It was around 1990 when Paul Ryan walked into Laws Hall at Miami University of Ohio and took his seat in an economics class taught by a conservative free-market advocate named William R. Hart. Ryan rarely had questions about the class material. Instead, he would pepper Hart afterward with deeper questions about the financial and political forces that shape the world.
“Most of our conversations would be about political philosophy,” Hart said in a telephone interview Saturday, recalling Ryan’s early passion for the views of writer Ayn Rand and economist Milton Friedman. Ryan embraced Hart’s conservative views as well, and, before long, asked for a recommendation to intern with a Republican senator from Wisconsin.