John Bolton 2016?

The hawkish former Bush envoy to the U.N. says he’s focused on helping Republicans in 2014 — but won’t deny rumors of a presidential run.

Bolton speaks during the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

In a radio interview airing Sunday night, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton addressed rumors of a potential 2016 presidential bid, saying he is increasingly concerned that national security is being ignored in the current political debate.

Bolton, a Republican who served under President George W. Bush and is primarily known for his hawkish foreign policy views, reportedly told donors at a Los Angeles fundraiser last month that he is “thinking about” running for president in the upcoming election.

Asked directly about the report by WABC host Aaron Klein, Bolton at first demurred, saying he is focused on the 2014 midterms. (Bolton has set up two political action committees to support GOP congressional candidates who share his views on national security.)

But he did little to quell the rumors.

“I thought about running for the presidency myself in 2011 and 2012 for exactly the reason we’ve been talking about — national security is simply not where it should be on our overall political agenda. I’ve really put 2016 aside because I think this upcoming election is so critical,” he said. “But every day that goes by just increases my concern that our political leaders are not addressing mounting national securing challenges to the United States. And I think the people of this country deserve better than having these issues ignored.”

Bolton’s foreign policy platform would stand in contrast with those of many of his would-be contenders in the GOP, where Sen. Rand Paul’s brand of libertarian Republicanism is ascendant, and many view the Bush-era approach to national security and foreign policy with skepticism. But Bolton could also provide a loud and influential voice to the intraparty debate over these issues, even if he is a long shot to win the nomination.

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