Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), left, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) smile during a news conference in Washington on April 13. (Brendan Hoffman/BLOOMBERG)

“Both parties messed this up,” said Ryan when asked if the Bush administration bore some responsibility for the nation’s fiscal woes. Ryan also agreed that President Obama had offered some ideas regarding how to cut spending and deal with entitlements, but said that a formal plan, in writing, had yet to be released by either the president or Senate Democrats.

“My townhall meetings went phenomenally well,” said Ryan despite reports of dissatisfied constituents appearing at townhalls in his district. “I would argue that’s really a non-sequitur,” Ryan said when asked to address the politically difficult line he and other Republicans were attempting to walk — specifically, calling for the preservation of oil industry tax breaks at a time of rising gas prices, while asking seniors-to-be to accept cuts in Medicare benefits.

Asked if he would run for the Senate to replace retiring Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), “We just started digesting this,” Ryan said. “I plan on making an announcement very quickly.” He said he would announce his intentions this week.