Toward the end of the meeting, I asked him about the contrast in his life in the past year — last autumn, where he spent every day in the white-hot spotlight running for vice president, and now, when he’s back chairing the House Budget Committee. I asked whether a part of him felt happy to be back in his budget-policy element.
“No, I actually wished I was doing something different,” Ryan said with a laugh. “I had a different vision than this.”
“I guess one of the most distressing things is that… I worked with Mike Leavitt. After my debate was done, I got to jump into the transition planning more. Mitt had two more debates to go. So I worked with Mike Leavitt and Chris Liddell on his team on the transition plan. And knowing what we were going to do in the first 200 days, how we were going to tackle the entitlement problems, the debt crisis, tax reform, energy exploration. All the things we said were going to do, we were going to do. And we were really getting down to the specifics. Losing the election and now seeing where the country is headed, in this kind of level of detail… (holding up a summary of President Obama’s budget proposal, unveiled today)… Very few people have such a clear view of the whole alteration of trajectory that has occurred. And that’s obviously… I won’t say it’s despairing, it’s distressing. I’m distressed. I gave up despair for Lent this year,” he joked.