Paul Ryan Really for Real Not Running for President

With their beloved budget hawk out, conservatives turn their lonely eyes to Chris Christie

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After Rick Perry got in the 2012 race and promptly called the Federal Reserve chairman a traitor, it seemed like some Republicans--perhaps Karl Rove in particular--would have very much liked Paul Ryan to reconsider his earlier decision not to run for president. And for a little while, Ryan--the deficit slashing superhero to conservatives who has said for months he won't run--essentially said, "hm." On Monday, Ryan clarified; that "hm" was actually a "no." As The New Republic's Jonathan Chait tweeted, "Weekly Standard on suicide watch."

Early last week, Karl Rove speculated that the Wisconsin congressman--or another conservative dreamboat, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie--could still get in the presidential race. That kicked off a desperate search for signs that maybe Ryan liked them back after all. The Weekly Standard reported that Ryan was talking it over with his wife while on vacation. Roll Call reported Ryan had talked to House Speaker John Boehner about it. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin said he'd decide in a week or so. By the end of the week, the Weekly Standard's John McCormack was reporting that Ryan had just as easy a path to the White House as the other major contenders.
Then, McCormack's colleague Stephen F. Hayes reported -- for the print edition, no less! -- that "Ryan has been quietly looking at a bid for nearly three months, since Indiana governor Mitch Daniels called him to say he wasn't running." He even talked it over with fellow conservative crush Christie:
But that consideration took a serious turn over the past two weeks, following a phone call with New Jersey governor Chris Christie in early August.
Ryan and Christie spoke for nearly an hour about the presidential race, according to four sources briefed on the conversation. The two men shared a central concern: The Republican field is not addressing the debt crisis with anything beyond platitudes.
But alas, mere hours after that story was posted, Hayes had to report that Ryan is pulling out. Ryan's statement:
"I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation. While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party's nomination for President. I remain hopeful that our party will nominate a candidate committed to a pro-growth agenda of reform that restores the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation. I remain grateful to those I serve in Southern Wisconsin for the unique opportunity to advance this effort in Congress."
Hayes's boss, editor Bill Kristol, blogged from the beach -- with a frowney face -- that he was keeping his chin up. And looking ahead too: "how about Rubio-Ryan?" And of course, there's always Chris Christie.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.