Paul Ryan tells students to 'be respectful' in face of partisan politics

JANESVILLE -- The man who is second in line for the White House says he gets homesick when he spends so much time on Capitol Hill.

On Monday Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) returned to his alma mater Joseph Craig High School for the first time since becoming Speaker of the House last year. Ryan, Class of 1988, was given a hero's welcome from a packed house that included all high school students, faculty and some of Ryan's former teachers.

"There's no way I thought I'd be doing what I'd be doing now when I was sitting where you're sitting now," Ryan told the jubilant crowd. "I saw public service as a great vocation and a public service."

Ryan avoided politics in his speech even though he had plenty to talk about. In the House, there's a looming battle ahead over President Obama's proposed $4.1 trillion budget. On the other side in the Senate, Republicans are offering terse statements about any potential nominee to replace the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

"Base your thoughts, base your arguments, on reason and respect, and not emotion," Ryan advised the students, in perhaps his only comments with political implications. "More importantly, by being respectful of others, you might learn a thing or two."

Ryan chose not to speak with TODAY'S TMJ4 after his speech. His family says the Speaker will depart Tuesday for Washington, D.C. 

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