Paul Ryan Seeks to Hone Image in New Memoir

Image: Republicans negotiations on a Border Bill in Washington
Republican Congressman from Wisconsin Paul Ryan leaves a Republican conference where he attempted to negotiate a border bill in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 01 August 2014. Republican house leaders pulled the bill from the floor on 31 July after realizing they didn't have enough votes. JIM LO SCALZO / EPA

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Rep. Paul Ryan is seeking to distance himself from last year’s government shutdown and counter his image as an unsympathetic budget negotiator in a new memoir released as the Wisconsin Republican weighs a presidential run in 2016.

In "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea," the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee writes that he warned his fellow GOP that the shutdown “can't be the full measure of our party and our movement” and called it “a suicide mission.”

Washington’s approval ratings took a major hit from the 16-day shutdown with Americans overwhelmingly placing the blame on Republicans.

Ryan also uses the book, released Tuesday, to push back on Democratic attempts to paint him as a deficit hawk bent on cutting entitlements. He writes that Social Security helped him afford college after his father’s passing and that a confrontation with a Democratic voter helped him realize he had been alienating some low-income Americans.

Ryan said he expects to make a decision about whether or not he’ll run for president in early 2015.

-- Andrew Rafferty

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