Eric Cantor wants to see Paul Ryan run for president

Chris Moody Contributor
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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that he would like to see House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan run for president in 2012 and suggested that any candidate considering a 2012 bid should embrace the Wisconsin Republican’s budget plan to cut trillions over the next ten years.

“Sure,” Cantor replied enthusiastically when asked if he would like to see Ryan jump into the race against President Obama. “Paul’s about real leadership. I think that that’s what this public so desperately wants to do right now. They want to see Washington that will lead. They don’t want to see individuals that will dismiss the current problems as something that we can just sweep under the rug.”

Cantor joins a growing number of high-profile conservatives who have suggested that Ryan would make for a strong candidate against Obama in 2012. One of his predecessors, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, said as late as Sunday that “it’s time to start drafting Paul Ryan” for president.

Ryan said during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that he has no plans to run.

While Ryan may not find himself debating fellow Republicans for the nation’s highest office this year, his work in the House is likely to take center stage during the campaign. The candidates will be forced to take a stand on his federal budget proposal, which would cut trillions over the next decade and overhaul the nation’s Medicare system by giving seniors vouchers to pay for health care in a private market.

Cantor said he wants to see the candidates support Ryan’s plan.

“I’m looking for them to embrace our formula in the Ryan budget,” Cantor said. “I’m looking for them to embrace the leadership role that takes the tough positions.”

Cantor added that while the candidates who have already announced are “strong” it there is still “a lot of time” for more to jump in.

Any chance Cantor could be one of them?

“Absolutely not,” he said. “I have no intention or desire to run.”

UPDATE: The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis reports that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who announced his candidacy Monday, has his own alternative to Ryan’s plan:

In Florida, Pawlenty promises to talk to seniors about entitlement reform. “We’re going to have our own Medicare plan,” he said. Though he was highly complimentary of Rep. Paul Ryan, Pawlenty says that unlike Ryan’s plan, his entitlement plan will address Social Security.

Additionally, the Pawlenty plan will include a feature called “payment reform,” which would result in switching from a system where we pay for the number of procedures performed to instead paying for “better health care outcomes and better results.”

Channeling Newt Gingrich’s idea (yet wisely avoiding loaded terms like “social engineering”), Pawlenty told me: “We will give options to people to be able to stay in the current plan or select options — one of which could be a premium support model,” he added.

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