In addition to breaking Laurin Manning's heart, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner left a gigantic void in the 2008 Democratic Presidential field with his abrupt departure from the race yesterday.
Sure, we've poked our fair share of fun at Warner in the past, but this guy was without question one of the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination, an electable alternative to Hillary Clinton and a Southern moderate with tremendous cross-party appeal.
Warner was also well ahead of most other 2008 Dems in erecting the massive institutional edifices necessary to mount a successful White House bid, and our assessment was that the pivotal South Carolina Democratic Primary was his to lose.
As we speak, Dems like Evan Bayh, John Edwards and Bill Richardson are scurrying to pick up Warner's people and fill the void left by his sudden exit.
So why did Warner drop out?
No one knows for sure.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Warner's decision - which was based on a desire to spend more time with his family - was reached just this week, and his staff was informed only 24 hours ahead of time.
"I understand that folks in the political world will question it," Warner told the Richmond paper of his unexpected exit.
Of course we will. People in Warner's position don't just drop out on a dime. His PAC had raised $9 million, he'd visited 28 states, he'd been on the cover of the New York Times Magazine and Newsweek ... even Lee Bandy had started showing him some love.
It just doesn't make sense ...