He’s Out: Mitt Rom­ney says he won’t Run for Pres­i­dent

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

For­mer Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney told close sup­port­ers on a con­fer­ence call on Fri­day that he will not run again in 2016, say­ing that he wants to al­low other lead­ers in the GOP to step for­ward.

“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 said in re­marks posted on ra­dio host Hugh He­witt’s web­site, which par­tic­i­pants on the call con­firmed to NBC News as ac­cu­rate.

Rom­ney told back­ers he be­lieved that he could have won the nom­i­na­tion but “it would have been a dif­fi­cult test and a hard fight.”

“I be­lieve that one of our next gen­er­a­tion of Repub­li­can lead­ers, one who may not be as well known as I am to­day, one who has not yet taken their mes­sage across the coun­try, one who is just get­ting started, may well emerge as be­ing bet­ter able to de­feat the Demo­crat nom­i­nee,” he added. For­mer Florida gover­nor Jeb Bush, widely viewed as the new fa­vorite of estab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans, called Rom­ney a “pa­triot” in a state­ment af­ter news of the de­ci­sion broke. “Though I’m sure to­day’s de­ci­sion was not easy, I know that Mitt Rom­ney will never stop ad­vo­cat­ing for re­new­ing Amer­ica’s prom­ise through up­ward mo­bil­ity, en­cour­ag­ing free en­ter­prise and strength­en­ing our na­tional de­fense,” Bush said. “Mitt is a pa­triot and I join many in hop­ing his days of serv­ing our na­tion and our party are not over.”

Other po­ten­tial can­di­dates - in­clud­ing Marco Ru­bio and Rand Paul - also weighed in to praise Rom­ney’s lead­er­ship. Some top Repub­li­cans had re­cently ex­pressed skep­ti­cism about an­other pres­i­den­tial bid by the for­mer Mas­sachusetts gover­nor who failed to oust in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in 2012. He was widely be­lieved to have stepped away from pres­i­den­tial pol­i­tics un­til early this year, when he told a meet­ing of donors that he was mulling an­other run.

Rom­ney had also been con­tend­ing with high-pro­file de­fec­tions of sup­port­ers to Jeb Bush’s camp. The lat­est came Thurs­day when Rom­ney’s two-time Iowa guru, op­er­a­tive David Kochel, signed on to be Bush’s na­tional cam­paign manager if Bush pur­sues a run.

Chuck Todd-NBC News

Mitt Rom­ney

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