- "We need Paul in two spots at once," Romney said
- "There haven't been a lot of people that have gone on from speaker to the White House," Romney added
"We need Paul in two spots at once. You know, there haven't been a lot of people that have gone on from speaker to the White House, so I'd hate to lose him as a potential contender down the road for the White House. But he is such a man of such talent and such integrity and character that he's a real resource for the country," Romney told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday on "State of the Union."
"So whether it's now for the speakership or whether instead we see him hold on and ultimately become potentially a candidate for president, I don't know," added Romney, who unsuccessfully sought the White House in 2012 with Ryan on his ticket for vice president.
At one point, Tapper said Romney sounds like he supports cloning Ryan.
"I wish we could," Romney said, chuckling.
Lawmakers return to Washington on Monday from a week-long recess and all eyes will be on Ryan, who hasn't said whether he'll seek the speakership.
CNN previously reported
that upwards of a dozen possible candidates could get in the speaker race if Ryan doesn't run. The battle could possibly go on for weeks with no clear front-runner to get the 218 votes needed on the floor to become speaker
"From my own standpoint, I see Paul as one of the people coming along that has the potential to lead our country. And if he became speaker of the House in the near-term, that's also a crucial role," Romney said.
But he said suggestions that Ryan is too liberal aren't ultimately helpful for the Republican Party in the long run.
"There are some in our party who think the best approach is throwing bombs. The problem with bomb-throwing so far is that most of the bombs have landed on our own team. That doesn't help," he said.