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Yesterday’s (August 22) Washington Times picked up the following quote of Mr. Paul Ryan in its “Today’s Quote”

"Mitt Romney's going to be the president. The president sets the policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. I'm comfortable with it because it's a good step in the right direction. I'll leave it at that."

I was caught up with the last phrase of Mr. Ryan’s remark. What does “I’ll leave it at that” exactly mean? How different “I leave it at that” is from ‘It’s up to him.”

Is Mr. Ryan totally agreeing with what Mr. Romney says, or there is some reservation, resignation, or tongue in cheek, whatever that implies some distance from the other party’s view?

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Ryan is simply cutting off discussion of the topic. Ryan apparently does not agree with "exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother", but he doesn't want to talk about his beliefs. I see no nuance in the remark. It would mean exactly the same to me if Ryan and Romney agreed or if Ryan had more liberal views than those expressed by Romney: "I don't want to say any more about this. I've said enough." The first two sentences mean "It's up to him". –  user21497 Aug 24 '12 at 0:29

3 Answers 3

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I'll leave it at that simply means, "I could say more, but I've said enough – there's no need for further discussion."

I'll leave it at that could indicate strong agreement, or serious reservations. In the former case, it might substitute for something along the lines of "I don't want to keep on gushing, and heaping the praise, lest I start sounding ridiculous." In the latter case, it might mean, "I don't want this to turn into a nasty argument; I've said my viewpoint, and there's no point in escalating this."

In this case (in the wake of the recent controversial Akin remarks), candidate Ryan doesn't want to venture too far into what's become a political minefield, so, he summarizes Romney's position – tersely – and then declares that he won't be saying anything further on the matter.

Other similar ways to paraphrase this sentiment, or something close to it, would include, and that's that, or, end of story, or, I've got nothing more to say.

I could elaborate more, but I'll just leave it at that.

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Your last line seems to me to have given a clear idea. I recall that when I was young and working in ad agency, a client’s marketing manager who was American used to say, ‘This is Management Decision,” every time we didn’t agree with, and argument got hot. He should have added ‘Let’s leave it at that,” after that, though I don’t remember if he said so or not. –  Yoichi Oishi Aug 24 '12 at 7:35

Leave it at that: to agree that there has been enough discussion, study, etc. and that it is time to stop

Let's leave it at that for today and meet again tomorrow.

Leave it at that: (informal) to take a matter no further

Collins said: `I just want to announce my retirement from the Scotland team and leave it at that.

Don Scott is highly respected for what he has done on the field and let's leave it at that.

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It also implies that any attempts to further the discussion will not be tolerated. No questions, no comments. The subject is closed.

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