Politicians weigh in on NFL ref lockout

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks at a campaign stop at Byer Steel, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/David Kohl

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks at a campaign stop at Byer Steel, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in Cincinnati.
AP Photo/David Kohl

Updated 7:00 p.m. ET

(CBS News) Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., publicly chided replacement referees after their home-state NFL team lost Monday night after a controversial call.

Ryan opened his rally in Cincinnati Tuesday calling for the "real refs" to return to the NFL, and Walker took to Twitter to call for the league's regular officials to return to the game.

"It is time to get the real refs," Ryan said in Cincinnati. "And you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and the economy. If you can't get it right, it is time to get out."

Ryan also said, "Unlike the Seattle Seahawks last night, we want to deserve this victory. We want to earn this victory."

Ryan was referring to Monday night's football game where the referees ruled that Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate caught a Hail Mary pass for a touchdown, resulting in a win over the Green Bay Packers.

This morning on Twitter, Walker called the outcome of the game "painful" and used the hashtag #returntherefs.

Replacement referees have taken to the field to fill in for the officials locked in a labor dispute with the NFL over pay and pensions.

Both Ryan and Walker have come under fire from unions for their employer-focused policies. Walker's anti-public sector union policies eventually led to a recall election earlier this year, which Walker won. And Ryan's presidential running mate, Mitt Romney, has been highly critical of unions this campaign, especially during the recent Chicago teachers' strike.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka responded to Walker's comments with his own posting on Twitter:

Walker's press secretary, Cullen Werwie, denied that Walker's Twitter comment offered support of the union representing the referees telling CBSNews.com it "has nothing to do with unions and everything to do with a blown call."

Mr. Obama took a more bipartisan approach to the lockout, writing via Twitter that "NFL fans on both sides of the aisle hope the refs' lockout is settled soon." It was signed "-bo," meaning the tweet was authored by the president himself.

A few minutes later, the campaign tweeted a link to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article about a radio interview with WTAM-AM Cleveland from last week in which Obama said, "Is it just me or do we have to get our regular refs back?"

He added: "I can't get involved in it, but I'm just expressing my point of view as a sports fan."

White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that instead of debating if the call was the right one, the game showed that both sides need to reach an agreement so the original referees can return to the field.

Later Tuesday, GOP nominee Mitt Romney weighed in on behalf of his running mate, although it was not clear that he had seen the game. "I sure would like to see some experienced referees with NFL experience come back onto the NFL playing fields," Romney said when asked about the controversy by CNN's Jim Acosta.

"Paul Ryan called those referees out today. Are you glad that he did that?" Acosta asked. "That's just fine," Romney said. "Paul was very angry that the Green Bay Packers, he believed won, and the referees took it away from them."

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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