After repeatedly ruling out another run for president in 2016,
His statement behind closed doors to a group of political donors in Manhattan further unsettles a wide-open GOP race and holds out the prospect of a clash between two dynastic Republican families, the Romneys and the Bushes.
Former Florida Gov.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who followed his father's path by twice running for president, did not offer a timetable for a final decision on another White House bid. But his statement of renewed interest suggested a shift in his thinking from just a few months ago, when he insisted—as he had time and again—that he had no plans to run again in 2016.
"I'm not running, I'm not planning on running, and I've got nothing new on that story," Romney said in an October interview on Bloomberg TV.
About the same time, Romney's, wife, Ann, told the Los Angeles Times regarding 2016: "Done. Completely. Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids"—the couple have five sons—"are done. Done. Done. Done."
If he were to seek the White House a third time, Romney would face a dynamic more akin to 2008—when he was one of several competitors in a crowded field—than 2012, when he ran as the front-runner and ultimately clinched the GOP nomination.
While it is too soon to declare
Among other difficulties, Romney would have to overcome lingering memories of his less-than-stellar 2012 campaign. Many Republicans considered the race against President Obama eminently winnable and have accused Romney and his campaign team of a subpar performance and execution.
“Romney needs to answer the question of why does he believe he deserves another shot,”