Suddenly it feels like Christmas morning! With ’08 news being buried by the midterm elections, and GOP’s fearful projections ranging from a splinter to a full-scale amputation, news that Mark Warner is officially out of the 2008 race for the White House has race fans giddier than Bob Woodward’s banker. A press conference is scheduled for later today. Here’s a snippet from his written statement.

“I know these moments are never going to come again,” Warner said. “This weekend made clear what I’d been thinking about for many weeks — that while politically this appears to be the right time for me to take the plunge, at this point I want to have a real life.

“And while the chance may never come again, I shouldn’t move forward unless I’m willing to put everything else in my life on the back burner,” he said.

Ah yes, a “real life,” the life he left behind before first running for office a decade ago, the life of a factory worker, arising at 5:30, praying his 1987 El Camino would start and driving to the plastics plant on the outskirts of town for a 10-hour shift on the line.

No, wait a second, that wasn’t him, the “real life” he refers to is that of a gazillionaire playing golf, getting paid to sit on corporate boards and watching Squawk Box on CNBC.

Puh-leaze. I get queasy when politicians talk about “real life,” especially politicians with so much money they wouldn’t know “real life” if it came up and bit them on seat of their $200 slacks.

Nevertheless, this is a very significant development in the ’08 race. Warner was thought by many to be a top-tier candidate capable of emerging as the ABH option. (Anybody But Hillary)

Who benefits the most? That’s a no-brainer, and I have one word for you, Evan Bayh. ProFlowers.com. Time to send Warner some chocolates, a few nice Mylar balloons and one of those giant thank you cards. The center of track has just become a heckuvalot less crowded.

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