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Paul Ryan: Voter Anger 'Needs to be Channeled'

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks during the media availability at Republican National Committee headquarters following the House Republican Conference meeting in Washington on Feb. 2, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) today advised lawmakers to take voters’ anger “and channel it constructively into action.”

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill after a closed caucus meeting, Ryan was characteristically mum about the particulars of the presidential race.

“Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, the most extreme of the senators, won last night, or almost won in Sanders’s case. What do you think that says about the current state of the electorate?” one reporter asked.

“You would want to spend all that time on a question I’m not going to answer?” Ryan quipped in response.

“Look, the Republican and Democratic primary voters will be selecting the nominees of their parties. The process began. I’m excited to see it going, because what this tell me is the days of Barack Obama’s presidency are numbered,” continued the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee. “They will be over in a year’s time. And I have every reason to believe we will have a Republican president and we will get things right.”

Ryan stressed “we need to channel the anger that’s out there into action.”

“Look, we are all angry. We are all angry that the country is headed in the wrong direction. We’re angry we’re not doing what we need to do to defeat ISIS. We’re angry that we have a porous border. We’re angry that people aren’t getting raises. We’re angry that we’ve had 2 percent-something growth for 10 years. We’re angry that a debt crisis is on the horizon and we’ve done nothing to fix it because of a progressive president,” he said.

“So yeah, we’re angry, but the key here is take that anger and channel it constructively into action. Let’s take it and harness it into action. And let’s go out and give a positive message, a hopeful message, an optimistic and inspirational message to our fellow citizens in America to tell them that it doesn’t have to be this way, that what’s happening in this country does not have to continue.”

Ryan added, “We can get better, we can improve things, we can get our country on the right track, and that anger needs to be channeled, and that’s what we’re trying to say.”

Ryan spoke before his late morning meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office, which included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Ryan then had a private lunch with Obama.

“There are a few things on my list and I assume that there are a few things on his list, but I’ll get to that with him in person,” the Speaker said.” I think he knows how I feel and I know how he feels, so. There are no bones about our differences of opinion. Look, I ran against the guy in the last election, so I think we definitely have different opinions, we have different philosophies and principles.”

“I think his are not the right ones for America, I think he’s taking the country away from what it was intended to be. I don’t think we want a liberal, progressive welfare state and a second-rate military, I think we want to be America and we want to lead and we want prosperity and we want opportunity and we want to get the American idea back on track. I feel very strongly about that. I believe in the principles that created this country. He’s a liberal progressive, and we just don’t agree,” Ryan continued.

“We get along with each other personally, we agree to disagree on these things, and so we will put those disagreements in check, see where the common ground is, go act on that common ground to get some things done. And then on the big issues that we don’t agree, we believe we have an obligation to our constituents and our fellow citizens to offer alternatives, and that’s what we’re going to be doing this year.”