Eric Cantor says Paul Ryan would be good 2012 candidate

WASHINGTON Mon May 23, 2011 3:18pm EDT

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) takes a question at a news conference held to unveil the House Republican budget blueprint in the Capitol in Washington April 5, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) takes a question at a news conference held to unveil the House Republican budget blueprint in the Capitol in Washington April 5, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, the author of a controversial plan to overhaul government health programs, would make a good presidential candidate, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives said on Monday.

The comments by Majority Leader Eric Cantor suggested that Republicans who have not been mentioned as candidates might enter the race to unseat President Barack Obama in the 2012 elections.

Several other Republicans have also called on Ryan, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, to enter the race. Party members worry that the candidates who have declared so far will struggle to defeat Obama.

"Sure, I think Paul's about real leadership," Cantor told reporters when asked if Ryan should run.

But Ryan said on Sunday that he was not running for president and did not plan to do so.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty launched his Republican presidential bid in Iowa on Monday, but Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels ruled himself out over the weekend.

Cantor said other White House hopefuls should back Ryan's budget plan, which passed the House last month, to scale back the Medicare program for future retirees and the Medicaid program for the poor to ensure the country's debt does not grow out of control.

Polls show that the plan is not popular with the public, and Democrats hope they can translate that into electoral gains next year.

Cantor said Republicans should embrace that formula to show they are not afraid to take on difficult issues.

He said the presidential race was just beginning.

"I think that our field is a field that still has a lot of time. I think the candidates who are in the race are strong candidates. It is early still," he said.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (11)
NobleKin wrote:
Has Cantor not been paying attention to the fallout from the Ryan Plan?

It is radioactive to say the least.

The Republicons will lose the second largest segment of supporters in Senior Citizens should they press the plan forward.

Ryan would be crushed with his vehemence in support of the plan (without compromise) and backing down would be seen as weakness, flip-flopping and an absence of leadership on this issue. He has created his own fatal trap…

May 23, 2011 1:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Janeallen wrote:
Ryan will ruin the GOP if he runs.

I, surprisingly, as one who almost never agreed with Gingrich previously, agree with Gingrich’s comments on Ryan 120%.

Extreme right-wing social engineering is just as bad as extreme left-wing social engineering. Each is motivated and fueled by partisan political rhetoric, much more than for the good of the society.

May 23, 2011 1:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Kuji wrote:
Sorry to disappoint jane, but Gingrinch has aleady walked back his Ryan comments. Newt declarwd that anyome who quotes him on his own comments is “lying” and spreading “falsehoods”. He declared this after 13 out of 16 conservative groups cancelled on him the following week.

I guess that means right- wing social engineering is back on the table for a hypothetical Gingrich Administration; however, for a former golden child of the GOP, he is off to an awfully rocky start. His tea party handlers may put an end to his presdential aspirations before Obama has a go at him. I would actuallt like to see Obama and Gingrich go at it. They are both top notch debaters. It would be more interesting to watch than Pawlenty or Romney. Obama will run circles around them.

May 23, 2011 2:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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