McCain: People want me to run for president again

November 11, 2013

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said over the weekend that he's getting lots of pressure to run for president again, but that "it's not on my radar."

McCain said previously that he's considering running for reelection when his Senate seat is up in 2016, when he will be 80 years old.

From the Arizona Republic:

"Particularly since the shutdown, I've had a spate of e-mails and letters and phone calls saying, 'Run for president again,'" McCain told The Arizona Republic. "As you know, I’m seriously thinking about running for re-election to the Senate. But I think, in the words of the late Morris K. Udall, as far as my presidential ambitions are concerned, 'The people have spoken — the bastards.'"

In his book Too Funny To Be President, Udall, D-Ariz., attributed the quote to California Democrat Dick Tuck. Udall unsuccessfully sought the 1976 Democratic nomination for president.

While even McCain agrees that another presidential candidacy seems far-fetched, Bruce Merrill, a veteran Arizona political scientist and pollster, told The Republic he has fielded multiple calls from out-of-state reporters this year investigating the possibility. McCain was critical of the GOP strategy to try to defund President Barack Obama’s health-care law, resulting in a partial government shutdown. McCain emerged with better national poll numbers than others associated with the crisis, including "tea party"-style U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

"I can assure you, I don’t see it," said McCain, who will turn 80 in 2016. "It’s not on my radar."

Worth noting: After McCain said he was considering running for reelection in 2016, some headlines might have left the mistaken impression that he was considering another presidential bid rather than simply running for reelection. It's possible that the questions from out-of-state reporters might have been in response to these misperceptions.

It's also worth noting that McCain's "I don't see it" and "It's not on my radar" statements aren't quite Sherman-esque.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · November 11, 2013