On Friday, the unexpected happened — after all that, Mitt Romney isn't running for president. Romney explained his decision during a conference call with supporters and members of the media. Several Romney aides confirmed that the text of Romney's statement, which was published on radio host Hugh Hewitt's website, is accurate.
The country's now-never-will-be-president said:
After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.
Romney was widely expected to make a third run, to say the least. He met with Jeb Bush to discuss how to keep the race cleaner, but also how to avoid splitting the Republican establishment vote. Polls were also looking very favorable, with Romney leading the field of GOP candidates in yesterday's FOX News survey.
So why is he dropping out of the race now?
Well, for a start, perhaps Romney was considering the man who appeared to be the frontrunner before he suggested a possible run — Jeb Bush. In the statement, Romney indicates that another candidate might seriously capitalize from his withdrawal:
I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president.
Romney's family probably also played a major role in his decision. His wife Ann said in an interview with ABC News Digital in October that "we're not doing that again" and that she's "moved on." She was particularly adamant with The Los Angeles Times:
Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done. Done. Done. Done.
Meghan McCain also begged Romney not to run for president in a Washington Post op-ed.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Mitt Romney. I like his wife and children. But take it from someone who knows — being the direct spawn of a presidential nominee is arduous and excruciatingly public. It’s an experience that will always hold a very special place in my heart, but I wouldn’t put myself or my family through it again for anything in the world. And it’s inconceivable to me that anyone else would either — especially after losing as your party’s most recent nominee.
Not only was Mitt lacking family support, but also that of members of the Republican ranks. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch referred to Mitt as a "terrible candidate." Even former Romney campaign staffers were jumping the ship before it even sailed, with a former finance director moving to the Bush campaign.
So maybe Jeb is that "someone else" Mitt mentioned?
For anyone still hoping for a Romney run, yes, this really does appear to be the end.
I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely. Accordingly, I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team.
So that's it. We're done. Whew.
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