(CNN) - U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan urged his party to advance a forward-looking vision in his first high-profile speech since his failed bid for the White House alongside Mitt Romney.
The Wisconsin Republican also acknowledged that that he and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who would speak at the dinner and receive an award, are seen as 2016 presidential contenders themselves.
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Related: Rubio suggests ways to bridge 'opportunity gap'
"Know any good diners in Iowa or New Hampshire?" he asked Rubio at the beginning of his remarks. "I'm sure the press won't read too much into that."
In his remarks, Rubio replied, "I will not stand by and let the people of South Carolina be ignored."
At the Jack Kemp Foundation's award dinner, Ryan encouraged his party to find a "vision for bringing opportunity into every life - one that promotes strong families, secure livelihoods and an equal chance for every American to fulfill their highest aspirations for themselves and their children." That vision, he said, includes roles for government, private groups and free enterprise.
As he did in post-election interviews with local television stations, the former vice presidential candidate stood by the race he and Romney ran.
"Though I wish this election had turned out differently, I'm proud of the campaign Mitt Romney and I ran. He would have been a great president, and it would have been an honor to serve this country at his side," Ryan said.
"We gave this race our all, and I'm grateful for the nomination. It's thrilling when your team trusts you with the ball, and it's humbling when you advance the ball as far as you can, only to come up a little short."
He noted that President Barack Obama was returning to the White House facing "a stagnant economy and a fiscal mess." Obama has said he inherited some economic problems from his predecessor, President George W. Bush, and Ryan joked, "You might even say he'll inherit these problems."
Pointing to the Republicans' retention of their majority in the U.S. House, where he was re-elected, Ryan called on his party not to "spend the next four years on the sidelines."
But he also could be seen as distancing himself from some of Romney's controversial comments, in particular, that Obama had won by offering "gifts" to certain groups, and that 47% of voters were predisposed to vote against his candidacy. Both comments, made in private conversations with donors, drew criticism.
"Both parties tend to divide Americans into 'our voters' and 'their voters,' " Ryan said. "But Republicans must steer far clear of that trap. We must speak to the aspirations and anxieties of every American. I believe we can turn the engines of upward mobility back on, so that no one is left out from the promise of America. But it's going to require a bold departure from the approach that government has taken for the last five decades."
Ryan received the foundation's leadership award last year, and Rubio is the 2012 recipient. The award honors the late conservative congressman, cabinet secretary and GOP vice presidential nominee.
– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
Ryan's people-destroying budget is no joke but thinking the nation would ever elect this extremist whose misplaced views on women, workers, social programs, education, and healthcare make another run for high office ridiculous.
You're kidding right? Mr I'll cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Education in order to give tax breaks to the MEGA RICH. After what the GOP did to stall and obstruct any legislation to help mend the tanking Economy in 2008, they need to get down and beg. Another Shellacking in 2014 and 2016 will just about put them out of their misery. Moving Our Country Forward> > >Clinton/Warren 2016-2024
The ONLY way Ryan's going to get anywhere on a national stage is to spend time listening to people outside his "bubble." This last election proved beyond doubt that the conservs – for years now – 'game' the primary system by having the heavy-hitter funders provide the "public" stages for apparent campaigning, when in fact the attendees are a handful of zealots and a boatload of paid shills. Here in FL we first saw this with Palin, who paid 6 busloads of country bumpkins to come into our downtown and scream support for her, all on national media. Not a one of us in attendance. Ryan's strategy so far has been the same: rile up the troops and stay in the bubble. Sorry, pal, there are millions out there who expect to hear how you'll COMPROMISE instead of how you'll DOMINATE.
Boldface liar. His transparent lies led to his landslide loss. He needs to slink away like Mitt the twit did
Hope this is the best GOP can offer again.
God help us if he ever gets elected for anything else. The man is crazy and dangerous.
Ryan looks great on paper. It's too bad we need more than paper in the white house.
President George W. Bush, and Ryan joked, "You might even say he'll inherit these problems."
So the GOP strategy will be to keep blocking everything that comes up. The GOP recently has gone as far as blocking a mostly ceremonial UN resolution originally proposed by GHW Bush respecting the rights of the disabled. Truly disappointed to see Hatch side with the Tea Party.
Dear Mr. Ryan, PLEASE RUN! Hillary will crush you with your too-small and shrinking demographic base. You are already toast and are too ignorant and in your own bubble to recognize the obvious.
Paul Ryan as president? That IS a joke! The thought of it isn't very funny, though.
. . As he did in post-election interviews with local television stations, the former vice presidential candidate stood by the race he and Romney ran.
Paul, your race stank to high heaven. You and Mittens told lie after lie, essentially insulting the intelligence of any voter who wasn't a white male. Now you figure you can" pay attention" to the hispanic population in an effort to get back into the white house. Then what? Make them invisible again? How about women, the other group you insulted? Will Mourdock, Joe Walsh and Akin be banished from the party? Here's a novel idea. Instead of a "plan" why not just try being straighforward and honest. LOL On the upside, you were smart enough to run for your "day job" seat in the senate. I'm guessing that even you knew you weren't going to win with the lies you people were telling.
Ryan is a comedian all right, that's why they lost the election. America is tired of failed policies. Ryan wasn't making a joke about him and Rubio, he was throwing it out there to see what the response would be. I can save you billions of money right now, the response and end results will or would be the same as Ryan and Romney! The 47% is a lot stronger then the tea party!
Unfortunately for him, no " unsuccessful VP contender for POTUS" has ever won The White House, but HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL!
Go Ryan 2016 : )
I'm sure that by 2016, the poor, Hispanics, and gays will realize that Congressman Paul Ryan loves them with all his heart.
This guy is NOT a contender (and never will be). Puhleeeease.
After Romney picked him, Romney barely got a bounce in the polls – that should clue him in on his chances
Ryan represents the worst of the Republican party. He demonstrated that with his running mate, Mitt Romney. His distain for the American Dream, his belittlement of women and his disillusioned vision of what Americans wants is repulsive. He is anti women, anti business, anti gay, anti community. His vision of America is that of Ronald Reagan in the 80s, and we all know who that turned out. Ryan is disconnected from the reality of the voters. Republicans are disconnected from voters as well.
"vision for bringing opportunity into every life – one that promotes strong families, secure livelihoods and an equal chance for every American to fulfill their highest aspirations for themselves and their children."
Except the policies you champion do the exact opposite of promoting strong families!
Mr Ryan if you are smart you won't run for president. I don't think you are president material. You are a great congress person but, not highest office stuff.
I hate to tell Ryan but the GOP and Tea Party are tearing this country apart. I know a Tea Partier who will not talk to her mother-in-law because Romney lost....Such class!!!!
The both won't stand a chance In 2016 to win, why are you Republican kidding your self. Until the Republican Party change they won't win another election.
"are seen as 2016 presidential contenders themselves." Really? By who? Ryan was like an albatross around Mitt's pimply neck. Rubio doesn't believe in geological processes or time. I wouldn't hire either one to mow my lawn.
Paul Ryan has dreams of bringing a fictional world that he read about in a book as a teenager to reality. How do you define "the right stuff"? Paul Ryan is not it.