The good news - I got a new lawn mower.
The bad news - The reason I got a new lawn mower is that I burned my old one to the ground trying to get it started.
I filled the gas tank first. The battery was down so I put jumper cables on it for a while with no luck. I then decided to jump straight to the starter to see if there was a problem with the ignition or if the starter was weak. I have done this on all sizes and types of vehicles from lawn mowers to semis and compact to 4 wd tractors. Of course there was a pretty big spark when I touched the hot post. Unfortunately the carburetor must have been leaking. It was a small fire to start with but I didn't have a fire extinguisher handy and it was a roaring fire by the time I got something to put it out.
P.S. I bought 3 fire extinguishers when I bought the new mower.