Ann Romney said Tuesday that her family's current consensus on a third Romney presidential campaign is 'no,' though she didn't fully close the door on a late entry into the race.
“At this moment, it’s ‘no’ for Mitt and for the boys,” she told The Washington Post. “Honestly, we’ll have to see what happens. But we have no plans and I don’t imagine circumstances changing.”
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and now the tacit head of the Republican Party, earlier this week visited Iowa as part of a feverish nationwide tour designed to help the GOP take control of the Senate. He has insisted that he is not interested in running for president a third time, but friends said a flurry of behind-the-scenes activity is nudging him to more seriously consider it.
“It’s the market pulling him,” said Kent Lucken, a longtime friend and adviser who accompanied Romney to Iowa. “People look at Hillary as the likely Democratic nominee, and the party needs a strong leader who can stand up to her and who’s been through the process.”
During the Christmas holidays in 2006 and 2010, Mitt and Ann Romney gathered family members together to make a final decision about a presidential run. The former huddle was held in Utah, the latter in Hawaii. Both times, attendees sat and debated the pros and cons, and ultimately endorsed the idea.
Both times, Ann Romney voted “yes.”
On Tuesday, she said she expects her family to once again convene this winter. But she does not expect dinnertime conversations to center on the possibility of another White House bid.
“We’ll probably be talking about the kids’ grades,” Romney said. “I don’t think we will have any sort of powwow. That’s not on the agenda. Right now, all of us feel like the last campaign was the last campaign and that’s where we are, mentally and emotionally. We feel pretty comfortable about that.”
Romney said what shapes that view is not a diminished sense of duty — she said she and her husband remain busy and want to contribute to public life. Rather, what still pains her is the lingering disappointment left over from the 2012 campaign.
“I just sort of feel that we went into the 2012 election thinking we are giving it all, that we believe in Mitt and this country. But it didn’t work out. That night we looked at each other said we did our best and we’re done,” she said.
Romney called the latest round of 2016 speculation “encouraging” but said, firmly, that “our feelings don’t change quickly. We really hope and pray that our leaders will be able to have an impact and change the dynamics in Washington.”
Romney will be with her husband and some of her sons Tuesday night in Boston for a gala honoring her contributions to neurological research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which includes a pledge by her and Mitt to raise $50 million. Earlier in the day, it was announced that its research center will be named in her honor.
Dozens of former Romney advisers are also slated to attend the event, which will also raise money for projects on Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, which Ann Romney was diagnosed with in 1998.
Philip Rucker contributed to this report.