After Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced late Saturday he would not be a candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination, the immediate question is: Who will fill the void in the field to be the champion of fiscal issues?
In an appearance Sunday’s “Meet the Press” on NBC, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said he was disappointed in the news.
“Well he called me last night and gave me the news about this,” Ryan said. “Quite frankly, yes I am disappointed. I think his candidacy would have been a great addition to this race and I think it’s unfortunate he’s not going to run.”
“Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory asked Ryan if the news about Daniels opened the door for his own presidential aspirations? Ryan said no.
“Well look – I’ve been very clear about this, about running for president,” Ryan said. “I feel because we are in a big budget debate – I’m in a great position as House Budget chairman to weigh in on this debate and I feel like the moment we are in, I want to stay focused on where we are right now and that is getting our fiscal house in order.”
Gregory asked if Ryan would be open to getting in on the ticket as a running mate and the Wisconsin congressman declined to address that possibility.
“I’m not going to get into all those hypotheticals,” Ryan said. “I’m not running for president. I’m not planning on running for president. If you’re running for president, you got to do a lot of things to line up a candidacy. I’ve not done any of those things. It’s not my plan. My plan is to be a good chairman of the House Budget Committee and fight for the fiscal sanity of this nation.”
Gregory interpreted Ryan’s response as perhaps being a little bit of a door opening, but Ryan disagreed.
“It’s not a door opening,” Ryan said. “I do know how this works. I’m not going to get into all these hypotheticals in the future. My point is I’m not running for president. You never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road. I’m not talking about right now and I want to focus on the fiscal problems of this country. And I really believe David, where I am as chairman of the House Budget Committee puts me in a great position to be a great contributor to this debate.”