Analyzing Petraeus’ Denial of Interest
In the interview, Wallace asks Petraeus if he has any interest running for president. Petraeus responds,
None Chris at all, thank you. I have great respect for those who do choose to serve our country that way. I’ve chosen to serve our country in uniform, and I think that Gen. Sherman had it right when he gave what is now commonly referred to as a Sherman-esque response when asked a similar question.
Then Wallace asks if Petraeus means to say that he is giving a Sherman-esque response, to which Petraeus says,
[Laughs] I am Chris and I don’t think it would ever get to that point anyway.
For those who don’t know, Gen. William Sherman, a famous Civil War general notable for his “scorched earth” tactics against the South, said of running for office that “If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve.”
A few observations:
1. Petraeus only references Sherman’s response at first, rather than saying he is offering the same response. Why? When pressed, he does admit that he is making the same response, but it’s notable that he would have only reference it had he not been pressed.
2. Petraeus seems more nervous about his response to this question than other questions.
3. He also has clearly rehearsed his answer to the question, which means he has considered his response. Although it is possible that he could have planned his response even without interest for eventually running, it’s at least on his mind. And if he weren’t interested in running at all, would he need to rehearse his answer?
So is Petraeus’ answer as “definitive” as AllahPundit would have us believe? Readers, do you have any thoughts?