POLITICS: PennAve

Paul Ryan: GOP needs to win converts, not burn heretics

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Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., took the stage at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference to urge the Republican Party to become the "party of ideas," concerned less with "burn[ing] heretics" and more with winning converts.

The House Budget Committee Chairman delivered several applause lines and well-received jokes but -- unlike Sen. Ted Cruz, who preceded him -- no red-meat lines to amp up the crowd on Thursday morning.

"Let the other side be the party of personalities," he said. "We will be the party of ideas."

Ryan took to telling the assembled crowd of the need to appeal broadly, to draw in new voters rather than to insist on ideological purity. A capable majority party, Ryan said, "doesn't burn heretics, it wins coverts."

Still, the former vice presidential nominee said that the country was shifting rightward as the 2014 midterms loom over the political landscape.

"You fight it out, you figure out what works, you come together, and you win," Ryan said of the 'battle of ideas' he advocates. "It's messy, it's noisy, and it's a little bit uncomfortable, but the center of gravity is shifting."

Added the Wisconsin Republican, "the left is exhausted, our side is energized, and on election day, we're going to win."

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