Romney's loss creates Republican leadership vacuum
BOSTON (AP) - Mitt Romney's shadow looms over a Republican Party in disarray.
The face of the Republican Party for much of the last year, the failed presidential candidate has been a virtual ghost since his defeat Nov 6. He has quietly weathered the fallout of the campaign from the seclusion of his Southern California home, emerging only momentarily for a private lunch at the White House with President Barack Obama on Thursday.
His loss and immediate withdrawal from politics, while welcomed by most, has created a leadership vacuum within his party. It's left the Republicans rudderless, lacking an overarching agenda and mired in infighting, with competing visions for the way ahead, during what may be the most important policy debate in a generation.
In his final meeting with campaign staffers at his Boston headquarters, Mr Romney promised to remain "a strong voice for the party," according to those in attendance. But so far he has offered little to the Capitol Hill negotiations over potential tax increases and entitlement programme changes that could affect virtually every American.