Thursday, August 16, 2012
Spratt calls the Wisconsin congressman "bright, energetic and affable."
"I would regard him as a friend (but) one I disagree with vigorusly," Spratt says. "I was surprised to see (Mitt) Romney pick him because he brings not just Paul Ryan, who is personally attractive, but all his ideology on board."
Spratt was a major player in the negotiations that led to the 1997 balanced budget amendment, the first in generations and still the last. He worked with then budget chairman John Kasich, an Ohio Republican. He says Kasich did something Ryan would not -- compromise.
"He wants to do it his way," Spratt said of Ryan. "He doesn't want anything that can be construed as additional taxes or revenues in the package."
But Spratt, who had a reputation as a moderate, says Ryan's selection means a debate over substance.
"That will be the thing you hear about for the next two months," he says. "They've certainly brought front and center the key fiscal issues of our time: What would you do with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid....
"In the final analysis, the biggest concern is whether Ryan can make the bipartisan moves necessary to put the budget on an even keel. In this respect his vote against Simpson-Bowles is not encouraging, it certainly does not cast him in the role of a bridge builder."