ROMNEY: I DROPPED OUT BECAUSE IF I DIDN'T WE'D ALL DIE
That's an accurate paraphrase of the key passage of his withdrawal speech, which was given today at the Conservative Political Action Committee confab:
Even though we face an uphill fight, I know that many in this room are fully behind my campaign." You are with me all the way to the convention. Fight on, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1976. But there is an important difference from 1976: today… we are a nation at war.
And Barack and Hillary have made their intentions clear regarding Iraq and the war on terror. They would retreat and declare defeat. And the consequence of that would be devastating. It would mean attacks on America, launched from safe havens that make Afghanistan under the Taliban look like child’s play. About this, I have no doubt.
I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror. If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.
Oh, Mitt! You saved our lives! You're our hero!
And in case you think I'm misreading this, he goes on to say:
If this were only about me, I would go on. But 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.
I will continue to stand for conservative principles; I will fight alongside you for all the things we believe in. And one of those things is that we cannot allow the next President of the United States to retreat in the face evil extremism!!
Wow -- the ego has (crash)-landed. And yes, the double exclamation points are straight from the transcript.