RUSH: A lot of people are stunned. Right before the program today, Mitt Romney did a no mas, no mas, and pulled out, in a conference call to donors. It’s fascinating. When I first saw it I started getting e-mail from people because, of course, everybody thinks I would not know this. I get e-mail from people: “Hey, Rush, did you see this? Romney’s pulled out.”
“No! Really?” And then the theories abounded, and one of the big theories was that Romney had just handed the nomination to Jeb. That’s the budding conventional wisdom, but Romney did not hand anything to Jeb. If anything, Romney jabbed Jeb on the way out of this.
Let me read to you the money quote, what Romney said to his donors, supporters, or what have you. By the way, CNN had the tape. CNN got the whole conference call. I got the transcript of it right here at Real Clear Politics. CNN airs personal call from Romney telling supporters he’ll not run for president. Wasn’t it CNN who had that video of Romney telling his supporters that 47% of the country would never vote for him? I don’t know, somebody in the Romney camp’s got an in at CNN.
Anyway, the money quote, this is what Romney said: “I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today –“
Well, that eliminates anybody that’s currently in the running. It eliminates Jeb Bush. It limits Chris Christie. Speaking of which, did you know Christie’s got a new PAC? Have you seen the acronym of Christie’s new PAC? Why didn’t I put this at the top? Let me find it. I should have put it at the top. I just didn’t think I was gonna be talking about it at the top. His new PAC, I don’t even know the name of it, but the acronym is LFM. It’s like “laughing out loud.” I shouldn’t even brought it up here, folks, because I didn’t put it aside and I’ve just distracted you. Not me.
Back to Romney. It makes it very clear here that he’s looking at somebody who’s not thought of in terms of conventional wisdom. “I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.
“I feel that it’s critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president. You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country. We believe it’s for the best of the party and the nation.”
Now, this came after a big donor of Romney’s yanked his support. I mean, I don’t have the guy’s name in front of me. I’d never heard of this guy before. I think he’s just one of many. So there’s a financial reason here, too. But I’ve often said that I don’t think you’ll find, just in terms of human character, a finer man in politics than Mitt Romney. Just in terms of his character, manners, you know, all the things that you use in judging and describing just a decent man, a fine man, a good guy, it’s Mitt Romney. As a politician, not so much. But as a human being, they don’t come much better.
Some people are thinking now that Romney may have just secured the nomination for whoever the Republican nominee is by virtue of him getting out of this. It’s hard not to like Romney on a personal level, just talking about normal, well-balanced human being. Romney was humble. He saw his strengths. He saw his weaknesses. I think he’s a good man. I think he’s a thoughtful man. But that doesn’t mean that he’s the best candidate, and he has come to the same conclusion.
I think this is why, as a person, Romney appeals to so many people. When you contrast Mitt Romney with Barack Obama or Mitt Romney with Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, the man, stands far above, high above and way apart from anybody the Democrats would put up. But the problem is he’s already run and lost. And his candidacy saw something like four million Republican voters in 2012 stay home. So one of his big money people pulled out and said, “Basically, look, I like the guy, but we need to go in a different direction.”
Also, ladies and gentlemen, I ran into not long ago a very staunch Romney supporter. I mean someone from Boston and someone who had given enough money and worked hard enough that, had Romney won in 2012, this guy that I’m talking to or somebody’s family might have been an ambassador to someplace decent. You know, not a posting to outer Mongolia. I mean, that’s how close and that’s how significant the work for Romney was.
So this was about three months ago, maybe two now, and I ran into the guy, and I said, “Look, I know everybody’s probably bugging you about this, but what can you tell me? Do you think Romney’s gonna run?” And this guy looked at me and said, “I hope not.” I was totally taken aback. He said, “We need a fighter. I love the guy, he’s a great guy, but we need a fighter.” And then this guy told me he liked Rick Perry for that reason.
So that was my first indication, and I’ve told you this story before. For those of you that listen every day, you’ve heard this. That was my first indication that something was not right throughout the Romney operation. I mean, for this man that I’m talking about to essentially have bowed out, and now we have another who’s done so, it’s clear now that the conventional wisdom is it’s now Jeb Bush’s nomination to lose. And the reason that they’re saying that is because this frees up all the donors in the Republican Party to go in on one guy rather than splitting the donation.
If Romney had stayed in, and you’ve got Jeb out there, and even Christie, then what’s called the donor class of the Republican Party — and they’re not conservatives. I mean, some of them are, but for the most part they’re moderate. They trend liberal geographically, they’re Northeastern. But they are not conservative, and they’re not conservative because of social issues. They are actively adamantly opposed to conservatives because of social issues. Well, they make up the donor class of the Republican Party, which is a lot of money. And it was thought that if Romney’s in and Jeb’s in and Christie’s in and that money is gonna be divvied up three ways, which then opens it up for a conservative couple or three candidates to make inroads.
