Rep. Paul Ryan’s office is denying a report by the Weekly Standard that the Wisconsin Republican is seriously reconsidering a presidential campaign.
“While grateful for the continued support and encouragement, Chairman Ryan has not changed his mind," Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert said.
The Weekly Standard, whose editors have been encouraging a Ryan candidacy, quoted an anonymous Republican source saying he was “coming around” and that he currently was on vacation in Colorado mulling over a presidential bid and its effect on his family.
Ryan has previously disavowed any interest in the White House, saying, "My ego isn't big enough, and my children aren't old enough."
Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, has represented Wisconsin's 1st District since 1999. He's emerged as a polarizing figure this year, after unveiling a controversial budget proposal that revamps Medicare. But he remains very popular with conservatives, who applaud his efforts to reform longstanding entitlement programs.
Ryan had over $3.8 million in the bank at the end of June, a hefty sum for a House candidate and one that even outpaces several presidential candidates.
A House Republican strategist said Tuesday he has “not heard any internal buzz that this is serious” and that Ryan himself has not indicated as much.
Former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove may have helped to heighten the new Ryan presidential speculation, during an appearance Monday night on Fox News with Sean Hannity.
Rove threw out Ryan’s name – along with those of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- as among Republicans he believed might now be thinking seriously of jumping in.
“I think Chris Christie and Paul Ryan are gonna look at it again,” said Rove, though acknowledging he does not know whether they would get in.
But Rove said, “I’m starting to pick up some sort of vibrations that these kind of conversations are causing Christie and Ryan to tell the people who are calling them, you know what, I owe it to you, (and) well, I’ll take a look at it.”
Christie also has repeatedly denied interest in running for president in 2012.
Billy House contributed.