Retiring U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison sat down for an “exit interview” with Chuck Todd of NBC News on Tuesday, an appearance that was highlighted in several different ways by national and Texas media.
Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune called attention to Hutchison’s defense of her Republican credentials.
“I am not a moderate. I am a conservative. I’m a fix-it conservative,” Hutchison said. She then added:
In my opinion there is no such thing as a RINO [Republican in Name Only]. Nothing makes me madder than someone making fun of a Republican that isn’t exactly the way they are. We are here to represent our states and if someone is a Republican and wants to be a Republican, they should be welcome in the Republican Party.
At The Hill, Geneva Sands led with this comment from Hutchison:
In my opinion governors don’t make the best presidents. That’s my opinion and it’s because they don’t have the foreign policy experience and they have to learn on the job,”
This could be seen as a dig at Rick Perry or Mitt Romney, though Hutchison endorsed Romney in May, and praised his business experience to Todd.
Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News focused on the Perry angle; the headline on his post opined that “Kay Bailey Hutchison doesn’t seem to like Rick Perry very much.”
Slater also highlighted the “governors don’t make the best presidents” comment, as well as Hutchison’s lingering displeasure over the way the Perry campaign ripped her during the 2010 Texas gubernatorial primary election for her financial bailout votes:
Especially in Texas, when George Bush asks you to vote for something and you do, and then your governor attacks you for it, that’s pretty tough.
Hutchison’s comments indicate that she contemplated running for president either in 1996, when the senior senator from Texas, Phil Gramm, sought the White House, or 2000, when Texas Gov. George W. Bush entered the race.
In both cases, Hutchison deferred her dream rather than compete against a Texas politician. After the adoption of [her first daughter in 2001], however, the senator decided she would no longer harbor presidential ambitions.
Dunham also pointed out that Hutchison was smart enough to not completely rule out a return to politics.
“I never say never and see this (interview) played back to me,” she said.