Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Report: Ryan's interest in presidency wanes

Politico reports that, despite some promised, big money support, Paul Ryan is starting to feel more interested in the politics surrounding April 15 than the first Tuesday in November.

His friends tell us the most obvious route — a run for the White House in 2016 — holds less appeal to him with each passing day. “He has no interest in the sheer grind of campaigning,” said a conservative who recently spent time with Ryan. “It’s hard to see him having ‘what it takes'.”

Instead, Ryan seems increasingly intrigued with the prospect of amassing more power within Congress, using his juice in the House leadership to promote his trademark Medicare plan and engineer spending cuts. The friends say this path could ultimately lead him to an eventual run for House GOP leader, or even speaker, an option they surmise he has warmed to since the election.

Ryan associates say he has been surprised at how central his governing role has been among House Republicans since returning from his failed run for vice president. He was instrumental in cooking up the GOP’s new debt ceiling strategy and will craft a budget plan that sets the direction for the GOP caucus on virtually every consequential issue. With this in mind, he now calculates that naked national ambitions would only dilute his growing power as Speaker John Boehner’s unofficial wing man.

So if Ryan doesn't run for president, who does it help?

Off-hand, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal seem the immediate beneficiaries. They're often lumped together with Ryan as the three most transformative and ideas-driven figures in the party today.

John Dickerson had a particularly good read on the trio in December -- he dubbed Jindal "The truth-teller", Ryan "The bleeding heart conservative" (although the fiscal cliff vote showed what people often miss -- that his voting record has been more pro-government than people assume), and Rubio the "Coalition Whisperer."