He's no Harold Stassen
Mitt Romney will not make a third bid for the White House in 2016.
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.
When he says "other leaders," it's clear to me that he's not referring to someone like a Jeb Bush or Mike Huckabee.
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.
I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I have wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president. You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country. But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation.
Earlier this month, it was rumored that Romney was strongly considering another run. However, I was not very excited about the prospects of a third Mitt campaign. Even if he somehow won the nomination in 2016, Romney's biggest selling point of 2012 (i.e. he wasn't Obama) would be obsolete come '16.
In my mind, today was a mere confirmation in what was pretty well assumed. Within the past couple of days, The New York Times reported that Romney's Iowa strategist in both 2008 and 2012, David Kochel, joined Bush's political action committee as a senior strategist. It was also noted that Kochel may well become Bush's national campaign manager. That doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence in Romney.
So now the prospective GOP establishment field has dwindled to Bush, Huckabee, Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham. Despite Romney insisting he could have been an effective fundraiser had he chosen to run, I find it hard to fathom how he could have peeled enough support away from the other aforementioned candidates to just win the Republican nomination. This was definitely the correct decision.