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Cantor wants Ryan in race for president

Despite Paul Ryan’s attempt on NBC’s Meet the Press to shut the door on speculation that he might run for president in 2012, he got one high-level possible supporter today.

At a press conference on Capitol Hill today, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said he’d like to see Ryan (R-WI) run.

“Sure, I think Paul is about real leadership,” Cantor said in response to a question of whether he would like to see the congressman make a bid. “I think that's what this public so desperately wants to do right now. They want to see Washington that will lead. They don't want to see individuals dismiss the current problems as something that we can sweep under the rug. These are problems that go to the very existence of programs that are so important to people. Yet, somehow the other side castigates, us for putting a plan out there that is responsible. What is the choice, their choice thus far has been bankruptcy of these programs and rationing of healthcare.”

Cantor’s comments come as many in the GOP are disappointed with the current crop of 2012 candidates. When asked about Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ decision not to run, Cantor said, “Certainly I think Mitch Daniels would have been a great candidate. He had his decision to make, and he made it.”

Cantor made sure to praise the current field as a “strong candidates” but mentioned it’s “early still.”

When asked whether any GOP 2012 nominee should totally embrace Ryan’s budget plan, a plan that includes a significant altering of Medicare, Cantor said, “I'm looking for the presidential candidates to embrace our formula in the Ryan Budget. I'm looking for them to embrace a leadership roles that makes tough decisions."

Cantor also made sure to point out he himself would not be a candidate for president in 2012.