Outgoing Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has ruled out running for president in 2016, putting to rest speculation that an end to his gubernatorial career meant that he had his eye on the White House.
"I've thought about it, but no, I can't get ready for 2016," Patrick said on NBC's Meet The Press. "This is the first elected office I've held, and it has been two really challenging, fun term. But I didn't run for the job to get another job, just to do this job."
Patrick did, however, offer advice to the Democratic leader in 2016 preference polls: Hillary Clinton should find a way to tamp down the "inevitability" talk.
"Secretary Clinton has been an extraordinary public servant and would be a terrific candidate for president," said Patrick. "But I think that the narrative that it's inevitable is off-putting to regular voters."
"I don't mean that as a criticism of her; I just think people read inevitably as entitlement," he said. "And the American people want, and ought to want, their candidates to sweat for the job, to actually make the case for why they're the right person for the right time."
Patrick also warned Democrats not to distance themselves from President Obama as they had in the lead up to the 2014 elections, which he viewed as a "huge mistake." Patrick did note, however, that the president could have better articulated his administration's accomplishments. "One problem, I think, that the president has is that he doesn't tell that story very well or very regularly," said Patrick.
As Massachusetts' first black governor, Patrick also said he wished the grand jury decision in Ferguson had gone differently. "Of course I wanted to see an indictment," he said, adding, "mostly because I think a trial and the transparency of a trial would be good for the community."
Patrick, who led the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division from 1993 to 1996, suggested that Eric Holder's ability to bring a federal civil rights case will be hampered by the higher burden needed for federal charges. "It will be very difficult," he said. "It's very important I think, that DOJ is investigating it and I know that Attorney General Holder has been urging that investigation and will drive it through to conclusion."