MEDIA

David Petraeus Definitively Closes The Door On A Presidential Run

CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus made his long anticipated appearance at Manchester, New Hampshire's Saint Anselm College and -- because no one even vaguely political is allowed to visit the state of New Hampshire without being swamped with wild speculation that they're running for president -- Petraeus was asked if he is planning on running for office. He's been pretty clear on this matter before.

Via Philip Klein, I think this statement basically settles the issue:

I thought I'd said no about as many ways as I could. I really do mean no. We have all these artful ways of doing it. 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?' 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 you could never flip, and start your career by flip-flopping into it.

The "Shermanesque reponse" Petraeus mentions refers to William Tecumseh Sherman's famous refusal to run for president: "I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected." (This has, over time, become paraphrased as: "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve.") I imagine that this is the sort of trivia that you have to know in order to attend Saint Anselm College or even vote in New Hampshire.

This will not stop David Gregory from asking Petraeus if he plans to run for president about a dozen times the next time he's on "Meet The Press". At some point, Petraeus may have to start literally hitting people.

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