Mitt Romney drops out of 2016, and everyone’s freaking out

Former Massachusetts governor and perpetual evil-billionaire caricature Mitt Romney announced in a call with top donors on Friday morning that he would not, as many had expected, run for president in 2016.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president,” Romney said in remarks first officially posted on Medium, “I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”

Those other Republican leaders include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Bush is widely seen as the leading moderate presidential contender, and although many in Romney’s camp see Bush’s candidacy as a long shot, he is quickly locking down key personnel as he mulls a formal campaign. Romney would have been hard-pressed to match his early lead in courting major donors and top staffers.

Although the story of Romney’s announcement was that he had decided not to run, it began very differently this morning, when the Daily Beast reported that Romney was, in fact, running.

The publication got it wrong and said so shortly thereafter.

In the brief window between the Daily Beast’s supposed exclusive and the revelation that it had erred, talk of Romney lit up the Internet.

Twitter hasn’t cared this much about Romney since his infamous 47 percent remarks—and may never care about him this much again.

Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Eric Geller

Eric Geller

Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.