Mitt Romney: No 2016 presidential bid, but "circumstances can change"

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at Tamarack during the Working for Jobs Rally in Beckley, W.Va., Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. AP

Mitt Romney has repeatedly said he won't run for president in 2016 -- but "circumstances can change," he allowed in an interview on Monday.

"I had the chance of running," the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. "I didn't win. Someone else has a better chance than I do. And that's what we believe, and that's why I'm not running.'"

"Circumstances can change," he added, "but I'm just not going to let my head go there."

Moments later, his head went there. "Well, you know, let's say all the guys that were running all came together and said, 'Hey, we've decided we can't do it, you must do it,'" Romney said. "That's the one of the million we're thinking about."

Hewitt spied some wiggle room. "I just want to confirm you're telling me that we've got a chance there," the host said.

"The 'Dumb and Dumber,' one of a million," Romney responded, mangling a line from the cinematic comedy classic "Dumb and Dumber."

Romney said he would run if he believed he would be the candidate "best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton."

But some fresh blood would offer Republicans their best chance at defeating the likely Democratic frontrunner, Romney argued.

"There are people who are not yet known by the American public who have extraordinary records, great capability," he said, naming Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.


Romney has enjoyed an unlikely renaissance among Republicans since his loss to President Obama in 2012, buoyed in part by the president's flagging approval ratings and a series of foreign policy crises. He's also maintained a busy schedule on this year's midterm campaign trail, stumping for candidates and raising money for the party.

Despite his effort to downplay the talk of another bid, though, some in the party have encouraged Romney to seriously consider running again.

"I sure wish he would," Ryan, Romney's 2012 running mate, told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday when he was asked whether the former governor will make one more run at the presidency. "I think he'd make a phenomenal president. He has the intellect, the honor, the character and the temperament to be a fantastic president."

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