San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

You'd think a scandalous affair, an obliterated city budget, and Prop 8 would make San Francisco's telegenic mayor want to cash in his chips. Instead, Gavin Newsom has set his sights on the California governor's mansion

Q: What do you make of all these JFK and Camelot comparisons? Are people putting too much on you?

A: I think everyone looks at every young politician that way. We said that about Obama and Michelle. We sort of tie our aspirations to elected officials, and more often than not we get disappointed, because it's difficult to make everyone happy.

Q: Do you still want to be president?

A: No, I never wanted to be president! I mean, I was 7 years old when I said that. People want to be astronauts, too. I'm a mayor of San Francisco running in a tough, tough state. I'm running against a guy [Jerry Brown] who's been on the ballot, I think, 12 times. This is a true underdog campaign. I'm just focused on getting through that.

Q: Was your lowest moment in 2007—after news of your affair broke?

A: No—not even close. There was clarity then. Honestly, the things that have hit me the most—I've been at some homicide scenes that were much more devastating.

Q: Have you ever been brought to tears?

A: Oh, God, yeah! I mean, I'm easy. I’ll never forget walking outside of city hall when we were doing the same-sex-marriage amendment—there was this beautiful young girl, 8 or 9 years old. She tugs on my leg and she goes, "Thank you for giving me two mommies." And I was like, Okay, that's it. I can't handle it anymore. Those are the things, seriously, that define success and failure in life—not just in politics. I mean, I see myself as the next governor. But I'm not gonna sell my soul. I'm happy to go back to the restaurants, hotel, winery, [my wife] Jen, the new baby.

Q: You really think you'd be happy doing that?

A: Yeah, I would. I'm very proud of those businesses. I got in there with my passion—food and wine. I go up to Napa, and I’m sitting there on a Sunday afternoon, and everyone's looking at me saying, "Now, why are you in politics?" And I'm looking around going, "Hmm . . . interesting point!"

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