Salem radio host Hugh Hewitt has exclusively obtained the full statement Mitt Romney will read to supporters later today about running for president in 2016. Here’s an excerpt:
Let me begin by letting you know who else is on this call, besides Ann and me. There are a large number of people who signed on to be leaders of our 2016 finance effort. In addition, state political leadership from several of the early primary states are on the line. And here in New York City, and on the phone, are people who have been helping me think through how to build a new team, as well as supporters from the past who have all been kind enough to volunteer their time during this deliberation stage. Welcome, and thank you. Your loyalty and friendship, and your desire to see the country with new, competent and conservative leadership warms my heart.
After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.
Stay tuned for updates.
UPDATE: Another interesting nugget from his remarks:
"I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president."
UPDATE: To summarize, Romney basically said he really wants to be president and firmly believes he would "win the nomination." However, he feels he may be less equipped in the end to "defeat the Democratic nominee" (whomever that is) than someone from a younger "generation."
"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," he said. "But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation."
I am told @MittRomney does not plan to endorse any 2016 gop candidates— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) January 30, 2015
Editor's note: This post has been updated for clarity purposes.