Where are the unity events?
June 11th, 2012
05:14 PM ET
8 years ago

Where are the unity events?

Washington (CNN) - A week after Mitt Romney pulled out of the Republican presidential race in February 2008, he stood next to John McCain, with the national press corps capturing the moment, and said: "I'm officially endorsing his candidacy."

In April 2008, about seven weeks after Mike Huckabee ended his run for the Republican presidential nomination, he and McCain campaigned together. Huckabee was quoted as saying: "The main thing is getting Senator McCain elected."

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When Hillary Clinton brought her run for the Democratic nomination to a close in June of 2008, she immediately endorsed Barack Obama with cable news networks carrying the event live as she told the crowd of supporters, "I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me." Three weeks later, the two former opponents traveled together on the same plane to campaign together in aptly-named Unity, New Hampshire.

Fast forward to 2012. There hasn't been that kind of public embrace between Romney and his major competitors.

Rick Santorum and Romney held a private meeting just over three weeks after the former Pennsylvania senator suspended his campaign - no cameras were there, no image of the meeting was seen. Santorum issued a late night e-mail announcement of his endorsement of Romney three days later.

"We both agree that President Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious. Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this the most critical election of our lifetime," Santorum wrote.

Asked on Sunday if he has plans to appear soon with Romney, Santorum said: "We've certainly been in conversation with the Romney campaign and have offered to be available where they think I can be helpful."

Aides to Santorum, however, told CNN a joint Romney-Santorum public event is so far not in the works. The Romney campaign has given Santorum's staff a list of more than a dozen cities where they believe the former Pennsylvania senator could boost the effort by stumping on behalf of the presumptive Republican nominee, according to John Brabender, former Santorum senior strategist. Santorum and his staff have indicated to Romney's camp they will do what they can to help the ticket and are working through his schedule to firm up dates and locations.

Brabender also pointed out Santorum's new political committee, Patriot Voices, can help boost Romney by motivating conservatives.

"There is universal support for realizing we have to engage everyone to make sure Obama is defeated in November," Brabender said.

The campaign calendar is one reason there has not been a rush of one-time foes embracing each other in public events this year versus 2008.

"The primary season was a heck [of a lot] longer," Brabender said as compared to the relative brevity of last time. The lengthened campaign also brought a longer period of candidates attacking each other.

Brabender dismissed the importance of the two foes, who exchanged harsh words towards the end of the primary season, not embracing each other publicly.

"People are going to read into everything," he said. "People are finding things and wondering. Often times they mean nothing."

Because they have held a meeting and Santorum has given his endorsement, "there is already the assumption the party is unified," Brabender said. "I'm not sure if there needs to be something symbolic."

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When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich ended his bid on May 2, he did not use the word endorse when talking about Romney but said: "I am asked sometimes is Mitt Romney conservative enough? And my answer is simple – compared to Barack Obama? This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical leftist president in American history."

He later told CNN's "State of the Union": "I believe that Mitt Romney will be a dramatically better president for the United States than Barack Obama. I believe that he has earned the right to represent the Republican Party, and he's earned it the hard way. He has fought his way to the nomination. Nobody gave him an inch."

Gingrich stumped for Romney two weeks later at the Georgia Republican convention. Monday night, for the second time in two weeks, he appeared alongside Romney at a private fund-raiser. Still, the two men have not held a public event together since Gingrich pulled out.

"Newt is going to help the Romney campaign defeat President Obama in any way he can," Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told CNN. Hammond pointed out right now the focus of the campaigns is raising money and that is how Gingrich can probably be most helpful to Romney.

There was a more traditional embrace of one-time foes when former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed Romney on Sept 12 of last year - a month after he pulled out. Pawlenty was appointed a national co-chair of Romney's campaign, and the two campaigned together that day in South Carolina.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry left the race back in February, endorsing Gingrich. Following Gingrich's own exit, Perry endorsed Romney but there has not yet been a public show of affection between the two.

- CNN's Wade Payson-Denney contributed to this story.

Also see:

Axelrod weighs in on Obama's private sector comments

Romney video goes after Obama's comments on economy

Daniels, Walker want Romney to go bold

McCain: Obama responsible for leaks, Holder has no credibility

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    Awww, where is the love?

    June 11, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Mitt Romney is taking leadership of the Republican Party and very soon the country. He has earned it, Republican voters across the country have made their choice clear, he deserves it and we will all be better off as a nation because of it. Endorsements at this point are fluff. Mitt Romney will be our next President. Get on board or move out of the way. There is a lot of good work to be done.

    June 11, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. reel american

    Go Romney you can do it

    June 11, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Each day I am thankful that our country is in the hands of President Obama, and not the Kochs and their ilk, the Turdblossom and his swiftboaters, the Taliban, domestic and foreign terrorists including the GOP. The only way for all of us to achieve is to reelect Obama.

    June 11, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    At the liars convention, Mittens will take first place. While he may go to mormon hell for lying, he will be baptized again, just like Hitler was, by the church of LDS. He has covered all the bases.

    June 11, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Marty

    Go Romney!

    June 11, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. V in Chicago

    @Four – In your dreams! President Obama WILL be re-elected and the world will see what Mitt Romney is really like. I can't wait for the first debate! Not even close. . . .

