Romney Ends Presidential Bid
By William Branigin
Mitt Romney suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination for president today in a speech before the Conservative Political Action Committee in Washington.
"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," Romney told the crowd.
"This is not an easy decision for me," Romney continued. "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."
Romney, 60, launched his presidential campaign last year after serving a four-year term as governor of Massachusetts. He won election as governor in November 2002 with 50 percent of the vote, defeating Democratic candidate Shannon O'Brien, who received 45 percent.
He ran for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts in 1994 but failed to unseat the incumbent, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D), who won with 58 percent of the vote to Romney's 41 percent.
On the campaign trail, Romney often touted his career in the private sector. After earning law and business degrees from Harvard in 1975, he went to work for a consulting firm. In 1978, he became a vice president of Boston-based Bain and Co., a management consulting company. He left that position in 1984 to co-found a related investment firm that specialized in leveraged buyouts, heading it for 14 years.
He subsequently returned to Bain and Co. in 1990 as chief executive and presided over a restructuring that rescued it from financial collapse.
In 1998, Romney left the company to head the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He set up residence in Utah, which became an issue when the Massachusetts Democratic Party challenged his eligibility to run for governor in 2002 on grounds that he did not meet the state's residency requirement. The challenge ultimately failed.
Romney's ties to Utah and his membership in the Mormon Church, which is headquartered there, helped him capture the state's winner-take-all primary on Super Tuesday, one of his seven victories that day. But the states he won offered too few delegates to vault him back into contention for the Republican presidential nomination.
Born in Detroit in March 1947, Romney is the son of George W. Romney, a former governor of Michigan and a Republican presidential contender in 1968. He studied at Stanford University briefly before moving to France to work as a Mormon missionary for two and a half years in the late 1960s -- service that gave him a deferment from the U.S. military draft during that period.
Romney subsequently attended Brigham Young University and graduated in 1971 with a bachelor's degree. He went to Harvard for graduate studies in law and business administration.
Web Politics Editor
February 7, 2008; 1:06 PM ET
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