ORIGINAL: The Weekly Standard reports that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the fiscally-conservative wonk and chairman of the House Budget Committee is still considering a run for president, citing people close to him.
“One Ryan confidante used an analogy to make the point. Ryan sees running for president like taking a swan dive off a cliff. In the early stages of the race, when he started getting calls urging him to run, Ryan began walking away from the cliff at a brisk pace. Then, when Daniels announced that he was passing on a bid, Ryan stopped in place and turned around. In the weeks since, he’s slowly made his way back to the cliff and he’s now peering over the side trying to decide if he makes the leap.”
Ryan’s reason for entering the still-crowded field would be that he sees room for a strong, and electable, fiscal conservative in the race — and that he doesn’t believe Mitt Romney could be counted on to provide the fiscal discipline he deems necessary.
“With Paul, it’s more about obligation than opportunity,” a Wisconsin Republican tells the conservative magazine. “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.”
It would certainly be difficult for Ryan to launch a winning campaign this late in the season — especially as a candidate without wide name recognition. But he would likely fill a void currently felt by many on the professional right.
UPDATE: A Ryan spokesman has issues a not-quite-Shermanesque statement denying the report.
“While grateful for the continued support and encouragement, Congressman Ryan has not changed his mind.”