Campaign Ad? Paul Ryan Video Raises Questions

Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivers remarks on Capitol Hill March 23, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

A new video released by House Speaker Paul Ryan has reporters chattering about whether or not it serves as a subtle campaign ad, as his supporters continue to whisper his name as a potential Republican presidential nominee in a brokered convention.

The video features footage from Paul Ryan’s speech calling for a better brand of politics. That talk implicitly criticized Donald Trump’s brand of campaigning.

The video is the latest of a series of web videos produced by his digital communications director Caleb Smith to highlight the Ryan brand of politics.

Smith’s video includes multiple camera angles, a soundtrack, and shots of the audience reaction to the speech, which quickly drew praise from the digital community for its slick production. The video is also raising questions among journalists.

“The first ad of the Ryan 2016 campaign?” asked ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Twitter, sharing the video.

“Sweet campaign ad from the Ryan team,” noted Jacqueline Alemany from CBS News on Twitter after she saw the ad.

“Hmmmm campaign ad?” wondered Paula Faris from ABC News on Twitter.

“Speaker Ryan still not running for president but is making ads 10x stronger than the current candidates,” tweeted ABC News journalist Alex Mallin in response to the ad.

Mallin’s tweet was highlighted by Ryan’s communications advisor Michael Shapiro and retweeted by Ryan’s Communications Director Mike Ricci.

According to a source in Ryan’s office, the video was the latest of a series of “re-purposed content” from Ryan’s March 23 speech for the purpose of sharing online.

“Ryan has sunk a lot of taxpayer resources into his communications team, hiring eight communications staffers when he took office with plans to hire up to a dozen more staffers, according to Politico’s Jake ShermanIn response to a query from Breitbart News, Ryan spokesperson AshLee Strong said the video was just another example of Ryan’s larger communications effort.

“Upon taking this job, Speaker Ryan was clear he would need to do things differently,” Strong said in a statement. “Speaker Ryan is a communications speaker, as he promised. Ryan introduced the ‘#confidentamerica’ theme in a speech at the start of his speakership. The ‘State of American’ politics speech was a natural follow up.”


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