Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and the GOP point man on budgetary and other economic issues, said today that he has not spoken to President Obama in more than a year.
Ryan, who spoke on the Laura Ingraham Show this morning, is probably the most important man in Congress for Obama to do business with if he wants to reduce the deficit and find an agreement that would avert the year-end “fiscal cliff,” when horrendous tax increases and spending cuts will take place if a deal isn’t struck.
The absence of even a conversation with Ryan – no less a meeting – calls into the question whether Obama is the least bit serious about trying to find agreement on extending the Bush tax cuts, an issue on which he has been pounding Republicans as allies of the rich. It suggests he is much more content to let this and other fiscal problems simmer so he can use them as a means of attacking Republicans.
During the past year, Ingraham noted, Obama has seen fit to meet with Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, but not Ryan. She could have added to the list a host of other celebrities and athletes, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Barbara Streisand, Charles Barkley, Chris Rock, Jay-Z and Tom Hanks and George Clooney, which whom he’s had multiple sessions.
Given Ryan’s that Republicans look to Ryan for guidance on fiscal matters, Obama’s lack of conversations with him may be even more significant than his failure to maintain his relationship with House Speaker Boehner, with whom he has had only two pro-forma meetings this year.
Meanwhile, the president has been relentlessly traversing the country seeking donations for his campaign.