The fantasizing that blue-eyed budget-cutting stud Paul Ryan will enter the 2012 presidential race continues. Hours after Karl Rove floated the Wisconsin congressman's name as a possible candidate -- even though Ryan's repeatedly dismissed the idea -- the Weekly Standard reported that the congressman is spending his vacation talking over the idea with his family. Speculation erupted.
Rick Perry -- with lovely hair and a good jobs record -- entered the 2012 race just a couple days after eight candidates debated at the third GOP primary debate, and still conservatives remain unsatisfied. (Granted, he did just accuse Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke of treason.) So now attention turns to Ryan as the best hope for an Obama-free future. Could he really get in the race?
He talked to Boehner about it. Roll Call's David M. Drucker reports that Ryan discussed a possible presidential candidacy with House Speaker John Boehner as Boehner was deciding which member of Congress to put on the 12-member bipartisan debt "super committee." Despite being considered a top Republican budget wonk, Ryan was left off the team. Could it be because he'd be busy outside Washington -- like stumping in Iowa, for instance?
He's talking to his family about it. The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes reports Ryan is discussing it with his wife. A "Republican source close to Ryan" says, "He's coming around. ... He is determined to have the 2012 election be about the big things. If that means he has to run, he's open to it."
He's more open about the possibility. Hayes notes that after the third Republican debate, a radio host asked Ryan if he was "confident that the candidates there are able to articulate the issues of the debt and the deficit and the need to reform entitlements in the way that you want to see done." Ryan said, in short, not really: "We'll see. I didn't see it last night. I haven't seen it to date. We'll see. People's campaigns evolve -- they get better. So we'll see."
That's a big change from February 2010, when Ryan said, "I'll give you as Shermanesque a quote as I can. I am not going to run for president. I'm just not going to do it. My head's not that big, and my kids are too small."
He's got a time frame. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin reports that Ryan will make a decision "in the next week or two."
But his spokesman still denies it. "While grateful for the continued support and encouragement, Congressman Ryan has not changed his mind," Ryan's spokesman told The Hill's Michael O'Brien.
On to Chris Christie, then?