February 7th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: Deny, deny, deny to the bitter end

 Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, wave to the crowd after Romney announced the suspension of his campaign at a conservative gathering.

Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, wave to the crowd after Romney announced the suspension of his campaign at a conservative gathering.

It’s always been fascinating to me how presidential candidates always profess to remain in the race until the very bitter end – until they decide to drop out. The latest example: Mitt Romney.

He had insisted passionately that there was no way he was dropping out – until he dropped out. The same had been the case with John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and so many other candidates. I suppose that’s the nature of our political process.

Watching Romney utter the words at the Conservative Political Action Conference here in Washington was still so compelling. Some of my colleagues thought it was the best speech he had given since jumping into this race more than a year ago. The refrain I heard as we were watching was one I had heard before with other candidates: Why didn’t he show this spark and fire during the course of the campaign?

In 1996, shortly after he lost his presidential bid to President Bill Clinton, the Republican nominee, Bob Dole, went on the late night talk shows and displayed what had been missing for so long during the actual campaign – his very impressive sense of humor. It was a totally different Bob Dole after the loss than the American public had come to see during the race. He was much more likable and sympathetic.

Romney gave it his all. He worked tirelessly. He pumped in tens of millions of his own dollars. But in the end, it ended for him two days after Super Tuesday.

Still, politics is very strange. He is still relatively young – and no doubt some of his supporters are already thinking about 2012. We shall see.

- CNN's Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. SteveFromTucson

    hey Wolfy,

    If you spent less time hiding from the clintonistas maybe you could figure out Mitt cares more for his country and party, than running. He will try to unite the party not tear it apart. Watch Billary use slash and burn techniques at the demo-convention. If she can't have the nomination she would rather see the demo-clowns lose. Thats the difference between them, and why Mitt is dropping out.

    February 7, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. Bob

    I think all loser politicians could take a lesson from Al Gore, who should have been president of the United States, but who left the partisan political arena and now has quite probably done as much for the country (and, for those who care about such things, for his own legacy) as any president.

    Romney has already proven that he's capable of getting results. I'm sure he can find another way to be super-famous and popular without becoming president.

    February 7, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Dave

    No offense, but... Duh.
    Would you really cast your vote for someone who was wishy-washy about sticking with the race? Would you want a President who does not promise to persevere through adversity?

    Candidates must profess to remain in the rac,e otherwise they never were part of the race in the first place.

    February 7, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  4. jerry

    dear wolf...the best team addition of paul bagala tuesday nite drove me to other network coverage. up until then i enjoyed all the cnn commentators but listening to this hack simply bring insult after insult to the conversation bordered on painful. " how old is mccain 97..98 " " huckabee doesn't even believe in photosynthesis " and other wisecracks in this mode bring nothing to the cnn table. it's such a shame because i really enjoyed your teams coverage. jerry hart, kitty hawk, nc

    February 7, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. John

    At least two reasons for the change in a candidate's demeanor after they drop out:

    – They have to display a "presidential" demeanor during their campaign, which in some candidate's minds, doesn't include much humor, etc.

    – They're relieved it's over.

    February 7, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Connie

    I guess "ole Mitt" didn't know what to do with all his money so running for President sounded like a good idea. He was such a flip/flopper on all the issues, this is probably the best thing that he could have done. Don't put it past him to decide to get back in the race before November. If he wants "victory" in Iraq, maybe he could just enlist now and his whole family could go to Iraq.

    February 7, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Julia

    Poetic title today, Wolf. I like it.
    We agree one hundred percent. I never fail to be amused by the candidates' dedication to the race, until the primary results come in and they come in fourth.
    I'll be right there with you Wolf, waiting to see until the very end.

    February 7, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Bob

    Wolf - with regard to these sudden post-loss transformations, it's because they don't need to pander any more. It's very hard to act like your normal self when key constituencies expect you to be someone else.

    Quite honestly, lying all day is hard work.

    February 7, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. Craig Love

    Four years into the future aren't enough to erase the lies Romney told about McCain ("He supported illegal 'amnesty'"; "he supports raising taxes"), the multiple changes he made over issues (formerly pro-abortion, formerly pro-gay marriage legislation, formerly pro-gun-control, former supporter of sanctuary cities, former supporter of universal health care mandates, formerly disconnected from Reagan), and his campaign's multiple changes of face (I'm the Republican Republican! No, I'm the Social Conservative! No, I'm the Economic Genius! No, I'm the Candidate of Change! No, I'm the Candidate of Religious Tolerance! No, I'm the Protector of Our Borders!).

    Romney is a liar and a charlatan of a quality that would impress L. Ron Hubbard.

    February 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Mitt's problem is that he will be just as malleable and phony in 4, 8 or 12 years, and will once again be rejected as a Stepford Wives sort of robot.

