For one fleeting moment, it appeared that Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert was thinking about running for the White House. Not so.
Asked Thursday if he would endorse U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential run, the Tyler Republican opined to a Capitol Hill newspaper that he was mulling a presidential exploratory committee himself.
"Ted is a good friend and would be an outstanding president; however, I haven't ruled out an exploratory committee myself," Gohmert told The Hill, which posted the comment, triggering massive tremors along media/political fault lines.
An aide later clarified that Gohmert, an elected official with a solid reputation for saying the improbable, and often meaning it, was kidding.
“Washington D.C. contains too many who do not recognize statements made with a figurative tongue in cheek, sometimes known as being ironic,” said an email from Gohmert’s office.
“To more completely describe his actual beliefs, Congressman Gohmert notes the Kennedy-Nixon debates created a line of demarcation beyond which television became the critical factor in being elected President which also meant there would be no more bald Presidents in his lifetime.”
While possibly delighting journalists eager to chronicle his unique political arc, a Gohmert presidential campaign would likely have a nominal effect on the rest of the GOP field. While known as one of the most conservative federal officeholders, Gohmert would have competition for that mantle in a presidential contest with candidates like Cruz.
He is also not a prolific fundraiser, at least on the scale needed to run a viable presidential campaign. Gohmert raised $772,000 for his most recent congressional race. Presidential campaigns are now billion-dollar enterprises.