Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was pressed Tuesday on the suspicion -- held by former Sen. Rick Santorum and various members of the political press corps -- that he and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) have made some sort of secret agreement to defend each other during the GOP campaign. In an interview with Fox Business Network that is set to air at 6:00 p.m, he formally denied the existence of a "quiet understanding" between himself and the congressman.
"No, of course not," he said, according to advance excerpts released by the news network. "No one is going to tell Ron Paul what to say. We like each other. We don't know each other extensively, but we get along just fine."
This won't quiet the rumors, so long as the two candidates continue to come to each other's defense during the debates or treat each other with kid gloves on the trail. But it is, at least, a formal denial.
Asked about another allegation -- that Romney will consider Paul's son Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) as his running mate in exchange for the elder Paul's support -- the Massachusetts Republican again downplayed the conspiracy theories.
"I haven't got any thoughts about a possible running mate at this point; it would be presumptuous and premature. I haven't got the nomination. I am hoping to get it, but I have a long way to go. I have no comment to make on Vice Presidential candidates."