Paul Ryan told House Republicans Tuesday night that if some conditions were met, he would "gladly serve" as Speaker, even though, as he told reporters later, "This is not a job I ever wanted or sought. I'm in the job I wanted here in Congress."
Ryan, who is the House Ways and Means chairman, said his willingness to serve is contingent on winning the support of all three factions: the Republican Study Committee, the Tuesday group (moderates) and the House Freedom caucus. He was met with loud applause.
Ryan hopes to shape the party into a "proposition party," rather than an opposition party. He wants the conference unified before the speaker's election, and not after a process fraught with infighting.
He told reporters after the GOP meeting, "I consider whether to do this with reluctance," because of the demands of his family.
He stipulated that he would not give up his family time, so he would spend less time travelling than prior speakers, but he added that he would do more to communicate the party's message. He also said he would change House rules to give more members a stake in the process of governing.
In explaining his call for a better work-life balance, Ryan talked about his own upbringing in Janesville, Wisconsin and noted that his children are in their formative years. Then, he added, "But my greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up. Of some day having my own kids ask me, when the stakes were so high, 'Why didn't you do all you could? Why didn't you stand and fight for my future when you had the chance?'
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who had announced he was running for speaker earlier this month, is now out of the race and supporting Ryan, he said after the conference met.
But Daniel Webster (R-FL), who had been endorsed by the Freedom Caucus before McCarthy's withdrawal shook up the race, put out a statement Tuesday night saying that he is still running.
"I'm running for speaker to transform a broken congress based on the power of a few into a principle-based, member-driven congress. I look forward to continuing to share my vision, of pushing down the pyramid of power and spreading out the base to allow each member to be successful," Webster wrote.
At this point, it is unclear whether he still maintains the support of the Freedom Caucus after Ryan's announcement.
Ryan presented the Republican conference Tuesday evening with his list of conditions for running for speaker before he spoke to reporters. And he had met earlier Tuesday with some of the most conservative Republicans in the GOP conference.
Ryan talked Tuesday afternoon with a handful of members of the Freedom Caucus at their request, CBS News confirmed, after Politico first reported the meeting. They met in the offices of the Ways and Means Committee, which Ryan chairs. Asked about the meeting afterward, Ryan told waiting reporters, "I always like meeting with my fellow colleagues."
The Freedom Caucus, which has about 40 members, is small but united enough to thwart the will of the majority of the conference in some cases. They effectively ended Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's bid to take the speaker's gavel from John Boehner, and they have some demands to make of the next speaker. But Ryan has made it clear that he won't horse trade with the Freedom Caucus to win the speakership, a job he doesn't particularly want, according to CBS News' Nancy Cordes.