Paul Ryan Forgoes 2016 Run to Push Poverty Project

Paul Ryan - Reuters
Washington, DC

While Rep. Paul Ryan doesn’t explicitly say it’s his only reason for not seeking the 2016 GOP nomination for president, in this Yahoo News report, he points to a film showcasing his fight against “poverty” to explain why he isn’t running for president.

“I made my decision [not to run for president] for a multitude of reasons. You know — young family, in a good place to make a big difference — but also I didn’t want to jeopardize this project and these causes by betting it on a presidential campaign. You know, who knows who’s going to win,” said Ryan in an interview.

“I wanted to make sure this got away from presidential politics. I wanted to make sure that this got some distance from being seen as some personal ambitious project for a politician,” said Ryan, who is now chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which plays a central role in making the tax policies through which so much of the government’s anti-poverty efforts flow.

The project is called “Comeback: A New Mini-Series About American Redemption.” It will be released by the conservative group Opportunity Lives, which funded the effort.

Yahoo explains Ryan will likely tout his ideas instead of campaigning for president:

Even if Ryan’s many detractors will be suspicious that the video series is just slick packaging for the same Ryan ideas they’ve always hated, it’s hard to ignore that the 45-year-old congressman speaks on the topic with more empathy than he used to, and in a way many conservatives do not. Ryan, who in 2012 was caricatured as an Ayn Rand-reading libertarian who cared nothing for the poor and the middle class, whose visit to a soup kitchen became a controversy, said his experiences with both the poor and the public glare have changed him.

“What I as a conservative have learned is you need to go learn. You need to go visit. You need to see, and then you need to apply your beliefs and your lessons in your communities and in your vocation,” he said. “It just basically opens your eyes and opens your heart and opens your mind.”

“The big takeaway is listen and learn, because people speak things differently. They have different experiences, and they do hurt in different ways. And I think it’s really important to try and glean another person’s perspective, so that you’re better informed and you can learn from it.”