Government

Mirror, Mirror? on Tim Ryan’s Bathroom Wall

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — “When you look in the mirror, do you see a president?”

“Uh, not right now, I don’t. No,” U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, told political reporter Mark Halperin on this morning’s edition of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The interview with the Mahoning Valley congressman – and Ryan’s apparent interest in running for president — was teased earlier this morning with the line, “Maybe the country needs someone from a place like Youngstown.” It was a reference to Ryan’s statement Sunday to a reporter from WMUR in New Hampshire, where he was making political stops. “Maybe the country needs somebody from a place like Youngstown, Ohio, that has tried to develop the economy at the local level,” he said.

It’s no secret that Ryan is spending much of his time away from Congress on political forays into New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, early-voting states in 2020, as well as traveling to Defense Department installations across the globe.

Today on MSNBC, Ryan was asked point blank if he is considering a run for president in 2020.

No surprise: he hedged.

“A lot of people woke up after November [8] asking, ‘Can I do more?’ That led originally to the race against Leader Pelosi,” he replied.

“Right now, I am, and a lot of other people are solely focused on 2018,” and taking back control of the House of Representatives. “I want to be part of the national dialogue of what Democrats stand for, why we’re against what President Trump is doing, and how we get our arms around everything that’s going on with the economy to win those [Trump] voters back.”

As to whether Democrats have learned any lessons from their losses in 2016, Ryan said his party is “taking steps in the right direction” with a major push on creating jobs. But many more steps must be taken. That’s why he’s advocating a Democratic Party agenda that deals with “the convergence of so many elements happening right now: globalization, automation, artificial intelligence – all of these difference opportunities in the economy,” he said.

“I don’t think we can be hostile to business,” he continued.

“We need to simplify the tax code and lower the corporate tax rate. We can’t just be the party of redistribution of wealth. We’ve got to be the party of creation of wealth – and not just in Silicon Valley and Wall Street but in Youngstown and in the South.”

Tomorrow Ryan will bring his economic message – and hedging about a run for president — home to Youngstown when he meets with reporters at East High School.

The congressman is scheduled to introduce Timothy Shriver, national chairman of the Special Olympics and the former chief of innovation and research for the District of Columbia Public Schools. Shriver will address how to improve academic outcomes for black and Latino students during a professional development seminar for teachers in the Youngstown City Schools.

As for what he sees in his bathroom mirror if not a president, Ryan told joked on Morning Joe that he has always dreamed about being a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. But he has “a bad back and a bad knee,” which takes him out of the running for that job.

But for another job?

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

MORE: “I believe winter is coming for the GOP”
WATCH Ryan’s interview today on MSNBC

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.