Paul Ryan is hard to read. I agree with a lot of political observers that many of Ryan’s recent moves have given the appearance that he’s throwing his name out there as a possible fallback nominee for the presidency. But he’s been denying he has that intention just like he denied that he’d accept the House gavel after Boehner stepped down. Is he just so bad at politics that he’s unintentionally leading people on? I don’t think so.

Yet, he’s going to hold a press conference at 3:15pm to give us a Shermanesque denial that he has any presidential ambitions.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will definitively rule himself out as a contender to be the GOP presidential nominee in a formal statement before the media Tuesday afternoon.

“He’s going to rule himself out and put this to rest once and for all,” an aide said…

…The speculation has reached a fever pitch in recent weeks after Ryan gave a speech to a roomful of House interns before the House adjourned for its long spring recess last month calling for a more dignified political dialogue.

Ryan’s office — unintentionally, aides say — stoked the flames with the release of a video of the speech that some, including the conservative news site the Drudge Report, interpreted as a campaign advertisement.

And over the nearly three-week House recess, Ryan’s office regularly released photos of him meeting with prominent Middle East leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during his first foreign visit as Speaker.

If the Republicans have difficulty agreeing on a nominee in Cleveland, Ryan could be their savior once again. It might be awkward, though, since the Speaker of the House is the chairman of the convention.

He can deny it all he wants, but he’d make a lot more sense and unite the party a lot more effectively than Mitt Romney or John Kasich.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at