House conservatives appear ready, if not excited, to support Romney
April 17th, 2012
07:32 PM ET
10 years ago

House conservatives appear ready, if not excited, to support Romney

Washington (CNN) - With the two top Congressional Republican leaders – House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell - officially endorsing Mitt Romney Tuesday, some conservatives on Capitol Hill who have been reluctant to get behind the former Massachusetts governor's campaign appeared ready to move on to the general election and support the all-but-certain nominee.

But at a gathering of about a dozen House conservatives, the motivation for uniting behind Romney seemed to have more to do with the strong desire to oust President Barack Obama than enthusiasm for Romney's candidacy.

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Many of the Republicans who participated in an event billed as "conversations with conservatives" had not endorsed a GOP candidate. When they were asked if they were "excited" about Romney there was a pause as members looked around at their colleagues waiting for someone to answer.

After a moment, Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan spoke up.

"I would say first we're excited about the opportunity to beat Barack Obama, more than anything," said Jordan, who heads up a group of fiscal conservatives in the House.

"I think Gov. Romney is the nominee," he quickly added, and predicted, "You're going to see conservatives united and do everything we can to help him win this November."

Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador said he was excited - "excited the process is over" and that Republicans could focus on contrasting their vision with the one laid out by Democrats.

Echoing Jordan's comments, Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh said the enthusiasm for the GOP race "will come from getting Barack Obama out of the White House."

"I have no doubt that every conservative and movement person in this country is going to work their tails off to get him [Romney] elected," Walsh said.

But Labrador, who noted he still hasn't formally backed a candidate, offered Romney some advice, "If he happens to be the nominee."

"He needs to reach out to every one of us who is sitting at this table and to all the conservative leaders throughout the United States to make sure he's not just speaking to a few select groups, but that he's speaking to the grassroots," Labrador said. The tea party-backed Idaho Republican said Romney needs to get support from the same voters who helped elect the freshmen class in 2010.

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, another Republican who also said he has not supported any of the GOP candidates during the primaries, quipped, "If you're not sure about wanting to support Mitt Romney whether you are liberal, whether you're very conservative, you ought to be excited because he's been on your side at one time or another."

Gohmert's comment - a reference to a concern many conservatives have about Romney changing his positions on issues - elicited chuckles from everyone in the room. He later admitted, "I am not as excited as I am desperate" to replace Obama.

South Carolina Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who campaigned for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, sought to dispel any notion that conservatives aren't enthusiastic about Romney.

"I'm excited about our candidate. I really am," he insisted to reporters.

The freshman Republican maintained Romney would do what conservatives campaigned on in the last election - repeal "Obamacare" and cut the deficit.

"Face it, we got the best candidate that we could out of the process," Mulvaney said.

As for staying on the same page as Romney in terms of a conservative agenda, Labrador said "on most issues" he believes conservatives will agree with Romney, and said the former Massachusetts governor has already been in touch with many members to ask how they can work together.

Freshman Rep. Allen West, R-Florida, suggested Romney focus his message on three areas: economic security, energy security, and national security.

"We'll be able to find the right common ground with a nominee Romney to move forward, to make sure we have the right type of agenda for America," West said.

Jordan noted his chance to sit down and meet with Romney one-on-one left him impressed with his work ethic, and said others would feel the same once they learn more about the party's likely nominee.

"I think the more you are around Gov. Romney the more you like what he stands for, the more you can see there is a genuine concern about the well-being of our country. I mean it really comes through," Jordan said.

Also see:

House election committees add millions to coffers

Romney ready for November fight: 'It's going to be fun'

Romney says he wouldn't transport dog on roof again

Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Mitt Romney
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Former Republican, now an Independent

    An endorsement from these two obstuctionist, should be the kiss of death for any candidate!

    April 18, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. S.S

    The house conservatives or conservatives in name only? I bet they are ready to loose and goproudly back to the holes they crawled from

    April 18, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  3. GI Joe

    The most exciting one so far has been -- "well, it looks like he will be our nominee, maybe, so i guess I'll support him". Yeah, that's it.


    April 18, 2012 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  4. URDAD

    *Romney changes his position every few seconds.
    *Republican Congress Is Blocking Job Bills.
    *Romney is Not willing to stop the spectators.
    *Republicans are blocking any bills even the bills they supported in the past.
    *Romney and Republican are trying to prevent republican leaning companies from hiring.

    April 18, 2012 05:49 am at 5:49 am |

    The Anybody but Mitt McCain party has a big problem now.

    April 18, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  6. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    Who cares what Joe Walsh thinks? Isn't he the deadbeat dad about to lose his seat? Yeah, those are just the kinds of people who back Rmoney, low-quality greed-lovers without a care for humanity or their own flesh and blood.

    April 18, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
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