I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror. If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.
This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters many of you right here in this room have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country.
I will continue to stand for conservative principles. I will fight alongside you for all the things we believe in. And one of those things is that we cannot allow the next President of the United States to retreat in the face evil extremism.
It is the common task of each generation and the burden of liberty to preserve this country, expand its freedoms and renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.
To this task, accepting this burden, we are all dedicated, and I firmly believe, by the providence of the Almighty, that we will succeed beyond our fondest hope. America must remain, as it has always been, the hope of the Earth.
Thank you, and God bless America.
This was a classy exit, leaving the door open for the future if Romney should choose to try again. I think he should. We need someone like him on our side, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt his chances in 2012 if he becomes active in the conservative movement, and keeps displaying the passion he showed at CPAC today. It’s going to be a transition of sorts for Romney, because I don’t think the guy has ever been the kind of ideologue that Newt or Rush or Fred is, and taking an active role in advancing conservative ideas would be something he might not be as comfortable with as those three gentlemen are. I will keep an eye on Romney, because we haven’t seen the last of him in Republican politics.