JANESVILLE, Wis. — Professor Ryan? Lobbyist Ryan? Maybe back to plain-old Rep. Ryan or future President Ryan?

If Paul Ryan loses his bid to become vice president, he is still a man with options. The wonky chairman of the House Budget Committee is one of the Republicans' best voices in explaining fiscal issues. Should Mitt Romney's presidential bid fail, Ryan will be a much-sought-after figure in political and business circles.

Even in failure, the 42-year-old Wisconsin native's best days might be ahead of him.

"I refer to Paul Ryan as the Paul Revere of the next generation," said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was chairman of the House Budget Committee when Ryan was an aide there.

"I tell you, he's just getting started," Kasich said at a recent rally in Ohio. "He's getting started in the process of helping America and building a much stronger America."

That could be through public education or lobbying, back in his day job as a congressman or biding his time until a presidential run of his own. Unlike his Democratic counterpart, 69-year-old Joe Biden, Ryan is nowhere near retirement; a Biden loss would probably send him home to Delaware, although Biden joked this week about running for president in 2016.

Publicly, Ryan and his closest allies maintain that momentum is behind the Romney-Ryan ticket. They aren't entertaining any talk about anything different from Ryan settling into the vice president's residence in January. Ryan already has met once with Mike Leavitt, the former health and human services secretary who is building a government-in-waiting for Romney, Ryan advisers said.

But Ryan's biggest boosters realize he probably can write his own ticket, win or lose on Nov. 6.

These Ryan allies spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private proposals they were preparing for him. They insist Ryan is not worried about anything beyond the election and is not planning anything except being a governing partner to Romney.

They say that if he fails, Ryan's instincts will be to return to the House – he is running for re-election to his House seat at the same time he's Romney's running mate – and resume his role as Budget Committee chairman.

Some senior Republicans caution it might not be that easy.

If Romney loses, Ryan will be seen as a leading White House contender in 2016. He will be a national party figure even without being a top member of the House leadership. That could breed resentment among current Republican leaders and perhaps splinter coalitions within the already fractured GOP alliances at the top of the House.

A return also would make Ryan a leading target for Democrats. For the next few years, Democrats would lay traps in legislation, forcing him to take sides on measures that could come back to haunt him during a presidential bid.

That is why some of Ryan's biggest boosters are considering whether it wouldn't be better for Ryan to resign from the House. He could write a book – "saving America" is a theme often bandied about – or teach at a university.

After all, on the campaign trail, Ryan is as much lecturer as campaigner. Aides routinely set up giant video screens so Ryan can use visual aids to walk audiences through the minutiae of budget politics. Graphs and charts are as common as yard signs and American flags at some events, with Ryan settling into his role as explainer in chief.

It's no accident he embraces the "wonk" label aggressively. It could make him an attractive figure as a guest lecturer or visiting professor.

Or Ryan could set up an office at a Washington think tank and focus on issues that interest him. That would give him a platform to shape public policy without the frustrations of electoral politics.

Both options would give Ryan some space to contemplate serious issues. One of the chief reasons Romney put him on the ticket – and one of the reasons he accepted – was to have high-minded debates about Washington's relationship with the public. That notion quickly melted into the partisan rancor of this campaign.

Ryan could cash in and become a lobbyist. His family is on solid financial footing, thanks in part to wife Janna Ryan's family money. Last year, the couple reported adjusted gross income of more than $323,000. Yet Ryan himself has never been a major earner. He started out as a congressional aide and waited tables to pay the bills.

Ryan might just take up positions in corporate boardrooms, either as a consultant or director. The lucrative positions, though, could preclude a future White House run if not carefully chosen.

During the Republican presidential primary campaign, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich faced questions about his profitable network of consulting and media firms. One of his clients was mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which he blamed for the economic crisis of 2008.

If he wins re-election, Ryan could simply settle back into life in Congress.

Republican John McCain returned to the Senate after his failed 2000 and 2008 presidential bids. Democrat John Kerry did the same after his 2004 bid and Joe Lieberman, now an independent, after his 2000 vice presidential failure on the Democratic ticket. McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, returned to be governor of Alaska, until she abruptly resigned seven months later and turned to punditry.

