WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Coburn doesn't think much of the field of Republican presidential candidates and “had thoughts” of running himself. But, on a call-in show on Wednesday, he made clear that it wasn't going to happen and said he probably doesn't have the “skill set” necessary.
In a Wednesday morning appearance on C-SPAN, the Muskogee Republican listened to two Republicans and an independent express support for a Coburn candidacy for president.
A Republican from West Virginia said Coburn, unlike other politicians, speaks in a way that “the common man” understands.
Asked by host Peter Slen whether he had any thoughts of running for president, Coburn said, “I had thoughts of it, especially with what I think is the weakness of our potential nominees right now, but nothing serious and probably don't have the skill set that's necessary for that.”
Later, a caller identified as an independent from South Carolina, said, “You're the guy who I think is most qualified to lead this country, and I think you really ought to step up.”
Coburn responded, “I have great difficulty trying to do that.”
Coburn, who doesn't plan to seek a third term in the U.S. Senate, has been urged numerous times in the past to run for president. It's not a topic he likes to discuss, as was clear on Wednesday as he gave short answers, in contrast to the lengthy responses he gave to topics he does enjoy talking about — the nation's finances and government waste.
Coburn declined later Wednesday to elaborate on his comments about running for president.
On the show, Coburn was also asked whom he would vote for if Newt Gingrich gets the Republican nomination. Coburn recently said on “Fox News Sunday” that he would have difficulty supporting Gingrich.
“I'd probably vote for Newt Gingrich simply because when you're limited to two options, you get one of two options,” Coburn said Wednesday.
If that's hardly a ringing endorsement, Coburn wasn't any easier on himself.
When a viewer sent a message via Twitter suggesting that the interest in a Coburn presidential campaign had more to do with the “awful” Republican field of candidates than Coburn's virtues, the senator responded simply, “Probably so.”