Patrick says he’s not running for president in 2016

Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John E. Walsh’s decision to leave his post to lead Governor’s Deval Patrick’s political action committee fanned the flames of speculation that the Commonwealth’s chief executive might be taking a look at higher office.

But Patrick today was clear: he is not running to succeed President Obama.

“I am not running for president in 2016,” Patrick told reporters at UMass Boston, according to a transcript of his comments provided by his office.

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“I’m going to finish this second term, I’m going to go back into the private sector. And as Diane, my wife says, pay some attention to our family and friends while they are still willing have us pay some attention,” he said.

Patrick said that Walsh, a close political adviser, indicated that he wanted the governor to make a bid for the White House. But, Patrick said, “he doesn’t get to make that decision.”

The governor explained that going forward, his political action committee will be focused on grassroots politics and helping people who are not career politicians get involved in the political process.

“I am interested in people who are willing to run, willing to lose. Meaning they actually believe in something and are willing to put it on the line,” he said. “[W]e want to support that, both here in the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the country where we can,” he added.

Talk of Patrick’s 2016 prospects ratcheted up in Democratic political circles after he gave a fiery and well-received speech at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina in 2012 in which he called for Democrats “to stiffen our backbone and stand up for what we believe.”

Patrick’s second term as governor ends in January, 2015.

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