After much discussion with family and friends, extensive research, and clear-headed thinking, I have decided I am NOT running for president in 2020.

It wasn’t an easy decision, because it seems as though everyone over the age of 35 has already thrown in their hat. The requirements for becoming a presidential candidate have not changed, believe it or not, since the time of George Washington. You must be a natural-born citizen of these United States, have resided here for a minimum of 14 years, and be over the age of 35. I can check them all off, but no, not interested ... in the least.

While I’m sure the Secret Service is made up of nice guys, I don’t want anyone shadowing my every move. For one thing, they always have code names for the First Family. I wouldn’t like being called “Flat Butt,” and I doubt my husband would like the name, “Shortstuff.” You also can’t just go out when you feel like it, unaccompanied. I remember when George H.W. Bush was in office. He and Barbara had a favorite Chinese restaurant in Georgetown and would often try to sneak out the back door of the White House and go there on their own, without the Secret Service tagging along. No dice. The Bushes had a private curtained-off space in the restaurant, but nevertheless had to bring home their leftovers in the company of security.

I really hate meetings — always have — because in most cases, it’s a lot of blah-blah-blah, and you never accomplish much of anything except, “We should do this,” and “We oughta do that,” and it rarely happens. When you’re president, there are daily meetings for anything and everything, and you gotta go. I pass.

I don’t think my state dinners would be a hit either, because the president gets to choose the menu. I am a very finicky eater, so Putin, Merkel and Queen Elizabeth would no doubt be dining on grilled cheese and potato chips and drinking wine from a bottle with a screw-off cap. Not great for diplomacy. I remember when the Kennedys were in the White House, Jackie spent a fortune on new china. As First Gentleman, Dave would probably outfit the formal dining room with the only thing he knows ... dishes from the Christmas Tree Shop.

Then there’s the campaign itself. While I’m always up for a challenge, have a tremendous store of energy, enjoy public speaking, and am never bothered by jet lag, a couple of years of waving placards, making promises I’d like to keep but probably couldn’t, and kissing babies, all strike me as a giant waste of time.

I would, however, like flying in Air Force One with the press corps up front, lots of leg room in the seats, and more than just little bags of pretzels to eat as we crisscrossed the country or hopped across the pond. And I sure would like having a hairdresser and makeup person in the shadows all the time to cover up the shadows under my eyes and make me look ... well, presidential. The White House is awfully big, but the family quarters are not that massive, I am told. They occupy the second floor and consist of several private suites, the famous Lincoln bedroom, a cosmetology room, and a few other assorted living spaces. The third floor even has a private wet bar ... hmmm.

I do like dressing up on occasion and would enjoy designers sending me their originals to wear, but I’m also a whole lot more comfortable on a daily basis in leggings, hoodies, and running shoes. Somehow, though, it just doesn’t conjure up the best image for the leader of the free world to stand on the top step of Air Force One, on the way to Camp David, dressed for yoga. Speaking of weekend getaways and vacations, the Kennedys had Hyannisport, the Clintons and Obamas loved Martha’s Vineyard, and Trump favors Mar a Lago. I wonder what the American public would think of us jetting off to the discount grocery in North Walpole, New Hampshire?

So that about does it. Not gonna run in 2020. The ring will not have my hat thrown into it. My slogan of “A Mann for All People” will remain unused. But I’ll still have my grilled cheese, potato chips, wine, and the freedom to go where and when I want.

All in all, not a bad deal.

Rona Mann has been a freelance writer for The Sun for 17 years, including her “In Their Shoes” features. She can be reached at six07co@att.net or 401-539-7762.

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