March 25th, 2010
09:44 AM ET
4 years ago

Petraeus' Shermanesque statement: 'No means no'

Petraeus made clear he will never be a candidate for president.
Petraeus made clear he will never be a candidate for president.

(CNN) – While news of Gen. David Petraeus' visit to New Hampshire Wednesday inevitably sparked speculation he might be open to a 2012 White house bid, the top U.S. general in Iraq made clear he will never be a candidate for president.

"I thought I'd said 'no' about as many ways as I could. I really do mean no," Petraeus told students and reporters during an appearance at New Hampshire's St. Anselm College Wednesday night, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Such an unequivocal statement is rare from high-profile national figures who often refuse to categorically rule out any possibility of a presidential run, no matter how small.

But Petraeus, whose name Republican activists and bloggers continue to float as an ideal candidate to take on President Obama in three years, was emphatically clear:
"I've tried quoting a country song 'What part of 'no' don't you understand?' but I really do mean that," he continued. "I feel very privileged to be able to serve our country in uniform. I'm honored to continue to do that as long as I can continue to contribute, but I will not ever run for political office, I can assure you."

Petraeus, who is a registered Republican in the state of New Hampshire, also said he has not voted since 2002.

Perhaps it's only fitting Petraeus' ardent refusal to run for president mirrors that of another famous American general more than 130 years ago.

Asked if he would consider a White House bid in 1884, the popular former Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman said in no uncertain terms: "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected."


Filed under: David Petraeus
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Fed Up

    If he is any kind of military man, he has more scruples than to join the ranks of the lying, cheating fools that are up on Capital Hill. Vote 'em in. Vote 'em out.

    March 25, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. They don't take no for an answer

    The American people thought saying no to the comprehensive health care reform bill would have been sufficient too, General.

    March 25, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. G

    General Petraeus would probably make a better President than Obama.

    March 25, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. He's a General, Not a Politician

    These right wing loons are hellbent on getting Gen. Petreus to run for POTUS. They'll change their mond once they find out that the general's ideals are aligned with President Obama's.

    March 25, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. Its a shame

    Its a shame, we certainly need someone who has leadership ability in office.we did not have it with bush and we do not have it now. He would also have some management capabilities and common sense which we also do not have in place. We need someone who is committed to freedom, not taking freedom away and putting the government in charge of everything they can take over.

    March 25, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Jason

    uh....yeah, like frat teens telling the underage girls at the party they really shouldn't be drinking....and they really should keep their shirts on.....yeah right.

    March 25, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Saul Rosenberg

    The General is a great leader and extremely smart. He would make an excellent president.

    March 25, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Gary

    Good for General Petraeus! I'm glad he has remained neutral in his polital stance and continues to represent the military- they who defend all people no matter what political position they may have!

    March 25, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    ...and his qualifications are........not voting for 8 years? being a military man which if you're a Republican is great even though you have no experience in government, but if he were running as a Democrat, the screams of "unqualified" would be deafening

    March 25, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Joseph

    David Petraeus is one of greatest general in modern US military history, and he is obviously more intelligent than the ONE, because he did not need the affirmative action policy to get in Princeton. If Obama and democrats had their ways, we would have certainly lost the war on terror a few years back. I would be happy to give my vote to him if he does run in 2012, because he would be 10 times better than the current one for the security of this country.

    March 25, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Limbaugh Cheese

    Lets just stick to what were good at and trained for.This has never worked out well.Even Ike said to beware of the military industrial complex and any leaders from it after him.Even Rome fell from all the money they put out trying to control the globe.

    March 25, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. Independant Thinker

    Congrats CNN. I, too, think it a good time to "limit' comments on some of these blogs. Everybody needs to take a deep breath.

    March 25, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. geecee

    Only in Republicans dreams! I like General Petraeus and believe he is an honorable man. Gen. Colin Powell is a Republican and he is also an honorable man. There are some honorable Republicans. But not many!!! In any event, Powell supported Obama because Obama was the better candidate in 2008. I believe General Petraeus has no problem with President Obama either and would not choose to challenge him. Obama gets re-elected in 2012. No doubt about it!!

    March 25, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |