No White House for Frist

Outgoing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) announced today that he WILL NOT run for president in 2008. It was widely rumored that Frist did not seek re-election this year in order to concentrate on a run at the Oval Office.

In a statement released by his Senate office, the Tennessee Republican said he will take a sabbatical from public life. “At this point a return to private life will allow me to return to my professional roots as a healer and to refocus my creative energies on innovative solutions to seemingly insurmountable challenges Americans face,” said Frist, who was a heart and lung surgeon before joining the Senate.

Frist served two terms in the Senate and was elected majority leader in 2002. In this morning’s statement, he said that in the short term he will resume medical mission trips around the world and that he may eventually return to the practice of medicine.

By my count, that leaves about 20-25 total contenders. However, this is certainly the first big shock of the ’08 race.

UPDATE (11/30/2006 3:06 pm): My buddy in Tennessee just reminded me that Frist took a pledge while first running for Senate in 1994 that he would only serve two terms.

10 comments

  1. Will Hinton says:

    Adam: I am trying to read between the lines to discern the sarcasm that I’m hoping is there. The idea of Frist running for President was always rather farcical.

  2. Adam Fogle says:

    No sarcasm. Frist’s name has been thrown around since 2004 as a major contender.

    Granted the filibuster episode last summer may have done him in, and I have no idea how far he would have gotten, but I think he was on most short lists for 2008.

  3. David says:

    He was on the short lists, but he had no chance. More boring than Al Gore. Repubs lose NOTHING on his withdrawal.

  4. Will Hinton says:

    David is right. Did any actually think that Frist had a chance? I believe that you actually have to have a pulse to run for President and Frist has pretty much zero charisma.

  5. Bull Moose says:

    Um, Bill Frist is a smart and brilliant man but there is just no way that he could be President.

    With the Columbia Healthcare issue and insider trading and SEC investigation, there’s enough of a cloud that voters just weren’t going to bite. As well, his tenure as Majority Leader hasn’t gone very well.

    The best thing that Frist could have done was to not have taken advantage of the issues around Trent Lott.

    That karma, it sure has a way of biting one in the ass.

  6. jsm says:

    The last guy to get elected president from the Senate was Kennedy. I don’t think the trend will change anytime soon. I believe people want to see some executive experience or at least some assertive leadership in a person before giving their vote for president.

    Frist was not a leader who really convinced the public. He may have done well in Washington, but I don’t think the American people see him as the type of leader who could be in charge of an effective administration. I’m interested to see who in the GOP emerges as that guy. Options seem very limited right now.

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