Former Gov. George Pataki held a secretive lunch with supporters yesterday, fueling speculation that he might make a 2012 run for president. Pataki and five friends met in a private room at restaurant Solo in Midtown.
His rep said, "It was not a fund-raiser. He got together with some friends and supporters . . . They did talk about politics, they talked about the future."
As for a presidential run?
"He's going to look at the field and look at what he's got going on, and make a decision based on those facts. He certainly hasn't ruled it out."
Let's look at clues for a Pataki run.
In December, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch said, "he really wants to be a candidate, and he intends to run."
And a former chair of the NY GOP warned everyone about the campaign he'd run:
"He is an ‘aw shucks’ guy, but in the meantime, he is ripping your balls out."
"He has not shied away from it when we've talked."
Meanwhile, Pataki himself laid out the conditions for a run, during an interview with ABC in November 2010.
"What I'm going to be looking at is, do we have the right people out there who have that experience, who have experienced leadership, who have been challenged and who can bring people together -- not just Republicans and conservatives, but conservatives [and] Democrats."
And last year, John Cornyn speculated on why Pataki passed on a Senate run against Kirsten Gillibrand.
"My thought is, of course, he's rumored to be a potential candidate for president, and I think he's got his sights set on other offices, maybe including running for president. That'd be my guess."
So, as when Napoleon took that first look at Russia, clearly there's interest.
But as we've seen with Mike Pence and John Thune, that doesn't mean you'll be seeing yard signs.