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. Delia

    With all due respect to Mitt, I for one am glad to see that at least one candidate was not able to buy the presidency.

    I am so sick of seeing the the millions of $$$$s spent by these candidates. If all that money was put into the economy it would be a better spent stimulus. You have to wonder HOW IN THE WORLD THESE CANDIDATES CAN SPEAK ABOUT HELPING THE ECONOMY AND THEN SPENDING MONEY THAT COULD ALREADY BE HELPING THE ECONOMY.

    Obama is a fine example. He's hardly the "Poverty" candidate. I am hesitant on all of the available candidates but I will NOT place a "NOVICE" in the Off ice of the President. As a novice Obama will have to draw from the so-called experience of others and we have no idea of who those will be, EXCEPT for one and that will be Kennedy.

    And IF Obama makes the comment that "he reserves the right to change his position" on one more issue he can drop out now.

    February 7, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. June (California Voter)

    I was shocked to it was like when I heard Edwards dropped out of the race.

    February 7, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  3. Francis

    I'm writing this post from Spain, and I want to say that I admire the honesty of the candidates of both races, in comparison with the absurd-boring presidential race which is happening in my country. In America, the democracy always feels renewed by the people.

    February 7, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. Phila Storts

    I have to say I'm sad to see Romney step out, but I understand why he did. It's sad that others can't see the sacrifice this man would make for his country. To bow out, when Huckabee wouldn't tells me that he is more concerned about one of two candidates winning and possibly putting us in harms way. As I understand it, Gov. Romeny bowed out to try keep us safe. I'd be the first one to say I hate war. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we could all just get along. But that's something you only find in a child's fairytale while man is in charge of making the decisions. So who now has this nation first on their agenda? Winning's great, Gov. Romney being President would be great, at least for us Romney supporters.
    I now will sit on the bench. I can't even think of bringing myself to vote for either Republican after seeing where their values, their integrity really is. I'm not jumping over and voting democrat either. I consider myself one to vote for the right person no matter what their party is. If McCain wins, I can still sleep at night knowing I am not supporting one who thinks its ok to just "come one down" to the US illegally. I'm totally disappointed in how adult men play politics. I'm talking about McCain's people calling their people and asking them to vote for Huckabee.
    Do I really want persons who play this way, be my leader, the example to my children, to the world that this is what America is ok with? Well maybe some are...but not me!!!
    I have given thought to what I would do if Romney didn't make it for some reason. I was trying to really think who I would support. I can find no one. I see no one fit to serve as my leader. I recognize that someone will win and will be making decisions for this nation. I pray that God will not allow the next President to make this nation worse. I hope I'm wrong...I hope McCain proves me wrong and ends up being one the greatest Presidents of our times...but I'm not holding my breath.
    To me Romney is the bigger man, the man who truly cares about this nation in that he would give up his opportunity to be the next President to try to insure that another wouldn't win and put this nation in bigger jepordy than what we are in already.

    February 7, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Todd

    Thanks Wolf for again confirming your endorsement of McCain and your personal dislike for Romney.

    February 7, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. mike

    A fundamental question may well be "What happens to unspent campaign contributions?" Why doesn't anyone report on that issue? They can't possibly come out with a zero balance. How will the money of the contributors who sent just before he dropped out now be spent? Where does it go???

    February 7, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. Cody

    I think the only candidate that has the might, or the will, to stay in to the very bitter end is none other than Ron Paul. While looking fate directly in the face, he still won't back away. That, in my opinion, should be the basis on which we base our selections for candidacy.

    February 7, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. Marcus

    You know what Wolf, although Mitt Romney came off as out of touch with the voters, he does have a presidential bearing and quality about him. I'm pretty sure that we haven't seen the last of Mitt Romney in presidential politics.

    February 7, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. True friend from Germany

    Mr. Blitzer,

    Why are you so surprised about Romneys et. al. behavior (deny ...). It seems that you are either not as knowledgable about politics & media as you are trying to pretend every day or you are trying to fool people about your surprise about that. Now its your shot!

    Here is my sincere view: I think most of the media is a bunch of hypocrites who are exactly the pest which provokes this kind of behavior. Because you are not interested in a real debate. You are only on a hunt for catch phrases and sound bites. You are so eager to make headlines that you distort the process in such a way that its becoming a Hollywood beauty contest. You don't really want to have an exchange of ideas especially if they are controversial. You are not interested to present all points of view equally. Or why some candidates are flattered to death by the media and some are merely making it into correct result announcements after the primaries.

    It is all your (I don't mean it personal) fault and nobodies else, think about it!

