Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune told some elementary school students Thursday that he does not plan to seek the presidency.
"Do I plan on running for president?" Thune said. "I don't. I enjoy the job I have. And being the president is a very, very hard job."
Thune made the comment during questioning from a room full of second-graders at Mark Twain Elementary in Sioux Falls in Thune's home state of South Dakota. They were videotaped by KELO-TV, the local CBS affiliate. Thune previously passed on a 2012 run for the White House.
The 2016 presidential election year will coincide with a re-election year for Thune, who has settled into the Senate Republican leadership structure. He was first elected to the Senate in 2004 in a hotly contested race in which he ousted incumbent Sen. Tom Daschle, the Senate's Democratic leader. No Democrat opposed him in 2010.
Thune read the 1996 children's book "House Mouse, Senate Mouse" to the class of youngsters. It's a popular book for giving elementary school children their first taste of Congress. It is one of several children's books about the federal government featured on the Senate's reference website.