This story was written by Lingbo Li, Harvard Crimson
Mitt Romney's decision to end his presidential campaign Thursday came as a disappointing but unsurprising blow to his supporters at Harvard, just one day after a disappointing Super Tuesday for the former Massachusetts governor.
In the 24 states holding caucuses or primaries earlier this week, Arizona Senator John McCain all but clinched the Republican nomination for president. McCain now holds 689 delegates, 533 more than former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and 556 more than Romney, according to The New York Times.
In his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday, Romney said that if he continued his campaign, he would be helping Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama win the White House.
"I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and for our country," Romney said.
N. Gregory Mankiw, who teaches the popular undergraduate course Social Analysis 10: "Principles of Economics" and served as an outsider adviser for Romney on an "irregular" basis, said that he now expects to shift his support to McCain, for whom he acted as an adviser in 2000.
Mankiw described Romney's withdrawal as the right decision and remained optimistic about Romney's future prospects.
"He's a great leader, a very intelligent man, and I expect and hope we'll see him again in future years [on] the national scene," Mankiw said.
Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen, who had donated $2,300 to Romney's campaign, was disappointed by Thursday's news.
"I just feel disheartened," Christensen said. "It's a rational decision, but I think America's lost a great opportunity,"
As to where his vote would go for the general election, Christensen said he remains undecided between McCain and Clinton.
Harvard students who supported Romney had their own mixed reactions.
David A. Lorch '08, who had headed the Students for Romney group, said he was saddened by Romney's departure but expects that the Republican Party will still triumph in this year's election.
"I'm supporting McCain. I'm thrilled that we have a great nominee. I think he's an American hero, and he's going to beat either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama," said Lorch, who is also an inactive Crimson news writer.
Another dedicated Romney supporter, Brian J. Bolduc '10, heard the news of Romney's withdrawl after arriving at the former Republican candidate's headquarters in Boston, where Bolduc was interning. He said that his disappointment was shared by many others at the CPAC convention where Romney announced his decision.
"People were booing the fact that he was withdrawing. They were crying," said Bolduc, who is also a Crimson editorial writer.
As for McCain, Bolduc remained critical, but said that he would support him.
"I reluctantly support him because he's the lesser of two evils," Bolduc said.
© 2008 Harvard Crimson via U-WIRE