George Pataki: I Haven't Ruled Out Running for President

Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 06:21 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Former three-term New York Gov. George Pataki refused to rule out a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination during an appearance Thursday on Newsmax TV.

Asked by Newsmax's Steve Malzberg whether he would rule out a run for the White House, Pataki — who has flirted with the idea before — deftly tap-danced around the question.

"People have talked about it in 2001 and 2008, including me, because I did look at it. This time I don't want speculation,'' Pataki said.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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"You don't dip your toe in and pretend. Either you're in or you're out. The one thing I will say is that Albany is broken, Washington is perhaps even worse….

"It's enormously disappointing and any of us, all of us who care about this country, have to get involved in some capacity. That doesn't mean as a candidate, but help fight to take our country back from those who believe government should dictate how we lead our lives.''

Malzberg then asked, "So you're definitively not running for president?''

"I am definitively saying nothing. It's still summer,'' Pataki said.

"So you're leaving open the door? You're not saying no?'' continued Malzberg.

"I have thought about it in the past and I don't want people speculating. There are probably a dozen candidates out there,'' Pataki said.

"But you are not saying no,'' Malzberg asked again.

"At this point, I'm spending time with my family and our farm in upstate New York,'' Pataki said.

The former leader of the Empire State from 1995-2006 went on to say those most mentioned as possible GOP candidates — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — would all be a "dramatic improvement'' over President Barack Obama.

"And every one of them would be a dramatic improvement over [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton or, God forbid, [Massachusetts Sen.] Elizabeth Warren,'' said Pataki, 69.

"We just have seen the Democratic Party switch from being a liberal party with some conservatives to a leftist party with some liberals. We see that with Barack Obama, we see that with Elizabeth Warren, we see it here in New York City with … leftist mayor, Bill de Blasio, who goes to Cuba on his honeymoon.''

"The weakest of the Republican candidates in my view would be a dramatic improvement. This race to me is about not just who's going to be the president, Republicans or Democrats. It's about the nature of this country.''

He said Americans must not allow "a group of elites in Washington'' to dictate how they lead their lives.

While Pataki, chairman of the Pataki-Cahill Group, praised Christie, who is head of the Republican Governors Association, as a possible presidential candidate, he blasted his decision not to endorse Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Astorino is running against incumbent New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is now embroiled in a federal probe into whether he tampered with his own anti-corruption commission.

"Rob is a very good candidate. This is not somebody who we took out of some remote area. This is someone who for the last five years has been the county executive of Westchester County,'' Pataki said.

"This is a strong executive, a good candidate who can appeal across party lines…. For the head of the Republican Governors Association in July, [to say] it's a lost cause, it makes every other effort we make to try to get good people to run as Republicans that much harder.''

Asked if Christie should resign from chairing the association because of the Astorino snub, Pataki said: "That's for the Republican governors to decide.''

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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