Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) says he is not running for president in 1992, but if he does change his mind, House Speaker Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.) will not only support him but allow him to keep his job as House majority leader while he runs.
During an appearance at the National Press Club Thursday, Foley was asked whether Gephardt would be released from the pledge he made to remain as majority leader when he ran for the job in 1989 should he decide to run for president.
Replied Foley: "If Dick Gephardt indicates a desire to seek the Democratic nomination for president, I will support him enthusiastically. And I think the overwhelming number of Democratic members of the House . . . would do so, too. And if he feels that he can carry on as majority leader while he is a candidate, I would have no objection or concern about that."
Earlier the same day, Gephardt -- who is widely believed to be keeping his options open for 1992 -- was asked at a breakfast with Washington Post reporters and editors whether he will run for president.
He gave his usual carefully crafted response that does not appear to rule out a presidential campaign: "My intention is to be majority leader and I am not running."