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Mitt Romney decides against running for president in 2016

NEW YORK CITY (BNO NEWS) -- Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who lost the 2012 presidential election to President Barack Obama, told supporters Friday that he has decided against a third run for the White House next year, taking many by surprise after publicly hinting at another run.

"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, 67, told donors in a conference call from New York City, explaining that he believes it is time for a next generation of Republican leaders, even though he is convinced that he could have won the Republican nomination.

The former governor added: "I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I have wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president."

The Republican Party faces a difficult election next year with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton widely expected to run for the White House amid strong support and widespread popularity across the country.

"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," Romney said.

Earlier this month, Romney told donors that he was considering to run for president for a third time, and said publicly at a Republican Party meeting in California that he was giving "serious consideration to the future." During a speech on the USS Midway aircraft carrier, he outlined three principles he believes the Republican Party should run on to retake the White House, but stopped short of saying he intends to run.

Also this month, U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan, who was Romney's running mate in 2012, said he had decided not to run for the White House in 2016. Ryan brushed off any endorsement of a presidential candidate as premature, but said he always thought that Romney would make a "great president."

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