The Corner

Ryan Refuses to Wade Into Romney Concession-Call Controversy

Former Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan won’t vouch for Mitt Romney in the controversy sparked by the account of Romney’s concession phone call provided by David Axelrod, President Obama’s top campaign strategist, in his new book. 

Axelrod writes that Romney irritated and offended Obama by tacitly attributing Obama’s victory in 2012 election to high turnout in cities such as Cleveland, Ohio, and Milwaukee, Wis. “‘In other words, black people,’” Axelrod quotes Obama as saying after the call. “That’s what he thinks this was all about.”

A former Romney aide insists that the defeated Republican nominee did not mention turnout on the concession call. “He definitely did not talk about Cleveland or Milwaukee,” Garrett Jackson, who served as Romney’s personal aide throughout the campaign, insists. “It didn’t happen.” Jackson told The Daily Beast that Ryan and Romney’s eldest son Tagg were in the room with Romney when he placed the concession call along with him. 

But Ryan is refusing to weigh in on the controversy: Through a spokesman, he declined to comment to National Review Online

Black turnout was higher than expected in the 2012 election — black voters made up a slightly larger share of the 2012 electorate than they did even in 2008, which was a key factor in Obama’s reelection. But it would be odd for Romney to note the fact on a concession call. Both Milwaukee and Cleveland are Democratic strongholds with high populations of African Americans. In Milwaukee, the Obama-Biden tickets received more votes in 2012 than in 2008 and turnout increased to 87 percent in 2012 from 80 percent in 2008. In Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is located, about 20,000 fewer ballots were cast in 2012 than in 2008, but Obama increased his margin of victory: He won 69.3 percent of the vote there in 2012, an increase from 68.9 percent in 2008. 

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