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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan says won’t run for president in 2016

With reporting from James Valles

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) -- U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan, who was the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee in 2012, has decided not to run for the White House in 2016, the politician said in an interview on Monday, days after Mitt Romney announced he is considering another presidential run.

"I have decided that I am not going to run for president in 2016," the nine-term congressman from Wisconsin said in a phone interview with NBC News. "It is amazing the amount of encouragement I have gotten from people - from friends and supporters - but I feel like I am in a position to make a big difference where I am and I want to do that."

A Gallup poll in July 2014 listed Ryan as one of the most-liked Republicans among potential presidential candidates for 2016. The poll showed that approximately 31 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of Ryan, trailing Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and Rick Perry.

But with nearly 22 months to go before voters head to the polls to elect a new president, Ryan brushed off any endorsement of a presidential candidate as premature, even though Romney has indicated his willingness to make another run for the White House.

"It is no secret that I have always thought Mitt would make a great president," Ryan said in Monday's interview with NBC News. "As for his plans for 2016, I don't know what he is ultimately going to do and the last thing I want to do is get ahead of his own decision-making process."

However, Ryan said he feels confident that a Republican candidate will prevail in 2016 and pledged his support for the Republican Party and its eventual nominee.

Last month, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced his interest in running for the White House in 2016, adding that he would establish a political action committee (PAC) to facilitate his efforts in engaging with Americans. The 61-year-old Republican said he made the decision after discussing the country's future with his wife and considering the kind of leadership the United States needs.

Several high-profile politicians from both major political parties are considered to be potential candidates, most notably former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but none of them have announced their intend to run. Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat, announced in a video in November that he had formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for the White House.

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