“We need a viable Republican candidate for president,” pleaded the woman, Nancy Champion, a retired schoolteacher. “Will you run against him?”

Mr. Ryan grinned, blushed and promptly tried to change the subject, telling his audience: “She’s not related to me. She wouldn’t say that if she was.” But no, he added, he does not intend to join the Republican nominating contest and try to run against Mr. Obama.

He simply wants to debate him…

“He’s got the bully pulpit,” Mr. Ryan said, walking out of Clinton’s Village Hall on Tuesday afternoon. “But I think he’s bigger than this. I think he’s bigger than this moment, I think he’s bigger than his speech last week. I think he’ll come to realize that — at least that’s my hope.”