House Ways and Means Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., “would be a great speaker,” outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told Fox News’ Bret Baier in an interview Tuesday.
“I think Paul Ryan has the skills to do this job,” Boehner said of the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee.
Boehner surprised colleagues in September after deciding to leave his leadership post and retire from Congress after 24 years, effective the end of October.
Boehner’s chief deputy, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., once considered by many to be the next in line for the top Congressional post, later removed his name from consideration.
Ryan, who met with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus Tuesday evening, would need 218 member votes to win the speakership.
Boehner said he believed Ryan would reach that threshold if he announced his candidacy.
“I think Paul would be a great speaker,” he said
“I think he also has the credentials to reach out to traditional conservative [members],” Boehner added, in an apparent reference to those meeting with Ryan as he spoke.
While Boehner said he expected Ryan to make a decision Tuesday night, Ryan's communications director said he did not expect a decision at that time.
Ryan has come under fire from conservatives recently, criticized for being perceived as a more moderate Republican. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., was endorsed by the Freedom Caucus earlier in October.
“Someone has to have this job,” Boehner said.
“You’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt,” he said, “I’ve had a lot of bad hands—there’s never been a day when I had five aces.”
“I’ve worked 50 to 100 hours a week—at some point you have to slow down a bit,” Boehner said.