News on Monday, a day before Woodward's book The Price of Politics comes out. "I might have modified some of it so that we would leave more negotiations open, because I do think that they felt like we were trying to embarrass him.
"We made a mistake," Obama added.
In response to the criticism, Ryan, who hadn't been tapped as Mitt Romney's running mate yet, panned Obama as the "campaigner in chief."
"What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander in chief; we heard a political broadside from our campaigner in chief," Ryan said in a statement after the speech.