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REP. PAUL D. RYAN, R-WIS.: What we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country's pressing fiscal challenges.
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AMANPOUR: An acrimonious week of punch and counterpunch in Washington, President Obama and House Republicans outlining dramatically different visions for the size of government and its role in American life.
This conversation will be the foundation of next year's election.
And joining me today to make sense of it all, ABC's George Will; Alice Rivlin, Bill Clinton's former budget director, who has worked closely on Medicare overhaul with Congressman Paul Ryan; Matthew Dowd, former chief political strategist for George W. Bush; and President Obama's close friend, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. His new book is called "A Reason to Believe."
Thank you all for joining me today.
PATRICK: Good morning.
AMANPOUR: Good morning to you all.
George, the president came out and presented his vision. So the battle is enjoined, as we saw.
Is this a beginning to a great compromise to where this country needs to be?
WILL: I don't think so, not yet. He didn't present an alternative budget. I can't -- maybe Alice can remember this -- I can't, in 40 years in Washington, remember a president submitting a budget and two months later saying, "Oh, never mind" -- say a Mulligan, in effect.
So, in effect, he has not yet presented other than a critique of Paul Ryan's budget. Now, both parties are clearly making a wager. The Republicans are wagering that the American people mean what they say and that it's different this time. The president's party is wagering that they don't, that they're still rhetorically conservative but operationally liberal.
RIVLIN: I thought the president did a good job. He laid out a Democratic alternative. He made clear that he is serious about all parts of the budget, serious about getting the deficit and the debt under control and that that has to include the entitlements, Medicare and Medicaid; it has to include defense as well as discretionary spending cuts, and it has to include the revenue side.
The main problem with Paul Ryan's budget is he thinks we can do it without any more taxes, and indeed by extending tax cuts to upper- income individuals. And that means very dramatic, draconian cuts, in spending, especially if you leave out defense.
AMANPOUR: I'm going to get to that right in a second.
But I do want to ask you, because so many people -- and you're so close to President Obama, Governor Patrick. So many people have complained that, even on the big issues he cares for, he hasn't really gone into the fight, and, sort of, outsourced them to allies and in Congress. Do you think this now means he's going to fight for what he believes in?
PATRICK: Well, I thought the speech, which I didn't see -- I've read -- was a real leadership moment. I think the president took us to the place where we really ought to be debating. It's been the subtext for a long time. And that is, what kind of country do we want to live in?