Guess who’s been hanging in D.C.? With a satisfying win in Illinois under his belt, GOP nomination frontrunner Mitt Romney has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill. Seeing little reason to go campaigning in Louisiana, where is is expected to be soundly trounced by former Senator Rick Santorum, Romney is trying to woo conservative leaders and see if he can line up more endorsements.
First up, Tea Party Senatorial spokesman Senator Jim DeMint. The South Carolina Republican isn’t willing to give an official backing yet, but he does seem to be warming up to a Romney run. “I can tell conservatives from my perspective is that, I’m not only comfortable with Romney, I’m excited about the possibility of him possibly being our nominee,” said DeMint.
So should everyone else drop out? Well, DeMint’s not ready to go quite that far yet. “[I]t’s going to be their decision when they can do more good by getting out than getting in. And I don’t know when that is. They have to decide. And no one should be able to tell them they have to get out…But I just hope that at some point they’ll realize whether they can win or not and if they can’t, the best thing they can do probably is help the one that’s going to win.”
But he will definitely push a little. “We all need to look at this presidential primary and encourage the candidates to do a little self-reflection here on what’s good for our country. The sooner we can make a decision, the sooner we can focus on the real problem, which is Obama.”
Although kissing DeMint’s ring was no doubt high on Romney’s list of priorities, meeting with House Republicans was important, too. While trying to win over supporters, Romney talked budget, and football. “As attendees sipped coffee, Romney didn’t directly ask for anyone’s endorsement. Each Republican in attendance spoke about themselves and their district. With Budget Chairman Paul Ryan in attendance, Romney congratulated the group for passing the budget out of committee. ‘It was great,’ Ryan told POLITICO. ‘We talked about the Packers, we talked about the Lions.’”
But it wasn’t just schmoozing — there was some big time fundraising going on, as well. “Romney began his day in the capitol with a standing-room-only breakfast, raising about $400,000 and hobnobbing with the largest group of lawmakers he’s drawn yet to a fundraiser event. The breakfast, which some of his congressional supporters helped raise cash for, included his Capitol Hill liaison, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), as well as Republican Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and Rob Portman of Ohio and senior House Republicans, such as Fred Upton and Dave Camp of Michigan, who are committee chairmen.”
No wonder he’s outpaced his rivals so badly in fundraising. He’s not just king of the hill, he’s the belle of the ball now, too.
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