Mitt Romney, who announced he will not run for president in 2016, is scheduled to have dinner with Gov. Chris Christie “on Friday evening, according to two people with knowledge of his schedule, suggesting that Mr. Romney may be considering throwing his support, and that of his own political operation, to Mr. Christie,” the New York Times reports.
Hugh Hewitt has the text of remarks Mitt Romney will be making to his supporters shortly:
“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.”
“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. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”
New York Times: “By not pursuing a third White House bid, Mr. Romney frees up scores of donors and operatives who had been awaiting his decision, and creates space for other potential center-right candidates such as Jeb Bush.”
Mark Halperin says Mitt Romney has held “a jaundiced view” of Jeb Bush “dating all the way back to his handling of the Terri Schiavo case, and has come to see Bush as a non-entity in the 2016 nomination contest. Romney is said to see Bush as a small-time businessman whose financial transactions would nonetheless be fodder for the Democrats and as terminally weighed down with voters across the board based on his family name. Romney also doesn’t think much of Bush’s political skills (a view mocked by Bush’s camp, who say Romney is nowhere near Bush’s league as a campaigner). Romney also considers Bush the national Republican figure who was the least helpful to him during his last run for the White House, a position that has darkened Ann Romney’s view of Bush as well.”
First Read: “No one knows for sure what Romney will announce, but the hunch coming from Romney World is that the former Massachusetts governor is going to give it another try. But here’s why Romney has to make up his mind now: The ground underneath his feet is already beginning to crumble. Just yesterday, we learned that Romney’s top Iowa strategist in 2008 and 2012 — David Kochel — is set to be Jeb Bush’s campaign manager. We also learned, via the AP, that some of Romney’s past donors are jumping aboard the Jeb Train.”
“And get this: We can tell you that folks whom Romney has invited on this call are already planning to work for Bush. (Remember, a lot of these people have been connected to the Bush World longer than to Romney.) So if Romney is going to do this, he needs to make a clear statement ASAP (and don’t be surprised if it comes in the form of a PAC or other committee). It’s not too dissimilar for what Jeb had to do a couple of months ago: convince skeptical politicos and donors that you’re actually in the race.”
Sources tell the Daily Beast that Romney will announce that he’s running for president again.
Addressing House Democrats at their annual retreat, President Obama referred to one “former presidential candidate” who was “suddenly deeply concerned about poverty,” the Huffington Post reports.
Said Obama: “That’s great. Lets do something about it.”
Mitt Romney fired back on Twitter: “Mr. Obama, wonder why my concern about poverty? The record number of poor in your term, and your record of failure to remedy.”
Mitt Romney is expected to tell supporters whether he’ll run for president again in an 11am ET conference call.
Mark Halperin: “Those who have been helping Romney make up his mind say there are three factors in favor of a run, and two factors against. The main rationale on the ‘go’ side is Mitt and Ann Romney’s strongly held conviction that no one in the current field would make a better president… The second factor driving Romney towards another run, say those familiar with his thinking, is a host of emphatically encouraging poll results. There is ample public polling that suggests leads in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, as well as nationally.”
“Nevertheless, the opposite side of the 2016 balance sheet contains some grim realities. The Romney clan is only too aware of the toll a presidential run would take, with physical, emotional, and psychic stresses barreling down directly upon Mitt and Ann and spilling onto family and friends around the country. While to the Romneys the call to service rings loud and true, the prospect is daunting to the entire family.”
“Add Wall Streeters to the growing list of Republican power players uneasy about the prospect of another Mitt Romney bid for the White House,” CNN reports.
“The corridors of high finance were the target of intense hostility during Romney’s last presidential run. President Barack Obama’s campaign successfully seized on the former Massachusetts governor’s time at private equity firm Bain Capital to paint a picture of an industry that destroys middle-class jobs while wealthy executives reap generous profits — often taxed at lower rates.”
“David Kochel, a Republican strategist based in Iowa who worked on both of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns, is joining Jeb Bush’s political action committee as a senior strategist and is in line to serve as Mr. Bush’s national campaign manager,” the New York Times reports.
“The move to tap Mr. Kochel, who advised Mr. Romney for over six years, represents a shot across the bow of the 2012 Republican nominee, who is now considering a third bid for the White House.”
“Closing in on a decision about whether to again run for president, Mitt Romney is finding that several past major fundraisers and donors in key states have defected to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush,” the AP reports.
“The donors said they see in Bush what they liked about Romney in 2012, namely what they believe it takes to serve successfully as president, but also something Romney could not muster in his two previous campaigns: what it takes, both in personality as a candidate and in a supporting staff, to win the White House for the GOP. Also, the donors said, they took the former Massachusetts governor at his word when he said he would not run for president a third time.”
