7. Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan didn’t win the vice presidency in 2012, and the thinking now is that his role as Mitt Romney's former sidekick is both a plus and a minus if he runs in 2016.
Inside the Beltway, Congressman Ryan – chairman of the House Budget Committee – had long been seen as a rising star, best known for his mastery of budgetary and fiscal matters. Now he has a national profile upon which to build. But his image is more that of an establishment figure willing to compromise rather than a conservative maverick.
Ryan says he will decide on a possible presidential run in 2015. But if Romney runs, he won’t.
If Ryan does run, he would bring to the table national campaign experience and a sunny youthfulness. By 2016, being a member of Generation X won’t be a negative. He will be about the same age Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were when they were elected president.
One question is whether Ryan can make the leap directly from the House to the presidency. Plenty of sitting House members have run for president, but only one has succeeded (James Garfield). If Ryan plans to run, he will have to work to maintain his national profile while playing a key role in the House.