Huffpost Politics

Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann Alliance? Minnesota Congresswoman Denies Talk Of Endorsement [UPDATED]

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Fresh off a landslide victory in the Florida primary, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney flew to Minnesota Tuesday, rather than to the next two states on the primary schedule, Nevada and Maine.

Romney is scheduled to hold a "grassroots rally" at a trucking company in Eagan, Minnesota, on Wednesday, amid a Boston Globe report that his campaign has been in talks with Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) team about locking up an endorsement to build upon that of the state's former governor, Tim Pawlenty.

On Wednesday, however, Bachmann denied that she'd made up her mind about who to endorse.

"Let me be absolutely clear -- there are absolutely no negotiations between me and the Romney campaign regarding any pending endorsement of Gov. Romney. I continue to speak with all the candidates and plan on uniting behind the presumptive nominee. The Boston Globe article today is completely false and I call on the Globe to retract their article," she said in a statement.

"I don't have any plan to make an endorsement before February 7," she said earlier on Fox News, suggesting that that Minnesotans could vote in the primary on that date without her input.

Despite Bachmann's strong rejection of the report, it is true that Romney has made some moves in her direction over the past month, particularly with his decision to bring her former debate coach, Brett O'Donnell, on board. He's largely credited with guiding Romney to strong back-to-back debate performances in Florida, which undoubtedly helped him build, or at least maintain, his lead over Newt Gingrich.

As Politico points out, Bachmann's former campaign manager, Keith Nahigian, was also at Romney's campaign event in Florida on Tuesday night, though he was tight-lipped about any possibility of coordination between the candidates.

While Bachmann's support for Romney might seem out of place considering his broader association with the more-moderate elements of the GOP, in his initial reporting of the now-denied rumors, the Globe's Glen Johnson suggested that the Minnesota congresswoman's $1 million-plus campaign debt could be a factor in her deliberations.

Whatever Bachmann's endorsement plans, the backing of the Tea Party favorite would no doubt be a boon to Romney, who, according to exit polls on Tuesday, struggled to win over more-conservative Republicans in Florida. Furthermore, recent polling shows that Romney has an uphill climb to reach Gingrich in Minnesota, while his standing in the next two primary states of Nevada and Maine is expected to be significantly stronger.

Clarification: This article originally stated that Romney was "skipping" Nevada and Maine on Wednesday in favor of an appearance in Minnesota. We did not mean to imply that Romney was not competing in Nevada and Maine.

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