Rep. Paul Ryan’s recent history of changing his tune about acquiescing to Republican leaders’ insistence that he take on major political challenges has come back to haunt him this election season. But the House speaker on Tuesday insisted that he won’t cave to GOP pressure to run for president.

Although Ryan went back last year on his prior claim that he wouldn’t be available to assume former House Speaker John Boehner’s post, the Wisconsin congressman ruled out serving as the GOP’s presidential nominee this summer.

The New York Times reported:

WASHINGTON — After a month of speculation and pleas ranging from the comic to the mildly desperate, Speaker Paul D. Ryan held an unusually formal news conference Tuesday afternoon to rule out once and for all, he said, his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president.

“Let me be clear,” Mr. Ryan said. “I do not want nor will I accept the nomination of our party.” He added that he had a message for convention delegates: “If no candidate has the majority on the first ballot, I believe you should only turn to a person who has participated in the primary. Count me out.”

… When it was pointed out to Mr. Ryan that he also denied his desire to become speaker last year, Mr. Ryan said it was “apples and oranges.”

“Being speaker of the House is a far cry from being president of the United States,” he said, noting that his Republican colleagues chose him for the job.

But he did add, “Not running does not mean I am going to disappear.”

What that last, enigmatic statement means remains to be seen, but Ryan has been busy with what the Times referred to as a “parallel” policy campaign, in which he has advanced his positions on topics that mobilize Republican stalwarts—immigration, free trade, reproductive health and so-called entitlement programs among them—and attempted to steer his party out of its current identity crisis.

He just won’t be doing all that from the Oval Office—at least not yet. Concerned GOP operatives may still get too keyed up by watching him say the word “president,” regardless of the context, to let go that easily.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson


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