Ryan Accepts U.S. House Speaker Gavel

WASHINGTON (AP) _ New House Speaker Paul Ryan is asking fellow lawmakers to pray for each other.

The Wisconsin Republican says Republicans should pray for Democrats and Democrats should pray for Republicans.

“And I don’t mean pray for a conversion” to the other party, Ryan joked. “Pray for a deeper understanding.”

In his first speech since being elected on Thursday, Ryan says “the House is broken,” but that it can be fixed if lawmakers realize they are “all in the same boat.”

He’s urging his colleagues to work together as representatives of the American people, not as partisans.

Ryan says he has no illusion that unity in the House will suddenly break out. But, he says, “We have nothing to fear from honest differences honestly stated.”

Ryan is praising John Boehner — the man he is succeeding as speaker — as a “man of character” and a “true class act.”

After turning over control of the House to Ryan, Boehner walked up the aisle to the rear of the chamber, accepting hugs from Republicans and Democrats alike.

His eyes were brimming with the tears that the emotional lawmaker is known for.

Boehner says he’s leaving Congress “with no regrets and no burden.”

He calls the House “the great embodiment of the American dream.”