Ryan is now campaigning for the vice presidency, putting himself first in line to be president, a job he says he didn’t want. (Photo credit: Flickr user monkeyz_uncle)

The vice presidential pick is often viewed as more about politics than substance, but as the Americans who groaned at the choice of Sarah Palin in 2008 know, the vice president is just a heartbeat away from the presidency and must be ready to serve.

Is Paul Ryan ready for the presidency? He certainly didn’t think so in 2010. He even explicitly ruled it out. In an interview with The Weekly Standard, he said he wanted to be a “normal person” and that it would be too taxing to run for and serve as president:

But the 40-year-old congressman hasAi??consistently tried to quashAi??the notion that he might run for president and did so again last night during the $50 per person fundraising cruise on Lake Geneva. “No, no there isnai??i??t,” Ryan replied when asked if there’s any chance he would run for president.

“I want to be a normal person,” Ryan continued. “Other people can run for that thing. Other people canai??i??t do this,” he said, pointing to one of his three young children sipping a kiddie cocktail.

What changed Ryan’s mind? Does he really think he’s ready for the presidency when as little as two years ago he was much more interested in being, as he called it, a “normal person”?

Interestingly, Ryan may not be qualified for the presidency if you look at criteria laid out by his running mate earlier this year. Romney said at a campaign event in May that a “president has to spend at least three years working in business before he can become president of the United States” — a qualification Ryan lacks.