"Last year, CPAC gave me the send-off I needed...today, more than 4 million people have given me their vote for president. Less that McCain's 4.7 million, but a statement nonetheless...Of course, because size does matter, he's doing quite a lot better in the delegate count."
A double entendre for the college crowd, Mitt? Daring.
I'm struck by the fact that, though one of his weaknesses has been voter concern about his conversion to conservatism, he always seems at home talking to real conservatives. He's had more passion and personality talking to CPAC and Club for Growth than I've seen him have talking to other groups. He's showing that spark I was missing from him on other occasions. Why now?
"Dependency is culture killing. It is a drug and we have to fight it like the poison it is!"
I dig that line.
Update: Via Allah, a McCain endorsement from Romney?
"Can you imagine what happens to society when the best opportunities are for bureaucrats?"
Another good line. He's much better talking about free markets, entrepreneurs and opportunity than anything else he's made central to his campaign.
Update: Surreal. I'm watching the speech on a TV in the exhibit hall. Among the crowd watching with me are Mary Matalin and Flipper the Anti-Romney Dolphin.
Update: "We have an uphill battle, but I know many of you in this room are fully behind my campaign."
"There's an important difference between now and 1976. Today, we are a nation at war...Hillary and Obama have made their intentions clear."
"I agree with McCain about one thing-- eliminating
"If I fight on in my campaign all the way to the convention, I'd forestall the loss of a national campaign and frankly, I'd be making it easier for Clinton or Obama to win."
And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.
"I hate to lose."
"I feel like I have to stand aside, for my party and for my country...I will continue to stand for conservative values."
Update: And, he's done. Ann Romney looks upset, but Romney isn't letting himself get misty. The gist of the withdrawal part of the speech: "Seriously, y'all know I dislike McCain as much as anyone, but we've got a war to think about."
Mitt really does seem like a good guy to me and a decent candidate. If he'd had half the charisma of Huckabee