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Two Days Late, Ryan Endorses Romney

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Two Days Late, Ryan Endorses Romney

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Mitt Romney's 2012 running mate endorsed him on "Meet the Press" Sunday — two days after Romney announced he will not run for president in 2016.

"I was going to support Mitt in whatever it is he decided to do," Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan (R) told Chuck Todd. "I think Mitt Romney would have been a fantastic president."

Ryan called Romney's decision to bow out of the presidential race "bittersweet" but said "it's the right decision for Mitt and Ann based upon what they decided was ultimately the best thing to do for the country." He called his former running mate a "class act."

On Sunday, Romney ranked third in a new Bloomberg News/Des Moines Register poll of Iowa Republicans conducted before he told supporters he is not planning to run. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) leads that poll, with the support of 15 percent of Republicans, surging from 4 percent in October.

Ryan called his home state governor a "great governor" and "a good friend," but said he will be staying neutral in the Republican primary.

"Had Mitt jumped in, I think that would have changed circumstances. But since I'm the chair of this trust, chair of the fund to get ready for the eventual nominee, that requires my neutrality." Ryan chairs the Presidential Trust, which is responsible for raising funds for the Republican Party's presidential nominee. It is a position he also held in 2012.

Ryan, who made it clear last month that he's ruled out a presidential run himself, would not say whether he will consider being vetted for vice president. "I decided early on in this year to pull myself out of this presidential contention because I want to focus on my job as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. I think I can make an enormous difference for our country where I am and help our party put together an optimistic agenda for the country."

— Sarah Blackwill
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