John Bolton's address to conservatives was heavy on 2016 talk

The former UN Ambassador John Bolton stokes rumors of a presidential run.

Amb. John Bolton weighs in

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton stoked rumors that he’s considering a presidential run on Thursday when he a took direct shot at possible Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton and said foreign policy — Bolton’s professional forte — should be at the center of the next election.

Speaking to thousands of Republican activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference here, Bolton, who served as U.N. ambassador under former President George W. Bush, said foreign policy should play an outsized role in future political debates. Bolton cited the attack on the American compound in Benghazi and called out Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by name in his address.

“Under Barack Obama, you can murder his personal representative and get away scot-free,” he said of the Benghazi attack, which left four Americans dead, including Libyan Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens. “We would be happy to tell Hillary Clinton in unmistakable terms we know what difference it makes, even if you don’t.”

He went on: “We must make national security the center of our political debate throughout 2014 and the presidential election in 2016. We can and must replace the Obama-Clinton-Kerry-Biden doctrine on defeatism with a Reaganite foreign policy.”

By framing the future election as referendums on foreign policy, Bolton, a leading Republican voice on the issue, appears to be adopting the age-old political strategy in which aspiring contenders seek an edge by describing current times as something that needs to be saved by someone who sounds just like them.

Bolton has said repeatedly that he’s mulling a presidential run.

With two years to go before the primary season, the Republican presidential “race” is wide open, but it’s clear that those thinking about jumping in are already moving to establish themselves as the Man for the Times.