Mitt Romney says he won’t run in 2016

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Mitt Romney. (File photo)

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Mitt Romney says he’s put ”considerable thought into making another run for president,” but in the end, he decided to ”give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”

He spoke in a conference call with supporters today, three weeks after he surprised many in the party by saying he was considering another run.

His decision not to run comes after several of his former major donors and a veteran staffer in Iowa decided to support former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

In his call with supporters today, Romney appeared to take a swipe at Bush by saying it’s time for fresh leadership within the GOP. He said the candidate who’d best be able to defeat the Democrats next year might be one “who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started.”

Romney says he’s been asked if there were any circumstances under which he’d reconsider, but he says that “seems unlikely.” He says he’s not organizing a PAC, taking donations or hiring a campaign team.

The exit of Romney most immediately helps those viewed as part of the party’s establishment wing, including Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

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