In the wake of his controversial comments about race and poverty, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan met with the Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday. NBC Capitol Hill producer Frank Thorp V (awesome name!) snapped the shot above as Ryan emerged from that meeting.
Ryan has been a leading voice -- alongside fellow potential 2016er Rand Paul -- on the need to broaden the appeal of the GOP. He has regularly spoken on poverty -- both during his stint as the 2012 vice presidential nominee and since returning to Congress in 2013. He got into very hot political water in mid March, however, when in a radio interview with conservative talker Bill Bennett, he said: "We have got this tailspin of culture in our inner cities, in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work; and so there’s a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with."
Following his meeting Wednesday, Ryan said that "the first step to real reform is a frank conversation," adding that "simply defending the status quo or demanding more of the same is not an answer."
CBC Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge, (D-Ohio) described the meeting as “polite” but emerged clearly eager to keep the conversation going. “The only form of agreement that we really had is that we both believe that we have unduly isolated the poor in this country and that we need to find some policies that will correct that situation,” she said.
Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.