Republican Rep. Peter King of New York confirmed to Newsmax that he is seriously weighing a bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2016.
"Very honestly, I'm going to look at it . . . I'm going to look at this, I'm going to take it seriously, see where it goes," King told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"I wouldn’t be doing it to play games. If I do it, it's because I'm serious about it."
King’s comments follow Wednesday’s Newsmax report
that King, who represents New York’s Third District, is being encouraged by friends in and outside the Empire State to seek the GOP nod and "acts interested."
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King, former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he has been approached by "several serious people" about throwing his hat in the ring, including former Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
"I am going to listen carefully, talk to friends, talk to advisors, see what kind of response it gets, and it'll probably give me a higher profile to speak out on different issues and see what kind of response I get from that," King said.
"There's no magic formula here. I'm not sitting down with a $10 billion brain trust to figure the whole thing out, but all I can say is I'm looking at it seriously and I've gotten a number of very encouraging phone calls from people today."
King said it is important for the GOP to be led by a no-nonsense lawmaker who isn't afraid to mince words.
"It's important for the Republican Party to take a strong posture on this, on defense and homeland security, and not be worried about political correctness," he said.
"And I just don't see enough people focusing on that right now."
If King decides to run, he joins a potentially crowded field.
Other possible GOP contenders for the 2016 nomination include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and cardiologist Dr. Ben Carson.
King also said he is a big fan of New York City Police Chief Ray Kelly, who President Barack Obama has floated as a possible successor to Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano.
But King said Kelly, whose anti-terrorism programs have stopped countless attacks in New York City, is his own man who would want to do the job his way.
"The programs he's put in place [in New York City] . . . should be a model for the country as far as counterterrorism," King said.
"He didn’t put them in there for political purposes. He did it because he thought they're essential for survival, that they were absolutely needed to keep the city of New York secure," King said.
"I have no doubt if he went to Washington, he would feel just as strongly that we need those programs to keep the nation secure. So, no, I can't see Ray backing down at all adjusting his positions."
On the issue of Republicans attempting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by defunding it piece by piece, King is in agreement with GOP Rep. Scott Garrett that it’s not going to happen.
Garrett, who represents New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District and serves on the Budget and Financial Services Committees, told Steve Malzberg on Wednesday
that defunding Obamacare could lead to presidential vetoes that would spur a government shutdown.
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King told Malzberg: "If there's any talk of shutting down the government, first of all, that is a dramatic decision to make and do you do it over one issue, such as Obamacare, at the risk of the others?
"So there's a lot of moving parts here . . . I understand where Scott is coming from . . . To have a standalone vote or to actually keep Obamacare out of the budget? No, I don’t see that happening."
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