Wherever he goes in the campaign's final days, Mitt Romney dismisses the pleas of supporters such as Carmen Halverson, a white-haired Republican activist with a big Romney button pinned to her red corduroy blazer.
"We want you to run again," she said yesterday as Romney pulled her in for a hug at the local McCain headquarters in this town near Cedar Rapids.
"Oh, no," Romney said with a practiced smile, patting her on the arm. "We're going to get John McCain elected, and then we're going to get him reelected. That's what we're going to do."Romney has spent the last three days racing across the country, dispatched on a private Learjet by the McCain campaign to rally Republican ground troops and speak with local reporters in nine swing states, from Nevada to New Hampshire.
Many of his supporters were eager to hear about his future political plans, but Romney would not engage in the speculation.
Some of his supporters sigh at what might have been if the economic crisis had happened a year ago, or if Romney had been McCain's vice presidential choice."I've had a lot of people tell me they wish they had another name on the ticket," Tim Palmer, 47, a supporter from Cedar Rapids, told Romney...
Palmer said later that he hopes Romney will run again.
Romney says, he hopes to find a way to work from the outside, perhaps by working with think tanks, going on the lecture circuit, and writing opinion articles on the issues he cares about, such as overhauling Medicare.
"I'd love to get my hands into it, I really would," he said in an interview.
He says he will not decide on his future until after the election, but next week he will be a featured speaker on a Caribbean cruise, sponsored by National Review magazine, where conservative thinkers will gather to talk about the party's future.