The Paul Ryan – Barack Obama debate through the months

February 2010 – Health Care Summit. Ryan’s match-up with President Obama at the GOP retreat was eclipsed just one month later at the bipartisan health care summit at the Blair House that included members from the administration and Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Ryan challenged Obama on the cost of his health care reform plan, calling the bill “full of gimmicks and smoke and mirrors.”

Ryan specifically targeted the Democrat claim that the reform bill would reduce the deficit by $131 billion over ten years. The true cost of the bill, said Ryan, was about $2.3 trillion over ten years and would add $460 billion to the deficit during that time. “Ignoring these costs does not remove them from the backs of taxpayers,” said Ryan. “Hiding spending does not reduce spending. So when you take a look at all this it doesn’t add up.”

Ryan went on to throw another blunt criticism Obama’s way when he said, “We are all representatives of the American people. We all do townhall meetings. We all talk to our constituents, and I gotta tell ya, the American people are engaged. And if you think they want a government takeover of health care I would respectfully submit that you’re not listening to them.”

March 2010 – The Obama budget. When it came time for the White House to submit their budget proposal for fiscal year 2011, Ryan slammed it as being a plan that would “literally crash the U.S. economy.” In media interviews, Ryan claimed the U.S. budget already contained $76 trillion worth of unfunded liabilities. According to Ryan, it would cost each household hundreds of thousands of dollars to fill in the gap between the actual revenue the government was projected to bring in, and expenses on entitlements like Medicare and Social Security.

“All those unfunded liabilities – all that debt I’ve been telling you about is before you pass this budget,” said Ryan. “If you pass the Obama budget, it just gets worse.”

December 2010 – The White House fiscal commission report. Just last month, Ryan broke even with some conservatives on the fiscal commission by not voting for the White House’s fiscal commission report. Ryan argued that while the plan made progress on some issues, it ignored the cost of the health care bill. “It takes a few steps forward on Social Security and taxes and discretionary [spending], but it takes many steps backwards in health care,” said Ryan. “And that’s the big thing.”