Friday, February 15, 2008

Romney Sends Endorsement, Delegates McCain's Way

Romney Sends Endorsement, Delegates McCain's Way

Mitt Romney formally endorsed Sen. John McCain's bid for the White House yesterday. In addition, says the AP, Romney "asked his national convention delegates to swing behind the likely nominee." Standing alongside McCain, the former Massachusetts governor said yesterday, "Even when the contest was close and our disagreements were debated, the caliber of the man was apparent. ... This is a man capable of leading our country at a dangerous hour." McCain said, "Primaries are tough. ... We know it was a hard campaign and now we move forward, we move forward together for the good of our party and the nation." The Los Angeles Times reports "Romney won about 280 delegates who will now be urged to back McCain, who began the day with 843 delegates. Huckabee had 242 delegates and Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 14." The Romney delegates "would be enough to put McCain past the 1,191 delegates needed for the GOP nomination."

McCain, appearing on CNN's Larry King Live, said, "I was a bit surprised because it's been a short time since the primary, since he decided to suspend his campaign. I'm very appreciative. He could have waited until like March 4, as you well know, after the Texas and Ohio primaries. So I was a little surprised. But I'm very appreciative he came out very quickly and this is an important time, as you know, to keep the momentum going in the race." The CBS Evening News reported, "Campaign sources say that immediately after Romney got out of the race last week, McCain called him, and their staffs have been in touch with each other ever since. However, they also say this was Romney's decision and his alone, and was not the result of pressure from the McCain campaign."

The media today see Romney's endorsement as surprising, given the acrimony between the two on the campaign trail. ABC World News said "the endorsement seemed an about-face, for the two men who had often locked horns in about a dozen debates." The Wall Street Journal notes the endorsement came "two weeks after declaring 'Washington is broken' and...McCain part of the problem." During the primary campaign, adds the Journal, "there was little warmth between the two men. They pounded one another in TV advertisements, automated phone calls, stump speeches and debates." The Washington Post recounts that Romney "called McCain 'wrong' and 'dishonest' and demanded that he apologize for saying the former governor wanted to withdraw troops from Iraq." He also "called McCain 'virtually indistinguishable' from" Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

McCain Turns Fire On Obama

In a potential preview of the general election fight, NBC Nightly News reported that John McCain "peppered" his regular stump speech in Rhode Island yesterday "with new jabs" at Barack Obama over how much pork he has brought home for his state. McCain said, "The senator from Illinois who says that he wants transparency in government will not reveal the number of earmarks that he received in 2006 and 2005." McCain "has long railed against taxpayer funded pet projects known as earmarks that lawmakers take on to unrelated legislation. McCain trumpets that he requested zero earmarks."

ABC World News reported McCain "was clearly looking ahead to the general election," and "seemed to save his harshest attack for Obama." McCain was shown saying, "Sen. Obama had, according to the National Journal, the most liberal Senator in the Senate. I had a very high ranking on the conservative side." Matthew Dowd, ABC News political contributor, said "He knows that right now Barack Obama is the hardest candidate for him to beat in November."

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