The Corner

Bolton Won’t Run

NR favorite John Bolton, a former United Nations ambassador, has decided against a presidential run. “It was a very difficult decision,” he said in an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News. “My view has not changed one iota that we need a much more robust discussion of national-security issues as part of this presidential campaign.”

“I say that not because I have an abstract interest in foreign policy but because the policies that President Obama has been pursuing are extremely harmful to the nation, now and into the future,” he continued. “And unless we start talking about them, I don’t think we are going to be able to fix them with a new president.”

Back in June, Bolton was charting a potential path:

To the viability question, Bolton says, game on. “I would focus first on New Hampshire, followed by South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada,” he says. “I think that is a very understandable path to the nomination.” Iowa, however, is probably out of the equation. He is against ethanol subsidies, for one, and it may be a bit too late to build a base there, “where the 99 counties are like the 99 names of God.”

Still, even as the clock ticks, Bolton firmly believes that competency and leadership will be a major factor in the primary. And it is on this front, he says, where he could swoop in, make his case, and surprise.

But it was not to be. “I kept coming to the conclusion that I could not possibly win the nomination and I didn’t like that answer,” Bolton said. “So I went back and revisited my assumptions and the data. I think I would have had a lot of support. I think I could have raised money. But I think the political commentariat here in Washington is convinced that foreign policy is not a winning issue. I don’t think that’s right.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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