What exactly does 'not going anywhere' mean to Paul Ryan?

We offer here the very different reactions we've seen from House Speaker Paul Ryan in his future over the last few da...

Posted: Dec 20, 2017 4:43 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2017 4:43 PM

We offer here the very different reactions we've seen from House Speaker Paul Ryan in his future over the last few days.

The signals are decidedly mixed Ryan, triumphant over his first big legislative victory as speaker and arguably the biggest Republican policy victory in a generation.

Paul Ryan vehemently denied reports he's not going to be in Congress after 2018

But he also said he hasn't decided if he's running for reelection

On the one hand, his camp forcefully rejected the notion that he would leave his powerful role as Speaker. But then during a television victory lap, Ryan wouldn't say if he's running for reelection.

What's going on here is simple. Despite their very big week with passage of a huge buffet of tax cuts, Republicans are running into some very stiff headwinds in 2018.

Ryan, who prides himself on being a policy wonk, who has also been his party's vice presidential nominee in 2012 and found a way to be begged into the job of speaker when John Boehner retired, is an even more accomplished politician.

Witness these very conflicting pieces of information we've learned over the span of less than a week:

December 14 - Reports suggest Ryan will leave Congress in 2018

Politico got the ball rolling with a report sourced to "three dozen people who know the speaker" and who don't think he's going to be on Congress after the midterm election.

Here's the key paragraph from Politico:

Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with President Donald Trump, Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. He consults a small crew of family, friends and staff for career advice, and is always cautious not to telegraph his political maneuvers. But the expectation of his impending departure has escaped the hushed confines of Ryan's inner circle and permeated the upper-most echelons of the GOP. In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker - fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists - not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.

CNN's John King, Deirdre Walsh and Phil Mattingly picked up the baton with their own report that mirrored Politico's and suggested Ryan was seriously considering stepping aside if he could pass tax reform because he's suffering a bout of what they called "Trump-haustion" (it's a thing).

The reaction to the reports was swift and unequivocal.

"I ain't goin' anywhere," Ryan told reporters while exiting the Capitol when asked about the retirement rumors, according to the CNN report.

"This is pure speculation," Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement. "As the speaker himself said today, he's not going anywhere any time soon."

Except maybe it was equivocal.

December 20 - On ABC's "Good Morning America," George Stephanopoulos asked the question a different way and got a very different response.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Lots of speculation you're going step down as speaker at the end of the year and I know you said you'll be around for a long time, but are you committed to running for re-election to your House seat and to speaker?" Stephanopoulos asked. Here's what Ryan said.

RYAN: Yeah, look. So I'm not going anywhere any time soon. I'm so focused on getting our agenda done. On questions on way down the line I'll address those way down the line. But in the meantime, we have a lot of work to do. I'm here to stay. I'm not going anywhere. lf something changes I'll address it down the road in the future I'll address it down the road in the future.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you haven't decided to run for re-election yet?

RYAN: I haven't even - It's not even 2018 yet so that's something my wife and I always discuss later in the campaign year, something we haven't discussed yet. That's something we'll discuss down the road when the appropriate time comes.

So which is it? If he's "not going anywhere any time soon" how can he also not have decided if he's running for reelection in 2018? What exactly do the words "way down the line" mean in Ryan time?

Calendar notes: 2018 is, as of this writing, 11 days away. The filing deadline to be included in a Wisconsin congressional primary is June 1, 2018. At 5 p.m.

But it's telling that someone who isn't going anywhere says he hasn't thought about re-election yet.

What Ryan did there is politician 101 for keeping your options open. Big time.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
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