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CROWLEY: Joining us now by phone is Wisconsin Democrat Congressman Ron Kind. You are a Democrat, but also from Wisconsin so there has to be some part of you that thinks this is very cool. There's a Wisconsin congressman now in the Republican ticket.
REP. RON KIND, (D) WISCONSIN: Well, good morning, Candy, And first off, congratulations to Paul Ryan. We have been friends for a long time, although we have had some serious policy differences I and disagreements and that. But you know, it is neat to see that he is there.
But this is going to be now an election about a choice, which is what our country needs. And quite frankly, I was shocked that Governor Romney did decide to pick Paul as his running mate. I mean, Paul was there as one of the architects during the Bush administration that put our nation deep into debt and jeopardized our economic future as a country.
So, I was surprised with that pick.
CROWLEY: You know, this is now a ticket that's going to say we have some problems in this country, we have to be serious, enough of all this silly campaign talk. Medicare is in serious trouble and here is our offer on how we should do that. Does that not in some way elevate both this ticket and the campaign?
KIND: Well, I don't know. You take a look at the Romney/Ryan budget right now. And that really is the blueprint, their vision for our country. And it is really a case of back to the future. I mean, let's be honest, Paul Ryan was there and cast votes for two large tax cuts that benefited the most wealthy without paying for any of it, two wars that went unpaid for, supported the largest expansion of entitlement spending since Medicare was first created in 1965 with a new prescription drug and large taxpayer subsidies going to private insurance Medicare Advantage plans without paying a nickel for any of it and then we wonder why we are facing huge budget deficits today. And their prescription for the future is exactly the same thing, if you take a look what the they are proposing.
CROWLEY: You know congressman, you may call this back to the future, but we are looking at present-day polls which tell us that Americans more and more think the economy is doing badly. Why would they want to stay with the present?
KIND: Well, let's also recall. I know we do suffer from short- term memory in this nation but the moment President Obama was sworn into office, he inherited a mess. We were losing over 800,000 jobs a month. He inherited a 1.5 trillion budget deficit, over $17 trillion of wealth was already destroyed in the stock market. And since that time we've had 28 consecutive months of private sector job growth that wealth has been returned to the stock market. There's still a lot more work that needs to be done, but the budget deficit this year will be one-third less than what President Obama inherited.
But clearly more work needs to be done. And I think the American people understand this choice and that President Obama and the vision of the agenda that he's offering will not only strengthen the middle class, but to keep places like Wisconsin and the rest of our nation more competitive globally...
KIND: And they will have a more serious and balanced approach to a long-term deficit reduction deal, which is exactly what our nation needs right now.
CROWLEY: Congressman, final question here. So you have a hometown boy now on the Republican ticket, does that put Wisconsin more in play, particularly given the recall election where your governor, a Republican, was triumphant?
KIND: No, I don't think it does, because I think the people in Wisconsin will understand what the clear choice confronting them is. And again, you look at President Obama. And his policies, his ideas would strengthen the middle class, which is very important to Wisconsin, including manufacturing sector in our state.
And most importantly, I mean, our chief economic challenge today, Candy, is increased global competition, yet everything that Romney and Ryan is proposing would take the tools away to enable our nation to compete globally in a more successful basis, from huge cuts to education, to job training program, cuts to infrastructure and broadband deployment, large cuts to basic and applied research, the research that the private sector is loathe to do because the return isn't quick enough. Yet, those are the tools we need to remain the most competitive and creative nation in the world. And their vision takes us backwards and would set us up for, I think, economic decline.
CROWLEY: Democratic Congressman Ron Kind talking to us today from Lacrosse, Wisconsin. Thanks, congressman.
KIND: Thank you, my pleasure.
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