Paul Ryan Says He Is Not Running for President

WASHINGTON (AP) -

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan announced Monday that he will not run for president in 2016, instead focusing on building his resume in Congress.

Ryan, of Wisconsin, was the Republican candidate for vice president in 2012. There had been much speculation about his ambitions for 2016.

But with the start of the new Congress last week, Ryan became chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over taxes, trade, Social Security and health care.

“After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided not to run for president,” Ryan said in a statement.

Ryan’s announcement comes as his former running mate, Mitt Romney, is reaching out to former staff and supporters in key states, signaling interest in a third run for president.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has also expressed an interest in running for the Republican nomination, which could create competition for Ryan’s support.

Ryan did not endorse any of his fellow Republicans Monday. He told NBC News it would be “premature.”

Walker and Ryan grew up about 20 miles from each other in southeast Wisconsin. Both came of age in the 1980s during Ronald Reagan’s presidency and both have established national followings among conservatives.