Nevermind: Mitt Romney Says He Won’t Run for President in 2016

After strongly considering it, he has decided to give other Republicans a chance.

Associated Press

Associated Press

Mitt Romney gave a statement Friday announcing that he will not run for president after all. This after pretty openly musing about a third run for the White House in 2016, courting donors, and talking strategy. (Goodbye Boston. Hello, Salt Lake City.)

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it’s best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” he said on a conference call with donors and campaign aides, according to the Washington Post. Romney explained that while he was pretty confident he’d win the Republican nomination a second time, he didn’t want to destroy the chances of a lesser-known Republican who might have a better chance against Hilary Clin—er, the Democrat nominee, whoever that might be.

“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.”

This isn’t the first time Romney has said no to a 2016 campaign. (He famously told the New York Times, “Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no.”) Those denials were, at the very least, misleading. So what’s different about his refusal this time? Can we believe anyone who says they aren’t running for president? The world certainly doesn’t believe Elizabeth Warren.

But, crucially, if a  person says he will run for president, or he’s strongly considering it, and then says no, you can usually take him at his word. (Exceptions: Donald Trump.) Candidates don’t like to look ambivalent. And publicly admitting that you’re not sure you could win a general election, as Romney just did, is not a great campaign strategy. So the candidness of Romney’s statement along with his openness in publicly considering the run makes this a fairly solid closing of the book on the 2016 Romney thing.