MITT ROMNEY ENDS PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 1:44pm.
  Another one bites the dust! 

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will suspend his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, according to sources within his inner circle.

 
  

A number of those sources said a decision could come as soon as his speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference this afternoon in Washington, D.C.

"Numbers are numbers," said one senior Romney strategist. "It was impossible to get them to add up." The source added: "The party is more important than any one candidate."

Romney was set to do a call with his finance committee just before addressing the conservative gathering. His decision follows Romney's disappointing showing on Tuesday, when he picked up a number of states in the West but fell short in critical battlegrounds that would have established him as the primary challenger to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

McCain emerged from the Super Tuesday contest with more than 700 delegates to the party's national convention -- or three times the total for Romney and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. McCain is fewer than 500 delegates short of what he needs to lock up the GOP presidential nomination.

For Romney, the decision ends a roller-coaster bid for the presidency that began several years ago.

Little known outside of his homestate of Massachusetts, Romney put together a top-tier campaign team and began spending money on organizations and ads in early states like Iowa in New Hampshire last spring. While some of his opponents pooh poohed that decision, it paid dividends for Romney whose standing in the polls immediately shot upward.

He maintained those leads for much of the summer in fall even though even his own advisers acknowledged that his support -- especially among conservatives -- was shallow. The rise of former governor Mike Huckabee (Ark.) in Iowa was a major problem for Romney who had built his campaign on an ability to sweep the early states.

Huckabee's victory followed by the comeback win for Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in New Hampshire put Romney's campaign in serious peril. He vowed to continue on, however, and won two states -- Michigan and Nevada -- that seemed to reassert his role as a top tier contender.

In South Carolina's Jan. 19 primary, Romney was eclipsed by McCain and Huckabee despite spending millions on organization and campaign ads. Florida was the next battleground but Romney came up short in the Sunshine State primary to McCain.

Even with that setback, Romney continued to plow his own millions into the race -- funding ads in California and other states that voted on Feb. 5. Disappointment followed though as McCain won nearly every contested state -- including California -- and Romney's hopes of consolidating conservatives behind his candidacy was vanquished by the stronger than expected showing of Huckabee in the south.

In the end, Romney, a businessman, likely decided that the path to win the nomination was too narrow to justify further expenditures of his own money. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission covered campaign contributions and expenditures through the end of 2007, Romney had donated $37.5 million of his own money to the contest. He likely spent considerable more so far this year. His net worth has been estimated at between $250 and $500 million.

Romney's departure from the contest leaves three candidates still standing: McCain, Huckabee and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas). But, Romney was the last candidate in the race with the financial wherewithal to make a serious run at McCain and, with him dropping out, the Arizona senator is now the odds-on favorite to be the Republican presidential nominee.

Significant pressure will likely be brought to bear on Huckabee, who enjoys a good relationship with McCain, to bow out of the race an unify behind a single candidate. It was not immediately clear whether he will accede to that pressure.

The narrowing of the Republican field represents a stark contrast to the protracted nomination fight under way on the Democratic side. Both Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) are digging in for an extended state by state battle that could extend to Pennsylvania's April 22 primary or even beyond.

By Eric Pianin |  February 7, 2008; 12:45 PM ET - posted at  http://blog.washingtonpost.com/thefix/2008/02/romney_considering_dropping_ou.html
 

 *****
10 Things Romney Could Have Done Differently

1. Could have run less as a social conservative and more as a can-do technocrat.

2. Could have delivered his religion and faith speech earlier in his campaign.

3. Could have run negative ads against McCain (backlash and ire be darned).

4. Could have recognized that his biggest problem was a perceived lack of humanity, and addressed it with humor, purpose, and authenticity.

5. Could have put his wife and sons more front and center in the campaign. (just kidding)

6. Could have taken a risk and separated himself more from President Bush.

7. Could have identified Huckabee as a genuine threat before it was too late to stop the Arkansan’s momentum — in Iowa and beyond.

8. Could have consistently presented his own personality—disciplined, ambitious, take-charge, impersonal, passionate about his family and his religion—rather than tried to fit himself into a series of established Republican templates.

9. Could have insisted his warring advisers either make peace with each other or quit the campaign.

10. Could have regularly addressed one or two policy issues and/or themes that he really believed in — like change, anti-Washington, the economy.


Romney Campaign - February 7, 2008 - http://thepage.time.com

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 1:44pm.