John McLaughlin: Paul Ryan for President Would Draw Young Voters

Monday, 14 Jul 2014 07:50 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Editor's Note: Every day this week, "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV takes you on “The Road to the White House,” a look at some of the top presidential contenders for 2016.

Rep. Paul Ryan has the positive energy and ability to attract young voters that Republicans desperately need, says veteran political strategist and pollster John McLaughlin.

Those attributes, displayed during his time as Mitt Romney's 2012 vice-presidential running mate, might help him capture the Republican nomination in 2016, McLaughlin said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show.''

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"He certainly created a positive image with a positive message,'' McLaughlin said of Ryan.

"The thing that makes Paul unique is he can really occupy the pro-growth message that Republicans need to recapture enthusiasm, to recapture hope for not just our party, but to create a majority coalition with younger voters and with independent voters.''

McLaughlin said that with the nation's economy "as flat as a pancake,'' pro-growth Republicans need "an optimistic message and not one of just doom and gloom or root-canal Republicanism, where all we're worried about is entitlement reform.

He said Ryan has energized young voters with his proclamation that "you don't want to be living in your parents' basement, you want to have your own place, you want to have economic opportunity, you want to have hope. He owns that message.''

Whether Ryan, of Wisconsin, is close to throwing his hat into the ring, particularly after his and Romney's stinging loss to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, is anybody's guess.

"I don't know [if he will run ] yet, but he's left the door open. Back in May, he met with some potential major donors in New York,'' McLaughlin said.

"He just told them he's leaving the door open to it and he'd consider it, as a way to let them know it's a definite possibility.

"He certainly has the national recognition, he certainly has support within the Republican Party, and there's definitely a path to the nomination forum if he wants to make that commitment because he's one of the few that actually poll in double digits.''

Others with double-digit power, McLaughlin said, are Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

McLaughlin said one substantial challenge Ryan faces is the perception that he is better equipped as a leader of the House of Representatives.

"He's better known than a lot of the House leadership, where he has a platform and forum, where his position in the House [is such that] he can actually advocate things that would create economic growth,'' McLaughlin said.

"Whether it's tax reform, whether its budget reform, he can do things on his own with his own brain, which is why Mitt Romney picked him in the first place.''

One of the x-factors for Ryan is the nagging possibility that Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, will try for a third time for the presidency, despite having said he will not run.

"People are still floating [the idea] that Mitt Romney may make a third run, and if that happens, Paul [Ryan} may have a big decision whether he's going to run against somebody he was part of a ticket with,'' he said.

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