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. kuewa

    Congressional Republicans should be supporting the President over Romney. President Obama has supported and implemented many of the better ideas of conservatism, such as the individual mandate and other elements of ACA and increase domestic oil and natural gas production. However, the Republicans are again showing that for them, politics supersedes fundamental principles.

    April 17, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. JerseyGirl

    I have to agree with Ron Reagan on Chris Matthew's show today, that the best thing Willard has going for him is that there is a certain segment of the Repub party that really hate the President, so they'll vote for ANYONE instead of the President, and the fact that Willard seems to be totally tone-deaf about his wealth & how this relates to other people!

    April 17, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. dnick47

    I wouldn't be excited either... it might even make me sick to my stomach.

    April 17, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Romney is not My Hero

    "uniting behind Romney seemed to have more to do with the strong desire to oust President Barack Obama than enthusiasm for Romney's candidacy." -

    Yes, they are willing to vote for ANYONE/ANYTHING other than President Obama. They have no idea what Mr. Etch-a-Sketch is all about. He's a compulsive liar with a hidden agenda. I don't trust him at all.

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 17, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Jerubbaal

    Louie Gohmert you said it all, he has lied and pandered so much that everyone can say that he has agreed with them at some point and time.

    April 17, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Exciting as watching paint dry " Mitt Romney " !

    Romney / Nugent

    Lawrence Welk / Mel Gibson

    April 17, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    it is obvious the hate for the president and desire for power is more so what pushes the conservatives to back Romney than liking him. Perhaps they feel if he wins he will do their bidding and can just be a puppet for the right, until of course the REAL Mitt comes out and shows he's a moderate and not a severe conservative as he claims. They tried the same hate with Bill Clinton and that didn't work either.

    April 17, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    Nobody's excited. The republicans may as well save the precious gasoline in their giant SUVs and stay home. ha ha ha ha ha

    April 17, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  9. Truth001

    We have to like Mitt now what choice do we have? I'm only voting for him because I want Obama out.

    April 17, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  10. LTNN7890

    It must be painfull to be a Republican and like Pres. Obama more , well they still have the option to stay home and not vote for Flipper .

    April 17, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. Tyler Durden

    Dear Republican Party: Welcome to the roof of one of Ann ROmney's caddilacs. Enjoy the ride.

    April 17, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    From the sound of things, no one liked the candidates that came up. I can't blame them because none of the choices were worth considering were any good.

    April 17, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Your Politics are a Mess

    How is this a story? Focus on the endgame, Republicans. Got onboard and get to work. Do NOT fall into the DNC's habit of being fractured and lacking a coherent message.

    April 17, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  14. LTTC

    Its called anybody, anybody but Obama

    April 17, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. LTTC

    Republicans could run a cat for President and it would have my vote.

    April 17, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  16. king

    I wonder if God forbid and the repubs win the presidency, I wonder if mitten should expect the same obstruction that these repubs Congress folks gave to this president in the most trying times since the great depression. This Congress will go down as the most obstructionist Congress ever. I wonder if the cause was because of the first black president. 50 years from now folks will still be talking about the carnage this repubs Congress did to this president.

    April 17, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  17. Redleg56

    IF another 9-11 happened under a president Romney, would we have to look for him in France, like we did when we fought Communism on the battlefield?

    April 17, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    He is the worst candidate in decades. How can anyone get excited about a robot. Then again, there's R2D2. He had more personality than this flip flopper.

    April 17, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  19. dmf

    It is interesting to watch the GOP leaders including Speaker Boehner 's half hearted and less than enthusiastic endorsement for Gov. Romney as GOP presidential candidate in November . Almost two thirds of registered Republican voters are confused and waiting , as to which Romney will step forward to run as the GOP candidate for president ? The 2012 presidential election , would be largely decided on public record of performances on the job , plans for job creation for unemployed , under employed , including health care for women , seniors and those under poverty line etc . Rather not on GOP House majority 's hatred , biases and opposition for four years , against President Obama and his policies . The voters would decide on positive notes , including overwhelming spirited favorability , passion , enthusiasm and huge turn outs of voters for the two candidates .

    April 17, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  20. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    These are the same people who thought Bush/Cheney and McCain/Palin were relevant. Look at the mess those four made. Romney isn't any different.

    April 17, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  21. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Well, now we really know what will make it easy for Romney to win the big election. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are endorsing him! Well, with such beloved men as a part of his following how can he lose?????

    April 17, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  22. Larry L

    As I watched Ted Nugent suggest that conservatives need to kill the opposition (literally "kill") I feel confident the Republican Party has been fragmented beyond repair. The NRA represents the bigoted right-wing and this group of radicals will never get support from the real American people. It's no longer about guns – but hatred and bigotry. Sadly, the bigoted right-wing controls what's left of the Republican Party.

    April 17, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  23. Larry L

    Mitt Romney begged for the endorsement of a man who threatened to shoot the President of the United States. How does the House feel about that and where is the outrage?

    What about this statement? "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,"

    Really? This man has flip-flopped on every issue and doesn't raise hell about Ted Nugent's comment? The good of the country? He apparently supports domestic terrorism as long as it's directed toward his opponent.

    April 17, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  24. Jack

    What else can they do? Do they have courage to say we will wait for four years rather than supporting a used car salesman like guy?

    April 17, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  25. J.V.Hodgson

    With all this endorsing going on and Romney is the candidate per the press pray do tell why bother to have all these other primary votes and caucuses as thos running the convention have already decided the outcome as has the media.
    Would'nt it be a cat among the pidgeons if Santorum and Paul were to back/ endorse Gingrich!?

    April 17, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
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