Will Paul Ryan be the GOP nominee? Who knows!

Paul Ryan on Whether He’d Accept the GOP Nomination: “We’ll See”

Paul Ryan on Whether He’d Accept the GOP Nomination: “We’ll See”

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March 16 2016 12:13 AM

Paul Ryan on Whether He’d Accept the GOP Nomination: “We’ll See”

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House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during his weekly briefing at the U.S Capitol on Feb. 11 in Washington, D.C.

Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

Let the white-knight speculation begin! John Kasich’s victory in Ohio on Tuesday moved Republicans one step closer to a contested convention, setting up the possibility that the GOP denies Donald Trump the nomination this summer and instead gives it to someone who wasn’t even running for president this year.

It’s a long shot—but, then again, stranger (strangely coiffed) things have happened. What say you, Paul Ryan? "You know, I haven't given any thought to this stuff," the House speaker told CNBC during an interview on Tuesday night. "People say, 'What about the contested convention?' I say, well, there are a lot of people running for president. We'll see. Who knows."

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We’ll see! Who knows! It’s difficult to mistake that as Ryan offering himself up to his fellow Republicans as the compromise candidate they may need—but, then again, it’s not a full-throated denial either. For a GOP establishment desperate to stop Trump from becoming the nominee, Ryan’s open-ended answer will be the second best piece of news they’ve gotten this week.

Update, March 16, 2016, 10:55 a.m.: Wednesday morning, Politico reported that former House Speaker John Boehner has endorsed the Ryan-for-president plan:

"If we don't have a nominee who can win on the first ballot, I'm for none of the above," Boehner said at the Futures Industry Association conference here. "They all had a chance to win. None of them won. So I'm for none of the above. I'm for Paul Ryan to be our nominee.”

Politico also reports that Boehner called Ted Cruz “lucifer” at the same event.

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For his part, Ryan has now backtracked on his earlier “we’ll see”:

Elsewhere in Slate:

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.