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Ryan blames Republican election loss on poor communication, turnout

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrives for the Barack Obama second presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrives for the Barack Obama second presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2

By Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ending a self-imposed silence about the November election, 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said on Wednesday that he and presidential running mate Mitt Romney lost not because of ideas, but due to ineffective communication.

Ryan said Democratic President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden also prevailed because they did a better job with "technology and (voter) turnout."

"We have to learn that," said Ryan, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee. "We have to fix that."

Ryan made the comments at a breakfast with reporters sponsored by the Wall Street Journal as the eight-term Republican ended his silence and spoke out.

Romney and Ryan kept low-profiles after the November elections, figuring they would surrender center stage to the victors, Obama and Biden.

Ryan had spoken with the media in his home state of Wisconsin, but stayed away from the national press until Obama and Biden were sworn in for second terms this week.

At Monday's inauguration ceremony, Ryan sat with fellow lawmakers near Obama and Biden outside the U.S. Capitol.

While watching Obama take the oath, Ryan said he thought about what he and Romney could have done if they won and implemented their conservative agenda.

But Ryan said he is now looking ahead, focusing on his job as Budget Committee chairman where he is again helping to lead a Republican charge to cut spending.

Romney, who has generally remained out of public view since the election, did not attend the inauguration and has not indicated what he plans to do next.

"I think it is going to be whatever he wants," said Ryan, adding that they stay in touch via email and plan to have lunch together in the coming days.

Since Romney does not intend to run for public office again, Ryan said "it puts him in a unique position to be a leader of our party, to weigh in on big issues."

Obama has stated that he and Biden won re-election because voters agreed with their priorities, like raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to help reduce U.S. deficits.

Asked what voters were saying to Republicans on Election Day, Ryan suggested that they did not understand what his party was about.

"We have to do a better job of explaining and demonstrating why our ideas are better" on such issues as fighting poverty and helping people move up "the ladder of life," Ryan said.

"There are a lot of people who just don't think or know that we have good ideas on these fronts," Ryan said.

(Reporting By Thomas Ferraro, editing by Stacey Joyce)

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