Ryan has shown little interest in following Palin – or other ex-candidates – into media circles. He is more likely to protect his newfound popularity, his credibility and his brand.

If Romney loses, it would guarantee a wide-open field for Republicans and Democrats alike in 2016. Ryan's allies aren't ruling out a bid for the top spot for their friend.

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  • Marco Rubio

    "Throughout his life, Mitt Romney has made great decisions, and choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate is a truly inspired choice. I got to know Paul during my Senate campaign when he endorsed me early on when I was still considered a long shot. Paul Ryan is a courageous reformer who understands our nation's challenges, has proposed bold policy solutions to solve them, and has shown the courage to stand up to President Obama and other Washington politicians trying to tear him down. "The Romney-Ryan ticket is going to win in November because it offers the American people visionary leadership to recapture the free enterprise spirit that has empowered countless Americans to build businesses from scratch and live the American dream. I'm excited about the visionary change a Romney-Ryan team will bring to Washington, and I look forward to campaigning

  • Rob Portman

    <blockquote> "Mitt Romney has made a great choice in Paul Ryan. He is an accomplished public servant and a leading voice on the most pressing issues facing our country. Paul is one of my best friends in Congress and someone I have worked closely with as a former colleague on the House Ways & Means Committee. "Jane and I wish Paul and Janna and their kids the very best. As the Chairman of the Romney campaign in Ohio, I look forward to working with Paul to ensure that the Romney-Ryan ticket carries Ohio and is victorious in November. Most importantly, as a member of the Senate, I look forward to working closely with a Romney-Ryan Administration to restore fiscal sanity and enact pro-growth policies to create jobs."</blockquote>

  • Obama for American Campaign Manager Jim Messina

    <blockquote>"In naming Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy. The architect of the radical Republican House budget, Ryan, like Romney, proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid. His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors. As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes."</blockquote>

  • Michelle Malkin

  • Michael Moore

  • Brad Woodhouse

  • Rachel Maddow MSNBC

  • mike murphy

  • Michael Steele

  • Larry Sabato

  • davidfrum

  • Charles M. Blow

  • Robert Reich

  • Nilay Patel

  • Mark Harris

  • Progressive Change Campaign Committee

    The Progressive Change Campaign Committee issued the following statement: <blockquote>"Paul Ryan is a right-wing extremist who wants to end Medicare. This is a major unforced error by Mitt Romney. It gives President Obama and Democrats a chance to draw a clear contrast in 2012 by promising not to cut one penny from Medicare or Social Security benefits. If Democrats win in a landslide, this was the game changer." -- Adam Green, co-founder, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a 1 million member grassroots organization</blockquote>

  • Laura Ingraham

  • John Kasich

  • Ari Fleischer

  • Susan B. Anthony List

    The national pro-life organization released the following statement: <blockquote>"By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. "A longtime pro-life advocate and a strong fiscal conservative, Congressman Ryan has insisted that there can be no 'truce' when it comes to advancing the rights of the unborn and achieving fiscal responsibility. He has a pristine pro-life voting record and will be an asset to Governor Romney's campaign. "Pro-life voters are a key demographic and help secure victory in critical elections," continued Dannenfelser. "The addition of a second strong pro-life leader to the ticket energizes the pro-life base - we are thrilled with this pick."</blockquote>

  • GOProud

    <blockquote>"The selection of Paul Ryan is a bold and inspired pick," said Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of GOProud. "Paul Ryan has been the architect of policies that would benefit all Americans, especially gay Americans." "Paul Ryan is one of the few political leaders anywhere in the country willing to tell the American people the truth about the unprecedented budget crisis we are facing, and - more importantly - willing to put forward bold plans to put this country back on the road to fiscal solvency," continued LaSalvia.</blockquote>

  • Log Cabin Republicans

    <blockquote>"Congressman Paul Ryan is a strong choice for vice president, and his addition to the GOP ticket will help Republican candidates up and down the ballot," said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director. "As chairman of the House Budget Committee and author of the Republican "path to prosperity" that provided the blueprint for serious spending cuts in this Congress, nobody is more qualified to articulate a conservative economic vision to restore the American economy and stimulate job creation. </blockquote>

