It’s not entirely clear what his final decision will be, but from the enthusiasm he expresses, it very well could be that the third time will be the charm for former New York Gov. George Pataki.
“Yes, yes,” he said today when asked in an interview if he remains at least as serious about running for President as he was when he last visited the state in mid-October. He weighed it twice in the past and decided against it, but said he believes that this time, Americans are looking for someone with a clear fiscal message – the federal government is simply too large and leadership is required to shrink it.
Pataki, in New Hampshire on Sunday and Monday for stops from the Seacoast, to Keene, and to Henniker and Concord, said he has no timetable for a decision, and he said the GOP field as it is shaping up is strong, with or without Mitt Romney.
“There could be a great many candidates running and that’s a good thing for democracy and the Republican Party,” said the former three-term governor. “I believe the time is past when we anoint a leader early in the process. People should have to work hard and lay out their vision and positions on the issues and make their cases.
“That’s one of the great things about New Hampshire, where so much of the politics is retail and there is and is an opportunity to meet people and talk to them,” he said.
Pataki said his message continues to be that the federal government “is too big, too powerful, too intrusive and too expensive and needs to be dramatically scaled back. There are those who want to see us divided but I believe most Americans realize we have a common future and a common belief in this country, and we need the right policies to get it back on the right track.” He is the spokesman for a super PAC called Americans for Real Change.
Pataki proposes reducing the federal workforce by 15 percent and also reducing burdens on small businesses.
“The federal government has three main responsibilities,” Pataki said. “To provide for the security of the people, and when we don’t know who is crossing our border we’re not succeeding on that. It should create an economic climate for the private sector of invest and create jobs without being over-regulated.
“And it should provide a safety net to those who need help. And who should have a more legitimate claim to that than our veterans? And the scandal at the VA has shown that the federal government is also failing at that core responsibility.
“I love my life in the private sector,” Pataki said, but “when I look at what is happening in this great country and to its role in the world, it is discouraging that we have not had the appropriate leadership in Washington to exercise appropriate American leadership in the world.”
He also said there must be a return in the White House “to respect for the rule of law,” which he said has been weakened by President Obama.
“I’d like to see the new Republican Congress put together solutions to the problems and challenges facing this American people and come up with legislation, present that legislation to make the country better, and leave it to the President to decide if he will be the person who stands in the way of Congress or whether he will work in a bipartisan way,” Pataki said.
“The American people have called for a new Congress,” Pataki said. “It is now up to Congress to present positive suggestions and legislation.”
Among the key Republicans who met with Pataki on Monday was self-described “old friend” Tom Rath, a Concord attorney and longtime GOP strategist.
“There is clearly room for a center right ‘governing’ conservative, the space that Mitt Romney filled in 2012,” Rath said. “I think that is where Pataki would place himself.”
(Our earlier report follows.)
Monday morning, Nov. 24:
Former New York Gov. George Pataki is back in first-primary state New Hampshire for the second time in just more than a month, talking about the activities of the political action committee with which he is involved, Americans for Real Change.
Republican Pataki, who last visited New Hampshire Oct. 19-21, arrived in the state on Sunday and met with prominent Seacoast area Republicans, including state Sen. Nancy Stiles. He also met with the UNH College Republicans.
Today, Pataki visited the Henniker Brewing Co. and The Mountain, a t-shirt company in Keene. He is also meeting with Keene area Republicans as well as key Republicans in the Concord area.
Pataki told the New Hampshire Journal in October he is serious about the possibility of running for President in the 2016 campaign. Twice before Pataki considered running for President, but ended up not running.