With all due respect to the buzz surrounding a possible third run for President by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, another former governor says he is very much in the mix and is moving ever-closer to running himself.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki wrapped up a two-day visit to the first-primary state on Monday afternoon telling the New Hampshire Journal he was “very encouraged” by the response he received here and nationally, and he said Americans see a “need for real leadership to bring us together and move forward with a sense of unity.
“It makes me even more strongly inclined to run than I was before,” he said in an interview. Pataki considered running in 2008 and 2012, but decided against it.
Pataki said that while “others” talk about shrinking government and creating an economy that spurs private investment, “I’ve done all this. And I’ve done it in a very difficult, deep blue state and could do it in Washington in a way that brings people together.
“This time is different,” he said. “The government has gained far too much power and must be reduced in terms of cost and size.”
Pataki said that in speaking with Granite Staters at a Sunday event in Hampton and in private meetings on Monday, he came away “very encouraged. People understand the need for dramatic change and they understand that if you have the experience in government and are able to affect change, that is what needs to be done.”
Pataki said that on foreign policy and security, “People understand the need for someone to be proactive to defend our freedom and security, especially when they see what occurred in Paris and what ISIS has done today.” He was referring to reports that ISIS hacked U.S. military social media accounts.
Pataki, who was governor from 1995 to 2006, said he personally witnessed “the horrible consequences of inaction on Sept. 11 and no one wants to see that again. We can’t sit back and wait and give them the chance to train and organize. We have to attack them overseas. This administration has been horribly passive in reacting to these horrible acts. We need to rebuild our military and secure our border and make sure that when an organization is posing a direct threat on the United States, we will respond.”
As for the interest in running for President expressed by Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Pataki said, “I’m not going to be influenced by the decisions others make. We have a very broad and very strong field of Republican candidates and it is a good thing for the party and the country. But you can only control what you do and if you believe you have the experience and the ability and sit it out because of what others may do, then shame on you.”
He said that while he has no specific timetable for a final decision on running, he said he realizes that the decision must be made “sooner rather than later.”