Heading into New Hampshire, Mitt Romney Gets John McCain's Support

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: January 5, 2012 3:55 AM
Mitt Romney and John McCain

Mitt Romney and U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona | Credit: Christopher Halloran - Shutterstock

U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presidential nominee who lost to Barack Obama in 2008 and two-time winner of the New Hampshire primary, announced on Wednesday he is backing former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts for president. McCain and Romney were rivals for the Republican presidential nomination back in 2008.

McCain -- along with his wife Cindy -- endorsed Romney at a campaign event in New Hampshire.

“Few Americans have sacrificed so much for their country -- it is an honor to have Senator and Mrs. McCain’s support,” Romney said on Wednesday. “For his entire life, Senator McCain has been a committed public servant and is an example for all those seeking higher office. Senator McCain has been a leader in the fight to stop the growth of government and make government more accountable to taxpayers. With his leadership on cutting spending in the Senate, we can rein in out-of-control federal spending, and restore confidence in government. I look forward to campaigning with Senator McCain and working with him on the issues important to our national and economic security.”

“The time has arrived for Republicans to choose a presidential nominee; a new standard bearer who has the ability and determination to defeat President Obama and the strongest commitment to returning America to prosperity and defending our interests and values overseas,” McCain said. “I’m pleased to have made my choice, and to endorse Governor Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president.”

McCain took aim at Obama on Wednesday.

“These last few years have been a terribly tough time for Americans, and President Obama’s policies have failed to address effectively the problems of weak economic growth and persistent joblessness that have caused so many sleepless nights for so many Americans,” said McCain. “The Obama administration has ignored the most serious challenges threatening our future – a $15 trillion debt, and the job-destroying effects of a complex, unfair and incomprehensible tax code, bankrupt entitlement programs, and unnecessary government regulations. We can overcome these challenges as we have overcome every challenge in our past, but only if our country changes leaders.”

McCain attempted to contrast Obama with Romney.

“Governor Romney offers us the common-sense reforms of government policy that are necessary to turn around our economy,” said McCain. “His record of accomplishment in government and business are a testament to his leadership abilities. His commitment to a strong defense and principled diplomacy will earn the world’s respect for American leadership.

“I had the privilege of running against Governor Romney for the nomination four years ago, and I know he is a tough competitor,” added McCain. “I have no doubt he is the best candidate we can nominate. And I am proud to support him for president.”

A poll released on Wednesday -- a day after Romney beat former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania by 8 votes to win the Iowa caucus -- found the former Massachusetts governor is leading in the Granite State.

Romney leads the Suffolk University/7News tracking poll of likely primary voters with 43 percent. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who finished third in Iowa, takes a distant second in New Hampshire with 14 percent. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich takes third with 9 percent followed by former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah with 7 percent and Santorum with 6 percent.

The poll of 500 likely New Hampshire Republican primary votes was taken on Jan. 2-3 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.


Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestate.com or at (850) 727-0859.

Comments (2)

Jeff B. Willis
9:50AM JAN 5TH 2012
What a surprise! "A R.I.N.O. endorsing a R.I.N.O.!"

We can gain insight from this development if we are try. McCain lost the election decisively. I think Romney will win about the same number of electors, if he is fortunate! This is why Romney is having such a difficult time breaking the ceiling of 25%!

Every Republican should read Rand Paul's recent book, "The Tea Party Goes to Washington." Not because they are an avid Tea Party member! Not because they support Ron Paul! It has nothing to do with either! The keynote in Rand Paul's book is the differentiation made between a "Constitutional Conservative" and a "Neo-Conservative." No author has done a better job of drawing a line between the two.

As Paul defines, a "Neo-Con" believes in "big government to facilitate conservative principles." A "Constitutional conservative" believes in "a more literal intepretation of the 10th amendment." In essence, more power for the states.

This is perhaps the biggest connect between Congressman Paul and Governor Perry. Both are essentially "10thers." Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are decided "neo-cons." Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are "R.I.N.O.s".

To "neo-cons" a "constittutional conservative" is less conservative. "Constitutional conservatives" conclude that the "neo-cons" are more about big government, making them less conservative.

Where are Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann on this question? I am not certain. The true essence of the Tea Party was originally based on "constitutional conservatism" according to Senator Paul. Michelle Bachmann led the Tea Party caucus. I was surprised to see the Iowa Tea Party endorse Rick Santorum. He is a social conservative. But he is a decided "neo-con." Herman Cain may fall into the category of a constitutional conservative.

Republicans have one chance to nominate a candidate other than Mitt Romney. But they will need to select that candidate soon. Iowa has never been a real testing ground and the state's record proves it. South Carolina has been. This is not a strong Romney state. However, he received a "gift" endorsement from Nikki Haley. Still, he's not banking on winning the Palmetto State.

Newt Gingrich's candidacy may be done. That's why he is reaching out to Rick Santorum. However, that brings us to another question: "Does Santorum have the money and organization to go the distance against Mitt Romney?" My guess is "no." Santorum may ultimately be the pick for VP. I am not certain that this combo can win the general eledtion. It might be slightly stronger than McCain- Palin. But it will likely be weak with Hispanics and only marginally effective with Evangelicals. Two Easterners with a party that holds strength in the South would be highly questionable.

Gingrich could change the dynamics of the race quickly. If he were to drop out of the race, endorse Governor Perry and urge both his supporters and Herman Cain to do the same, we would have a very different race. Perry has the resources and organization to go the distance. He is the biggest single threat to Romney. Furthermore, it always is possible to pull both Bachmann and Santorum into the camp. Most importantly, Rand Paul would have a better chance getting "Dad's delegates" to swing to the conservatives. After all, more of Ron Paul's ideas are reflected in Perry's ideology.

They may have been some rough spots with all of the candidates. But a united front that opposes Mitt Romney could make the difference between beating Barack Obama and enduring him another four years of his lunacy. No matter what some Eastern, Establishment "experts" may think, Mitt Romney will not be a strong opponent for the president. They need to feel the "pulse" of America. There is no enthusiasm for another John McCain/ Bob Dole type Republican candidate.
7:41AM JAN 5TH 2012
WHAT A SURPRISE! Didn't we all learn "Birds of a feather, flock together!" If RINOs had wings, McCain and Romney could fly.

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