Sen. John McCain’s expected endorsement of Mitt Romney may prove to be the kiss of death for conservatives who believe the former GOP nominee is a middle-of-the-road Republican and who fault his campaign leadership for Barack Obama’s 2008 win.
GOP presidential candidate Romney praised the prospect of a McCain endorsement. He told Fox News, “John McCain of course is beloved in many parts of the country, particularly New Hampshire. Some call him Mr. New Hampshire. So if, in fact, he makes an announcement today that would be big for me in a state he knows very, very well."
News website BuzzFeed first reported the possibility of a McCain endorsement. The news comes just after his win in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday night. He beat Rick Santorum by eight votes.
Romney endorsed McCain after he pulled out of the 2008 GOP nominee race. Members of McCain’s staff now reportedly work for Romney’s campaign. Many of McCain’s supporters on Capitol Hill have also endorsed Romney over the other seven contenders for 2012 nomination.
Politico later confirmed it with a “top Republican source.”
However, the Arizona senator’s commendation may not be a big positive for conservatives.
Moderate Voice writer Tony Campbell wrote in his column, “McCain’s endorsement does not help Romney win over conservatives. In fact, it may solidify their uneasiness with Romney.”
Much like Romney, Campell said conservatives also question McCain’s conservatism.
McCain recently enraged Tea Party Republicans when he ridiculed Tea Party-backed lawmakers as possessing “crack political thinking” during debt limit discussions. He also criticized Republicans for demanding a vote on a balanced budget amendment before voting to raise the debt limit.
Conservatives also blame McCain’s leadership for the failed 2008 general election.
Michael Reagan, political consultant and son of President Ronald Reagan, denounced McCain’s campaign following the 2008 election as the “worst campaign since Bob Dole’s.” He faulted McCain for not going after Obama and the Democrats on the economy.
“John McCain wouldn’t stand up against the Democrats in Washington D.C. on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac scandals, against expanding government, a $700 billion bailout, and going against the traditional values of conservative Republicans,” he lamented in commentary for The Cagle Post.
Subsequently, Gallup polls conducted a week prior to the 2008 election showed then-Illinois Sen. Obama had 51 percent strong voter support leading up to election day while McCain had 39 percent.
Still, McCain’s endorsement would add to Romney’s impressive list of 61 congressional endorsements as well his list of heavy weight surrogates. High-profile Romney surrogates include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.