He's out: Mitt Romney says he will not run for president in 2016 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

He's out: Mitt Romney says he will not run for president in 2016

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(NBC) Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney told close supporters on a conference call on Friday that he will not run again in 2016, saying that he wants to allow other leaders in the party to step forward.

Radio host Hugh Hewitt posted the Romney's prepared remarks for the teleconference announcing the decision on his web site.

"After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I've decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee," he said in the posted remarks, which participants on the call confirmed were accurate.

Romney told backers he believed that he could have won the nomination but "it would have been difficult test and a hard fight."

"I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee," he added.

Romney confidantes received an email asking them to join the potential candidate by phone Friday morning to discuss his intentions. He held two teleconferences to discuss the decision.

Some top Republicans had recently expressed skepticism about another presidential bid by the former Massachusetts governor, who failed to oust incumbent President Barack Obama in 2012. He was widely believed to have stepped away from presidential politics until early this year, when he told a meeting of donors that he was mulling another run.

Romney had also lost a number of past supporters to a new favorite of establishment Republicans - former Florida governor Jeb Bush. The latest defection came Thursday, when Romney's two-time Iowa guru, operative David Kochel, signed on to be Bush's national campaign manager if Bush pursues a run.

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