Final four to the White House, On the ground in Tennessee...

Behind The News
February 7, 2008 1:22:04 PM PST
The man who billed himself as the party's true conservative is now out of the race. Mitt Romney's announcement was at once both something of a surprise, but not really surprising. Money wasn't a problem. He had plenty of that -- his own. He had already spent $35 million of it. If you have it, I suppose you spend it. After all, it's just your children's money, right?

Money he had. Delegates he didn't.

His anemic showing on Super Tuesday put him solidly in third place behind Mike Huckabee and John McCain -- and he was so far behind McCain that the math really didn't add up.

Maybe especially if you're spending your own money.

So now what? Romney isn't dropping out completely -- technically he's "suspending" his campaign, which means he holds on to his 133 delegates. Does he want to be a broker at the convention? Does he envision himself a Vice Presidential running mate to John McCain (hard to imagine, given the animosity between the two men, although Romney did say nice things about McCain during his "suspension" speech)?

And what will be the reaction of arch conservatives, who have made trashing McCain something of a daily parlor game?

The leader of the game, radio personality Rush Limbaugh, today said "there is no conservative alternative" now that Romney is out. Mike Huckabee would disagree. Heck, John McCain would disagree.

We'll have the latest from the campaigns, tonight at 11.

We're also in Tennessee, where Sandra Bookman is covering the aftermath of those deadly tornadoes. Dozens have been killed - and the search for victims is continuing.

Also at 11, have you seen those people who bill themselves as psychics on the streets of New York? Rip off artists is a better description -- but there are, alas, many who fall victim. Tonight our investigative reporter Sarah Wallace shines the spotlight on one of them -- a woman who she confronted once before, who was operating her scheme under a different name. After Sarah's story, the supposed psychic was arrested.

Now she's back, using a different name, and practicing something called - and hold on to your wallets and your side -- "astrotravel." Oh brother.

We're also working on a disturbing story involving Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez. He and Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal were at a cockfight that was posted on YouTube. The two are seen laughing before releasing the roosters; they were honorary "soltadores" -- the word that describes the person who puts the animals in the arena to fight.

The animal released by Martinez was apparently killed on the video. The event was in Santo Domingo, where cockfighting is legal.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

Finally, we here at the ABC complex are mourning one of the nation's best reporters and TV correspondents. John McWethy was, for the better part of 25 years, a fixture at ABC News. He was the national security correspondent and his on-air relationship with Peter Jennings was meaningful and informative and, in so many ways given the tenor of the times, comforting to all those who watched him.

McWethy retired a few years ago, after leading the network's reporting on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He wanted to ski more, and do work for his church, so he moved to Colorado. That's where he was yesterday, skiing down a slope in Keystone, when he missed a turn, fell, and skidded chest first into a tree.

He was wearing a helmet, but it didn't matter.

Jack was only 61.

We missed him when he left the business. We miss him even more now. And our thoughts are with his family.

BILL RITTER


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