WASHINGTON — No, he's not writing the snarky tweets lambasting both President Trump and the 2020 Democratic field.
And he doesn't expect to win the White House.
But former Alaska Democratic Sen. Mike Gravel says he hasn't closed the door on a presidential bid in 2020 amid his new viral moment.
Questions about a possible Gravel candidacy surfaced late Tuesday night, when founding documents for the "Mike Gravel for President Exploratory Committee" were posted to the Federal Election Commission's website and a Twitter account in Gravel's name began tweeting.
Reached by NBC News, Gravel explained that a small group of students had recently reached out to him in the hopes of convincing him to run for president because they felt his platform deserved wider attention.
"When they called me, I said: Do you realize how old I am?" Gravel, who turns 89 years old this spring, recounted to NBC.
(Politico's Zach Montellaro first reported the arrangement between Gravel and the students).
During Gravel's 2008 presidential bid, he issued a broad condemnation of the Iraq war and promoted his idea that Americans should be allowed to vote directly on potential new laws. And his opposition to the Vietnam War and interventionist foreign policy in general were central pillars of his political career.
Neither Gravel nor the students (who are running his eponymous Twitter account) expect Gravel to win, he said. But they are interested in amplifying Gravel's policy platform either through the media or by a longshot effort to make the debate stage.
Gravel, who is finishing up a book on direct democracy, didn't rule out a presidential bid to NBC, and said he's looking forward to meeting the students next month when they travel to California to pitch him on a plan. And in the perspective of a politician who raised eyebrows with some of the more unusual campaign ads in American presidential history, the viral moment could help get his message out.
"I'm not closing the door, my wife needs to be persuaded," he said.
"I would go along — a group of millennials really want to advance the ideas that I had, primarily the idea of direct democracy, which I've spent the past 30 years of my life on."