    My only hope is that with the Internet more and more people are going to realize that corporate media is a political process distorting money making machine, which does not serve the voter but those candidates who are able to play the media game the best resp. are the most palatable from the corporate Income Statement point of view.

    Remember: "Fair and balanced", the question is: For whom? For sure some day America will pay the price for its hypocrisy & inequality in the political process and probably the day has already come! And it wont be pretty either!

    February 7, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. john williams san diego, ca.

    wolf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!it must be time for you to retire. Politicians DENY and LIE in their sleep and you are amazed? It's time for you to spend your days having coffee with Dan Blather.

    February 7, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. john s

    Republicans think de nial is a river in Egypt.

    February 7, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  12. mike

    And another thing on this subject – how many people contributed after he decided to drop out but before it was announced? Was the Romney campagn turning away contributions Wednesday evening? I seriously doubt it.

    BTW CNN, quit leaving comments in eternal "awaiting moderation" – this is a free society that you purport to represent and support. Just because comments are uncomfortable doesn't make them irrelevant or improper.

    February 7, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. Tom (TN)

    Next up: Mike Huckabee

    February 7, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. Barbara

    Maybe with the pressure off and the decision made it is easier to be himself.

    February 7, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. Jose - Arizona

    Sometimes we try so hard that we tend to look a little fake. Mitt if your only fault is that you try to hard then we will see you in 2012.

    February 7, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. Anon

    Brings to mind the saying "The Pope is never sick until he's dead......"

    February 7, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  17. Tavis

    You can't be a presidential candidate and have a defeatist attitude. I'm not a Mitt Romney supporter by any stretch of the imagination, but I would be blown away if any candidate uttered the words, "I'm not sure if I can make it to the end." You have to have hope if you're running as a presidential candidate, it's a rough road to the White House and I dare say that anyone with even a shred of self doubt isn't running at this point in the election process and quite honestly I wouldn't want them to.

    February 7, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. Tavis

    You can't be a presidential candidate and have a defeatist attitude. I'm not a Mitt Romney supporter by any stretch of the imagination, but I would be blown away if any candidate uttered the words, "I'm not sure if I can make it to the end." You have to have hope if you're running as a presidential candidate, it's a rough road to the White House and I dare say that anyone with even a shred of self doubt isn't running at this point in the election process and quite honestly I wouldn't want them to.

    February 7, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. FL DEM

    Wolf, as the anchor of the best political team...., please report the facts objectively: Hillary leads the total Delegate count 1033-937, plus she won FL (neither campaigned, but obama ran tv ads) & MI; Hillary won Super Tuesday- popular vote & delegates. Thanks

    February 7, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  20. chadL

    Wolf Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson never swore to stay in till the convention. Fred said SC was the state to determine his future and Rudy also "suggested" the same about Florida. Of course they can not say "I am dropping out after the next primary", that is just silly so it should not shock you at all.... your not new to the process. As for Romney, something tells me he is not really out of the race. He will be back, that is the beauty of "suspending" a campaign. He did say if the people decided they wanted a real conservative candidate they know where to find him. And the talking heads of radio swearing McCain is not a true conservative obviously have not really looked at Romney. Signed into law gay marriage and supported abortion until recently. The 2 tall tales of conservative hate and he does not stand up to those standards either. But hey they were not all that thrilled with Reagan but now they say his name as much as Rudy says "9/11".

    February 7, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Aaron

    How astute! Are you saying Romney should have set a timeline for his concession date? Should he have admitted he was likely to lose, and was thinking of pulling out? That makes perfect sense, Wolf.

    February 7, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  22. Nina

    Sen. Mitt Romney now understands first hand America is in a recession and his votes aren't worth anything. Like Sen. Barack Obama told us Jan. 31st at the Kodak Theatre Sen. Romney $35 million plus investment into his own campaign wasn't really working out for him. Thank God he made a donation and not a loan to his campaign too. Sound judgment trumps experience any day. America is not a business we're a family. I'm glad Sen. Romney put his famiy first this time around.

    February 7, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. christie

    Hi Wolf,
    I was wondering if you could stop using the term "islamic" when you describe the terrorists. They are not islamic in any way. I respect you but you are misinformed about Islam. Mr Mcain and Mr Huckabee are too! I hope I'm not being rude to you. I just thought you should know.

    February 7, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. Will

    It's a shame – He would have been my Second Choice after Obama

    February 7, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. RF

    The presidency is so important, I want to believe what the candidates are telling me about themselves and their plans, but how can I believe them after so many of them have said one thing and done another so many times? And if I cannot believe them, why listen at all?

    February 7, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
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