(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — On the heels of his widely acclaimed speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick won’t rule out a future bid for the White House, but a campaign for president in 2016 will not happen, he told ABC News’ senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl.
“Just chatter,” Patrick told Karl Wednesday afternoon of a “Patrick in 2016″ presidential campaign. “I’m gonna finish my term [as governor] in 2014. I’m gonna return to the private sector where I’ve spent … most of my career.”
“If there is a time sometime later to come back and serve in public life, I hope I’m able to do that. Just not going to be in 2016,” he added.
Questioned on why he was so tough on Mitt Romney’s record on the economy as governor of Massachusetts, given a 4.7 state unemployment rate at the time, the current Democratic governor told Karl that the commonwealth was “trailing the national trend,” and, “Mitt Romney was a custodial governor.”
“The question is not what the unemployment rate is in some abstract sense. It’s: Are we moving in a positive direction and are we bucking trends? Are we shaping our own future?” Patrick said. “We weren’t staking our own course, we weren’t shaping our own future, we were kind of slipping along.”
Asked whether Democrats have been too focused on what’s wrong with Romney and Republicans instead of making a clear case for Democrats, Patrick admitted “both campaigns have focused a lot of time and attention on what’s wrong with the other guy.”
“I understand the importance of contrast in all that, but I hope that starting with this convention, and I think you saw that last night, we’re gonna start to turn our focus to our own way forward and our own plan for the next four years and why this is the right leader, in President Barack Obama, to get us there,” he said.
Patrick said the Democratic strategy is “not a political strategy but a growth strategy,” and, despite a $16 trillion national debt, Democrats are focused on “investing in education, in innovation, in energy, and in infrastructure.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Theodore Schleifer, CNN
Scott Stuntz, Teton Valley News
Chris Isidore, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN