Paul Ryan Has No Interest in House Speaker, May Still Want to Be President

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Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Representative Paul Ryan has been playing coy about his political ambitions, but on Thursday he ruled out one option pretty definitively, declaring that he does not want to be speaker of the House. "When Janna and I joined [Mitt Romney’s presidential] ticket, we looked at what would this do to our family and we realized that actually we would see each other more in the vice presidency than as a member of the House," he explained at a Texas luncheon. "We would see each other less in the speakership than as a member of the House." According to Politico, Ryan said it was too early to discuss whether he wants to be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. And obviously if he's managed to resist the urge to start a feud with Chris Christie, he isn't going to tip his hand about his presidential ambitions now.

Speaking of Senator Rand Paul, he's about to launch a new effort to raise his profile ahead of the 2016 race. He'll deliver his own response to the State of the Union on Tuesday in a prerecorded YouTube video. The Washington Post reports that once Obama has actually delivered the speech, Paul will offer more critiques on CNN and Fox News, and on several Sunday shows.

Last year, Paul offered an alternate response to the State of the Union in a speech sponsored by the Tea Party Express. Paul's friend Senator Mike Lee will deliver the tea party response this year, and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers will give the official GOP response. Nothing says "party unity" like three separate rebuttals.