U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, back on the campaign trail after 15 days of duty with the Hawaii National Guard, said Thursday she won't run as an independent if she doesn't win the Democratic presidential nomination.
"I've ruled that out,"
Gabbard told CNN during a campaign stop in Iowa. "I'm going to continue to focus on moving our campaign forward, continuing this grassroots campaign, continuing to deliver our message to the American people."
Gabbard, a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and the first female combat veteran to run for president, spent about six days in Indonesia and had other duties in Hawaii, with the annual training requirement ending Monday, said Hawaii National Guard spokesman Jeff Hickman.
"Her annual training is 15 days long--just like everybody else, "Hickman said.
Campaigning in uniform is prohibited by the Defense Department. Before she left, she told CBS News she was temporarily "stepping off the campaign trail" during a busy time for rivals.
"And so while some people are telling me, like, 'This is a terrible time to leave the campaign, can't you find a way out of it ?' that's not what this is about," she said.
"I love being able to serve our country in so many ways, including as a soldier, "Gabbard said.
About 10 Hawaii National Guard soldiers and others from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Army Pacific made the trip to Jakarta for a planning conference to work out details of the upcoming exercise Gema Bhakti, which the Guard conducts every year with Indonesia, Hickman said.
Gabbard also was assigned to the Guard's joint force headquarters at Kalaeloa, he said.
"With her rank ... she's out of the lower command element, so she (was ) probably helping with large-scale planning and staff work," Hickman said.
Gabbard, 38, has served more than 16 years in the Hawaii National Guard and deployed twice to the Middle East.
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