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No "Shermanesque" Statement from Rice

By Glenn Kessler
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won't quite say "No."

After her spokesman yesterday said, "If she is actively seeking the vice presidency, then she's the last one to know about it," a reporter today pressed the issue and asked why Rice has not "made sort of a Shermanesque denial about this speculation that you might run for vice president."

Rice responded with a well-worn refrain: "Let me just say, first of all, that Senator McCain is an extraordinary American, a really outstanding leader, and obviously a great patriot. That said, I'm going back to Stanford or back to California, west of the Mississippi. I very much look forward to watching this campaign and voting as a voter."

She then ticked off some of the issues on her plate as the nation's top diplomat, and concluded: "This is obviously a very busy agenda. And here I sit with my Mexican and Canadian counterparts on hemispheric issues. So I have a lot of work to do, and then I'll happily go back to Stanford."

This familiar verbiage does not quite close the door. This is how American Civil War General William T. Sherman famously put it when asked if he would be the GOP candidate in the presidential election of 1884: "If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve."

Another person who recently became the subject of vice presidential speculation, Sen. Hillary Clinton-backer Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, even invoked Sherman's quote when asked about the possibility, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Strickland added: "You just can stop any thought of the vice presidency. That's not something that I'm interested in."

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 8, 2008; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  Hillary Rodham Clinton , John McCain  
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