Steinhauser: Pataki takes another big step towards 2016 run
CONCORD - George Pataki's taking another big step towards running for the White House.
The former three-term New York governor, who's seriously considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, is going up with a paid television commercial in New Hampshire this week.
Without mentioning names, the 30-second ad appears to criticize Pataki's possible rivals for the Republican nomination, saying that a focus on social issues instead of the economy and national security will only help elect Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to the White House.
Defeating Islamic terrorists. Shrinking government. Growing the economy. These are the issues that matter most. Instead we're debating social issues like abortion and gay rights. They are a distraction, and will only help elect Hillary, said Pataki in the spot, which was paid for by We the People, not Washington, the PAC Pataki set up as he explores a presidential bid.
A Pataki adviser said the commercial will run on broadcast and cable television in the Granite State for the next two weeks.
Word of the ad came on the eve of Pataki's sixth visit this year to the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Two weeks ago, Pataki took two more concrete steps towards launching a presidential campaign. He announced the initial members of a New Hampshire Steering Committee for his political action committee. And Pataki also opened up office space in Manchester for his PAC.
"We're taking a couple of more significant steps. We're opening an office on Lowell Street in Manchester right across from the Red Arrow and we announced a steering committee for our PAC, including two Republican state senators, a former state senator, some local officials and community leaders, and I'm pleased to have so many people who are joining the cause to get the message out," Pataki said in a one-on-one interview recently with the Washington Post and NH1 News.
The two state senators are John Reagan and Nancy Stiles. They were the first two of the 14 Republican state senators in New Hampshire to back someone in the hunt for the 2016 presidential nomination. Since then two other state senators endorsed Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who last week launched a presidential campaign.
If he runs, Pataki will be a longshot to win the nomination. He's been out of office for nine years, lacks national name recognition, and is already witnessing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie poaching into his New York based donors.
"I understand I have a long uphill fight to even become the Republican nominee," he acknowledged.
But Pataki added that "I've always had long uphill fights. I did when I ran in New York against Mario Cuomo. No one thought I could run."
Pataki believes that the Granite State's tradition of retail politics levels the playing field for a longshot like him.
"One of the things that's terrific about New Hampshire being the first primary is that it's so retail. People want to meet you. They want to shake your hand. They want to sit down across the coffee table and not just listen to what you have to say but have you listen to what they they're saying. And I think that's the best type of politics," Pataki said recently.
Last month, at a Saint Patrick's Day breakfast and roast in Nashua, Pataki made fun of himself, saying "it's hard for me to be funny this early in the morning. Actually it's hard for me to be funny anytime."
And Pataki, who's flirted with running for the White House a couple of times in the past, added that Donald Trump, who's also once again considering a presidential bid, is "the only person in America who has flirted with running for president longer than I have."