February 7th, 2008
06:41 PM ET

John King: McCain's coronation among, um... friends

Mitt Romney is a businessman. He likes to go through data and numbers. After Super Tuesday, the numbers suggested suspending his campaign was perhaps the best course.

If you look at the map, you can’t miss it: John McCain is two times ahead of him in the delegate race.

Last night we were told the former Massachusetts governor would stay in the race. That was the public face of the campaign.

But I’m told Governor Romney started down this course yesterday. He left his headquarters after a private meeting with his staff and said nothing to reporters. This morning he told them that he had reached the calculation that he would suspend his campaign.

Finally, in a race with so many dramatic twists, consider this moment: Mitt Romney standing in a hall full of conservative activists at the Conservative Political Action Committee (or CPAC) conference in Washington, many of whom have outright said they wouldn’t vote for John McCain under any circumstances.

This was supposed to be a day on which conservatives stood up and said, Mitt, hang in there. And McCain was coming in later for a potential confrontation of sorts.

Instead, like it or not, the conservatives in that room were part of the coronation of John McCain.

Yes, Ron Paul is still in the race.  And Mike Huckabee has proven he can get votes and win contests. Yet if you look at the map and where the race goes, Huckabee is way behind.

So John McCain is now the putative Republican nominee. And that deal was sealed in a room full of his most vocal skeptics in the party.

What a moment.

-John King, Chief National Correspondent

Editor’s note: With Anderson off, John anchors 360° tonight. Watch 10p ET for insights on the presidential race, and where it goes from here.

Filed under: John King • John McCain • Mitt Romney
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