President Odierno? Army's top general not interested

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Commander, yes. Commander-in-chief, no.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said he won’t run for president or governor of his native New Jersey, citing his plans to retire from public life but not public service.

“I’m not sure I would be best suited to serve in public office, but I — you know I might find different ways to stay involved after I retire, in order to continue to move forward with the issues that I think are important to our national security,” Odierno said May 1 at a town hall meeting with troops in Vincenza, Italy.

It starts at 20:45 in the video above.

Odierno was asked whether he would run for president. The questioner noted that unlike generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus, who left their jobs in scandal, Odierno’s “public image has stayed pretty flawless.”

Amid laughter and applause, Odierno grinned. Then he demurred, saying he made a commitment to his wife that he would retire after nearly 40 years of service.

Perhaps mindful of the example he sets for troops wondering what will come after their Army careers, he said he would like to continue to “stay involved” in some way, “with the issues that I think are important to our national security, and to be honest with you, issues that are important to our veterans.”

This is an excerpt from the Roll Call transcript:

QUESTION: Sir, unlike General [Stanley] McChrystal, and General [David] Petraeus, your public image has stayed pretty flawless. Have you ever considered a run at the presidency in 2016, or 2020?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

ODIERNO: So — so first I want to make very clear, nobody is flawless. I want to make sure that you understand that. No. I won’t do that. My wife has given me very strict instructions that when I leave the chief, I’ll have almost 40 years of service, and she’s told me it’s time for us to retire. So we’ll probably retire, and — and do something else. You know, it’s important to continue to serve, though I appreciate the question you ask. I’m not sure I would be best suited to serve in public office, but I — you know I might find different ways to stay involved after I retire, in order to continue to move forward with the issues that I think are important to our national security.

And to be honest with you. And issues important to our veterans. And I think that’s what I want to focus on, is how we take care of those who’ve served. So when I decide to leave the Army, I think that’s probably what I’m going to focus on. But thank you very much for the question. I appreciate that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

ODIERNO: Yeah, you know I’m from — originally I’m from New Jersey, so two years ago I got an e-mail. And they said, “Do you want to run for the governor of New Jersey?” And I wrote back, “No.”

(LAUGHTER)

Anybody else? Please, anything at all? Don’t be afraid to ask a question. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to answer any questions you might have.

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