Ryan on Running for President: 'Never Say Never'

Speaker says he's never had presidential ambitions

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, center right, reiterated Wednesday that running for president has never been a dream of his. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Wednesday continued to rule out the possibility that he may run for president one day.

"You never say never to these things," the Wisconsin Republican said during a wide-ranging discussion at The Economic Club of Washington.

Speculation abounds as to whether Ryan may run in 2020, especially if Republican nominee Donald Trump loses in November.

The idea of Ryan running was referenced Tuesday night on "New Girl," a comedy TV series on Fox: Schmidt, one of the main characters, dismisses an invitation from his wife and friends to campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying he doesn't support Clinton or Trump and is holding out hope for ‘Paul Ryan, 2020.’ 

Ryan passed on a presidential bid this cycle to chair the Ways and Means Committee, but was then pushed by his colleagues to run for speaker last year after John A. Boehner announced he would resign from the post. 

[Paul Ryan Working to Put Wisconsin Into Play]

Asked during Wednesday's discussion if he's thought about the fact that he could have been 40 days from the presidency had he run, Ryan asked for a pass on the question. 

The speaker reiterated Wednesday that running for president has never been a dream of his. “I’ve never really had this ambition,” he said, noting that his focus has been on policy. 

But Ryan also never had ambitions to run for House leadership. And while he still jokes about the Ways and Means chairmanship being the better job — he said Wednesday he hadn't thought about it in the last 10 to 15 minutes — the speakership has grown on him. 

"The greatest thing in this job is to push the fold and be able to set the agenda," Ryan said about being speaker. 

But the same could also be said of being president, so Ryan's decision to keep that option open makes sense and gives hope to all the Ryan 2020 supporters, fictional or real. 

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