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The 9 ways Mitt Romney has told us he won’t run for president — in poems


Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, hugs N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, left, on the floor of the House Chamber at the Statehouse, in Boston, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, before inaugural ceremonies for Charlie Baker. Baker was sworn in as governor during a ceremony in the House Chamber before members of the state Supreme Judicial Court, House and Senate lawmakers, and other top elected officials. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

For months, Mitt Romney has been telling us that he'd love to be president ... but that there were a whole bunch of reasons he wasn't going to run in 2016. At one point, his response to questions about whether he would run was, "Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no."

On Friday, Romney told donors that he is thinking about running in 2016. A source at the meeting said that Mitt explained, "‘People ask if I really want to be president. I’ve run twice. Yeah, I want to be president."

Last August, we looked at Mitt Romney's many denials, and translated them into the three-word poetic style he popularized in 2012. 

If we had to translate today's news, it would read (slightly fudging the formula to allow for four words), "White House. Me. Good."

Read the rest below.

 

After the 2012 election, it didn't seem likely that Republicans would be clamoring for Mitt Romney to run for president again. He was never the perfect candidate, and everyone knew it. But as Obama's second term has pressed on, many conservatives and pundits have turned Romney into some political Nostradamus, who had been right about Syria, Russia, the economy and how Matthew McConaughey was never going to beat Bryan Cranston at the Emmys. (OK, the last one never happened -- as far as we know.)

As a result, everyone and their brother has asked Romney whether he plans to run again. Unsurprisingly, he has said repeatedly that he is done with this crap (our words). And then he goes and does something like help Republicans campaign for the midterms (and you can add picking winning GOP primary candidates to the list of things Romney has been unerringly right about) or say that "circumstances can change," as he did when Hugh Hewitt asked him about running in 2016 on Tuesday.

Since Hillary Clinton has also refused to say "yes" -- for years and years and years -- when asked about a presidential run, it seems stupid to completely take Romney's word-salad denials at face value.

Below, we will rate some of Romney's responses to "will you run?" (some of them sound so similar, we didn't bother including them all) in the three- poetic style he helped popularize ("Lemon.Wet. Good. ").

1. "Circumstances can change"

Mitt Romney gave his latest "I'm not running for president again "spiel on Hewitt's nationally syndicated radio program. “I had the chance of running,” he said. “I didn’t win. Someone else has a better chance than I do. And that’s what we believe, and that’s why I’m not running.”

He went on, “Had I believed I would actually be best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton, then I would be running."

But then, he went and hedged -- even referencing the movie Dumb and Dumber. “Circumstances can change, but I’m just not going to let my head go there."

Translation into Romney-speak:

Noggin. Went. There.

2. "The unavailable is always the most attractive, right?"

At a Republican donor summit in Utah this June, many of the speakers were in a "Draft Romney" mood. Romney was flattered, but said he wasn't going to run.

"I think people make a lot of compliments to make us all feel good, and it's very nice and heartening to have people say such generous things," Romney said. "But I am not running, and they know it." He went on, "The unavailable is always the most attractive, right? That goes in dating as well."

Translation into Romney-speak:

Romney. Swipe. Right.

3. "I hope Paul will give it thought"

Last week, when Romney and his former running mate Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gave a joint interview, Ryan talked up Romney's chances ("Third time’s the charm"), which the former candidate quickly shot down.

My posture, and I’ve explained this many times, is that I’m not running, but I hope Paul will give it thought, and there are other good people in the party giving thought, getting things organized. I think you’ll see a very crowded debate in the first debate or two, and then hopefully narrow it down to someone who can express our vision to help the middle class in America and win in the general election.

Translation into Romney-speak: 

Trickle. Down. Paul?

4. "We're not doing that again."

Last November, on the anniversary of his loss, Mitt and Ann gave an interview to CBS "This Morning." They discussed the people they thought would make good candidates, which did not include him. "You know, it was a fabulous experience," he said. "I loved it. But we're not doing that again."

Translation into Romney-speak: 

Deferred. Ann. Watching.

5. "Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no."

When the Netflix documentary "Mitt" came out, the former nominee gave a round of interviews. When the New York Times asked if he planned to run, he said,

Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. People are always gracious and say, ‘Oh, you should run again.’ I’m not running again. I will say this: It was a great experience. I loved it. It was just a fabulous thing to experience, and that’s the one thing in the film that I felt you can’t communicate — was just how honored you feel, what an extraordinary experience it is. But that being said, I loved it. But look, I want to make sure that we take the country in a different direction. I think that Chris Christie and Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, and the list goes on, have a much better chance of doing that, and so I will support one of them as they become the nominee.”

Translation into Romney-speak: 

No, no. Loved. Gone.

6. "I'm not running for president. I made that clear the morning after the last loss."

In February 2014, Romney told Wolf Blitzer he had no intention of running again. "I've had my turn, I gave it two good shots, didn't win and now it's time for someone else to do it. I'm not running for president. I made that clear the morning after the last loss."

Translation into Romney-speak: 

Two Shots. Let. Slip.

7. Grandkids!

CNN collected a lot of Romney's "I'm not running" denials a few months ago. They included this one from June 2014, when Romney went on Fox News and was, inevitably, asked about 2016. "I'm just one of those that wants to keep the conversation going and fighting for things I think will make a difference for my 22 grandkids. ... I'm not running."

Since he has his grandkids on the brain, we assume he is thinking about running ... in the Romney Olympics. All the time. If journalists began asking Romney about this instead of 2016, it would surely reap greater returns.

Translation into Romney-speak: 

Skiing. Wet. Good.

8. Yes! Wait, no.

In June 2013, Romney told CNN he'd love to run again ... but never would.  “I would do it again, but it’s not my time, he said. "Ann might not … but I would love to do it again, are you kidding? I’d love to do it and win. But it’s not my time. I’ve had my chance.”

Translation into Romney-speak: 

Maybe. Yes! No?

9. Leave me alone.

When Romney was out campaigning with Republican Senate candidate Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia, a reporter asked him about 2016. He was not impressed. "I’ve actually answered that one a lot of times. I’m not running there. I’m expecting to be getting behind a good person who will be.”

Translation into Romney-speak: 

Bother. Rand. Please.

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.

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