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At Obama's 100-Day Mark, Republicans Ponder: What Next?

Under President Bush, Republicans increased the national debt by roughly 2.5 times, ran up what may be a multi-trillion dollar tab during the Iraq invasion and occupation, and bailed out failed Detroit automakers.

No wonder that the Republican Party has lost its way and lost elections, said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), on a special webcast with Katie Couric that took place after President Obama's 100th day press conference on Wednesday evening.

"The main thing that kept Republicans together was fiscal conservatism," a commitment to limited government, and other principles that this country was founded on, Ryan said. "Now we're going in the complete opposite direction."

Alex Conant, a Republican strategist, said on the webcast on Wednesday that "the first thing we need to do is we need to get back to our principles" and that "we lost our way over the last couple of years." One way to do that, Conant said, were new Republican efforts -- including a set of town hall meetings -- to reconnect with the party's roots.

Ryan admitted that Republicans had become "hypocrites on spending" as they voted for more and more budget-busting bills and ran up the national debt. Both Mr. Bush and Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, backed the bailout legislation last fall.

But now that the Democrats have seized the levers of power in Washington, D.C., Ryan said, they're doing the same thing. "We made those mistakes," Ryan said. "And we're seeing the new majority party repeat those mistakes in spades."

You can watch the videos of Ryan and Conant below:

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