What made Romney change his mind?

Mitt Romney has said that he has decided to withdraw from the race for the Republican nomination for president in the 2016 election. His withdrawal seems to have surprised observers just as much as his previous announcement that he was thinking of entering the race. His latest statement was a little equivocal, suggesting that he still thought he was the best candidate and could win, and hinted that he was open to being drafted as the party nominee if no suitable candidate emerged from the large scrum of current hopefuls and the party is deadlocked at the convention.

This is a decidedly long shot hope and for it to have even the remotest chance of happening, the establishment favorite Jeb Bush’s candidacy must implode, something that Romney hopes to nudge into happening with his comment that the party should look to someone “who’s just getting started”.

So why did he decide against running? Polls had shown him in the lead of all the candidates, undoubtedly helped by his name recognition. I think that there is enough money sloshing around in the elections that he could have got a lot even if some of the big money supporters were not as keen on him this time around.

My guess is that what sealed the decision for him is that cranky Rupert Murdoch seems to be against him. No Republican hopeful can win the party’s nomination if the Murdoch news empire and its flagship US operations of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are not supporting it and even Democrats are wary of antagonizing him.

The Times also reported there is a “delicate and unseen campaign underway” with various Republican presidential hopefuls trying to win Murdoch’s support. Fox News is America’s highest-rated cable news channel and employs several top conservative pundits. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page is also an influential voice among top levels of the GOP establishment.

Murdoch reportedly has more positive relationships with several other potential 2016 candidates. According to the Times, Murdoch is “fond” of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), has deep ties to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), and is developing a “growing rapport” with presumed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The paper also reported Murdoch is “intrigued” by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and the pair “meet often.” [My emphasis-MS]

So when I first heard four days ago that Murdoch was opposed to him running again, I felt that Romney’s days were numbered so his announcement yesterday was not a surprise.

Well, at least Romney can now get back to spending more time with his money and lavish his attention on all his massive houses without worrying about having to justify either. This article obtained the floor plan of his California house and you can insert the square footage of your own residence and see how it compares. Philip Bump says that his own house is smaller than the Romney’s kitchen.


  1. says

    My personal theory is that he never wanted to run in the first place, and he was under intense pressure by Salt Lake City to campaign anyway to fulfill an officially non-existent prophesy that a Mormon will become President and save the nation. A friend of mine think that his wife refused to go through with a third round in the fishbowl.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    My impression is that there are probably under two dozen money men, tops, who get to decide who the GOP nominee is going to be. They usually like to let Iowa and New Hampshire weed out the weaklings, and then wait for the remaining survivors to come groveling and pandering, so they can choose who will serve as the most eager lapdog.

    However, Romney knows the process well enough to short-circuit that whole game — he’s got everyone’s direct number. So he’s spent the last week asking them, “If it was between me, Jeb, and Christie, would you back me? Nope? Ok, bye.” He could probably get that polished off in a weekend.

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