Magazine article Newsweek

After Warner, 'On to Someone Else'

Magazine article Newsweek

After Warner, 'On to Someone Else'

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Darman

For more than a year, Mark Warner had some of the best buzz of the 2008 presidential sweepstakes thanks to the impressive list of "formers" on his resume: former tech entrepreneur, former venture capitalist, former governor of Virginia. Now he can add another: former future of the Democratic Party. Warner shocked everyone--including some of his closest aides--when he announced he wouldn't seek the presidency in 2008. "He called me up on Monday afternoon and said, 'Could you come over to talk about something?' " said his spokeswoman, Ellen Qualls. "I was expecting 'OK, we're really going to start gearing up.' Instead it was 'I'm not going to run.' "

After Hillary Clinton, Warner had assembled the largest campaign apparatus of any Dem and secured some of the party's top talent, including media consultant Jim Margolis and strategist Jim Jordan. Aides had been talking up his fund-raising prowess and grass-roots network.

But intimates knew that Warner had grown increasingly unsure about the prospect of running since returning from a family vacation to Italy this past summer. In recent weeks he'd told several friends he had "real doubts" about the race, and his inner circle knew to expect a make-or-break decision on Columbus Day. "Every time I'd say, 'If I run,' people assumed I was checking a box," Warner tells NEWSWEEK. "But in the past month I think particularly the fund-raisers noticed there was a real change in tone. …

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