Finally, after leaving us on tenterhooks with months (years!) of speculation, former governor George Pataki has announced that he's not entering the 2012 race. He told Sean Hannity on Fox News last night, "I'm not running for president" (but he also said, "never say never"). Instead, Pataki said he's starting an advocacy group to reduce the deficit, "I think this is an extraordinarily important issue. We are going to focus on this."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the group, No American Debt (NAD), "aims to influence the presidential race in contested states like Michigan, Florida and Nevada, as well as early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire." Pataki explained, "I think the public is aware of the magnitude of the crisis and we're not going to let them forget about the magnitude of the crisis. President Obama really has provided failed leadership when it comes to the fiscal policies of this country. We want to hold him, first of all, accountable."

The WSJ points out, "Mr. Pataki himself has not been immune to criticism of his budget practices. During his three terms as governor, from 1995 to 2007, state debt increased to about $51 billion from about $28 billion, according to the state comptroller reports." (His aides say he kept it in line with inflation.) And when asked about Pataki and NAD, a Democratic National Committee spokesman asked, "Who is George Pataki?" adding, "a lot of people will be asking that question and that this endeavor will be as successful as his previous political efforts in recent years—which no one has ever heard of." HA!

Pataki says he wants to raise $10 million, and claims he has over $1 million lined up. We wonder if those donors know how well he spent $3 million on nothing.