Ryan Says He Seeks No Higher Post in GOP

Posted January 12, 2010 at 6:45pm

Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) rebuffed speculation that he is angling for a national leadership role in the Republican Party, saying on Tuesday that his mission is to reinvigorate the GOP brand.Having made several high-profile appearances recently, Ryan will give a speech on “health care reform and progressivism— to a forum sponsored by conservative Hillsdale College and their Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship on Wednesday evening in D.C. at the Washington Court Hotel.“It is a major national address, because Rep. Ryan, has been a leader in this debate, which is now at a critical juncture, and this presents an opportunity to lay out how this debate is not just about public policy, but the principles that should frame this, and all other publ policy debates,— said one Republican with knowledge of the speech.Ryan said his raised public profile recently has to do with his ongoing commitment to preserving the “American idea.—“The American idea is at risk of being replaced by a welfare state or a cultural dependency,— Ryan said in an interview with Roll Call.Despite being a speaker at the 2004 Republican Convention, Ryan has adamantly denied any national ambitions. And although he is ranking member of the House Budget Committee, he has said he has no desire to seek an elected leadership post in the House Republican Conference.“I’m a cause guy,— Ryan told Roll Call, saying he is simply standing up for Republican principles. “There is zero chance I’m running for president, that’s for sure.—Questions about Ryan’s future political ambitions were reignited recently after it became known earlier this month that Ryan would headline a Feb. 26 fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican state committee as well as host another fundraising event for Manchester Republicans and the Young Republicans.The first-in-the-nation presidential primary state is a must-stop for those contemplating a bid.Ryan said his trip to New Hampshire is about encouraging Republicans there to select a presidential nominee that “is serious about this economy – with the courage and the vision to conquer these challenges.—“It is a huge swing state, that’s for sure, in selecting our next nominee,— he said.Ryan made headlines last week when he announced his endorsement former Florida Speaker Marco Rubio in the Sunshine State’s GOP Senate race, picking him over party establishment favorite Gov. Charlie Crist (R).Ryan said the two high-profile announcements were simply coincidental and his only role in national politics is refurbishing the Republican brand so that he and his colleagues can begin to correct the economic problems that face the country.Some GOP political observers have pointed out that Ryan lacks a political staff and the kind of fundraising prowess that usually suggests that someone is contemplating a bid for higher office.One Wisconsin GOP operative said local politicians and leaders have pushed Ryan to run for governor, but that the rising star has so far dismissed the possibility of a run.“Paul Ryan would suck all the oxygen out of the room,— the operative said. “He’s building a coalition, he’s reaching out to conservatives.—