Why do people run for president?

[Los Angeles Times]

Early last year, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels surprised many when he announced he was not running for president. “I think anybody who presumes to run for president has a lot of explaining to do,” he told one reporter. “I don’t know why somebody who doesn’t has much.”

It’s a great point, and in an op ed in this Sunday’s Los Angeles Times I look at five presidents’ explanations for why they decided to run. One reason I didn’t touch on the story (and Daniels himself saw a ton of this) is public and private pressure — what we often call a “Draft X” movement. Most presidential biographies include a section on a “draft” push, and yet the historical record seems strangely sparse in terms of presidents laying out their motivations in their own words. I found five examples, at least. If other people know of more, I’d love to hear them!


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