Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is considering a run for president but is likely to decide against it for the same reasons that have kept him out of the race to this point, a well-placed Wisconsin Republican operative said Tuesday morning.
The House Budget chairman’s fresh interest in a 2012 White House bid was first reported Tuesday by the Weekly Standard, and the Badger State GOP operative confirmed the conservative political journal’s report in a telephone interview with Roll Call.
In fact, Ryan discussed the matter with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) when the subject of whether he should be appointed to the bipartisan Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction arose, according to this source.
But the GOP operative cautioned that Ryan was still leaning against running for president for the same reason he has eschewed a major leadership position within the House Republican Conference: to avoid the fundraising and political demands that would keep him away from his wife and young children for extended periods. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entrance into the race might only serve to reinforce to Ryan, 41, that a White House bid would require a significant fundraising effort.
“Despite a new round of urging and conversations, nothing has changed,” the Wisconsin operative told Roll Call. “People continue to urge Paul Ryan to run — that group is growing, not shrinking. But I am unaware of anything changing his calculus or plan to do that.”
“He’s not intimidated by Rick Perry or anything,” the operative said. “But if he were to do this, it certainly just got harder; it didn’t get easier.”
Ryan has for several months insisted that a presidential bid in 2012 is off the table, despite continued pleas in some conservative circles that he reconsider. But the Weekly Standard reported that the lawmaker, currently on a family vacation in Colorado, is discussing a White House bid with his wife and giving the matter renewed consideration.
The speculation about Ryan’s political future has been fueled partly by the fact that he was not appointed to the deficit reduction committee that was created by the law signed earlier this month to raise the debt ceiling. Additionally, as the Weekly Standard reported, Ryan told a Milwaukee radio talk show host Friday that he was less than impressed with the current crop of GOP presidential candidates.
But the Wisconsin operative said that most people close to Ryan expect him to opt against joining the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
A Ryan spokesman did not respond to an email requesting comment Tuesday morning.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.