Bloomberg: “Though he’s been on the public stage for more than a decade, Romney and his family still believe America doesn’t understand Mitt—a problem they blame both on political opponents and mistakes of past campaigns. In the public imagination, he remains an out-of-touch plutocrat who delights in laying off workers and earned the endorsement of the Simpsons’ Mr. Burns—an image, advisers grumble, that was created by Democrats. That narrative, cemented by the Obama campaign, infuriates Romney’s family and friends, who say the man they know has little in common with his fat-cat caricature. A third presidential run, they argue, offers as a chance for redemption, a last opportunity to finally show the country the real Romney: compassionate church leader, devoted patriot, and loving father.”
Rick Klein: “Say this for Mitt Romney: If he chooses to launch a third presidential bid, he’ll know exactly what he’s getting in to. That’s not just based on long memories. On Wednesday, on the same day he was scheduled to give a speech in Mississippi, two national newspapers did separate stories about enormous Romney houses – different enormous houses.”
Wall Street Journal: “A look at the top 50 fundraising ZIP Codes for individuals for former President George W. Bush — Jeb Bush’s older brother — in 2004 and for Mr. Romney in 2012, when he was the GOP presidential nominee, shows 32 of them are the same… These are the ZIP Codes that may be most critical as the 2015 money primary kicks into high gear.”
“Based heavily in New York, Connecticut, Texas and California, these 32 ZIP Codes show key parts of the fundraising footprints of the two candidates who are seen to be vying for the role of establishment Republican presidential candidate.”
Mitt Romney “is taking steps to shed some of his property, including retaining a broker who is currently showing the La Jolla home to potential buyers, according to a Romney aide. The aide would not disclose the asking price or explain why the former Massachusetts governor and his wife, Ann, want to sell the home after more than four years of city permitting, hearings, and construction,” the Boston Globe reports.
The home features the now infamous car elevator that dogged Romney’s 2012 presidential bid.
New York Times: “In the delicate and unseen campaign underway for Mr. Murdoch’s affections in the next presidential campaign, this much is clear: Mr. Romney is out of the running, a reality that has pained and angered his allies. Presidential politics is rife with grudges and grievances, but it is hard to recall a display of animus as unsubtle as that which Mr. Murdoch and corners of his media empire have unleashed on Mr. Romney in the past few weeks as he has tried to build support for a third presidential run.”
“Let me put it this way — I hope he’s their nominee.”
— House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, quoted by The Hill, on Mitt Romney considering another presidential bid.
Washington Post: “If he runs again in 2016, Romney is determined to re-brand himself as authentic, warts and all, and central to that mission is making public what for so long he kept private. He rarely discussed his religious beliefs and practices in his failed 2008 and 2012 races, often confronting suspicion and bigotry with silence as his political consultants urged him to play down his Mormonism.”
Said son Tagg Romney: “If he were to run again. I believe he would be much more willing to open up and share who he is — not by asking others to learn the doctrines of his faith, but by speaking of the values of love and service that it has taught him.”
New York Times: “Three years ago, Mr. Romney’s tortured approach to his religion — a strategy of awkward reluctance and studied avoidance that all but walled off a free-flowing discussion of his biography — helped doom his campaign. (The subject is still so sensitive that many, including the prominent Republican, would only discuss it on condition that they not be identified.)”
“But now as Mr. Romney mulls a new run for the White House, friends and allies said, his abiding Mormon faith is inextricably tied to his sense of service and patriotism, and a facet of his life that he is determined to embrace more openly in a possible third campaign.”
Jeb Bush told the Washington Post that when he met with Mitt Romney earlier this week they mostly avoided talk about the 2016 presidential campaign.
Said Bush: “We talked about the Patriots. We talked a little bit about politics, not as much as you might imagine. We talked about the future of the country. We talked about the need for a more engaged foreign policy.. . .The awkward side of this, about running and such, we put aside.”
Joshua Spivak: “What separates Romney from other comeback presidents is that he’s already received his party’s nomination and lost once before. The recent comeback kids did not receive the nomination in their first runs for office. For example, both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush came in second in their earlier attempts for the nomination. Reagan, probably the most noteworthy candidate who ran more than once, boosted his name-recognition and his credibility with the party’s conservative base in his first two runs, especially when he almost toppled sitting President Gerald R. Ford in 1976.”
“But once you look at the candidates who received the nomination, lost the general election and ran again, the road back to the White House appears much tougher. The last person to lose as a nominee and then go on to win the presidency — or even to get his party’s nomination more than once – was Richard Nixon, who lost the election on a razor-thin margin in 1960 and then won triumphantly in 1968. Before that, it was fairly common for a party to renominate a candidate. William Jennings Bryan was the Democratic nominee three times and never won; Adlai Stevenson got the Democratic nomination twice in the 1950s; Thomas Dewey was the unsuccessful Republican nominee in 1944 and 1948. But all of these candidates share something Romney lacks: Their campaigns occurred before the advent of the current primary and caucus system for choosing a nominee. These earlier nominees needed only to appeal to the narrow support of a political convention.”