Rochester, Michigan–Paul Ryan had what appeared to be a testy exchange with a reporter from ABC News affiliate WJRT in Flint, Michigan this afternoon after being asked about gun control and tax cuts.
The reporter, Terry Camp, asked the GOP vice presidential candidate, “Does the country have a gun problem?”
Ryan noted that the Oak Creek Sikh shooting took place in his district but said instead of a gun problem the country “has a crime problem.”
Camp asked again, “Not a gun problem?”
“No,” Ryan answered. “I mean if you take a look at the gun laws we have, I don’t even think President Obama is proposing more gun laws. We have good, strong gun laws. We have to make sure…we enforce our laws. We have lots of laws that aren’t being properly enforced.”
Ryan then said the best way to “enforce these laws” and “prevent violent crime in the inner cities” is to “bring opportunity to the inner cities” and “teach people good discipline, good character.”
“That is civil society,” Ryan said. “That’s what charities and civic groups and churches do to help one another make sure that they can realize the value of one another.”
That’s when the interview seemed to get testy.
Camp said, “And you can do all that by cutting taxes? With a big tax cut?”
Ryan responded: “Those are your words, not mine.”
At that point Ryan’s press secretary Michael Steel was heard on the video saying to Camp, “Thank you very much, sir.” Ryan began to remove his microphone.
“That was kind of strange, you’re trying to stuff words in people’s mouths,” Ryan said.
“Well, I don’t know if it’s strange,” the reporter answered.
“Sounds like you’re trying to put answers to questions,” Ryan said.
The video was up on WJRT’s website, but was later taken down.
Ryan spokesperson, Brendan Buck responded in a statement that the interview had gone on too long and suggested that the reporter “embarrassed” himself by asking if a tax cut could pay for proposals to bring opportunity to inner cities.
“The reporter knew he was already well over the allotted time for the interview when he decided to ask a weird question relating gun violence to tax cuts Ryan responded as anyone would in such a strange situation. When you do nearly 200 interviews in a couple months, eventually you’re going to see a local reporter embarrass himself.”
Democrats immediately jumped on the incident. DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse tweeted, “@woodhouseb: You can walk out of an interview if you don’t like a press question? This is a game changer—way to be a leader Congressman Paul Ryan. ”
Ryan has a campaign event this evening at Oakland University in Rochester, MI with musician Kid Rock.