Pataki says he's not running for White House 'yet'

Tuesday, November 14th 2006, 8:20 pm
By: News On 6

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) New York Gov. George Pataki said Tuesday he's not running for anything "yet," but he wouldn't say whether he would form a presidential exploratory committee, as fellow New Yorker Rudy Giuliani did this week.

Pataki, whose decision not to seek a fourth term has stoked speculation about a White House bid, took questions from students after a speech at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

He was asked if Giuliani would make a strong candidate and whether there's room in the race for two moderate Republicans from New York.

"Anyone who has governed successfully in this era should be looked at positively," Pataki said. "There's plenty of room in the Republican Party for people across the spectrum who share our core philosophies."

He also turned down an opportunity to compare himself to Giuliani when a student asked him to do so. "That's a great question that I have no intention of answering," Pataki said.

Pataki said he'll make a decision about an exploratory committee after his term expires in seven weeks.

The governor said Democrats took control of the Senate and House last Tuesday because "they tried to appear as the uniters."

"Republicans didn't have an optimistic vision," he said in his speech. Democrats "came across as the party that was broadminded and more inclusive. The Republicans came across as the party that was looking again to polarize."

Arizona Sen. John McCain said Sunday he was taking the initial step of setting up an exploratory committee. The GOP field is expected to grow with other presidential hopefuls, among them Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.