Now with Romney out, the donor class money doesn’t get divvied up. I mean, Chris Christie’s actually gonna be very happy about this. He can make a move on some of the donor class money. But as I read what Romney said here, it doesn’t sound to me like he’s talking about Jeb Bush. A lot of his money people are going there. But when he says, “I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today.” Well, Jeb’s as well known as Romney is. And Christie is as well known as Romney is.
I mean, who isn’t? Who isn’t? Well, Scott Walker probably would be in the class not as well known. Where would you put Cruz in this? (interruption) Okay, Cruz clearly well known, and among the donor class types that we have been talking about, Cruz is not fancied. Put it that way. They’re afraid of Cruz. They don’t like Cruz. Cruz is great. Don’t anybody jump in my chili here. I’m not endorsing anybody. Let me say this up front. (interruption) Well, see, Rand Paul, I don’t know where Romney would come down on Rand Paul. I don’t personally know where Romney would put Rand Paul.
But Rand Paul, this is a really tough thing. “I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country.” Well, Rand Paul has. He’s been out there. He’s got a strategy. He’s been to California. He’s been everywhere. Walker is the one that hasn’t been outside Wisconsin yet. He went to Iowa and that’s it, in terms of the path that you take. He didn’t name anybody, Romney didn’t, but it’s opened up a big guessing game.
The Denver Post here with a story: “Key Romney Donors and Longtime Staffer Moving Toward Bush.” This was written before he had decided. “As Mitt Romney closes in on a decision about whether to again run for president, he does so without several major donors who supported him in the past and a veteran Iowa staffer — defections all to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The donors, in interviews with The Associated Press, said they see in Bush what they liked about Romney in 2012,” and presumably don’t like about him now. And that is “the capacity to serve successfully as president, but also something Romney could not muster over two campaigns: the personality and senior staff needed to win the White House.”
These donors all say that Jeb’s got the ability to put together a senior staff and combine it with a personality that is needed to win. “Chicago investor Craig Duchossois –” this is reputed to be the big donor that announced his pull out “– whose wife contributed $250,000 to a pro-Romney super PAC while he collected tens of thousands more for Romney’s last campaign, said, ‘I’ve got great respect for Gov. Romney, and I busted my buns for him, but I have turned the page.'”
Now, this Denver Post story was written, cleared at about 3:30 in the morning Eastern time today, and here’s this paragraph: “The defections to Bush do not, as of yet, appear so definitive as to keep Romney from the race.” Well, they turned out to be. I mean, you can’t say that these defections, particularly the money people, were not a factor in the decision. They have to be. It’s all about money. So that’s where we are with that. And look, just because Romney said that he believes that one of our next generation Republican leaders who has not yet taken the message across the country will emerge, doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen.
But it is a slap. It’s a swipe at the rest of the field. Essentially Romney is saying, “Look, I’m getting out of this, and we don’t have a prayer if the names you know are the only people that we have get in the race, ’cause the names you know don’t have a prayer of beating Hillary or whoever.” That’s what the message is. It better be somebody we don’t know yet. It better be somebody filled with energy, young, ready to make his mark, conservative and so forth. Which eliminates all the other people that are currently thought of to be in the race.
Let me take a quick break here. We’ll be back and continue here with all the rest of the program. Oh. Christie’s PAC. LeadershipMattersforAmerica.org, which is LMFAO, laughing my fat rear end off, is the acronym. (laughing) LeadershipMattersforAmerica.org is the acronym.
RUSH: You know, it’s amazing. Since, I guess, Monday — yeah, Monday this week — it’s amazing how many blogs and other places are now on the Scott Walker bandwagon. You know what I did? I went back to my website. I went back and I searched. I wanted to find the earliest mention of Scott Walker as a man showing the way — with a blueprint, how to win — and how long I’ve been talking about this, and how long I was the only one talking about it.
Now to see all the people getting on the bandwagon — which I did, and that’s coming up.
Bill Gates is worried about artificial intelligence, along with Stephen Hawking. You know, wouldn’t it be great if these brilliant wizards of smart were as worried about artificial compassion and artificial government and artificial caring? Wouldn’t it be great if these wizards had to say something about that? What is this being afraid of artificial intelligence, for crying out loud? How about being afraid of artificial patriots?
Anyway, I got little rant coming on that.
Here’s Romney from the phone call, the conference call to his donors. We’ve got a couple sound bites.
ROMNEY: I’m convinced that we could win the nomination. But I fully realize it would have been a difficult task and a hard fight. … I would have the best chance of beating the eventual Democrat nominee, but that’s before the other contenders have had the opportunity to take their message to the voters. I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.
RUSH: Well, it’s obvious. The conclusion here is that Romney… (interruption) Who am I forgetting? I’m naturally thinking that he’s talking about Scott Walker, but there could be others that he means. He might think, for example, that Cruz has not taken his message to the country. What does that mean? Does that mean you’ve not been in a primary fight? Does that mean you’ve not gone to Iowa? Does that not mean you have gone around the country as a potential presidential nominee? He could be talking about more than Scott Walker here. Time will tell.
But the more important thing is, he’s clearly slapping at the remaining moderates in the field, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie and you name it, all the others.
