(CNN) - CNN has learned the negotiations that led to Mitt Romney's endorsement of John McCain included a prominent role by John Weaver, who was the Arizona senator's top political strategist until he left in a campaign shakeup last summer.
According to several sources familiar with the talks, Weaver got involved with the blessing - indeed at the urging - of two current top McCain advisers: Charlie Black and Steve Schmidt.
Both were aware of Weaver's friendship and past working relationship Romney campaign manager Beth Myers. Weaver and Myers worked together on a Texas campaign and at the Texas State Republican Party back in the 1980s and have remained good friends.
According to sources in both the Romney and McCain camps, Weaver made contact with Myers last week to initiate talks aimed at winning Romney's endorsement and an appeal from him to his delegates to rally to McCain's candidacy.
A source involved in the internal Romney deliberations confirmed Weaver's role, and said the governor came to the conclusion his endorsement was important now to send a signal he believes it is time for the party to unite behind McCain and focus on a difficult fall election environment.
Programming note: Watch Larry King’s exclusive interview with GOP front-runner John McCain tonight on Larry King Live at 9 P.M. Eastern.
–CNN Chief National Correspondent John King
I'm not sure what to think of ROMNEY endorsing McLIBERALCain...
I trust Romney enough though (come on...he's a squeeky clean Mormon) that I MIGHT vote for McCain IF ROMNEY was the VP or something...you know, getting ready for the BIG race in 2012 or 2016 (if McLiberal wants 2 terms)...
I'm going to have to THINK ABOUT THIS ONE...
Great, if he can join two guys that hated each other on the campaign trail so much, maybe he should run for president himself or something.
Shame on Gov. Romney. McCain does not embody the ideals Mitt Romney purported in his campaign. He is much closer aligned to Mike Huckabee and endorsing McCain is trading on his beliefs. McCain is NOT a conservative, in any sense of the word . He will keep us in war and will let illegals take over America. We need a president who will focus on domestic issues and grow AMERICA. We need a president who will keep America safe for AMERICANS. We don't have resources to support illegals–our own (American) people are dying for want of medical care. We need to turn things around–not try to "save the world"; indeeed, we should try to "Save America." I am very, very disappointed in Mitt Romney.
May as well endorsed the other liberals too, Mitt.
I wonder if this will begin a McCain/Romney ticket? Hope so.. that will really draw the republicans to the voting booths in November. Otherwise, many people are staying home avoiding McCain and "someone else". It'd be a good idea to bring the real conservative on board to make sure you get all three wings of the republican party (liberal, moderate, conservative).
Thanks Mitt! As a McCain supporter, I would like to personally pledge I would like Mitt Romney to be McCain's Vice President. All McCain supporters salute Mitt Romney.
I would like to encourage all the Romney delegates to go with Huckabee. That would put him back in the realm of possibility for winning the nomination. How ’bout it Romney Delegates? Mike and Mitt are much more alike than Mitt and John. I think a Mike/Mitt ticket could beat a Clinton or Obama ticket. McCain is not likely to win because he is too close to being a dem himself. McCain won’t get my vote. If Obama or Clinton win, at least we know up front where they stand on the issues. It is easier to fight a target that you can easily identify than someone who misrepresents himself (like McCain). But I would vote for a Huckabee/Romney ticket and I think many others would also. Romney delegates can make it happen!
I respect Mitt!
I didn't think I could support McCain and still have disagreements with him, but will support him as MORE conservative than either Obama or Clinton. In supporting Mitt, I didn't find him to be flawless either, but WHO IS?
I appreciate Romney's recognition that not staying in the race was NOT about himself but about working together for the GOOD of the issues at hand and our country. (Too bad someone else is still looking out after #1, himself.)
It's all a game, and we, the Amercan people, are the losers.
That's it for Huck! We democrats better get our act together soon. I wish Hillary would do what Romney did so we could get ready for McCain.
MITT. Don't support McCain. It will be the biggest mistake of your life and hurt your political future. You had such strong differences with this man and to endorse him is political suicide.
Even Huckabee would be a better choice than McCain for the good of the party.
Think about this one Mitt.
No Way. I can't believe this Romney backing McCain.
Now we know Mitt was disingenuous in many of his prior statements. he basically is selling out to his principles. I am glad he was not elected now as we see his true character all in the name of uniting the Republican party. Too bad this says nothing of your words prior this moment. That is called wishy-washy flip-flopping and is not commendable.
MITT. Don't support McCain. Why not Huckabee?
Everything is coming together nicely for the Republicans. I have no doubt that they will able to unite their base while the Democrats will ruin their chance to unite theirs. The relentless media attacks against Hillary Clinton and in favor of Barack Obama will divide the party. So will the DNC's nuclear option of refusing to seat any of the Florida or Michigan delegates. The Republicans had the same exact problem and they chose to reduce the number of delegates instead of eliminate them, a sensible solution to a difficult problem.
The Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They should have had an easy time of it this year considering the mess the country is in, but I know many backers of both Clinton and Obama who plan on voting for John McCain if their candidate is not nominated.
Go Mr. McCain......win it......obama mama has nothing on you.
So, Mr. Conservative who "sticks to his conservative principles no matter what" has endorsed Mr. Liberal. Interesting. Flip, flip, flop.
Romney implicitly endorsed McCain when he dropped out, so I don't know why anyone would be surprised. His intention ever since then has been for McCain to win the nomination as quickly as possible so the Republican party can regroup while the Democrats are still fighting it out.