Romney encourages Paul Ryan to run for Speaker
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“I wouldn’t presume to tell Paul what to do, but I do know that he is a man of ideas who is driven to see them applied for the public good," Romney said in a Friday statement after their call.
"Every politician tries to convince people that they are that kind of leader; almost none are — Paul is," Romney continued.
"Paul has a driving passion to get America back on a path of growth and opportunity. With Paul, it's not just words, it's in his heart and soul." 
The words of encouragement from Romney, who Paul was close to over the course of several months during the 2012 presidential campaign, come at a pivotal moment. 
Much of Capitol Hill's focus Friday was on whether Ryan would relent to a chorus of Republicans calling for him to step up and run for Speaker. 
A spokesman for the House Ways and Means Committee chairman said Paul is "still not running for Speaker," after Republicans huddled behind closed doors Friday morning. 
Republicans are looking for a candidate to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abruptly dropped out of the race Thursday.
"Paul Ryan went to Washington to DO something great not to BE something great. That’s why he’d make a fine Speaker of the House," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tweeted Thursday. 
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who spoke with Ryan after McCarthy dropped out, told reporters earlier Friday that Romney had called Ryan to urge him to run. 
“You know what, he needs to do this for the team,” said Upton, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
"We all know Paul. He's a policy wonk, he speaks from his heart. He worked very hard for the ticket, and he has a very good understanding of how Congress works," he added.
– Sarah Ferris contributed