On Friday morning, CNN aired Mitt Romney's call with private supporters letting them know he isn't going to run.
ROMNEY: Your loyalty and friendship and your desire to see the country with new, competent and conservative leadership does warm the heart. After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I've decided it's best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee.
Let me give you some of my thinking. First, I'm convinced that with the help of the people on this call, we could win the nomination. Our finance calls made it clear we would have enough funding to be more than competitive and with few exceptions our field political leadership is ready and enthusiastic about a new race. The reaction of Republican voters across the country was both surprising and heartening.
I know that early poll numbers move up and down a great deal during the campaign, but we would have no doubt started in a strong position. One poll out just today shows me gaining support and leading the next closest contender by two to one and also leading in all of the four early states. So, 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 also believe with the message of making the world safer, providing opportunity for every American regardless of the neighborhood they live in, and working to break the grip of poverty, 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. 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.
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. Accordingly, I'm not organizing a PAC or taking donations. I'm not hiring a campaign team. I encourage all of you on this call to stay engaged in the critical process of selecting a Republican candidate for president. So you should feel free to sign up on a campaign for a person who you believe may become our best nominee.