The circus set to begin in Florida, the one in which presidential contenders crisscross the state ahead of the 2016 election, now has one less clown.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and a formidable primary contender before that, has announced he will not be competing against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush et al for his party's nomination.
“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I have decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” the former Massachusetts governor, reading from a script, said during a five-minute call.
Was it something we said?
The announcement comes on the heels of the Bush camp's poaching of Dave Kochel, a top Romney adviser, as well as a New York Times report on media mogul and FOX News and Wall Street Journal owner Rupert Murdoch having written Romney off as a "terrible candidate" who wouldn't be getting his support in 2016.
MSNBC reports Romney directed a "not-so-subtle" jab at Jeb on the question of who he thinks will beat the Democrats' nominee, probably Hillary Clinton.
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. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.
What a list, eh? That's both the dinner party of our nightmares and the likely source of some excellent comedy over the next 19 or so months.
We'll keep you posted as each of them descends upon the Tampa Bay region to regurgitate populist rhetoric whilst propped up by their handlers.