Stacey Abrams clarifies timing on possible presidential run

Image: Stacey Abrams, 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals
Stacey Abrams speaks onstage at Featured Session: Lead from the Outside: How to Make Real Change during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Hilton Austin on March 11, 2019. Copyright Danny Matson Getty Images for SXSW
By Alex Seitz-Wald with NBC News Politics
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The Georgia Democrat spoke at the South by Southwest gathering and later tweeted about her plans.


AUSTIN, Texas — Stacey Abrams said Monday that a 2020 presidential run is "definitely on the table," clarifying earlier remarks that seemed to rule one out.

The Georgia Democrat, who narrowly lost a gubernatorial bid last year, suggested earlier in the day that she wouldn't be ready to consider a presidential campaign until 2028.

But later, she said on Twitter that a White House bid in the current election cycle was still under consideration.

In an onstage interview at South by Southwest, the former minority leader of the Georgia Statehouse, said she had been keeping a spreadsheet mapping out her future since she was a young woman, which showed she would not ready to make a White House bid for another eight years.

"In the spreadsheet with all the jobs I wanted to do, 2028 would be the earliest I would be ready to stand for president because I would have done the work I thought necessary to be effective at that job," Abrams said.

Abrams, who has built a national following, also said she thinks President Donald Trump is "racist," "xenophobic," and "homophobic," but said Democrats should not focus too much on him.

"I think beating Donald Trump is the wrong mission. When you're focused on your enemy, then you are ignoring your allies," she said.

After several observers took Abrams' comments to mean she was not weighing a White House bid at this time, her former campaign manager said those remarks referred to older plans, which have since changed.

"She is taking a look at all options on the table in 2020 and beyond," the aide, Lauren Groh-Wargo ‏tweeted.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and others urged Abrams to challenge Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue next year — a race many think only she can make competitive in the red state.

Abrams, people familiar with her thinking say, thinks it's important that an African-American woman with her experience be seen as a credible potential presidential candidate. After all, allies note, former congressman Beto O'Rourke lost his 2018 campaign too, but that hasn't stopped the political world from seeing him as a potential top-tier 2020 candidate.

"My task is to make certain that a Democrat is elected not only to the White House but that we have a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Democratic majority in Congress," Abrams told South by Southwest.

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