Former New York Gov. George Pataki inched closer to joining the crowded race for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, saying he is “certainly looking at” throwing his hat in the ring.
Pataki, who has been in lead-off caucus state Iowa twice during the past month and is going back to New Hampshire, home of the first primary, this week, acknowledged that he doesn’t have much time to make up his mind.
“Sure you have to,” he said on MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. when asked whether he has to decide soon. “And it’s something I’m considering.
“Whoever the Republicans nominate has to have a very solid plan as to how they’re going to deal with the deficit: one that works from the standpoint in terms of balanced budget, one that will help grow the private sector economy and create the jobs we need — one the American people could say, ‘Yes, this makes a lot of sense.’”
Pataki, who New York’s governor for three terms from 1995-2006, said the way out of the debt crisis is to cut Washington spending rather than raise taxes.
“The fact is we are spending $1.65 trillion — trillion with a ‘T’ — more this year than we take in. If we took every nickel of people who earn over a million dollars a year from them, we wouldn’t balance the budget over the course of the next 10 years. It is not the solution.
“The solution is to reduce government spending and to grow the private sector economy. That’s how you grow revenue, not by wringing the neck of the golden goose a little bit tighter.”
Eleven candidates have declared for the GOP nomination, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry expected to join within the next few weeks. Other possible contenders include 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Speculation about other possible candidates have included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who said this weekend he did not intend to run but then added, “Never say never,” while Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who has ruled out a run repeatedly, kept the hopes of his backers alive by returning to Iowa today. He was to speak at an education conference and appear at a fundraiser for Rep. Steve King.
The 11 declared candidates are former governors Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Jon Huntsman of Utah, Gary Johnson of New Mexico, and Buddy Roemer of Louisiana; Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Ron Paul of Texas, and Thad McCotter of Michigan; former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and businessman Herman Cain, both of Georgia.
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