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ABC's Jon Karl Lectures Paul Ryan on Obama's 'Mandate' and Raising Taxes

ABC journalist Jonathan Karl on Wednesday lectured Paul Ryan about Barack Obama's reelection "mandate" and grilled the Republican about raising taxes. On Good Morning America, he declared, "If there was one issue that the President campaigned on, it was raising taxes on the wealthy." He added, "Doesn't he have a mandate there?" [MP3 audio here.]

When Ryan declined to support tax increases, the reporter hectored, "But could you see yourself supporting a plan that raises tax rates on the top two percent?...So you don't support a plan?"

The Congressman retorted, "I don't want to get into negotiating with the media." In another version of the interview that aired on Tuesday's World News, Karl played a clip of Saturday Night Live "poking fun" at the former vice presidential candidate.

On World News, Karl offered a slightly different take on the "mandate" question, pointing out: "So, the President wins 330 some electoral votes, every battleground state with the exception of North Carolina. Does Barack Obama now have a mandate?"

Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos began the Wednesday segment by wondering how the "GOP can pick up the pieces."

A transcript of the November 14 GMA segment, which aired at 7:11am EST, follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, to our exclusive interview with Paul Ryan. Mitt Romney’s running mate was sent back to Congress instead of The White House last week. And he sat down there with ABC’s Jon Karl to talk about handling the loss and how he and the GOP can pick up the pieces.
 
JONATHAN KARL: The president wins 330 some electoral votes. Every battleground state with the exception of North Carolina. Does Barack Obama now have a mandate?
 
REP. PAUL RYAN I don't think so because they also re-elected the House Republicans. Whether people intended or not, we’ve got divided government.
 
KARL: If there was one issue that the president campaigned on, it was raising taxes on the wealthy. Every, single speech he gave. Doesn't he have a mandate there? The top earners?
 
REP. RYAN: Well–
 
KARL: Seeing them pay more of their fair share as the President put it.
 
REP. RYAN: So, you can do that through loopholes without compromising growth. But what we have learned, history and economics, is that you keep raising tax rates on job creators, it will cost us jobs.
 
KARL: But could you see yourself supporting a plan that raises tax rates on the top two percent?
 
REP. RYAN: I’m not for raising tax rates.  I’ve said this –
 
KARL: So, you don't support a plan?
 
REP. RYAN:I don't want to get into negotiating with the media, but I do not support raising tax rates.
 
KARL: Ryan talked to us about how the family took the loss. Beginning with his 78-year-old mother. What did your mom tell you after the loss? I mean she was –
 
REP. RYAN: She was very proud of me.
 
KARL: She was kind of a celebrity on the campaign trail.
REP. RYAN: Yeah – yeah Betty. She was very proud of me. She was just – she gave me a hug and a kiss.
 
KARL:  Was it hard on the kids?
 
REP. RYAN: The kids were great. They were just completely resilient. They were worried about leaving their school.  So, I think –
 
KARL: They were glad they got to stay home.
 
REP. RYAN: Yes, they were happy to be able to stay home.  You have to understand –we live on the block we grew up on. My brother lives on the block from me. My cousins next door – my aunt and uncle are across the street so that was the upside of all of this. The downside is – you know, we didn't win the election that we really wanted to win.
 
KARL:  Just a week after the election, Ryan made it clear he is ready to get right back to work here in congress. Disappointed by that loss, George. But also, returning with a much higher profile than he had before Mitt Romney tapped him as his running mate.
 
STEPHANOPOULOS: He could have gained political capital.

-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.