Less than a week after saying he was seriously considering running for the Republican presidential nomination, George Pataki reversed course and said he would not, in fact, enter the race.
I remain committed to the advancement of real, politically viable reforms to entitlements and rolling back the size and cost of the federal government, Pataki, who was governor of New York from 1995-2006, said in a statement on Thursday. At this time, I will continue to do this as the leader of No American Debt and not as a candidate for president.
No American Debt is an organization led by Pataki that aims to educate the general public about the severity of America's $14 trillion debt and how this debt impacts everyday Americans, according to its Web site. The group, he said, will pressure all presidential candidates to pursue debt-reducing policies. They must take on the Big Four: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense, the Web site says. Yes, every budget proposal should include cuts to wasteful spending, but over 60 percent of the budget goes to just those four areas.
Pataki's change of heart is a tacit admission that he never had any real chance of winning the nomination. His talking points about cutting the deficit and reducing the size of the government were in line with the views of many Republicans, particularly the fiscal conservatives who have gained so much clout through the Tea Party. But his reputation from his time as governor and his positions on social issues like gay marriage put him to the left of the average Republican primary voter, even though he is a center-right politician.
In his statement announcing that he would not enter the presidential race, Pataki said he would eventually endorse whichever candidate offers the vision, the ideas and the leadership to bring an end to America's debt crisis.