Thursday, February 7, 2008
Romney Out; McCain Leading Contender for GOP Votes
McCain seals GOP nod as Romney suspends
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago
WASHINGTON -effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday as chief rival suspended his faltering presidential campaign. "I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney prepared to tell conservatives.
"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 thator Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney will say at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
"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."
McCain prevailed in most of thestates, moving closer to the numbers needed to officially win the nomination.
Overall, McCain led with 707 delegates, to 294 for Romney and 195 for Huckabee. It takes 1,191 to win the nomination at this summer's convention in.
"I disagree withon a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in , on finding and executing , and on eliminating and terror," Romney said.
Romney acknowledged the obstacles to beating McCain.
"As of today, more than 4 million people have given me their vote for president, less than Senator McCain's 4.7 million, but quite a statement nonetheless. Eleven states have given me their nod, compared to his 13. Of course, because size does matter, he's doing quite a bit better with his number of delegates," Romney said in prepared remarks.
Romney's departure from the race came almost a year after his formal entrance, when the Michigan native declared his candidacy on Feb. 12, 2007, at the Henry Ford Museum of Innovation in.
Over the ensuing 12 months, Romney sought the support of conservatives with a family values campaign, emphasizing his opposition to abortion and gay marriage, as well as his support for tax cuts and health insurance that would benefit middle-class families.
"We need to teach our children that before they have babies, they get married," he told voters at his campaign events.
But he was dogged by charges of flip-flopping, a criticism that undermined the candidacy of anotherhopeful — in 2004. In seeking to unseat in 1994, Romney said he would be a better advocate for gay rights than his rival and he favored abortion rights.
Throughout his campaign, Romney was questioned by voters and the media about his Mormon faith. Hoping assuage voters skeptical of electing a Mormon president, Romney gave speech on Dec. 6 in, that explicitly recalled remarks made in 1960 in an effort to quell anti-Catholic bias. He vowed to serve the interests of the nation, not the church, if elected president.
In early voting, Romney sought votes by casting himself as the guardian of the Reagan-era conservative triad — a three-legged stool, as the candidate put it — of a strong national defense, strong economy and strong families.
Fueled by what would grow to more than $35 million of personal donations, his campaign hired top-notch staff in the early voting states, and Romney scored an early win when his organization topped the field at thein August.
By that time, the national front-runners, McCain and, had virtually ceded the lead-voting state to Romney.
Instead, McCain focused on, second on the calendar, while Giuliani employed an untested strategy of waiting out the early primary contests and instead staking his candidacy on a strong showing in the Jan. 29 Florida primary.
Romney's goal was to score back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, clearing the field and creating momentum to roll through— where he enjoyed the support of top aides to former Gov. — and seal the nomination in the contests.
Instead, Romney was beaten Jan. 3 in Iowa by former Arkansas Gov., a former Southern Baptist minister who received an unexpected outpouring of support in the caucuses from voters identifying themselves as evangelicals.
Five days later, Romney suffered a second consecutive defeat in New Hampshire, when McCain won the primary in part with the support of independents attracted to his self-styled maverick campaign.
Romney, who headed the 2002in , tried to cast each defeat in competitive terms, saying his second-place finishes amount to "silver medals." He also highlighted the "gold" he won in between and in the little-watched caucuses.
Nonetheless, Romney took a cue from Huckabee's win, as well as Democrat's Iowa upset of rival , as a sign voters wanted change in Washington.
On the stump, he retooled his speech to harken back to the theme he broached in, that America's future, and that of its government, were dependent on innovation. His campaign also hung new banners reading, "Washington is Broken," as well as a to-do list Romney would complete as president.
Romney and McCain went head-to-head in the Jan. 13 Michigan primary, and Romney won, in part by highlighting his background as a business consultant and venture capitalist. When McCain acknowledged what seemed to be obvious, that not all of's lost auto industry jobs would be recovered, Romney pounced.
He accused the senator of pessimism, outlining a $20 billion industry recovery package and telling audiences in economically ailing, "I will fight for every single job."
Romney also tweaked his stump speech to criticize McCain for stating that he was more familiar with foreign affairs and military matters than economic issues.
Highlighting his 25-year business career, he told audiences, "says the economy is not his strong suit; well, it is my strong suit."
As the calendar progressed, however, McCain picked up a big-ticket win in the Jan. 19primary. Romney instead focused on his victory in the caucuses the same day.
Ten days later, the two squared off again in the Florida primary, where McCain scored a major upset after winning endorsements from the state's two top elected Republicans — Gov., a popular figure who had previously said he planned to remain neutral in the race, and .
The following day, Giuliani dropped out of the race and endorsed McCain. A day later, popular California Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneger announced his endorsement of McCain, reflecting a coalescing of Republican support behind the senator as he approached ashowdown with Romney.
Romney's final pitch was to label McCain a liberal like Clinton and Obama, a charge tantamount to heresy in the. He was backed by conservative media voices like and .
Labels: Romney out- McCain in lead
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