Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - Page 7 News List

Romney hints at presidential bid at Republican rally

AFP, WASHINGTON

In his first prominent speech since telling donors he was still interested in the White House, former presidential nominee Mitt Romney hinted and quipped about a possible presidential run next year, but stopped well short of an announcement.

With the 2016 election cycle clearly underway and former Florida governor Jeb Bush announcing last month that he is actively exploring a presidential bid, Romney suddenly finds himself under political pressure to signal whether he is ready to mount a third campaign to lead the nation, or yield to a new crop of candidates.

“There’s some speculation about whether I’m about to embark on a political endeavor in which I’ve been previously unsuccessful,” Romney told an audience at the Republican National Convention winter meeting in San Diego, California. “Let me state unequivocally that I have no intention for running for US Senate in Massachusetts.”

The joke drew laughs from the crowd, but it signaled that Romney, 67, is aware of the political spotlight on him.

He said he was giving “serious consideration to the future,” adding that he thought Republicans could win back the White House next year “if we communicate a clear vision of where we’re taking this country, what we believe in.”

Romney, wasted little time trotting out familiar targets from his campaign, including the “[Former US secretary of state] Hillary Clinton [US President] Barack Obama foreign policy,” which he said has left the world less safe.

Obama and Clinton’s policies, he said, were based on the premise that “if we smile broadly enough and press the reset button, that peace is going to break out around the world.”

Instead he said the results have been “devastating,” and cited the recent attacks in Paris and Nigeria, Russia’s Ukraine invasion, sea aggression by China and the Syria crisis.

Romney, painted by Democrats during the previous campaign as an out-of-touch millionaire, notably said poverty alleviation should be a key Republican principle for next year.

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