In which Mitt himself answers the question posed recently by InstaGlenn about whether Romney 2008 = Reagan 1976. What’s the best thing about this? The goodwill it’ll earn him among the party establishment for not dragging out the primary? The fond memory it creates in the mind of the base of a man willing to sacrifice his own ambition to support victory in Iraq? The venom it’ll draw from the left about him using the war as political cover for his own failure? Or the fact that it backs Huckabee into a corner by framing the continuation of his own campaign as effectively furthering the Democrats’ plans for withdrawal?
Virginia’s five days away and Huck stands a chance of hurting McCain. Over to you, Christian leader.
Update: Reagan 1980?
Making the dramatic announcement at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference at a Washington hotel, Romney clearly hoped to preserve the goodwill of his party for another possible bid in 2012. He intends to run again in four years, according to a senior member of his inner circle.
“He should be president. 2012,” the confidant e-mailed after talking to Romney.
Update: A pro forma statement of perseverance from the Huckabee camp. I can only assume they think they’re going to lose next Tuesday, which would give their guy a convenient excuse to exit. But what if he wins Virginia? You can’t quit after a victory, especially one that would embarrass McCain.
Update: The decision came last night.
According to a senior McCain adviser, McCain told Romney that he “admired his speech today and that he was a tough competitor.” McCain also told Romney he looks forward to sitting down with him at the earliest opportunity.
McCain did not ask Romney for his endorsement…
We’re also told McCain will reach out to Romney’s supporters and ask for their votes when he speaks at the top of the hour at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference.