The Corner

A 2012 Dark Horse?

Paul Ryan is heading to New Hampshire:

Rep. Paul Ryan will be making a political stop in New Hampshire next month in what some see as an effort to take his national profile up a notch.

New Hampshire, the site of nation’s first presidential primary every four years, is a favored location for potential presidential candidates. Ryan’s visit to the Granite State set off some speculation that he’s positioning himself for a future White House bid. But the Janesville Republican says he’s not interested in running for president – at least in the short term.

“There is a zero percent chance I will be seeking the Republicans’ nomination for president in 2012,” Ryan said in a statement.

Others, however, note that Ryan, 39, has plenty of time to develop national ambitions.

“I don’t think politicians do things by accident,” said Nathan Gonzalez of the Rothenberg Political Report. “I think he’s trying to help the party any way he can and if that helps him any time in the future, I’m sure he wouldn’t turn that down.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Ryan make some interesting moves. Just last month, the House’s popular budget hawk spoke out on foreign policy in his maiden speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. Ryan, of course, downplayed the speech, joking to National Review Online that it simply enabled him “to come out a bit from my cocoon of AEI, Heritage, and the CATO Institute.” Regarding 2012, Ryan told us that he doesn’t want to run since he has a young family, but does want to “help frame the debate” during what he predicts will be a “realignment election.”

Regardless of whether he runs, it’s hard not to like the guy. When I was down covering the health-care debate on the Hill, I often spotted Ryan on the House floor listening to his iPod as the Obamacare debates stretched into the late evening. Eventually, I asked him what was on his playlist. His answer: “What Is and What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin.

Good answer.

Robert Costa was formerly the Washington editor for National Review.

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