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Washington • Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a group of donors on Friday that he is weighing another White House bid.

The Wall Street Journal and others reported that Romney, now a Utah resident, didn't give a timetable of when he would decide on a third run at the White House, but that Romney cited unrest overseas and a sluggish economy were the main reasons he may again mount a bid.

Spencer Zwick, a close Romney confidante who was the GOP nominee's finance co-chairman, was at the New York City meeting where Romney spoke and confirmed to The Washington Post that Romney is considering a run.

"I believe Mitt Romney is too much of a patriot to sit on the sidelines and concede the presidency to Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren when he knows that he can fix the country," Zwick told The Post. "He traveled the country in 2014, met with voters, met with citizens, and I think at the end of the day he believes he could actually make a difference."

Romney, who lost to President Barack Obama by 5 million votes in 2012, had previously said he wouldn't jump back into the White House contest but has hedged on that hard-and-fast answer recently. Friends close to Romney have said he may run given the less-than-impressive field of contenders emerging so far.

Friday's news was welcome to some of Romney's biggest supporters, who think he's the best to take on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"I hope he does," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who is close with Romney. "Mitt may be the only one who can beat Hillary. He can raise the money, he has been vetted, and he was right on the issues."

Kirk Jowers, a longtime Romney friend and head of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, said, "Governor Romney has been clear since at least the start of this year that it's imperative a Republican win in 2016 after eight years of President Obama. … And the polls continue to show that Romney has the single best chance to win in 2016 and so I think now he's considering whether that's true and, accordingly, needs to run."

The development, though, was a bit of a shock to those who saw Romney as a possible supporter of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has made moves of late to position himself for a presidential run. Still, given that Romney knows very well now that comments shared with donors may get out, it's likely Friday's leak from the private meeting was strategic.

"It's odd if it's not serious, because it's public," said David Magleby, professor of political science at Brigham Young University. "I'm assuming this is more than just an inquiry to donors; it's an effort to send a signal to the broader Republican establishment."

Zwick, who is so close to Romney he's often labeled his "sixth son," told The Post that Romney's decision wouldn't be based on who else was eyeing the White House.

"He won't make a decision to run for president based on who else is in the race," Zwick told the newspaper. "He will make a decision based on his own desire and his own abilities. He has to decide on his own."

Romney moved his permanent residence to Utah in 2014, and has been building a home in Holladay next to his son Josh. Romney, who made his first two bids from Boston, also registered to vote in Utah.

Romney's first shot at the White House came in 2008 when he didn't muster enough support to go through the GOP primaries and bowed out to endorse Sen. John McCain. McCain returned the favor in 2012, backing Romney ahead of the New Hampshire primary.