GOP No. 2s Try Harder
Runners-up enjoy inside track next time around
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2008 10:40 AM CST
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, addresses the media in Boston, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008, after his former rival Mitt Romney, left, released his delegates and endorsed...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – If history is any guide, Mitt Romney had every reason to smile last week as he endorsed John McCain, the Washington Post reports: Every GOP nominee of the past 30 years, except George W. Bush, finished second in the previous contested primary. Judging from the presumptive 2008 nominee's support of Bush in 2000 and 2004, "McCain understood what it took," says one political scientist.

Looking to future Iowa caucuses, he adds, “I can imagine Romney booking a flight to Des Moines the day after the general election.” Another observer speculates that "Mike Huckabee is hanging around, to win enough primary votes to displace Mitt Romney as number two." Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton shouldn’t get their hopes up, though: The pattern is unique to Republicans.