Mitt Romney: 'I won't run for president'

He also, rightly, argued that Trump lacks the necessary temperament to be president.

"I could have said, 'Mitt, drop to your knees.' He would have dropped to his knees", Trump said.

Mitt Romney on Friday unequivocally shook off suggestions he was considering an end-run around Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination.

Mr. Romney had been asked if, "under any circumstances", he would be a part of the race as a candidate.

Some counts of the indictment focused on the real dangers a Trump presidency would pose (and echoed some of the points made in a Los Angeles Times editorial).

Are we? It's unclear if even Romney believes that.

"Here's my message to the Republican Party leaders: Focus more on listening to the American people and less on trying to stifle their voice", Corker said.

Trump said it is simply business.

"Why can't the leaders of the Republican Party see that I am bringing in new voters by the millions - we are creating a larger, stronger party!" "I don't take any strategy from anybody", Kasich said at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington. But a party he leads would implicitly go into the general election as an anti-free trade, somewhat isolationist, immigration hardliner force that embraces economic nationalism and has unclear positions on social issues. Somewhere in there, he tossed in a "lyin' " Ted Cruz. He has won 46 percent of the delegates awarded so far, and he would have to increase that to 51 percent in the remaining primaries.

The 25-minute speech at the University of Utah included the type of forceful rhetoric that can not be unsaid in the event that Trump wins the nomination and Republicans try to coalesce around him. His rivals -- including John Kasich, who again played his sunnier-times role with consistency - are banking on a focus on policy and consistency that Republican voters haven't displayed in the voting so far. The stakes are particularly high heading into March 15, when Rubio's home state of Florida will be among a handful of states to hold GOP contests.

It's also possible Romney's efforts could backfire and draw even more support to Trump's corner.

The back-and-forth came as the Republican candidates prepared for their first post-Super Tuesday debate, Thursday night in Detroit.

Aren't votes what elections are supposed to be about? Rival Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed to keep up the fight, though his path to the nomination has become exceedingly narrow. Romney criticized the improbable front-runner's grasp of policy and warned that "Trump's bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies". "We can sit back and let them light their own dumpster fire and wait until they're finished", said Eddie Vale, spokesman for American Bridge, a Clinton-allied group which collects negative research on Republican candidates.

"And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill", Romney alleged.

And it was Trump who, instead of laying in a bloodied heap, took the long walk up the marble staircase in the grand foyer of the Fox Theater; the lights of cable television beckoning his presence. He was not expected to endorse a candidate or announce a late entry into the race himself. "I can not in good conscience vote for a person who has been as degrading, disruptive and unhinged as I've seen Donald Trump be". Ben Sasse, have said they would not support Trump in November, though it was unclear what alternatives they would have.

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