Kevin Rudd has been in stealth campaign mode, reportedly angling hard for a shot at becoming United Nations Secretary-General. The former Australian Prime Minister has quietly been building a clutch of supporters, collecting international diplomatic and academic postings, and getting himself published in influential publications, building himself a serious and credible heavyweight job application.
On Wednesday night, he morphed back into the Rudd that won the 2007 election; the 'Kevin 07' Rudd, the media darling Rudd, the slightly daggy and self-deprecating Rudd. The Rudd that still didn't rule out another crack at becoming Prime Minister.
He appeared on ABC's 'The Weekly' to talk with comedian Tom Gleeson. Amid jokes about his infamous trip to the Scores strip club in New York, Donald Trump and Rudd's political career in Australia, Gleeson asked "when are we going to see the third Rudd government?"
"It's not too late, you could be parachuted in for this election."
Rudd gave a typical deadpan response; you know the type. The type where he must surely be joking, but you're still not quite sure that he hasn't at least entertained the possibility...
"The offer has gone out to these guys. Campaign director, me. I know how to win, how to lose. Done both," Rudd said.
Rudd joked his way through the interview, laughing about The Killing Season documentary and Tony Abbott's onion-eating tendencies, giggling and play-acting at times. It prompted Gleeson to mutter "don't do jokes."
But then he was asked the million dollar question, about the UN Secretary-General race. When asked "if Helen Clark becomes leader of the UN, will you undermine her?"
Rudd answered with a politician's measured rhetoric, beginning to say that Clark was "a great candidate" and a "great international public servant."
"You're doing it now! This is how it starts. This is what you're good at, it's your natural game, we love watching you do it," Gleeson laughed.
"It's wonderful to watch it up close."
We're still no closer to a publicly declared Rudd Secretary-General bid; but it also seems we can't rule out Kevin Rudd Prime Minister, Mark III.