RUSH: Mitt Romney just took the stage at the CPAC convention. Our microphones are there. Let’s listen to just a little bit, see if we can get a flavor for what’s coming. Standing ovation happening now. Laura Ingraham just introduced him as the only conservative candidate on our side.
ROMNEY: Thank you! What an honor. What an honor to be here. Thank you! Thank you so much. What a welcome. That is so fabulous. It’s such an honor to be introduced by Laura Ingraham. You know, we have all the fun. The people in our party, they’re gorgeous, they’re brilliant, it’s wonderful to have Laura Ingraham on our side, you know that? She is wonderful. Thanks to her and all of talk radio for what they do to keep the conservative movement strong and alive and vibrant, and I appreciate her generous introduction, and I love being introduced as the conservatives’ conservative, and that’s exactly how I feel. Thank you. (applause) I was also proud to be joined by my wife, you know my wife, Ann, she was here with me, and our five boys have been out campaigning. They’re fabulous. It’s been a family affair. I want to begin today by thanking you. It was a real honor to be here last year. It’s great to be here with you again. And I looked forward to joining you many, many more times in the future. (applause) Now, last year, last year CPAC gave me the send-off I needed. At the time, I was in single digits in the polls, and I was facing household names in the Republican contest. As of today, more than four million people have given me their vote for president. That’s good, yeah. (applause) That’s of course less than Senator McCain’s 4.7 million, but quite a statement nonetheless. Eleven states have given me their nod, compared to his 13. Thank you, those 11. Of course, because size does matter, he’s doing quite a bit better with the number of delegates he’s got. Now, to all of you, thank you here for caring enough about America to show up, to speak up, to stand up for conservative principles. (applause) As I said to you last year, conservative principles are needed now more than ever.
ROMNEY: We face a new generation of challenges —
ROMNEY: Challenges which threaten our prosperity, our security —
ROMNEY: — our future.
ROMNEY: I’m convinced that unless America changes course, we could become the France of the twenty-first century. (crowd booing) Still a great nation, but not the leader of the world, not the superpower. And, to me, that’s unthinkable. Look, it was awhile ago Shimon Peres came to Boston for a visit. He was asked about what he thought about the war in Iraq. First he said, “I have to put something in context.” He said, “America is unique in the history of the world. In the history of the world,” he said, “whenever there’s been conflict, the nation that wins takes land from the nation that loses. One nation in history, and this during the last century, laid down hundreds of thousands of lives and took no land. No land from Germany, no land from Korea, no land from Japan. America,” he said, “is unique in the sacrifice it has made for liberty, for itself, and for freedom loving people around the world.” And Colin Powell added, “The only land we took after the last great conflict was enough land to bury our dead.” The best ally peace has ever known and will ever know is a strong America! (applause)
RUSH: All right, folks, we’re going to have to leave this at this time because of the constraints of our programming format and the clock. Why is it that when people decide to suspend or get out of a race, they start giving their best speeches? We notice this when some embattled football coach quits, you get the best speech, the best public address we’ve ever heard. It’s gotta be the pressure’s off or you’re not worried about making a mistake, you’re not on defense or whatever. But, if it’s all true, that Romney is going to suspend — and NBC is confirming it now, and Fox News is confirming it, saying that a Romney aide has told them that he will suspend or withdraw from the race.
RUSH: I’ve been watching and listening to more of Mitt Romney’s speech, and he’s going to get out. We got a note from his campaign during the break, too. All this stuff is true. He is going to suspend and get out of the race. This is a fabulous, fabulous speech he’s giving. He’s going down the list of the problems that we face and what we need to do to fix them. Now, I haven’t heard every Mitt Romney speech, and I don’t know if this is stump speech or if this is things that he’s saying in a new way today, but it just strikes me again how people, when they quit something, I don’t like the term “quit,” but when they decide to get out of something and they announce it, that’s the best speech you ever hear them give. We’ve often thought this of concession speeches with presidential candidates and so forth. We often ask ourselves, “Where was this during the campaign?” I guarantee you, the audience at CPAC, there are 6,000 of them in there listening to this, the speech he’s giving is really tremendous, and he’s going to end it by saying, “I’m quitting. I’m getting out of the race.” And people are going, “Why?” (interruption) Okay, so he just said why. For the good of the party and the good of the country he’s retiring from the race. That’s what he said? For the good of the party and for the good of the race, yeah, I was with him up until that point. Now, I’m lost. It is what it is. So he’s made it official, getting out for the good of the party and for the good of the presidential race.
RUSH: Okay, we have the sound bite here for Mitt Romney announcing why he is suspending his campaign. I’m going to have to check on this. I’m not sure about this, but it could be (this is largely going to, I think, depend on state rules), but when you suspend your campaign, you may, in certain states, be able to hold onto your delegates. If you quit the race, you can’t. He didn’t endorse anybody today — and, for that matter, neither has Fred Thompson. But here’s about a minute, 19 seconds of Mitt Romney announcing why he suspended today.
ROMNEY: I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know (applause) but I agree with him. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq —
ROMNEY: — and finding and executing Osama Bin Laden; and I agree with him on eliminating Al-Qaeda and terror worldwide. Now, if I fight on in my campaign all the way to convention — I want you to know, I gave this a lot of thought — I forestall the launch of a national campaign. And, frankly, I’d be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win. Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror. This isn’t an easy decision. I hate to lose! My family, my friends, you, my supporters across the country; you’ve given me a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming president. If this were only about me, I’d go on. But it’s never been only about me. I entered this race… I entered this race because I love America — and because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I have to now stand aside, for our party and for our country.
RUSH: Okay, there you have it. So he’s standing aside. He’s suspending the campaign so that the Republicans will have enough lead time to prepare a successful campaign against either Hillary or Obama, because he is not confident that they will continue the task of the war on terror and defeat Islamic jihadists. He did say that he and McCain, even though they disagree on things, they do agree on that. So now what’s going to happen is all of us are going to say, “Okay, who’s the conservative alternative? Are you going to go to Huckabee now, Rush?” There is no conservative alternative in the race. It’s just that simple
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