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Rep. Paul Ryan Will Run For Speaker Of The House, Under Several Conditions

Rep. Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers that he will run for speaker, but only if they embrace him by week's end as their consensus candidate, an ambitious bid to impose unity on a disordered and divided Republican conference.
Rep. Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers that he will run for speaker, but only if they embrace him by week's end as their consensus candidate, an ambitious bid to impose unity on a disordered and divided Republican conference.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has told House Republicans he will "gladly serve" as House speaker under several conditions, one of which is that the divided party must unite behind his candidacy.

He said his party has until Friday to let him know whether they will support him.

In a press conference Tuesday night, Ryan laid out his conditions for service which included transforming the party from an "opposition one to a proposition one," working to ensure that the House does not experience "constant leadership challenges and crises," and unifying as a conference now and "not after a divisive speaker election." These requests may have been addressed to farthest-right members of the House who often rebelled against the leadership of outgoing Speaker John Boehner.

The last condition had to do with his personal life.

"I cannot and I will not give up my family time. I may not be on the road as often as previous speakers," he said. "But I pledge to try and make up for it with more time communicating our vision, our message."

Ryan said that if members agree to these conditions, and that if he "can truly be a unifying figure," then he will run for speaker. He also said that if he was not a unifying figure, "that will be fine as well." He said he would be happy to stay chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

The 45-year-old emphasized that he was reluctant to take the job, because it would reduce his time with his young children. But then he said that he worried about facing the "consequences of not stepping up."

Ryan said he was concerned about "someday having my own kids ask me, when the stakes were so high why didn't you do all you could do?"

The election for Speaker of the House is scheduled for next Thursday, Oct. 29.

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