It’s one of the hottest invitations in politics and in recent years it has almost become a rite of passage for any politician seeking to make a mark in conservative politics: Addressing the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and winning approval from the Gipper’s wife, Nancy Reagan.
Late this month, Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the top names floated in GOP circles as a potential running mate to Mitt Romney, is scheduled to address an audience including the former first lady.
Other top VP front-runners, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have also gone to Simi Valley to address the Reagan Foundation in the past year. Rubio probably did himself the biggest favor when he averted disaster and caught Nancy Reagan when she tripped as the two walked side-by-side.
Now it’s Ryan’s turn to head west.
The 42-year-old Wisconsin Republican, who serves as chairman of the House Budget committee, will deliver an address titled “A Rendezvous with Reagan’s Legacy: Lessons for 2012″ at the Perspectives in Leadership Forum May 22. This is his first time speaking at the Reagan Library.
“Chairman Ryan is grateful to Mrs. Reagan for her generous invitation to speak at the historic Reagan Library later this month,” Ryan’s communications director Conor Sweeney said. “Ryan looks forward to advancing an optimistic case for pro-growth reforms and principled solutions. The challenges facing Americans and the gravity of this moment parallel 1980 in many ways. Drawing upon the inspiration of Reagan’s leadership, Ryan’s remarks will speak to the need to build a broad coalition to meet our generation’s defining challenge of ensuring greater opportunity and prosperity for generations to come.”
Afterwards, Ryan will join supporters for dinner in the library’s Air Force One Pavilion.
Tickets for the address have already sold out, according to organizers, and anyone else buying a ticket will be watching from an overflow room.
Ryan, the architect of the House GOP’s “Path to Prosperity” budget blueprint, has said he’s not worried about being vetted for vice president by the Romney campaign, but has also told journalists that he’s focused on his work in the House of Representatives, not whom Romney will ultimately select to join him on the ticket.