Is Paul Ryan rethinking his decision not to run for president?

Holly Bailey

Paul Ryan has long insisted that he is not interested running for president in 2012. But is he on the verge of changing his mind?

Sources close to the House Budget Committee chairman tell The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes that Ryan is "strongly considering" launching his own bid for the Republican presidential nomination and has been meeting with GOP strategists in recent weeks to plot out a potential campaign.

"He's coming around," a Republican close to Ryan tells Hayes.

A spokesman for Wisconsin congressman said in a statement issued to reporters this morning that his boss "has not changed his mind." But as plenty of observers have pointed out, that's exactly what Rick Perry's advisers said, too, as rumors began circulating about the Texas governor's presidential aspirations.

Indeed, some are suggesting Perry's decision to backtrack on his pledge to stay out of the 2012 race could prompt others to reconsider their options. The Republican strategist Karl Rove told Fox News's Sean Hannity in an interview Monday night that he thinks Perry's candidacy could nudge Sarah Palin into the race, as well as Ryan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

"I think Chris Christie and Paul Ryan are gonna look at it again," Rove said. "I'm starting to pick up some sort of vibrations that these kind of conversations are causing Christie and Ryan to tell the people who are calling them, you know what, 'I owe it to you, I'll take a look at it.'"