RYAN: I am excited about going to the country with the choice of two futures. The president has been ducking this debt crisis all along. The Senate is not even passing a budget. We have the most predictable economic crisis coming in America, a debt crisis, and we're doing something about it. And so I think people are going to see through these partisan attacks. The president has been in campaign mode all along, and I think they want a leader who's going to address problems like Mitt Romney. I don't think they want somebody who's just going to be campaigning all of the time and ignoring the drivers of our debt, which will imperil our economy and our children's future. So I think we need to bring this referendum to the country, and I'm looking forward to this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Van Hollen, what about that charge, ducking responsibility here? You know, every single Democrat in the House voted against Congressman Ryan's budget, but they also voted – every single one – against the president's budget. And as the congressman said, the Senate hasn't – Senate Democrats haven't put forward a budget in three years. Isn't that abdicating responsibility?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, first of all, George, the vote in the House was not on the president's budget. It was a total charade. The president made clear that the House Democratic alternative budget was much closer to his proposal, and that got overwhelming support. Look, the issue is not whether we reduce the deficit. We have to do that. The issue is how. And I'm not at all surprised that Mitt Romney has endorsed the Republican House plan. That plan asks nothing, nothing of the wealthiest Americans, and therefore it hits everybody else. It hits seniors on Medicare, it hits middle-income taxpayers, it guts important investments to keep our economy strong. It would whack our investment in transportation when we have big unemployment in the construction area. So the president has put forward a balanced plan that says we've got to make some tough cuts, but we're also going to close some of these tax loopholes and raise some revenue. Because if you don't look at both sides of the equation, you have to hold harmless the folks at the very top and hit everybody else, and that's what the Republican budget does. It does not have that balance.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Congressman Ryan, you also are holding harmless or restoring a lot of the cuts that President Obama would call for in defense, and Democrats have called for. You caused a bit of a stir this week when you appeared to suggest that the generals supporting, who were testifying for the president's budget, were being disingenuous in presenting their budget. You said you don't believe they are giving true advice, or that their budget is really the right budget. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Martin Dempsey, took exception to that. He said, "There is a difference between having someone say they don't believe what you said versus calling us collectively liars. My response is I stand by my testimony." Did you cross the line there?
RYAN: Yes, I totally misspoke. It was not the impression I meant to give. I talked to General Dempsey on it and expressed that sentiment.