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Romney & Ryan: The first interview

One day after choosing Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Rep. Ryan sit down for an interview with CBS News' Bob Schieffer

Paul Ryan: --I've seen it since I've been in Congress for 14 years. It starts, in my opinion, with a fundamental lack of leadership. President Obama has not provided the kind of leadership we need to bring people together. The Senate hasn't passed a budget for three years, even though we have a budget law that says you have to pass a budget every year. So it's dysfunctional. What we want to do, and we think we've done this in the House, is we're planting the seeds for bipartisan compromises on the big issues of the day to be realized next year so we can get things done. And that's why we think we need to have an election to give the country a choice to put our country back on the right track and then we need leadership to bring people together. He has proven, when he was governor of Massachusetts, he had to work with Democratic legislatures to get things done. He did that.

Bob Schieffer: You know, I must say, governor, you did something that seldom happens in American politics when you announced that your choice was the congressman here. Conservatives were delighted. They said it was a bold move and a bold stroke. But I have to say, Democrats seemed equally delighted about this because they said that they think that Congressman Ryan's budget plan with its overhaul of Medicare, with cuts in social programs, and education, it's just going to drive voters their way. How do you respond to that?

Mitt Romney: Well, what I respond is very simple. And that is America has a choice. A very clear choice. Are we going to continue to spend a trillion dollars more every year than we take in? And pass that burden to our children.

Bob Schieffer: There's no question your campaign has been trying to make this election a referendum on Barack Obama. Now, some people are saying you are making it a referendum on Paul Ryan's budget plan.

Mitt Romney: Well, I have my budget plan as you know that I've put out. And that's the budget plan that we're going to run on. At the same time, we have the record of President Obama. If people think, by the way, that their utility bill has gone down, they should vote for him. If they think jobs are more plentiful, they should vote for him.

Bob Schieffer: You said yesterday, I'm going to quote you, Mr. Ryan, "America is a place where if you work hard, and play by the rules, you can get ahead." But the fact is, a lot of people don't think that's true anymore. They don't think the rules are fair. They think corporations and rich people are getting all these breaks and they're getting stuck with paying the bills. They see some of the wealthiest paying the lowest tax rates. How are you going to fix that?

Paul Ryan: What I see is a new amount of crony capitalism and corporate welfare which both parties have been engaged in, but the president has brought this to a whole new level. Where President Obama is picking winners and losers based on connections, based on fads like Solyndra and basically giving handouts to businesses, giving preferences to tax code. We want to get Washington out of the business of picking winners and losers. We want entrepreneurs to have the barriers removed from in front of them, so that people can work hard and succeed. We want to turn the American idea back on. We want a system of upward mobility, and what we think we need to do is bring fairness back to the system of getting government bureaucracy and political clout out of the system. Those are the kinds of reforms we've been talking about.

Bob Schieffer: Does fairness dictate that the wealthiest people should not be paying the lowest taxes because that's what happening many times?

Mitt Romney: Well, fairness dictates that the highest income people should pay the greatest share of taxes, and they do. And the commitment that I've made is we will not have the top income earners in this country pair-- pay a smaller share of the tax burden. The highest income people will continue to pay the largest share of the tax burden and middle-income taxpayers, under my plan, get a break. Their taxes come down. So, we're not going to reduce taxes for high-income people, and we are going to reduce taxes for middle-income people.

Bob Schieffer: You say of course the wealthiest people pay the larger share, but don't they also pay at a lower rate? When you figure in capital gains and all of that?

Mitt Romney: Well, it depends on the individual, what their source of income is. But if you look at the top one percent or five percent or quartile, whatever, they pay the largest share of taxes. And that's not something which I would propose making smaller.