There are a number of Republicans who are “testing the waters” regarding a potential run for the presidency in 2016, and some of them are in New Hampshire this weekend.
That would include South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, and George Pataki, the former three-term governor of New York (1994-2006), who was making his eighth trip to New Hampshire since September.
Speaking at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua, Pataki disdained giving a speech. He instead sat sit with Concord radio talk-show host Peter St. James to field questions from the public; none were asked in person, but taken from Twitter, or on video or audio in advance.
The third question posed to the lanky governor (who certainly looks presidential) was whether he would pull the trigger and actually commit to a candidacy.
He joked about how every four years he flirts with the idea, but “this time is different.”
So we’re we going to hear him break news? (Even though he’s been out of office for more than eight years without any visible groundswell?).
“I’ve never seen the world in my lifetime as inflamed as it is today. I’ve never seen the overseas threat to America greater. Leading from behind does not work.”
And then the big non-announcement.
There is “the need to take back Washington, to reduce its size, reduce its cost. The need to reduce its intrusiveness has never been greater. So I can tell you, I’m much more inclined to run this time, than I ever have before.”
There was a noticeable pause among the several hundred in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, before an obligatory round of applause. Yes, the man had committed to being “much more inclined” to run, than actually run.
He did have a few interesting things to say, such as the fact that he loathes the revolving door between D.C. politicians and lobbyists, saying that he would like to create a law that if somebody serves one day in Washington, they would be banned from ever lobbying in Washington.
He called Common Core “a horrible idea,” eliciting huge cheers. “It’s exactly like Obamacare,” he said. “A bunch of people living in Washington who think they’re smarter than we are.”
The man also likes a drink. Or two.
When asked during a series of lighter lightning round questions “Beer or wine?” Pataki said both, “During the day, beer. At night, wine.”
Pataki then made a Chipotle joke at Hillary Clinton‘s expense, perhaps not the first of the day.
“Libby (his wife) and I went to Chipotle yesterday. She didn’t wear sunglasses. I wasn’t in disguise. We said hello to everybody. And I left a tip.”
He further blasted Clinton, saying she can be defeated simply by asking her what she’s accomplished. “Benghazi, Libya, pulling of Iraq. … her record of achievement is zero.”
But ironically, after criticizing her for deleting all of her emails, he immediately offered, “We have to have a positive agenda.”
“She’s going to frighten people: We’re against the middle class, we’re against women, we’re against immigrants, we’re against workers. They try to frighten people. Our job is to inspire people. “