How Paul Ryan is quietly shaping the presidential race

With the race for the nomination deeply unsettled, Ryan has moved to claim a central role in shaping the 2016 Republican agenda and promoting a high-minded vision for his party — one that is now threatened by the populist bombast of Donald Trump and other presidential candidates.

“The kind of role I envision … is to help push ideas and policies, and help make us a party of ideas and make the campaign about a better way forward instead of personalities,” Ryan said in a recent interview.

The 2012 vice presidential nominee is now vowing to turn the House into a election-year think tank, telling reporters this week’s retreat would be “the beginnings of the conversation of assembling an agenda to take to the country.”

Ryan has used just about every venue available to float his agenda — from the usual newspaper op-eds and a beefy schedule of television appearances to a Library of Congress address and a campaign forum on poverty that drew six of the GOP presidential hopefuls to South Carolina last week.