News Column

Petraeus VP Talk Bubbles to Surface

Aug. 9, 2012

Tim Buckland, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester

The White House and Central Intelligence Agency moved quickly Tuesday to deny reports that President Barack Obama told a supporter that he believed his presidential campaign opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, had selected CIA Director David Petraeus as his running mate.

According to a report that surfaced Tuesday on Drudge Report, Romney "secretly met" with Petraeus in New Hampshire, where they have homes in Wolfeboro and Springfield, respectively. In that report, Obama "whispered to a top fundraiser" that Romney wants to select Petraeus for the vice president spot.

Romney's campaign would not discuss the report.

"Our campaign does not discuss the vice-presidential selection process," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams told the New Hampshire Union Leader in an email.

Romney also ignored a question about Petraeus asked by a reporter during a campaign event Tuesday.

The White House and CIA flatly denied the report.

"I can say with absolute confidence that such an assertion has never been uttered by the President," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a press conference reported by Yahoo News. "And, again, be mindful of your sources."

"Director Petraeus feels very privileged to be able to continue to serve our country in his current position and, as he has stated clearly numerous times before, he will not seek elected office," CIA spokesman Preston Golson said Tuesday, according to Politico.

According his official biography at the CIA, Petraeus became the agency's director Sept. 6 after a 37-year U.S. Army in which he rose to the rank of four-star general and served as the commander of the war in Afghanistan and as the architect of the 2007 troop surge in the Iraq war.

Petraeus is the latest name with New Hampshire connections being mentioned as a potential vice president for Romney. In November, Romney said in a Fox News interview that U.S. Sen. Kelly A. Ayotte, R-N.H., was one of "15 names of people" a Republican presidential nominee could name as a running mate.

Ayotte, who has campaigned for Romney since endorsing him in November, told a Union Leader reporter in April that her selection as the running mate is "not going to happen." However, she continues to be mentioned as being on a short list of possible candidates.



Source: (c)2012 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.). Distributed by MCT Information Services


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