About 15 months ago, in January 2015, Paul Ryan announced he wouldn’t seek the presidency in 2016. On Tuesday, he said it again, using his strongest phrase to date: “I do not want, nor will I accept, the nomination for our party.”
It was nearly the "Shermanesque" pledge many expected. The infamous words -- "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected" -- first uttered by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman during the presidential election of 1884, have become the standard for anyone genuinely not interested in a particular office. And while Ryan didn't perfectly repeat the pledge, his vow that he wouldn't accept the nomination is likely strong enough to end the speculation.
"If no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe that you should only choose from a person who has actually participated in the primary,” Ryan said. “Count me out.”
“I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee for our party, to be the president, you should actually run for it," he said. "I chose not to do this, therefore, I should not be considered. Period. End of story.”
But the Wisconsin Republican was less definitive on what will happen in July during the GOP convention. The speaker, who is chairman of the convention, seemed to accept that a contested convention was a real possibility, and that the nomination wouldn't just be handed over to the person who is closest to a majority of delegates.
Ryan even suggested that delegates create a rule that only allows someone who ran for the presidency to take the nomination.
"The rules committee, which is assembled by the delegates, will decide what the rules are, but I would encourage the delegates to put in place a rule that says you can only nominate someone who actually ran for the job,” he said.
There has been an increasing swirl of speculation that Ryan could become the GOP nominee if no candidate can reach the majority threshold of delegates on a first ballot. And even with Ryan's regular reminders that he isn't running for president, many have noted that Ryan is the speaker now even though he said repeatedly that he had no interest in the position.
On Tuesday, though, Ryan called that comparison "apples and oranges."
"Being speaker of the House is a far cry from being president of the United States," Ryan said.
"That is entirely different than getting the nomination for president of the United States by your party without even running for the job," he said.