By JULIAN E. BARNES – – – –
Did John Kerry suggest he might be thinking about jumping into the presidential ring?
Or is Mr. Kerry angling to keep his job in a Clinton, Sanders, Cruz or Trump administration?
Wolfgang Ischinger, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference, noted this would be the last time Mr. Kerry addresses the group as secretary of state. But as he took the stage, Mr. Kerry said he wasn’t so sure.
“Wolfgang, thank you for reminding me that everything I am doing is a ‘last,’ ” Mr. Kerry said. “Depending on what I decide to do. So, maybe not.”
Was Mr. Kerry merely thinking a potential President Clinton might keep him on as secretary? Or was he thinking about a leap to the Oval Office?
A historical note: Mr. Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has a thing for flirting at Oval Office bids in Munich. During an interview at last year’s conference, Mr. Kerry was pressed about running for president. “Well, nobody ever says never,” Mr. Kerry said.
It is, of course, extremely unlikely Mr. Kerry would get into the race. Deadlines for getting on the ballots of many primary states have passed, and, as a loyal Democrat, Mr. Kerry would likely be disinclined to enter as an independent. Besides, Mr. Kerry is shuttling around the world so much on diplomatic missions he would have little time to campaign.
Whether this year Mr. Kerry was thinking about a presidential run or trying to stay on as secretary of state, he got some encouragement from his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as he took the stage following Mr. Kerry.
John Kirby, spokesman for the State Department–headquartered in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington–said Mr. Kerry was just trying “to have a little fun.”
“He’s focused on his job at Foggy Bottom,” Mr. Kirby said. “And as you know, he serves at the pleasure of the president.”