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Romney Upends Bush's Play for Top Dog Status

The former Florida governor's plan was a long shot anyway, after shifts in fundraising and Republican Party coalitions.
Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attends an interfaith prayer service for victims of the Boston Marathon attack titled 'Healing Our City,' where President Barack Obama spoke at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on April 18, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attends an interfaith prayer service for victims of the Boston Marathon attack titled 'Healing Our City,' where President Barack Obama spoke at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on April 18, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Jeb Bush's shot at clearing, or substantially winnowing, the Republican presidential primary field was always going to be a hard play. Now, it seems to have backfired.

Mitt Romney's surprising message on Friday to supporters that he's considering a third run was a direct response to Bush's moves to roll up the party's strongest aides, strategists, and fundraisers before other establishment candidates could even get into the campaign. Even if Romney doesn't get into the race, his comments send a powerful signal to such prospective candidates as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Florida Senator Marco Rubio that the party's 2012 presidential nominee is convinced a Bush candidacy is flawed and there is room for other players in the primary.