And then there were two.
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who sought to position himself as the true conservative choice for the Republican presidential nomination, announced Thursday afternoon that he had ended his campaign.
His chief rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, congratulated Mr. Romney on his efforts and reached out to conservative voters who had thrown their support to the former governor and whose support, Mr. McCain said, was "indispensable to the success of our party."
Romney made the announcement during his speech at the CPAC convention.
While disappointing to his supporters, it's a smart move on Romney's part to end the battle now. He can't win the nomination; there have been enough primaries now to see how they will pan out. All Romney would accomplish would be to spent his fortune and fracture the Republican party even more. Instead, Romney's taken the role of statesman.
Unlike the bombastic Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt tried to be gracious in defeat. He devoted the first hour of his show to Romney, and seemed frustrated with the McCain supporters who left him crowing e-mails. I don't know what else he could have expected after spending weeks bashing McCain (see here, here, and here for starters).
Sure, it isn't useful in the long run, but for one night, let the McCain supporters gloat.