Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds his first press conference as speaker Tuesday at the Republican National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Ryan was elected speaker last week following John Boehner's resignation. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- During his first press conference Tuesday as the freshly elected Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan criticized President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while dismissing recent attacks by GOP contenders against Congress.
"We don't believe the country is heading in the wrong direction," The Hill quoted Ryan as saying to reporters at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. "We think [President Obama] has been leading it in the wrong direction. We think a Hillary Clinton presidency will continue to lead the country in the wrong direction."
Ryan reportedly said he was "not concerned about the presidential election" when asked about the barrage of attacks by GOP presidential contenders against Republican leadership in the capital.
Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and former vice-presidential nominee, became the youngest speaker of the House in more than 140 years after winning 236 congressional votes Thursday. Ryan, 45, at the time encouraged fellow House members to take tough issues "head on."
"We're going to go on offense," The Hill quoted Ryan as saying Tuesday. "We're going to go on offense on ideas and give the country a bold, alternative agenda because we don't think the country is heading in the right direction right now."
Ryan is preceded by former House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican who announced his resignation in September. Days later, Boehner told CBS News' Face the Nation that a 2013 attempt by his GOP colleagues to de-fund Obamacare as part of a budget plan -- which led to a 16-day government shutdown that fall -- was "unrealistic."
"The Bible says beware of false prophets," Boehner said at the time. "And there are people out there spreading noise about how much can get done."