Mark Warner not running for president

His PAC has posted the statement.

Karol thinks this is good news because he’s a strong, centrist candidate. Isn’t that why it’s bad news? A centrist opponent would force the GOP to run to the right. And even then, if we end up losing we have the consolation of losing to a centrist. As it stands now, we’re looking at … Hillary.

Rich Lowry says this is one case where the “I want to spend more time with my family” excuse might not be an excuse. Really? He built up a huge war chest, traveled repeatedly to Iowa and New Hampshire, and stooped to throwing a party for the nutroots in Vegas — and now suddenly the old homestead’s a-callin’?

Shrewd assessment here from Hotline:

Warner’s exit frees up a LOT of money and talent for other ’08 Dems. The two big beneficiaries: John Edwards and Evan Bayh (Bill Richardson and Tom Vilsack too). But his exit also leaves a “new flavor” vacuum, which could yet be filled by Barack Obama. With new low-hanging financial fruit available, will IL’s junior senator make his move?

Obama’s the big winner. Edwards and Bayh have the heartland pedigree but they’ve been around awhile and have the stink of loser on them. Obama’s younger and more charismatic than both, and the left would simply shiver with self-admiration if it managed to put a black candidate on the ticket. There’s room now.

The question is, could Hillary beat him in a primary with all her negatives? He’s the only opponent who can match her for star power and she has no obvious advantage over him on the issues. On the contrary, she has to defend voting for war in Iraq. He doesn’t. Worse yet, he’s uniquely positioned to neutralize her one big advantage over the rest of the field: the feelgood vote from progressives eager to prove their lack of prejudice. It’s time for a woman president — but only if it’s not time for a black president first.

She won’t go down without a fight. Champions never do.