RUSH: Well, okay. Romney met with Jeb in Salt Lake City. I do remember that. So people ask, “Okay, well, what if Jeb maybe offered Romney the VP if he stayed out?” Do you think…? Here’s a guy who ran for president, who wants to run again but his donors are pulling out — which is really probably what this is all about. Romney clearly thinks he could win again. Romney clearly wants to win again. He wanted it.
But the money people are pulling out, and there are other candidates those money people want to go to. I mean, that pretty much spells the doom. I mean, that seals the fate. But even if — and theories abound. Even if Jeb Bush had offered Romney the veep, I don’t know that that’s enough. Would that be enough for Romney to get out of the race? I don’t know. The way these people operate is sometimes hard to understand, difficult to understand when you get into their egos and their own professional self-assessments.
At the same time, I’ll just share with you thoughts off the top of my head. They could be proved wrong down the road, but when we have Romney’s statement, “I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country,” can you see Romney talking up somebody like Scott Walker? Can you see that? Can you envision that down the road? Can you see ’em together on a campaign trail?
Can you see Romney talking up Ted Cruz on a campaign trail? Can you see Romney really working hard for Rand Paul? You can try to envision these things to try to figure out who he’s talking about. And eventually we will know, of course. But it really is gonna boil down to the money. Like, for example, did I hear this right, that Romney is supposed to have dinner with Christie tonight? Big whoop now. If he’s talking about Scott Walker… I mean, Chris Christie does not fit this definition.
Here’s the second sound bite we have of Romney and the phone call to his supporters in his conference call just this morning.
ROMNEY: I feel that it’s critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president. You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country. But we believe it’s for the best of the party and the nation. I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again, if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely.
RUSH: I’ll tell you one thing that could, and that is if the money people change their minds. It all boils down to that. I don’t think we would be here talking about this today, were it not for the news that all of these big donors have decided to go in a different direction. Now, let me read this to you one more time. I’m just asking you people what you think here right out front: “I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started…”
Could that be, in Romney’s world, Jeb Bush?
Could Jeb Bush fit that criteria as Romney is talking about it, “somebody who may not be as well known as I am today”? It seemed to us sitting here (and I’m sure you, too) that Jeb Bush is as well known as Romney, for the last name alone, right? “[O]ne who has not yet taken their message across the country”? Well, that’s a little stickier proposition, ’cause has Jeb taken his message across the country? I mean, Jeb only recently (and even quasi-officially) made it the real deal, right? (interruption)
Well, no. Don’t muddy the waters here yet, Snerdley. “Well, what message does Jeb Bush have anyway?” We know what the message is. We know what with the message is. “Win without the base. Somehow find a way to win by supporting amnesty for illegals and Common Core.” That’s Jeb’s message. Does Romney actually think that is a dark horse message that’s gonna come out of nowhere and sweep Republican primary voters off their feet? We just don’t know.
Believe me, folks, when it comes to these moderate Republicans and how they think, it remains a mystery. We often make the mistake of attaching our own thought processes to people. Sometimes that’s a huge mistake. So we’ll just have to wait and see. Are you also kind of amazed at how big a story it is that Romney’s not running? I mean, it’s big. It stopped the presses on the cable news networks.
“Oh, my God, Romney’s not running! Whoa! Oh, threw it wide open.”
Of course to these people who cover it, it’s just a game, just the sport of things. The actual impact of any of this, that’s more much later. This is just too much fun, as far as they’re concerned. This is their Super Bowl. You know, the presidential elections, handicapping it: Figuring out who’s got the best chances, the best tactics, the best strategy, who can run the best ads, who can be the best slimeball artist and all, who can withstand the most sliming.
That’s the kind of stuff that excites the media. But what they really think issue-wise and what all that means to the country? That’s not even a factor yet. And don’t forget: Over here, out of view right now, is Hillary Clinton. Because everybody in this world, everybody in the Mitt Romney world, everybody in the media world, everybody in the Republican establishment world thinks that the Democrat nominee is going to be Hillary.
There isn’t anybody else. “Elizabeth Warren? Eh. Howard Dean? Eh. Joe Biden? Nah.” They really have concluded that Hillary is the nominee, like they do every four years, every eight years. It’s just by rote.
RUSH: There’s a name that I forgot when Mitt Romney’s talking about somebody that’s not on the national scene, has yet to take the message nationally, and that would be Dr. Carson, Dr. Ben Carson. I don’t know that Romney had him in mind, but he fits the description that Romney gave of who he hopes emerges as the Republican nominee. … And could he have meant Senator Rubio? He could have meant Senator Marco Rubio.
The conventional wisdom was that if Jeb Bush got in, that Rubio would not, because they’re both from Florida and they would split the Florida donor base. But Rubio didn’t appear to get that memo. Rubio appears to be in it. A lot of great guys with great conservative potential in the Republican primary field, and the establishment is gonna be gunning for all of them. They’re gonna do what they always try to do.
They’re gonna try to split the conservative primary vote just like they did last time and end up with their chosen mainstream moderate sort of RINO-type nominee.