House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) appeared on Fox News’ Special Report last night and was inevitably asked about his intentions in 2012. Is he considering a presidential run?
Ryan: “I’m really not. I get this quite a bit. I really believe I can do more for this cause where I am right now as chairman of the House Budget Committee. I have no plans to [run]. It takes an enormous undertaking to do this, and right now where I am — at this moment — in the budget fight we’re in, I just feel like I need to focus on [that] in this moment. This summer we’re going to be spending a lot of time in budget fights and to me, that’s where I can make the biggest contribution to the debate right now.”
On his being recruited to run, Ryan said: “I think people are hungry for people to step up and offer solutions. That’s what leaders do.”
Bill Kritsol notes at The Weekly Standard that it sure sounds like “the door is ajar” for a potential Ryan presidential run at the end of the summer. But is it?
Ryan added: “The great thing about this job is that I can still be home three days a week with my kids and my wife. Cubs scouts, tee ball soccer — I can still do those things and that to me is really important.”
More Kristol: “It would be a great and fitting irony if the victory of Democratic scare tactics in NY-26 spooks other Republicans into backing off from bold deficit reform and reduction plans, which in turn forces Ryan into the presidential race—ultimately the Democrats’ worst nightmare.”
In addition to making this denial for the umpteenth time, Ryan defend the GOP Medicare against some specific charges level by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev), among others:
– Every senior will have to pay an additional $6,000 a year in exchange for fewer benefits
Ryan: “What that analysis forgot to include was the extra $7800 a year that go to lower-income senior to cover all of their out-of-pocket costs. What that also forgets to include is that Medicare is going bankrupt. They’re measuring any Medicare reform plan like ours against a mythical a future, a fiscal fantasy, which is a collapsing system.”
– It would turn over seniors’ health to “profit-hungry” insurance companies
Ryan:”Private companies already offer Medicare. Private companies have Medicare advantage, private businesses offer prescription drug benefits. Medigap insurance is offered by private health insurance companies — Part A and B is already delivered through private health insurance companies. So if [Reid] is concerned about private businesses involved in the Medicare delivery system than he should be concerned about Medicare as we know it because that’s exactly how the benefit is delivered today.”
He also discussed the apparent reluctance of potential GOP presidential nominees to fully endorse his Medicare plan.
Ryan: “What matters to me [is] not that we get an endorsement on every single little detail that we put out there. What matters to me is that leaders step up and offer solutions to our country’s problems. And I really do believe that if you want to be the president of the United States you should put up ideas on how to solve this country’s massive fiscal and economic problems. The current president isn’t doing that. Our nominee should do that.”