(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.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
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
Mr Ryan's religious fanaticism is unacceptable to most Americans. I will NEVER vote for a man who thinks it is a good idea to force a rape victim to bear the child of the rapist.
This guy is a living, breathing symbol of what is wrong with the republican party today. No compromise, no talking, no discussion. Just dig in your heels and act like a fool and when you are pressed about anything start talking about social issues. No wonder they keep losing elections.
I hate to see what the republican party I used to be in has become. It really, really sucks.
God help America
The problem with the repubs is that they cannot get over loosing (2008/2112) I they would worry more about today and less about 2016 just maybe something would get done.
"But it's going to require a bold departure from the approach that government has taken for the last five decades." "
And, quite literally, that would mean cutting the crap instead of cutting taxes for the wealthy.
The GOP reminds of the cartoon character Wiley Coyote chasing the Roadrunner. He never catches the bird. Just like the current GOP not getting what the public wants. The GOP are chasing an ideology over the cliff. That dust cloud at the bottom of the plunge will be more Republicans swept from the Congress in 2014.
Ruined his career at such a young age.
He'll be forever remembered as the Republican that lost to Obama in the 2012 elections.
Why do you think no one of any credibility would run against Obama.
Romney and Ryan.......scapegoats for the now defunct GOP.
We have elected a man without integrity. We have elected a man who will run this country to the ground.
Hey Pat, Romney lost te election.
I would love to see a Rubio/Ryan ticket in 2016. It would guarantee a win for the democrats again.
Somebody ought to tell Ryan, that he will never have a snowballs chance in hell to get elected to anything important.
He just has an unsympathetic, arrogant and irritating personality and no real personality at all .
Run, Paul, Run! Hillary will win handily!
Why would ( get rid of SS and Mdeicare) Paul Ryan... think he would be in the running for a 2016 presidential campaign ..It wasnt Romney it was Ryan that most seniors were voteing against
Actually Wiley did catch the roadrunner once , but didnt know what to do with him once he caught him , that still soundfs like the GOP.
The trouble with Rubio's vision is that GOP/Tea Party economic and fiscal policies favor the rich at the expense of the 99%. The wealth gap has increased between the rich and everyone else. The 400 richest Americans hold more wealth than the bottom 150 million (one half of the population). The middle class is shrinking and have lost over 30% of its wealth. Cut backs in entitlements and government services have hurt the poor, sick, and elderly. The problem with GOP/Tea Party trickle down supply side economics is that the crumbs that eventually fall to the majority is never enough to stimulate growth.
You can't just change the players and sing the same old stale tune.
There may not be any "republican" part left by the time 2016 rolls around!!
Just the idea of this guy comtemplating a run in 2016 is laughable. To make jokes about it is overkill.
As a former, GOPer now independent, the GOP will make a truly Darwinian error if it nominates Paul Ryan. His positions on social issues should eliminate him from consideration.
If the GOP does not evolve and evolve quickly, Democrats are going to get one party rule for an extended period of time. Obama is going full speed ahead in turning the US into a welfare state. In 2008 he campaigned as a Centrist Uniter, but we got Obamacared and Class Warfared, with Mitt Romney and all 2%ers, including your local Walgreens pharmacist and his CPA wife, portrayed as Evil, Greedy, Capitalist Pigs Flying Around in Corporate Jets while Stealing from the Middle Class. Tragic, the damage he's done to our society. Now he's promised a "balanced approach."Please liberals, tell me how a balanced approach does not include spending cuts. Entitlement spending has increased 75% in the last 12 years. Insane.
The republican party needs to re-invent itself. We need a conservative voice in this country–either party left to itself would probably ruin us–but the current version is unacceptable. Time to get rid of the evangelicals and teabaggers–they are pure negativity. We need a positive and collaborative approach to government, not a collection of haters.
Bring it, Mr. Ryan.
Hopefully, the Republican Party will have returned to sanity where extreme ideologues such as yourself are appropriately marginalized.
I love the term "re-branding". For them it's not about what's right but about what works for them to win. Shameful.
How about focusing on the present? You know, doing the job you are getting paid to, you self-aggrandizing fool.
Before the GOP starts throwing around who's running and who's not running, they should do a much needed internal housekeeping extravaganza blitz, chose a real leader, and work to improve the economic outlook of ALL Americans, not just the upper echelons of society.
And oh yes ... not mime Rush Limbaugh. About all he and his cronies have done is make the GOP a laughingstock in American politics.
Ryan and his voucher medicare system will be the GOP's doom once again in 2016......Ryan and Rubio on a ticket??...another RR very nice initials...but no cigar in 2016....Gov Christie in our opinion is the GOP frontrunner....
Please focus on the here and now. Let's talk about impartiality and reasonability. Let’s get the immediate plans of both parties pared down to a readable document. Then it will be time for negotiations. No playground bullying. No name calling. Just negotiations.
The American people will have to live with the decisions that are made by the men and women that we elected.