ABC News' Michael Falcone (@michaelpfalcone) reports:
After months of speculation — and a week when rumors swirled that former New York Gov. George Pataki might, just might enter the presidential race — turns out he's decided against a bid.
On Friday, Pataki issued a statement through a spokesman saying that he would continue to lead an organization he founded earlier this year devoted to solving the nation's debt crisis but would not be a candidate for president in 2012.
"I remain committed to the advancement of real, politically viable reforms to entitlements and rolling back the size and cost of the federal government. At this time, I will continue to do this as the leader of No American Debt and not as a candidate for president," Pataki said. "Throughout the coming months I will remain active in this important discussion and support the candidate who offers the vision, the ideas and the leadership to bring an end to America's debt crisis.”
Pataki was expected to speak in Iowa on Saturday at a Polk County Republican Party picnic, but has bowed out of that event. Organizers of the gathering that presidential candidates Rick Perry, Ron Paul and Thad McCotter plan to attend, heard from Pataki sources earlier this week that the former New York governor was seriously thinking about using the venue as the place to jump into the race.
Pataki even has a "George Pataki for President" website built and ready to be deployed. The site, which reporters discovered this week, was quickly taken down.
Had he entered the race, Pataki's path would have been uncertain. As a socially moderate Republican, it is unlikely his views would have won him a great deal of support among the GOP primary electorate.
In his statement on Friday, Pataki saved some fighting words for President Obama.
"President Obama and his misguided policies are bankrupting America, stealing from our children's future and he must be defeated next November," he said. "It is incumbent on our party to come forward with serious solutions to preserve our future and ensure America's continued greatness."