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A spokesman told CBS News that the former governor is now "seriously considering" a bid after saying in June he was "not running now."

Pataki's spent most of the year in charge of a group he founded, No American Debt, meant to "advance the national dialogue about America’s debt crisis." That has meant trips by Pataki to traditional stomping grounds for presidential candidates, such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

His candidacy would be a long shot, despite Pataki's history as a Republican governor of one of the largest states. A Pataki bid would presumably appeal to centrists in the Republican Party — he favors abortion rights and same-sex marriage.