Paul Ryan Says He Misspoke on Pentagon Budget Criticism

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan walked back criticism of Pentagon brass over the budget this morning, acknowledging errors in comments he made a few days ago knocking generals’ testimony about their requested budget.

“We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” the Wisconsin Republican had said Thursday. “I think there’s a lot of budget smoke and mirrors in the Pentagon’s budget.”

But this morning, Ryan stepped away from those remarks. “I totally misspoke. It was not the impression I meant to give. I talked to Gen. [Martin] Dempsey on it and expressed that sentiment,” he said on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“My issue is I think that the president’s budget on the Pentagon is a budget-driven strategy, not a strategy-driven budget. He announced the number of the cuts he wanted for the Pentagon, and then he began the strategy review to conform to that number,” Ryan said. “We take $300 billion out of defense spending versus the $500 billion that the president does in his budget. We think there are savings to be gotten there, but I think the president’s hollowing it out.”

Dempsey said he stood by his testimony.