Rep. Paul Ryan says he’d ‘consider’ a vice presidential candidacy

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said Sunday that he would have to consider joining the Republican presidential ticket if asked to run for the vice presidency—but insisted he’d given the matter little thought while concentrating on writing and selling the GOP’s budget plan in Congress.


View Photo Gallery: The Fix’s top Republican Veepstakes picks.

“I would have to consider it,” he said on Fox News Sunday. “But it’s not something I’m even thinking about because I think our job in Congress is pretty important.

Ryan, a Republican point man on issues of debt and spending, was once considered a possible presidential contender himself. He shut down such talk early in the nominating process, insisting he had no interest in running for the presidency and wanted to remain in Congress, where he serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

But some Republicans still believe Ryan would bring a seriousness to the ticket that some have missed through the topsy-turvy and occasionally circus-like nominating process.

Ryan, who met on Capitol Hill Thursday with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, told Wallace the party would be better off coming together behind a nominee soon—but he stopped short of endorsing Romney.

“I don’t know if I’d say he’s got it wrapped up,” Ryan said of Romney. “He’s clearly on his way. I think he’s becoming the prohibitive front-runner and I think the sooner we coalesce around a nominee the better off we’ll be. The prize is November not this summer. I think it’s coming together, but I’ll let the people of this country decide that.”

As for running for vice president, Ryan called the decision “not a bridge I’ve even come close to crossing.”

“It’s a decision that’s somebody else makes and a long time from now. And quite honestly, I’m focused on doing my job in Congress, which I think is important,” he said.

Democrats would likely use a Ryan candidacy to try to link the presidential ticket even more closely to Ryan’s budget plan to reshape Medicare and deeply cut federal spending. But they have signaled they will pursue that strategy even if Ryan is not selected to join the ticket.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.

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