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Who will be new face of the GOP?

Mitt Romney's loss and withdraw from politics has created a leadership vacuum in the Republican Party. From Gov. Chris Christie, to Sen. Marco Rubio, to Gov. Bobby Jindal, there's no shortage of hopefuls to fill Romney's shoes.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks in Hot Springs, Ark in July. Mitt Romney’s shadow looms over a GOP in disarray. Republican officials in Washington and elsewhere concede that Romney’s immediate withdrawal from politics, while welcome by most, has created a leadership void.

Danny Johnston/AP/File

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Mitt Romney's shadow looms over a Republican Party in disarray.

The face of the GOP 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 GOP 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, 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 program changes that could affect virtually every American.

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