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Petraeus flashback: “I will not, ever, run for political office”

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Philip Klein

Right now, Matt Drudge is reporting that, “President Obama whispered to a top fundraiser this week that he believes GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wants to name Gen. David Patraeus to the VP slot!” It’s sure to create buzz in an otherwise slow news week.

But for David Petraeus to be Romney’s running mate, it would be a major about face from public comments he’s made over the years emphatically ruling out any interest in public office.

Back in 2010, for instance, I saw David Petraeus speak at Manchester’s St. Anselm College, the home of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. It drew an obvious question from reporters during a press conference held prior to the event, and here’s what he told reporters:

“I thought I’d said no about as many ways as I could,” he said. “I really do mean no. We have all these artful ways of doing that. I’ve tried Shermanesque responses, which everybody goes and finds out what Sherman said was pretty unequivocally no. I’ve done several different ways. I’ve tried quoting the country song, ‘What Part of No Don’t You Understand?’ But I mean, I really do mean that. I feel very privileged to be able to serve our country. I’m honored to continue to do that as long as I can contribute, but I will not, ever, run for political office, I can assure you. And again, we have said that repeatedly and I’m hoping that people realize at a certain point you say it so many times that there’s no way you could ever flip, and start your career by flip-flopping into it.”

That was in response to questions about him running for president. It would seem even less likely that Petraeus would abandon his aversion to politics to accept the number two slot. That said, here’s my 2010 profile exploring Petraeus’s potential strengths and weaknesses as a candidate and discussing whether he could follow in the footsteps of “Ike.”

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