Sen. Thune: No Campaign for President 'At the Moment'

Tuesday, 06 May 2014 11:07 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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There is no campaign to run for president "at the moment," Sen. John Thune said Tuesday, stressing that is focusing his efforts on securing a Republican majority in the Senate.

The statement was less of a definitive "no" than last month when Thune told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he was not seeking the nation's highest office, The Huffington Post reported.

"I am not running for president," Thune said April 23. "But I know a lot of my colleagues are, and I think that you probably have to, if you're going to get serious about it, get going pretty quickly."

When asked directly by MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Mika Brzezinski if he had "presidential ambitions," Thune replied Tuesday, "Not at the moment."

Story continues below video.



"Right now, we're working on trying to get the majority for the Republicans in the Senate in November," the South Dakota Republican said.

After the fall midterm elections, Thune seemed to leave the door open to considering a run for the White House in 2016.

"There is a campaign, but it's for the midterm elections and to try to win the [Republican] majority in the Senate. So that's the focus right now, and then we'll worry about '16 after that," Thune said.

On the minimum wage, Thune expressed concern that an increase in the rate would cost jobs and raise prices in an already "stagnant" economy.

"The minimum wage, if it's raised, they say, will cost up to a million jobs. And it will raise prices for everybody in the economy, particularly those people in low-income categories," he said.

A job creator would be approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that would provide "shovel-ready jobs," Thune said.  A healthier economy would create a "demand for labor" that would lead employers "to have to pay more to hire people."

"The real issue here is to get the economy growing and expanding. And, that will throw off better-paying jobs," he said.

Thune said there was no "indication from the Democratic leadership in the Senate that they're willing to entertain votes" on combining a minimum wage increase with legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. However, he said it was a "discussion, I think, Republicans would be willing to have."

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