- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2006

12:20 p.m.

RICHMOND (AP) — Mark Warner announced today he will not seek the presidential nomination in 2008. The former Virginia governor had been exploring a White House bid since he left office in January, with frequent visits to Iowa and New Hampshire and generous fundraising for national Democratic candidates.

Mr. Warner, who said the pressures of a national campaign weren’t fair for his family, didn’t rule out seeking the vice presidency, or even running for governor again.

“I have decided not to run for President,” Mr. Warner, 51, said in a statement on the Web site for his political action committee, Forward Together. He formed the PAC to explore a presidential run.

“While politically this appears to be the right time for me to take the plunge, at this point, I want to have a real life,” said Mr. Warner, a father of three teen-age daughters. “And while the chance may never come again, I shouldn’t move forward unless I’m willing to put everything else in my life on the back burner.”

Mr. Warner’s press staff hastily arranged sit-down interviews with reporters in Richmond to outline the former governor’s decision.

Mr. Warner, known for his toothy grin and hands-on style, had been telling his friends for months he still hadn’t made a decision about running for president.

He took a long European vacation with his wife Lisa Collis and daughters over the summer with the idea it might be their last private time together for a long while.

Mr. Warner said yesterday he had planned to make the final decision during a Columbus Day trip to visit his father, 81, in Connecticut. During the trip he looked at colleges with his oldest daughter and realized it was time to announce he will not embark on a

presidential campaign.

Delegate Brian J. Moran, Alexandria Democrat and one of Mr. Warner’s biggest supporters, said he was disappointed with the decision.

“He was obviously extremely attractive to those of us who knew him so well,” said Mr. Moran, noting Mr. Warner encouraged him to run for office 12 years ago. “He would have made a great president.”

After speaking to reporters, Mr. Warner headed to Iowa to campaign for a Democratic candidate there. He also plans to spend a week on the trail in Virginia with James H. Webb Jr., the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate.

Mr. Warner wasn’t shy about his interest in a Senate seat, particularly since Republican Sen. John W. Warner is likely to retire in 2008. With record popularity ratings topping 80 percent in some polls, Mr. Warner would be positioned to do well in the race for an open seat.

The Forward Together PAC raised $9 million this year, more than any other political action committee.

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