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How many ways can Romney say no to 2016?

By Ashley Killough, CNN
updated 12:08 PM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mitt Romney said after losing 2012 presidential race that he was done
  • Recent poll shows that he would top 2016 GOP candidates, at least in New Hampshire
  • Romney has consistently said no -- in different ways -- to questions about another run

Washington (CNN) -- Guys, I think he means it.

With no clear frontrunner or obvious "next-in-line" candidate in the field of potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders, Mitt Romney keeps getting asked if he's thinking about throwing his hat in the ring one more time.

But it's not entirely a far-fetched question.

A poll of New Hampshire Republicans and independents who lean that way found that Romney would be the 2016 frontrunner if he decided to run.

The 2012 GOP nominee has done little to stay out of the limelight, especially this year, as he gets involved in numerous races — including GOP primaries — and keeps up a fairly regular routine of media appearances.

He has assumed a sort of party elder role, and just finished hosting close to 300 major donors and politicians at his third annual Park City retreat.

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He was asked as recently as last week on "Meet the Press" if he would still turn down another presidential bid -- even if drafted.

The former Massachusetts governor has been accused of flip-flopping in the past, but he's been pretty consistent on his future: He's a "no."

1. "I'm not running, and talk of a draft is kind of silly."

-- June 15, 2014, on NBC's "Meet the Press"

2. "I'm far from a kingmaker. I'm just one of those that wants to keep the conversation going and fighting for things I think will make a difference for my 22 grandkids...I'm not running."

-- June 13, 2014, on Fox "Your World with Neil Cavuto"

3. "The unavailable is always the most attractive, right? That goes in dating as well."

-- June 13, 2014, to The Associated Press

4. "I'm thinking about the people who I want to see running for president. ... I fully anticipate that I'll be supporting one of them very vigorously."

-- March 23, 2014, on CBS' "Face the Nation"

5. "I'm not running for president. We've got some very good people who are considering the race. And I'm looking forward to supporting someone who I think will have the best shot of defeating whoever it is the Democrats put up."

-- February 16, 2014, on NBC's "Meet the Press"

6. "The answer is no, I'm not running for president in 2016. It's time for someone else to take that responsibility and I'll be supporting our nominee."

-- February 5, 2014, on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer"

7. "I've had my turn, I gave it two good shots, didn't win and now it's time for someone else to do it. I'm not running for president. I made that clear the morning after the last loss."

-- February 5, 2014, on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer"

8. "Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no."

-- January 18, 2014, to the New York Times

9. "I loved it. But look, I want to make sure that we take the country in a different direction. I think that Chris Christie and Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, and the list goes on, have a much better chance of doing that, and so I will support one of them as they become the nominee."

-- January 18, 2014, to the New York Times

10. "You know it was a fabulous experience, I loved it. But we're not doing that again."

-- November 15, 2013, on CBS' "This Morning"

11. "I'm optimistic a Republican is going to win in 2016. But I'm not going to be that guy. It will be somebody else that takes ... that mantle. And more power to them. I hope I can help them in some way."

-- June 2013, to CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger

12. "I won't get a third chance. I'm not doing it again. ... I'm not running for office. I don't have a big organization that's out speaking in my behalf."

-- March 3, 2013, on "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace"

Oh, and Ann Romney is done, too.

"I think I'm over it. Life is good. Life moves on. There's woulda-coulda-shouldas, of course, that you feel all the time. But no, our life is wonderful and I'm very happy right now, in a good place."

-- January 31, 2014, on Fox News with Bill Hemmer

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