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Petraeus to USA TODAY: Like Sherman, he's not a candidate

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Is Gen. David Petraeus eyeing a White House run? asks liberal Mother Jones magazine. Petraeus for President? asks an editorial in the conservative New York Sun.

Dream on.

Petraeus told the USA TODAY editorial board today that he has no political ambitions. USA TODAY's Susan Page was there.

"I have enormous respect for the political leaders ... but it is something that has honestly not crossed my mind at all," he said, according to Page.

Might it cross his mind sometime in the future? she asked.

He asked what words he could find that would convincingly deny the idea.

"Sherman did," Page replied.

"I would not state that myself, but you might recall a phrase by Sherman," Petraeus said, adding he would "associate myself with" Sherman's sentiment.

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, a Union general in the Civil War, was proposed as a Republican presidential candidate in 1884 but -- in the most emphatic denial of interest possible -- declared: "If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve."

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