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Menino on State of City: ‘Of course I’ll be able to stand’

Mayor Thomas Menino on Friday batted back a reporter’s question about whether he’ll have the stamina to stand during his State of the City address planned for later this month.

“Of course I’ll be able to stand. I’ve already tried. I’ve practiced it already. I’m ready to go,” said Menino, who has been recuperating at the city-owned Parkman House on Beacon Hill after lengthy stays at Brigham and Women’s and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

He quipped, “You guys will see it. It will be live and in color. Popping out of a box. ‘Wow, he’s back.’”

Menino then added: “No, seriously, I’ll be able to do it.”

The comments came at the swearing-in of School Committee member Michael O’Neill, who was reappointed to second term on the 7-member body earlier this week.

Reporters and School Committee members were ushered up to the Parkman House’s second floor, where Menino was seated with O’Neill. The mayor briefly stood as he read the oath to O’Neill. He answered reporters’ questions for about 11 minutes, talking about his physical therapy and gun control while playing coy about whether he will run for a sixth term.

“I’m determined to be able to, not run the marathon, literally,” Menino said. “Not the 26 mile. I have another marathon to run. And I want to make sure I’m able to do it.”

“Can you be more specific about that?” a reporter asked, to laughter from the assembled crowd.

“I have a city to run. We have a lot of issues to deal with,” Menino said, adding that he wanted to be sure he has the “stamina” to do deal with those issues.

When another reporter asked whether people should assume he’s running again, Menino said, “You don’t assume anything.”

Menino pointed to the changes to the city’s school assignment overhaul and job creation efforts. “That’s more important than worrying about Tom Menino running for reelection,” Menino said. “I mean, that to me is not the most important thing.”

Menino, a gun control advocate and co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, also said he had spoken three times in the last month with Vice President Biden, who had promised action by the end of the month on stricter measures.

Menino said President Obama won’t be on the ballot again, so “it’s time for him to step up to the plate” on gun control.

At the swearing-in ceremony, Menino was joined by Superintendent Carol Johnson, and several School Committee members, including Rev. Gregory Groover, Mary Tamer, Meg Campbell and John Barros. City Clerk Maureen Feeney, the former District 3 city councillor, was also present.

“You still have that great signature,” Feeney told Menino after he and O’Neill signed the city register as part of the ceremony.