Romney Drops Out: What They’re Saying

In the wake of Mitt Romney’s exit from the GOP race, Paul McMorrow talked to two influential Massachusetts politicians: Senate minority leader Richard Tisei, and House minority leader Brad Jones to gauge their reactions.

Tisei endorsed Rudy Giuliani, while Jones had lined up behind Romney.

Their words are after the jump.

Richard Tisei:

John McCain has a commanding lead, and Romney realized it’s virtually impossible to play catch-up. He does the party a great service by giving McCain the chance to prepare for the general election. People will appreciate that, and that good will will serve him well down the road.

In the end, voters viewed McCain as a lot more authentic. I feel like I know him. I don’t think people felt like they knew Mitt Romney. And that does take an awful lot of exposure to get to that point, and he did go an awful far distance. He might be disappointed today, but he didn’t run a disappointing campaign. He came close.

Part of what hurt him is his political persona. His persona as the governor of Massachusetts early on was different than the persona he had as a presidential candidate, and in his last couple years as governor. For voters looking for authenticity, particularly from out of state, I have a feeling that a lot of them didn’t feel as comfortable with him as they did with McCain. I don’t like some of McCain’s stands, but I feel like I know him. You know what you’re getting.

(Where does he go now?) He probably reaped a lot of goodwill by doing this now. People will look at it appreciatively. Should he decide to run in the future, there’ll be reservoirs of goodwill he can draw on because of how he handled this exit. But I’d be surprised if he ran for office in Massachusetts again – he’s probably more of a national figure.

Brad Jones

I’m sure it wasn’t easily arrived at. A lot passed in the past day and a half – realizing what the path to the nomination was, and realizing that it’s an extraordinarily difficult path, and that it was in the best interests of the party that he not continue. It’s difficult when your head catches up with your heart.

Six months ago, when you consider who he was running against – Senator McCain, who had run a national campaign and had national name recognition, Fred Thompson, who had national name recognition, Rudy Giuliani, a national figure – I think he achieved quite a bit, all things considered.