  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)

  • Jason Chaffetz

  • Center For American Progress President Neera Tanden

    <blockquote>"Just like Sen. John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin and George H.W. Bush's selection of Dan Quayle, Mitt Romney has been cowed by the right wing into choosing an extreme vice presidential nominee who will alienate moderate voters. It's now clearer than ever that as president, Mitt Romney would end Medicare as we know it, and will raise taxes on middle class families by more than $2,000in order to slash taxes on the wealthiest Americans. While there is a lot that can be said about Paul Ryan's extreme views, more important is what this choice says about Mitt Romney: that he is unwilling or unable to stand up to the far-right of his party and select a vice-presidential candidate that is both able to be president on day one and capable of governing by reaching across the aisle."</blockquote>

  • SEIU President Mary Kay Henry

    <blockquote>"If there were ever any doubt that Mitt Romney is not on the side of working people, today's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as a running mate makes it crystal clear. With this choice, Romney has shown the American people that he believes Rep. Ryan's extremist, irresponsible and anti-worker agenda is what's right for our country. "Rep. Ryan has made a name for himself by fighting in the halls of Congress for tax giveaways for the wealthy and big corporations while proposing to gut vital services like Medicare and education, and eliminating any sense of retirement security for working families. His no-holds barred record of attacking seniors, children, and working men and women is frightening for the 99 percent of Americans who are not rich -- but for Mitt Romney it was a calling card to choose him as a running mate."

  • NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan

    <blockquote>"Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Ryan as his running mate reminds us of why elections matter when it comes to our ability to make personal and private medical decisions," Keenan continued. "The outcome of the 2012 presidential election very well could determine whether abortion remains legal and accessible for the next generation of American women. Romney has pledged that taking away women's rights will be a priority for him and his choice of Ryan amplifies that promise to the extreme anti-choice backers of this ticket. My organization's priority is to make sure President Obama remains in the White House."</blockquote>

  • Kelly Ayotte

  • Herman Cain

  • Rick Perry

  • Tommy Thompson

  • Pete Hoekstra

  • Steve King

  • Eric Cantor

  • Dana Rohrabacher

  • Kenny Marchant

  • Gregg Harper

  • Rick Santorum

  • Rep. Kathy Hochul

    <blockquote>"Americans deserve new ideas for how we can reduce the debt and protect our seniors and the middle class. Just one year ago, Western New York voters rejected the Ryan-Collins policies that would end Medicare as we know it and hurt middle class families while giving more tax cuts to the rich. Our country needs to move forward, not re-hash failed ideas. Given Chris Collins' ongoing support for tax cuts for the rich that add nearly $1 trillion to the deficit and his willingness to send his business to China to line his pockets, it is clear my opponent is going to continue to pursue policies and priorities that have already been rejected."</blockquote>

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski

  • Claire McCaskill

  • Jim DeMint

  • Chris Van Hollen

  • Rep. Mary Bono Mack

  • Sam Brownback

  • John Shimkus

  • Rep. Trent Franks

  • Frank Pallone

  • Michele Bachmann

  • Rob Zerban

    <blockquote>"Now that Paul Ryan's personal ambition has clearly trumped his interest in the First District, I have no doubt he'll find himself out of a job come November. Once Wisconsinites and voters across our country learn the truth about Ryan's radical plot to end Medicare as we know it, de-fund women's health care, and preserve tax breaks for millionaires, they'll vote against him not just once, but twice. In the coming weeks, our campaign will work with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to continue getting the word out on Ryan's indefensible record, and building momentum to ensure victory on Election Day."</blockquote>

  • Scott Walker

    <blockquote>"Governor Mitt Romney made a bold and reform-minded selection in Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. This election has to be about who is going to look out for the next generation. America needs a comeback team to turn around the economy and to turn around the fiscal status of our country. Romney and Ryan have the ideas and the experience needed to take on these core issues. This is a great day for Wisconsin and an even greater day for America."</blockquote>