Bloggers react to the late-breaking news that Mitt Romney has dropped out of the presidential race and that Hillary had loaned her cash-starved campaign $5 million. Also, the archbishop of Canterbury has argued that some form of sharia—a legal system adjudicated in Islamic courts—is "unavoidable" in the United Kingdom.
Mitt Quits: Speaking before the American Conservative Union this afternoon, Mitt Romney ended his bid for the White House, citing the need for the GOP to have an early candidate in the race against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. (Technically, Romney has merely "suspended" his campaign, meaning that he has simply stopped spending money but still retains the delegates he has won.) He did not endorse the inevitable nominee, John McCain.
"Fat old man" at Daily Kos is bummed: "This is a small piece of bad news I believe. I think we're much better off with the Republican fight being as nasty as possible and Romney was just wonderful in that regard." Michael Link at the Democratic Party blog writes: "As somebody in the office just noted, it's Romney's last flip-flop."
The Weekly Standard's Brian Faughnan was at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He blogs at the Daily Standard: "As I type this, I've just returned from the ballroom where Laura Ingraham is introducing Mitt Romney. The room is shut down -- filled to capacity -- literally. People seem stunned to hear that Romney has pulled out... or will pull out. McCain's people here are eagerly spreading the word that Kevin Madden has confirmed Romney's withdrawal. And there seem to be more McCain people here as the day goes on -- young and old."
Steven C. Clemons at the Washington Note hopes the GOP front-runner is at least graceful in victory: "Now, will McCain pay tribute to him? Or kick his tail as he exits the stage? Watch for a McCain/Huckabee ticket now -- and as consolation prize, perhaps Romney will get to be Ambassador to the Court of St. James if the GOP wins in November."
Matthew Yglesias notes: "A bit of campaigning against token opposition from Mike Huckabee should allow conservative elites to reconcile themselves a bit to John McCain, since that crowd seems to hate Huckabee more."
Mark Hemingway at NRO's the Corner wishes Romney had shown half as much vitality on the stump as he did today. "[I]t would behoove McCain to reach out to Romney starting now if he hasn't already. Despite their personal differences and sharp elbows in the campaign, Romney has now made it clear that it's necessary to support McCain. He's too big an asset for McCain to ignore and not utilize."
Time's Mark Halperin at the Page has 10 things Romney could have done differently. Here are the top three: "1. Could have run less as a social conservative and more as a can-do technocrat. 2. Could have delivered his religion and faith speech earlier in his campaign. 3. Could have run negative ads against McCain (backlash and ire be darned)."
Jon Bruner at Forbes' Trailwatch asks: "Romney's financial situation also brings to mind Hillary Clinton, who has recently loaned her campaign several million dollars. How far might she go in bankrolling her own effort?"
Read more about Romney's ended campaign.
Five mil from Hill: Hillary Clinton's campaign acknowledged yesterday that the candidate lent her campaign $5 million of her own money late last month and asked that aides go without pay. The news comes as Barack Obama has exceeded all expectations in fund-raising; his coffers now far outweigh those of Clinton, who is considering additional loans.
The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder envisions "that it would produce at least two countervailing forces. There would be a spate of stories on the End of the Clinton Machine -- that her donor base is tapped out and hasn't been able to expand like Obama's. This force is likely to be very strong, and it is not unfair or inaccurate."
And Michael Crowley at TNR's the Plank shrewdly observes: "I also wonder if the Clintons really want to open up their personal finances to added scrutiny. People will want to know more about where this cash came from. Bill's speeches in foreign countries? His Burkle connection? And those stories rarely play well for the Clintons."
Kevin at Pundit Review snarks: "In some circles, Hillary is a well know investment guru. She famously turned $1000 into $100,000 in less than a year investing in risky cattle futures. At that pace, she could turn $5 million into $500 million before the general election!"
Read more about Hillary's self-loan.
Londonistan Calling: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams told the U.K. Radio 4's World at One program that a British adoption of sharia law is "unavoidable." The system of jurisprudence for the Muslim world is based on the Quran and other Islamic tenets and regulates matters such as worship, diet, hygiene, marriage, and business transactions. In remarks that have incensed the British blogosphere, the archbishop said that insisting on a universal law for everybody is dangerous and that "[t]here's a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law."
Paul Sims at the New Humanist Blog is politely discomfited: "While it's obvious Williams isn't suggesting that Britain suddenly drops its centuries-old legal tradition in favour of Sharia, it seems he really should have thought twice before coming out with this live on national radio. Quite why he decided to make these comments, with all the backlash and far-right cries 'told you so' he must have known they would provoke is anybody's guess."
Tony Sharp, the Conservative councilor for Brickhill Ward, Wellingborough, is appalled. At the Waendal Journal, he writes: "We live in a multi-ethnic society but that does not mean we should be a multi-cultural country. We have an established legal system that must be applied to all people resident here. People who choose to live in this country should accept and live within the laws of this land. If not, they are free to live in a country where they can practice those beliefs that are unacceptable under our legal system."
Man in a Shed agrees: "Lets be clear this will in effect create two states with two systems of law occupying the same land. That is not a recipe for healing communal strife - its the recipe for civil war."
Read more about the archbishop's incendiary remarks.