Retired Marine general bats down 2016 talk

Retired Marine general bats down 2016 talk
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Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis declared Friday he has no plans to run for president in 2016, despite a campaign by conservatives to draft the retired four-star general as an alternative to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' MORE

"No, I haven't given any thought to it," he said Friday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies during a discussion about the Middle East. 

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Despite Mattis consistently batting down the idea, he said the effort to draft him has been going for 15 months. 

Asked why he thought he appealed to those voters, Mattis suggested that the country has lost its way.

"This is since coming back from overseas. This is more of a foreign country than the places overseas and I don't understand it," said the former chief of U.S. Central Command. "It's like America's lost confidence, and lost faith and rational thought." 

Mattis did not want to comment on who he thinks would make a good next president.

"I was a naval officer for 40 years and it's still kind of ingrained in me." 

Mattis did say he recently read an Atlantic article in which President Obama spoke dismissively of Middle East allies. The retired general said he thought the quotes were from Trump.. 

"It wasn't Trump; it was the president saying that our allies are free riders and that sort of thing," he said.

"For a sitting U.S. president to see our allies as freeloaders is nuts."