Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, one of a handful of Republican governors touted as presidential timber for 1996, announced he'd forgo a run for the GOP nomination. At a Boston press conference, Weld said he'd made the decision in part because he didn't want to become the absentee father of five teenagers. Nor does he wish to be an absentee governor in order to run. Weld's predecessor, Michael Dukakis, was out of the state for months while campaigning as the 1988 Democratic candidate for president. TIME Boston bureau chief Sam Allis says Weld -- a political favorite of House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- had strong general election appeal as a biting fiscal conservative with socially liberal views, notably a pro-choice abortion stance. "Many people believe that mix epitomizes the future of the Republican Party," Allis says. "But Weld knows the Christian Right has a disproportionate amount of power in the nominating process, and they would have killed him."