Gen. Petraeus will deliver a speech at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire next week, a traditional staging post in the state where the first presidential primaries are held every four years. Each of the last eight presidents has spoken at the college on their way to victory.
It will be the latest in a series of speaking engagements where the head of the US Central Command region, which covers the Middle East and Central Asia, has veered well into foreign policy discussion and often faced questions about his political ambition.
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His stock response is the same as any potential aspirant at this early stage - a flat no. But for someone who professes to have no interest in running for president he has a way of talking about it even when he hasn't been asked directly.
In a recent appearance at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia Gen Petraeus turned a question about whether or not he planned to write a book upon retiring into an opportunity to deny he had political ambitions. On other occasions he has laughed off the notion of a White House bid in a slightly disingenuous manner.
Colleagues have begun to semi-seriously joke about the issue. At the annual Washington Alfalfa black tie dinner in late January Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, was heard to remark that Gen Petraeus couldn't make it because "he had an engagement in Iowa", where the first caucuses are held.
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