05:25 - Source: CNN
Paul Ryan: 2016 race shouldn't be a personality contest

Story highlights

Paul Ryan described the negative internal fight among GOP presidential candidates vying for the presidential nomination as "a conservative circular firing squad"

The House speaker said that could cost Republicans the 2016 election

(CNN) —  

House Speaker Paul Ryan described the negative campaigning among GOP presidential candidates as “a conservative circular firing squad” that could cost Republicans the 2016 election.

Interviewed Monday on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, the Wisconsin lawmaker stressed he will remain neutral in the White House race, but when asked about the “massacre” going on inside the GOP, he issued a warning.

“I do worry about a conservative circular firing squad. All that does is play into the hands of the left, and give them the election victory by default that they’re looking for,” he said.

Ryan, who was the 2012 vice presidential nominee, said that although some House members have endorsed specific candidates, “we are basically staying out of this.”

But he repeated his plan to roll out a detailed policy agenda for when his party finally settles on a nominee later this year.

The speaker referred to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as “the presumptive nominee” who is already running a general election strategy.

“We have no clue who our nominee is,” Ryan said, referring to Republicans. “So the way we see it – as conservatives who are so concerned about the direction of our country, who see this election as a generational defining moment – we are going to get out there with an agenda beforehand in the spring, ahead of the nominee so we are a party of ideas, offering the country a clear choice.”