California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he wants California’s top job, but that he would pass on running for president. “With all due respect, ex-president sounds like a great job,” he said.

Newsom is the current front-runner in a heated race to replace termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown and says his focus is on the Golden State, not Washington D.C. “California will be well served by having a governor who is working full time on the state’s business,” Newsom said.

Newsom referred to Gov. Brown’s decision to run for president in 1976, shortly after he was elected to his first term as California governor in 1974. Brown ran for president again in 1980 and 1992. It’s not an example he wants to follow, said Newsom.

“The one regret I hear more often, privately, not just publicly, of Gov. Brown, is that he came back to make up for the fact that he had his eye off the ball and was doing a lot of things in those first early terms where, frankly, he had a presidential lens,” said Newsom. “And what a contrast — what’s he accomplished in the last seven years.”

Newsom even looked straight into the camera to say, “Here is the tape, you’ll have this tape. No!”

Nonetheless, a charismatic and newly elected governor of the nation’s largest state is likely to automatically become part of the conversation for the 2020 presidential election. California Sen. Kamala Harris and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are already thought to be eyeing a run for president.

Watch the full interview:

KQED Newsroom airs Fridays at 7 p.m. on Channel 9. 

Gavin Newsom Says No Way He’s Running for President 15 February,2018Monica Lam


Monica Lam

Monica  is the senior producer of KQED Newsroom, a weekly current affairs TV program, and has reported extensively on the criminal justice system.

Before joining KQED, Monica worked at the Center for Investigative Reporting, where she examined conditions inside maximum security prisons and abuse in state-run institutions for the developmentally disabled. Prior to that, she produced and directed Journey of the Bonesetter’s Daughter, a documentary that follows novelist Amy Tan as she creates an opera based on her family history.

Monica’s work has been honored with a duPont Award, three Emmys, regional and national Murrow Awards, and has been recognized by Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association and the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club. Monica studied urban studies at Stanford University and earned a master’s in journalism at University of California at Berkeley. Follow her on twitter: @monicazlam


Scott Shafer

Scott Shafer migrated to KQED in 1998 after extended stints in politics and government to host The California  Report. Now he covers those things and more as senior editor for KQED’s Politics and Government Desk. When he’s not asking questions you’ll often find him in a pool playing water polo. Find him on Twitter @scottshafer

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