Peter King seriously considered presidential run

Congressman Peter King at his office in Massapequa

Congressman Peter King at his office in Massapequa Park. (July 26, 2013) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

Rep. Peter King said Monday that he will make a decision about a 2016 presidential run in the next 12 to 18 months.

In a wide-ranging discussion with members of the Long Island Association, King (R-Seaford) said he is seriously considering a White House run and that he would travel to New Hampshire on Oct. 6 to speak with a group of business, health and academic leaders.

King has been to New Hampshire -- which hosts the first presidential primary of the election cycle -- three times since first announcing interest in a White House run.

"It's not as arrogant as it seems," King said of his presidential ambitions. "But we'll see where it goes. If it happens, it happens. But I am not raising money or seeking endorsements."

King said the prospect of his presidential campaign prevents GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, both said to be considering White House bids, from taking over the GOP platform.

King repeatedly criticized Cruz and Paul for attempting to block $60 billion in superstorm Sandy aid last year, and for backing legislation that would shut down the federal government if Obama's health care bill is not defunded. A government shutdown would occur at midnight on Sept. 30 if a spending deal is not reached.

"We would show ourselves to be a dysfunctional, non-governing party if we, in effect, force the government to shut down on an issue we know we can't win on," he said. "It's the clinical definition of insanity."

Cruz's and Paul's offices did not respond to requests for comment.

King called it "a terrible precedent to set to hold a gun to the Congress and say 'We will cut off funding to the government unless we repeal a law we don't like.' It's going through the back door what you can't do in the front door."

King said that while he opposes the Affordable Care Act and has voted to repeal it, the House bill to defund it would never clear the Democrat-controlled Senate. The majority of House and Senate Republicans, King said, do not want the government to shut down. He said a small minority of GOP lawmakers, including Cruz, are forcing the issue. "I've said [Cruz] is guilty of fraud because he knows this can't be done," King said. House members return to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday and expect to be in session through the weekend, he said.

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