When the House Freedom Caucus emerged from a closed-door meeting Wednesday night, the surprise wasn't that they hadn't formally endorsed Paul D. Ryan to be speaker. It was how close they had come.
Roughly 70 percent of the Freedom Caucus — 27 out of 39 members — voted to support Ryan. That tally fell short of the group’s standard of a four-fifths majority, or 80 percent, to take an official position. But it was good enough for Ryan to feel as though he had the support to move forward.