    February 7, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Sue in Florida

    Oh my Wolfe, a post from you without Obama's name in it. I guess you and CNN are forced now to dredge up more on McCain and Huckabee to fill your airtime. Or does this give you the opportunity to worry as to whether all of the McCain Haters, who appear to be many, will convert to the Democratic side? Surely then, you guys must plug Obama some more and declare Super Tuesday to still be a tie. Hopefully, David Gergen will still remain somewhat objective. I've give up on you, Anderson and the rest. You guys should be ashamed. to not report the news straight without favortism. Whatever will you guys say in November if Hillary Clinton get the nod.

    February 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. Jessica, arlington, VA

    i am SO glad he is gone!!!!

    February 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Freedom Seeker

    Romney lies so much he probably forgot he vowed to stay till the bitter end. He didn't wake up until he checked his bank balance and found ou that it was 35 million less since he had been running for president. Why didn't he give it to charity......oh that's right that might help someone...something he know nothing about

    February 7, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. 30%er

    what I find more ineresting than deny, deny, deny is, It always seems like the candidate whether he is dem or lib Gives there best speech of there campaign while or before dropping out. Why do they do this ? If they talked so genuine and heartfelt during there campain they might not be dropping out in the first place

    February 7, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Bill

    Jamal Simmons should take a closer look at his candidate and get over his acrimonious racism and prejudices and admit that Obama is really the establishment candidate, just look at his endorsements. As far as super delegates Donna Brazil and Jamal Simmons neither one would object to Obama receiving the super delegates, now that’s prejudice.

    February 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Fred C Dobbs

    At least Mitt Romney kept his dignity.

    He never had to resort to seeking out the slime endorsements like Obama (Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, et al).

    February 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Chris, Silicon Valley, CA, USA


    I thought exactly the same thing about Dole. It is almost as if they want it too much, and it ruins them. I think that is what some people liked about Fred – he didn't appear to "want" it, so he was "pure" to them.

    I voted for Ron Paul. I am not sure if he will stay in the race, but I hope he does. He has a consistent, important message (a rarity), and I hope more people will really consider it. Also, I think he is the genuine article – what you see is what you get, which is probably why he gets 5% in most states. But, once you've seen the genuine article, everything else is just "cheap whiskey", imho.

    February 7, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. Linda

    I'm with Donna. Having super delegates decide the nominee is just like GW being "selected." With Bill Clinton and his crooked ways and crooked friends, we know how this will turn out. James Carvell needs to go home and babysit his kids, because he's part of the crooked Clinton machine; he knows better, but his head is so far up...

    Forget the debates. We are tired of the debates. Hillary Clinton has some nerve calling for debates every 5 minutes because she mismanaged her money. Forget her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have had it with her.

    Ever since I can remember, my family have been Democrats; therefore, so have I. However, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, I will not vote, and this is coming from a STAUNCH Clinton supporter for years, until they showed their true colors.

    What is voting all about? If all this underhanded manipulation is going to go on, then why bother vote at all.

    I AM SERIOUSLY ANGRY AND DISGUSTED. The Clintons hate to lose and will do ANYTHING to win. I would say they should be ashamed of themselves, but they have no shame!!!!!

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. John

    Why don't you ask Ron Paul? He's perhaps the only one of the bunch that will give you an honest answer. But then, the media doesn't seem to want to mention the Paul campaign...

    February 7, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Mark

    Wolfster, 2012????...do you really think MITT is DONE?....no way man...he's got something sneaky UP HIS SLEEVE...I have a good feeling about this one...I'm sure he's going to end up WINNING this election...somehow...WOLF, just you watch the CONVENTION...you'll see...MARK MY WORDS...Mitt's going to win this thing.

    Go Hillary!!

    February 7, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  21. Denis, NJ

    You're so right, Wolf.

    Great Super-Tuesday coverage, by the way.

    February 7, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. Guy

    I am wondering why the media is fixated about obama, and not questioning his lack of experience for a nation with so much at stake and so much to deal with? emotional speeches are nice but is the public asking candidates what their plans are or just cheering empty slogans?

    February 7, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  23. GES

    Speaking of deny, deny deny. Obama said that he got the most delegates on super tuesday. All the news organization show this to be false. Why is this not being questioned?

    February 7, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I hope Romney's suspension means he hasn't quit. If we democrats can't decide in the end, Mitt Romney would be my choice. I would never vote for McCain or Huckabee they're idiots.

    February 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  25. Suzan

    What did you really expect candidate to do? Constantly tell their supporters that they may have to drop out? How would you suppose that motivate and drive their supporters?
    Obviously you are seriously lacking leadership skills!

    February 7, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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