    Obama 2012!!

    June 11, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Romney is the clear choice of 65% of republicans. Most know he is a liar, and even running unopposed in South Dakota, he got 65% of the primary vote. The moment Mittens tries to explain his failed leadership in MA, he will be dumped.

    June 11, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Plutocrats for Romney. After all, a privileged elitist says it all about the GOP and their desire to ruin America..

    June 11, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    it really doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that there are still people in the GOP that either don't trust Mitt Romney or even LIKE him for that matter. Case in point just here at the GOP convention in Texas Romney's name was BOOED when mentioned by many of the Republicans there when Kay Bailey and Rick Perry said it. Nope no Democrats there only Republicans. And people like Newt and Santorum can only put on that fake we like Mitt face for so long.

    June 11, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. dave

    ugh. how could anybody vote for any of those three

    June 11, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    They're writing what they hope to be the "Best selling Book" about how nasty Romney treated them during campaigning and in it will be the reason why they didn't hit the campaign trail with him. After all what else could they write in a book, nothing.

    June 11, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Larry, Curly and Moe grow up finger-poking, nyuk-nyuking and woo-woo-wooing their way to uncharted levels of knuckleheaded misadventure. ...while also stumbling into starring in a phenomenally successful TV reality show !

    June 11, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. anoel2005

    This election is about Obama.

    I don't know anyone who is willing to vote for FAILURE TWICE.

    Obama is toast.

    June 11, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Since Mittens has surrounded himself with all the Bushies from "W"'s failed presidency, the question is, "Do you support the Bush doctrine?" In what way? As a mannequin, Mittens is not as agile for dodging shoes, and may take a direct hit on his $800 haircut.

    June 11, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. Drew

    What in the world makes anyone think that Mitt Romney will do better or even as well as President Obama? You are all mad if you think President Romney will be anything more than a bill signing heel-dog for the Republican power brokers.

    June 11, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Pete

    Romney,stuck up to his neck in quicksand,Santorum says heres a cinderblock,its the least I can do for a frieeeennd,right buddy!!Oops,sorry Romneys gone,he went fast ,he didn't suffer much,screamed like a baby with a bad rash,but that's all!Can the Mormon leper overcome his own political buddies,this story line could make us millions,maybe a movie,Clooney as Romney,nah!!Too intelligent looking,too honest also,he'd crack lying like Romney,never lied like that before,almost broke him moral wise...Nobody wants the rich boy,except for haircuts,he's arrogent,delushional,doesn't take advise,only gives it,his idol is that other moron Trump,he's ignorent except when he lies,there's no ignorence in spining lies,is there??Maybe Gingrich,Santorum,Bachmann,Cain,Paul and maybe Perry can come over and have steaks in his lavish mansion,where he'll show you how he relates to people,butlers,maids,cooks ,waiters and all his help,I hope they're legal this time,his lawn crew wasn't,he enjoyed firing them I bet!!His unifying everyone is really nice,but who's his minions,yah know,the ones who do everything for nothing without giving any thought to anything,those minions,republicans will let us know,the suspense is really killing us,NOT!!!!

    June 11, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  18. Grilla

    Romney has a lot of work to do to fix the destruction caused by Bush and Obama in the last 8 years. I expect a complete restructuring of leadership in all areas of the executive branch. The wasteful and sloppy handling of taxpayers' money under Bush and Obama has been a complete disaster. Fiscal discipline leadership comes from the top. Romney can do it. He will bring in qualified managers to get the job done.

    June 11, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. GonzoinHouston

    There have been no unity events because there is no unity! If Romney somehow wins, Santorum has to wait until 2020 to run again, so he isn't getting too close to Romney. Gingrich is just cozying up because he needs the money to settle his campaign debts. Ron Paul is still actively opposed to Romney. The convention is going to be wild. Romney will get the nomination, of course, but beyond that it's going to be crazier than the '68 Democratic convention in Chicago. No matter who gets the VP slot there's going to be trouble. This is going to be a year to remember, folks!

    June 11, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. scott

    Obama is really shaking in his boots. He knows with the country in economic collapse, sky high unemployment, deep division in the Democrat party. It will take Romney and the GOP to bail out this country. Obama and the Demo-craps have spent 4 years destroying this country. Romney 2012 now that is change we can believe in.

    June 11, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. Bootstomper

    Mitt Romney running for president since 1965. No unity no love. Obama Biden 2012!

    June 11, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. Flashbackjack

    2010? Wisconsin? November. Mr. Obama is out, Mr. Romney wins!! Go Mitt!

    June 11, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. Luke,AZ

    They don't like Gov. Robme plain and simple. There is no passion for a guy who is part of the 1%. It's sad that this is the best the Republican party can manage to come up with. How can you support a guy who has an elevator for his car in his home and who bullied kids that were different from him.

    June 11, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  24. Rupert Murdoch = Josef Goebbels

    Can't say I blame anyone for not wanting to hang out with Mitt "Mr. Fun" RobbedMe. He'd always be looking down on your "inherent inferiority."

    June 11, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  25. Spike2014

    Funny how the comments from the left are always vile. Some comments from the right are the same. I voted for Obama last election and I won't do so again. I'll bet there are a lot of us out there–independents for anyone other than who we have now...

    June 11, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
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