Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanOvernight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal Overnight Defense: Benghazi report fallout | Nearly 50 dead after Istanbul attack Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) called for GOP unity at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, asking the grassroots crowd to give Republican leaders the "benefit of the doubt."
"I don't see this great divide in our party. What I see is a vibrant debate. Yes we have our disagreements. Yes they can get a little passionate," Ryan said. "[But] for the most part, these disagreements have not been over policies or principles — they've been over tactics. So I think we should give each other the benefit of the doubt."
The speech stood in contrast to Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) attack just minutes earlier on the Republican establishment, which drew louder applause from the activist crowd.
Ryan, who recently released a report slamming government programs designed to alleviate poverty, blasted Democrats' plans to help the poor.
"The left is making a big mistake here. What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that," he said.