WASHINGTON Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said any talk of his becoming the running mate for presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is nothing but "parlor games."
"If it is mentioned, it is only in the sense of people using it in a humorous way," Huntsman said. "At this point in any campaign there are a lot of parlor games going on. I dismiss it all completely as one big parlor game at this point."
Huntsman and the country's other Republican governors heard McCain speak during the Republican Governors Association meeting this weekend, held in conjunction with the National Governors Association winter meeting.
Although the so-called short-list of potential running mates for the White House hopefuls from either party contains governors including former candidate Mitt Romney, who previously was governor of Massachusetts Huntsman said there had been "zero" talk among his fellow governors as to who would take the vice presidential slot. But there was been plenty of speculation in the media, whose "lists" included Huntsman, a McCain supporter from the start.
"I am very happy doing what I am doing and my thoughts right now are focusing on re-election," said Huntsman, who as a "term limits guy" said he would only run for two terms.
Clean energy and the need for a better national energy policy were dominant discussion themes during the National Governors Association meeting, which started Saturday.
Huntsman said there was an emphasis throughout the meeting on the need for cleaner burning fuels and a reduction in dependence on fossil fuels, particularly foreign oil to meet the country's economic needs.
"How do we prepare ourselves for the needs we are going to have? How do we do it in a way that leaves a legacy we can be proud of?" Huntsman said.
A Saturday panel addressed the role of clean coal and nuclear power in the future. Huntsman said that with the growing emissions problem, the country cannot discount nuclear power, although there are unsolved waste issues and big start-up costs.
"We also have to remember there hasn't been a plant built in 30 years," Huntsman said.
Huntsman also had the chance to meet with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. He and other governors from Western states talked about fire prevention and replanting burned-over areas, staffing at Bureau of Land Management offices and water issues.
Huntsman takes over as head of the Western Governors Association, a separate organization, later this year and expects energy issues from energy corridor development to power lines will continue to be a focus.
Huntsman and the other governors in attendance had dinner at the White House with the president and first lady Sunday and met with the president again on Monday.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, briefed the governors on the status of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Huntsman said was especially important to him with Utah National Guard Units deploying for Afghanistan today.Utah first lady Mary Kaye Huntsman joined the governor and also attended a special lunch with first lady Laura Bush, along with other governor's spouses. She said it was clear Laura Bush was touched by a recent trip to Africa and told the spouses she donated a mosquito net in each of their names.
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