Romney is out

Romney scowl

Does this pave the way for Jeb Bush and what will likely be another Clinton-Bush match in 2016?

Former Republican 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 GOP to step forward.

“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,” Romney said in remarks posted on radio host Hugh Hewitt’s website, which participants on the call confirmed to NBC News as 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.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, widely viewed as the new favorite of establishment Republicans, called Romney a “patriot” in a statement after news of the decision broke.