John Bolton eyes 2012 presidential run

December 21, 2010

By Molly Ball, Politico

No, it’s not just an attention-getting stunt. John Bolton is seriously considering running for president.

Bolton, the fiery, archconservative former United Nations ambassador, sees an opening in the 2012 Republican field. And his case, while far-fetched, is not altogether implausible.

“As I survey the situation, I think the Republican field is wide open,” Bolton told POLITICO. “I don’t think the party’s anywhere close to a decision. And stranger things have happened. For example, inexperienced senators from Illinois have gotten presidential nominations.”

Bolton’s explorations are attracting some notice on the right. He’s on the cover of the forthcoming issue of National Review, the influential conservative magazine.

Editor Rich Lowry said the magazine made Bolton its subject because of his rising profile in conservative circles.

“He looms quite large,” Lowry said. “There are so few voices on foreign policy [in Republican politics]. John has that expertise, and he’s on Fox, I would guess, once a day at least. He’s writing what feels like, to me, an op-ed a week or more for fairly substantial outlets.”

The case for Bolton is a straightforward one: He would be the national security candidate. As he sees it, there wouldn’t be any meaningful competition for that designation. Republican primary voters would cotton to his confrontational style and his ability to target what conservatives see as a major vulnerability for President Barack Obama.

Bolton would benefit from the contacts acquired over his long career in government: He started at the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Reagan administration and held ranking positions in the State Department under both presidents Bush. Yet, he would also carry the appeal of being a nonpolitician, someone who has never previously run for office and whose reputation, at least on the right, is as a speaker of unfiltered truth to power.

“I’m obviously aware that people are quite focused on the economy rather than foreign policy issues, but that is something that should and can be altered as people see the nature of the threats around the world that we face,” Bolton said. “Nearly all the experts I’ve talked to have told me that candidates, in the early days, need a discriminator — something that distinguishes them from the rest of the candidates. I’m just not Generic Governor A or Generic Governor B.”

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2 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • Tom Abeyta says:

    I too would like to sign up. I’ve listened to this man speak and I believe he knows what he is talking about. He’s intelligent, he has a keen sense of situational awareness. I also believe he is a problem solver. I have deep respect and admiration of Ambassador Bolton. I say go for it!

  • sgt bubba says:

    sign me up. great choice, finally a candidate with a “set”

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