MARLETTE LAKE, NEV., AUG. 27 -- Former senator Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.) said today he feels "liberated" by his decision to drop out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
In an interview, the conservative and longtime friend of President Reagan said the decision is irrevocable and he would not consider a vice-presidential bid or other political contest.
"All my life I've been overloaded with obligations, since I was a young lad, and for the first time, I really feel liberated," he said, relaxing in jeans, a flannel shirt and hiking boots at his mountain retreat.
The 65-year-old Laxalt, who did not run for a third term to the Senate in 1986, said he abandoned the race because he would have had only $700,000 to $800,000 in the bank by Oct. 1 for the campaign, less than half of his previously announced goal of $2 million.
"By the time you get to 'Super Tuesday' it's a good $7 million we would have needed," he said in referring to the 20-state primary balloting March 8.
"If the money isn't there, this would be a silly trip for us to take," he said. Given his campaign finances, Laxalt said he would have been "in a horse race and waiting for one of the horses to stumble. That wouldn't be honorable."
"I'll go practice law," said Laxalt, who has been practicing here since leaving the Senate. "I'll be on call if there's anything the president needs," he said. "But as far as active politics goes, I've pretty much done the shift."
Laxalt said he had been contemplating his decision since last Thursday when his finance chief, Jerry Dondero, had advised him of the bleak finance situation.
At this point in the campaign, with the need to commit heavily in spending, Laxalt said, "We had to fish or cut bait right now."