Politicians don't always mean it when they rule out a presidential bid
What's one thing that Democrats like New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton all have in common?
They've all seemed to shut the door to a presidential run in 2020, only to crack the door open again to varying degrees.
Both Klobuchar and Gillibrand said during debates ahead of their 2018 reelections that they would serve out their full terms if elected.
"Of course I will" serve her full six-year term, Klobuchar said during an August 2018 debate, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
"I will serve my six-year term," Gillibrand promised during an October 2018 debate. Immediately after she finished her answer, her Republican opponent, Chele Farley, quipped back: "Honestly, I don't believe that."
Klobuchar announced her bid on Sunday, while Gillibrand is gearing up for a bid of her own.
Just days before Election Day, O'Rourke made about as direct a promise you can make about his 2020 plans, telling reporters "I will not run for president in 2020."
Just a few weeks later, O'Rourke opened back up to the prospect of a presidential run.
Moulton appeared to have closed the door on a bid in October when he told McClatchy "I'm not running for president, period." But he still kept the window cracked open by adding: " I don’t think it’s the best way I can serve the country right now. If that were to change, I would consider it, but I don’t think that’s the best way I can serve the country."
Apparently, things have changed, and Moulton told Buzzfeed Monday he's taking "a very serious look at it."
Warren, who officially announced her bid last weekend, made a similar shift as her fellow Bay Stater.
She told NBC's "Meet the Press" in March of 2018 "I am not running for president of the United States," an answer which moderator Chuck Todd pointed out at the time was a "present tense" denial that made no promises about the near future.
On the other end of the spectrum, Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders has made no secret of his interest in running again, even as he asked Vermonters to reelect him last year.
There are a lot of times when a broken promise from a politician becomes a serious liability.
President George H.W. Bush's "read my lips: No new taxes" declaration may have cost him reelection in 1992, and President Barack Obama's "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" led to serious blowback once providers began canceling plans.
But this appears to be one that politicians have no problem breaking, and one that typically doesn't create serious blowback (outside of a few partisan jabs from the other side of the aisle).
The most famous recent example is from former President Obama, who told "Meet the Press" in 2006 that "I will serve out my full six year term."
"You will not run for president or vice president in 2008?" moderator Tim Russert asked the then senator.
"I will not," Obama replied.
About three years to the day after that declaration, Obama took his oath of office on the Capitol steps.