Romney endorses Hatch as both are pushed from right
September 12th, 2011
12:44 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney endorses Hatch as both are pushed from right

Washington (CNN) – Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced today that he supports Sen. Orrin Hatch's, R-Utah, 2012 reelection bid. The endorsement, however, has Romney wading into some already unfriendly waters.

FreedomWorks PAC, a leading grassroots conservative organization, announced in June that it would launch a "Retire Orrin Hatch" campaign because the group believes the 34-year Senator has to often moved to the left on issues.

On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

That same organization has also been very outspoken about Romney's bid for president. At another tea party group's event in August, FreedomWorks organized a protest outside the event because they said Romney was now "pandering" to the tea party, a group that he had never been affiliated with before.

"Because now he's getting challenged from [Minnesota Rep. Michele] Bachmann and [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry and even [Texas Rep.] Ron Paul – all legitimate conservative tea party candidates – and he's trying to protect his right flank," said Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns at FreedomWorks.

Though FreedomWorks is hoping to remove Hatch from office, other conservative leaders, including Steve Forbes, vice chairman of the FreedomWorks Foundation board, have expressed support for him.

"I feel it a privilege to endorse your reelection effort next year," stated a letter from Forbes that the Hatch campaign released. "I have known you since the late 1970's when you first came to the Senate and courageously battled anti-growth, anti-business legislation being vigorously pushed by Big Labor."

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 vice presidential candidate, has also supported Hatch. "He is doing good in terms of trying to get a balanced budget and he has been for the last couple of decades," Palin said on Fox News. "He has pushed hard for some fiscal reforms that we have got to see implemented."

FreedomWorks has a history in Utah, as well. In the few months leading to the 2010 midterm election, the organization was one of a few groups that went after three-term Republican Sen. Bob Bennett. At Utah's GOP nomination convention, Bennett was defeated in favor of the more conservative Mike Lee.

With FreedomWorks attacking both Romney and Hatch from the right, the two offered a great deal of support to one another.

"Orrin is a committed public servant who always puts the people of Utah first," said Romney. "I couldn't be prouder to endorse him in his reelection bid."

Romney highlighted Hatch's work as the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee as a reason for his support. Romney said Hatch would continue to build on "strong pro-growth policies" and bring jobs to Utah.

Though the Hatch has not officially supported Romney race for president, he came very close in a joint release with the former Massachusetts governor.

"I'm deeply humbled by Mitt's support," stated a release from Hatch. "He is a man I deeply admire and whom I know would lead our nation out of the economic mess we are in today."

Hatch, who was reelected in 2006 with 62 percent of the vote, has no formal challengers, yet.

- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Shannon Travis contributed to this article.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Orrin Hatch • Utah
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    One sure sign that the Republican Party is broken is when they turn on the conservative old guard. When the old guard can no longer find a place with the "Young Guns" now running the party. Today's Republicans would make Reagan switch back to being a Democrat.

    September 12, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Drogo, who bit the dust

    Two Mormon slugs, of course they stick together.

    September 12, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. EatRunDive

    So what will the Republican Party look like once all the inelligent politicians are gone? A lot like the Tea Party.

    September 12, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Debbie

    Mormons support Mormons.

    September 12, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    The many colours of a politician....pandering is nothing new.

    September 12, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Four and the Door wrote:
    ...except for Reagan's sharp tax cuts which resulted in 17 years of great economic expansion and employment growth.
    You facts are rather skewed to the right. You pick a curious number, 17 years.

    Reagan was in office for only 8 years. Besides, Reagan's tax policies created two self-inflicted recessions, which were eased by implementing "corrections" to the tax code, better known as tax increases, to restore normalcy an balance.

    You pick a curious number, 17 years. Does that mean economic goas were no longer being met 18 years later. Because if that is the case, then let me be the first to tell you that it was 18 years after Reagan was sworn in that we had the first balanced budget in nearly 50 years. Not since Eisenhower.

    September 12, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    There's no room for moderates in the TEApublican party. I hear all these teatard spokespeople claiming that the Tea Party is made up of republicans, democrats and independents. If that's the case, why is the CNN debate tonight call the "Tea Party Republican Debate?"

    September 12, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Finally, a Mormon willing to endorse a Mormon.

    September 12, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Peggy - Tx

    And you all were so happy to have pacs that can get unlimited $ from any one and not disclose it, now you found that you created a Monster that is edevouring you. Did you really think the GOP goals are exactly alined with the goals of the ultra rich behinds these pacs. These Greedy old guys have thier own agenda and are just paying lip service to what ever seemingly ligitimate issue they can raise and pretending to adpont what ever organization that will have them ... they are the forse behind the Tea Party only becasue the Tea Partiers are the only group stupid enough to take up thier torch. It is not like the Kock brother and pick of a sign that says "give me more money". But they can get the Tea Party to block a reasonable politican leaving only those politicians that are beholding to Mr. Kock via the Tea Party Express.

    It has been many years since the GOP had a ligimate purpose, which is why they lie and lie and play games and lie some more. They are not lying to the American people, they are lieing to the Tea Party patsies they have enlisted to do thier bidding.

    September 12, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. logic in LA

    How scary is it to think that Orin Hatch is not conservative enough? this man was the ultimate conservative for years and now they want someone even MORE CONSERVATIVE? Watch out America – the crazies are running amok!

    September 12, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. AlaskaPalin

    If chris matthews was any kind of man don lemon's piece on sarah would have sent shivers up his legs. She is a lady that all republicans, independents and conservadems can rally around and support. Put her up against obama and there'll be fireworks betcha. All who underestimate the staying power of this lady are doing so to their own detriment.

    September 12, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. FactCheck

    Freedomwork: that "grassroots" organization that is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, the Olin foundation and Coors.

    September 12, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    from the article:
    Romney highlighted Hatch's work as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee as a reason for his support. Romney said Hatch would continue to build on "strong pro-growth policies" and bring jobs to Utah.
    I didn't know a member of the minority party could chair committees. Max Baucus, D-MT, is the current chair. If Romney is referring to a time frame when Republicans were the majority in the senate, then the governer is wrong or misleading us again. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, has been the Republican chairman over the past decade.

    Orrin Hatch has *never* been chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. I don't know what exactly Gov. Romney is trying to say, but he not speaketh the truth. He is grossly mistaken.

    September 12, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |

    The teabagger trainwreck is right on time to help President Obama. The teabaggers weren't satisfied with causing America to lose the AAA credit rating. Frankenstein won't be happy until the GOBP reaches Whig status. Works for me.

    September 12, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    What's with these teabaggers? This is not a right-wing country. It is centrist. We do NOT want to be dictated to by FASCISTS.

    September 12, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |