(CNN) - South Carolina state Rep. Nathan Ballentine will appear with Mitt Romney at a forum for small business owners near Columbia, South Carolina on Saturday, the former Massachusetts governor's first visit to the early primary state as a potential presidential candidate.
But Ballentine, one of Gov. Nikki Haley's top lieutenants in the state legislature, said he isn't quite ready to endorse Romney's nascent campaign, still in its exploratory phase, even though Ballentine backed his 2008 presidential bid.
"Obviously he is the guy that I thought should have been our president last time around," Ballentine told CNN. "He hasn't announced yet, but if he gets in the field I am going to give him strong consideration. He is an electable conservative and we need an electable conservative because the country has gone so far crazy left in the past few years."
Ballentine said he would pick a candidate after the state legislative session concludes in early June and said he is leaning Romney's way.
In April, though, Ballentine offered a candid assessment of Romney's chances in the state.
He told RealClearPolitics that Romney would face "an uphill battle" in South Carolina and suggested he focus his campaign on other key primary states like New Hampshire, Nevada and Florida. He said Romney might be too "polished" to connect with Republican primary voters in the Palmetto State.
But Ballentine told CNN Friday that he is "a loyalty kind of guy" and strongly hinted he will end up in Romney's camp again in 2012 once he wraps up business in the South Carolina statehouse.
Who in the heck is Nathan Ballentine...and I am from South Carolina. When even the bottom of the barrel isn't enthused about Romney, it's a baaaaad sign. Save your time, energy, & money Mitt. It's not going to work.
Ballentine is waiting to see if Palin is going to run, then he ditches Mittens. LMAO
All these small businesses that are meeting with Romney needs to know that things are more complicated than things use to be. we are in a global market now. People like romney are calling for deregulations of businesses so they can be free to compete as they like. That means a drastic change of American lifestyle, that means is time to live like the third world country, why you think repugs are trying to get rid of the labor union.
" Too Polished?" Thats damning with faint praise. What do they want?
I hope independents and democrats don't get fooled by this NEVER ENDING attempt – going on 30 years now – to pull the country to the Right.
We all know that partisan conservative Republicans have a habit of repeating a lie over and over until some people believe that it is the truth. One such lie is that "America is a right-of-center nation". Sorry guys, just because you say it, doesn't make it true. We need about 30 years of liberalism to undo the damage to the middle class by these so-called "conservatives".
What they have effectively done is fool many working-class and lower income folks in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Georgia, Illinois and Kentucky into siding with them over distraction issues like abortion, gun proliferation, gay marriage, etc. while systematically transferring wealth to the RICH by way of tax cuts which disproportionately benefit the more affluent among the citizens.
You can't hope to get your Medicare and Social Security after paying into it for 10, 15, 20 years but the GOP labelled "job-creator", who doesn't create ANY EMPLOYMENT get's a lower tax rate on his last Million dollars of margial or passive income.
They have installed activist judges on the federal judiciary that consistently rule in favor of those more well off than for those that form the working backbone of this country. It's time for a reversal.
Anyone "Joe-The-Plumber type who votes for a Republican, especially a Wall Street Republican like Romney, is a fool. I suggest you wait until you are making $4 Million per year before you back policies that benefit millionaires.
Dude thought Romney should have been elected President last time around, but will now only commit to *giving a good look at him*? Not sure who this Ballentine is waiting for - last I heard Ronald Reagan is still dead - or what he expects of Romney that would be different this time around. Romney's been running for president for well on 6 years now, and unless Romney has recently undergone a complete lobotomy, he is still the flip flopper he's always been.
NO BODY that worships Joseph Smith, or comes to our country begging for money when we have none. We have disabled vets to take care of. Thanks to all the wars and "skirmishes".
Some very insightful posters today on seeing through the GOBP facade. The fact is, Romney is just another slightly more polished neocon teaturd seeking to brainwash America into following the Greedy Old Pig's failed cult of tax cuts for the filthy rich and deregulation.
Nathan Who???? His own constituents probably don't know who he is.
(excuse the shouting) THANK YOU JON HUNTSMAN FOR SERVING OUR PRESIDENT AND NATION! YOU WILL HAVE THE VOTE OF THIS INDEPENDENT WHEN YOU RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2016!
Poor Romney, he doesn't get that they wont support him.
Who has ever heard of Ballentine? Why would we care?
Republicans are waiting for Palin to finish them off just like she did John McCain.