Is Fox's John Bolton Setting Up A Run For President?

Fox News contributor John Bolton will be appearing in the early Republican presidential primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire in the coming weeks while he's “considering” a presidential run. Bolton has already set up a political operation through two political action committees. Fox previously severed ties with Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson because they were getting too serious about exploring runs for president.

Bolton is the quintessential Fox News candidate. He was never elected to office, and left the Bush administration nearly a decade ago. Yet he's stayed visible with Republican primary voters through his frequent paid appearances on their favorite network.

A January 22 press release from Bolton's political action committee, Bolton Super PAC, stated he will speak tomorrow at the Iowa Freedom Summit, which “will bring together conservative activists in advance of Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.” The Iowa event, hosted by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), features numerous other potential 2016 contenders. On February 2, he will return to New Hampshire to speak at a breakfast event.  

The Washington Examiner reported on January 5 that a source “who works at Fox News” said “Bolton may be next” to leave the network to run for president. The source added that Bolton “just wants to stay at Fox as long as possible.”

Bolton has told media outlets that he's considering running for president for years, going back to 2010 (he ultimately decided not to run for the 2012 Republican nomination).

Robert Costa, while at National Review Online, reported in June 2013 that Bolton was setting up tours of early primary states, organizing meetings with party leaders, and launching “a few related groups that will help elevate his argument and his national profile.” Costa reported months later that Bolton “has called veteran Republican strategists and friends from the Bush years, informally pitching them on what he envisions as a policy-driven, hawkish campaign. Most of the people on the other side of the line are surprised, even shocked, to hear that Bolton, a no-nonsense, private man, is serious.” 

He has a political operation through his John Bolton SuperPAC and John Bolton PAC, both formed in 2013. The PAC, which raises alarms about President Obama handling of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi and other issues, supports Republican candidates who reflect Bolton's ideology.

The Hill reported last October that “Bolton mentioned multiple times, unprompted, how the work of running a PAC has given him an inside look at how to run a campaign.”

If Bolton runs for president, he'll bring Fox News name recognition and a laundry list of incendiary remarks as a media commentator, such as when he suggested Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faked a concussion to avoid testifying to Congress about Benghazi.

Bolton became a conservative cause célèbre largely because of his penchant for over-the-top rhetoric. President Bush made him United Nations ambassador through a recess appointment in 2005 after Democrats blocked his nomination, partly because of “his caustic comments about the United Nations. In the 1990's, Mr. Bolton said that several floors of the United Nations headquarters could be lopped off without being missed.”

Though Bolton is considering a presidential bid, he is also reportedly advising another Republican with presidential aspirations, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA). Jindal recently defended his controversial and false allegation about immigrant “no-go zones” in Europe by citing Bolton as backup.