“I’ve talked to all of these candidates, and I’m convinced that they want it, that they know we’ve got to do this fast. We’ve got to do entitlement reform,” he says.

Even Mitt Romney, who has attacked Rick Perry for his rough rhetoric about Social Security? “I spent an hour with Romney on Thursday,” Ryan says. The two talked about entitlements on Capitol Hill. “I think he gets the situation, and I think he’s serious about fixing it if elected. I think Perry’s the same way. I know Herman’s the same way.”

But what about Romneycare? Ryan has said Romneycare is “not that dissimilar to Obamacare.” Is Ryan “intellectually dishonest,” as New Jersey governor Chris Christie said of those who claim the two programs are similar?

“Well, I guess from a federalism standpoint, I understand that point,” Ryan says with a laugh. He doesn’t back off of his judgment about Romneycare, but says the issue is irrelevant. “I don’t think this question matters that much anymore because Romney’s been very clear that he’s against Obamacare and he’s going to repeal it. So I for a second don’t worry about whether he’s going to shy away from repealing the president’s health care law.”