SACRAMENTO — Gov. George Deukmejian announced today that he will not be California's favorite-son presidential candidate in 1988. But he hinted that he is considering a run for national office in 1992 and said he plans to set up a committee that could help a national campaign.
Deukmejian, rejecting the favorite-son candidacy, said he wants to leave a clear field for "men and women who are bona fide candidates." He said, "I don't feel comfortable about asking somebody to vote for me when I am not a (real) candidate."
The Republican governor also said he rejected a request from Vice President George Bush, the leading presidential contender in national opinion polls, to endorse Bush for president in 1988. "I said that at this time I'm not prepared to make any endorsement," Deukmejian said.
'Not Ruling Anything Out'
Deukmejian indicated at a Capitol news conference that he was contemplating a run at higher political office in 1992 but declined to give specifics. "I'm not ruling anything out at this point," Deukmejian said.
However, he said he would under no circumstances be a candidate for President or vice president next year.
When asked whether his statements today indicated a change from his earlier reluctance to become a national political figure, Deukmejian said: "I want to have all available options for my future in public life. Those include running for a third term and would include, perhaps, some other role in public office."
Deukmejian, who was elected to a second term in a landslide victory over Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley last November, said his new committee would "serve two primary purposes. One purpose is to assist us in a grass-roots effort to help garner support for our programs and policies. . . . Second, it will provide us with the opportunity to become better informed on national and international issues." He also said the panel will be involved in fund raising.
Brushing aside all requests for specifics about his planned new political committee, Deukmejian told reporters that he was announcing it at this time "to give you something to write about," but he refused to say who would be on it, what it would be called or what its purposes would be.
But he did say that it "is possible" that he will be making more political speeches outside of California.