Mitt Romney, speaking to CPAC, just dropped a bomb and changed the GOP presidential primary race altogether:
Mitt Romney suspended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday, saying if he continued it would “forestall the launch of a national campaign and be making it easier for Sen. Clinton or Obama to win.”
“In this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror. This is not an easy decision. I hate to lose,” the former Massachusetts governor said.
“If this were only about me, I’d go on. But it’s never been only about me. I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, in this time of war I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country.”
Wow. The Republicans can now hail King John.
One doesn’t have to agree with Mitt Romney to admire the man’s devotion to his principles — however newly developed. But I’ve a fair dose of skepticism about his motives. Is it that he’s concerned for America, or is he falling on his sword for the Republican Party? Clearly one is a more noble cause than the other.
Unfortunately, I might not feel so cynical had he not spent so many words conflating Iraq with the War on Terror / Osama bin Laden… because they are not the same thing. On the other hand, putting it all together so baldly might get this specific aspect of the national security discussion back up and center on some debate tables — a worthwhile outcome.
In more immediate terms, though — If there’s anyplace Romney has a point, it’s that John McCain will benefit enormously from being able to specifically target the Democrats while they’re still pummeling away at one another in the donkey trenches.
From the Republican side, it’s on.
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From around the ‘sphere:
Romney’s speech transcript here.
Dave Schuler in an update at OTB, on what “suspended” means for the GOP vs. the Dems. (Hint: They’re not the same) Judging from reactions online, Dave’s update should be required reading.
Ron Chusid outlines a couple of unlikely paths that could anoint someone other than McCain as GOP king.