From early on in the campaign, one of the key advantages that Mitt Romney claimed in his march to the nomination was the portfolio of endorsements he received from Republican Party figures and leaders. And let's give credit where it's due -- many of Romney's endorsers were willing to sign their name on the dotted line while the nomination was still uncertain. Folks like Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christie, John Sununu, Kelly Ayotte, Nikki Haley, John McCain, Rick Snyder ... these folks stepped up and lent Romney their imprimatur at a time when Romney could really use the support.
Also, Donald Trump was there. And Christine O'Donnell, whose endorsement was actually warmly accepted by Romney, instead of leading to some mid-level campaign staffer telling her, "Hey, great, Christine, but ... you know, you don't have to go around telling people about that, just vote for us in November, 'kay?"
But despite these two aforementioned setbacks, Romney wended his way through the primary process, collecting timely support and key allies. And now that Rick Santorum has dropped out of the race, Romney's still picking up endorsements. But these are neither timely, nor are they key. These are, instead, the gutless endorsers who held out until the very last minute to join up with Mitt Romney. Bandwagon jumpers like Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey -- who now isn't going to have to take a chance ahead of the Pennsylvania primary and stick his neck out for Romney.
They all basically sound like this:
"I congratulate Rick Santorum on a hard-fought primary race/valiant fight/spirited effort. I congratulate Governor Romney on his hard-fought race also. It's time for Republicans to focus their energies on/coalesce behind/come together and focus on/come together and rally around Governor Romney, because he is exactly the kind of leader America needs, I suddenly realized just a few minutes ago, when I learned that he would be the nominee anyway, so, that's that then. Can I go now? Do you validate parking? No? Okay, just thought I'd check."
Sure, these people all sort of speak the same language of some of Romney's recent endorsers, like President H.W. Bush, his son Jeb, Jeb's BFF Sen. Marco Rubio, and the like. But at least those fellows made their preference clear at a time when Santorum was still a dimly-lit Romney alternative. Now, we just have joiners.
And we still have several notable people still hemming and hawing. Jim DeMint, Haley Barbour and Rudy Giuliani have yet to offer an endorsement. What are they waiting for, exactly? And what's the deal with Lindsay Graham? Yesterday, he released a statement that read much the same as the other post-Santorum endorsers, saying, "Now is the time to get behind Mitt Romney as our presidential nominee so that every corner of the Republican Party is united." Simple enough, right? Well, apparently not.
According to Graham spokesman Scott Farmer, though, this was not an official endorsement, but a continuation of what Graham has said about Romney in the past, saying he's "singing off the page he's been singing off of for several weeks now. Romney's going to be the nominee."
Oh, great! Definitely make it clear that you are merely acknowledging the current conditions. You don't want to risk anyone thinking that you enjoy them, though!
At any rate, not all presidential endorsers are created equal. And we'll help those that offered Romney their help when it mattered take credit, by keeping an eye on all of those who couldn't be bothered until nothing was at stake, right here.
"Congratulations to Governor Romney on winning a hard fought race, I look forward to supporting him in retiring President Obama. "It's time for all Republicans to focus their energies on the fall campaign which will give Americans a fundamental choice between Obama's lurch toward European style big government and the Republican alternative of a thriving private sector with a smaller government."
"With his extensive private sector experience, his knowledge of economic issues, and his gubernatorial track record, Governor Romney is exactly the kind of leader our country needs to solve our fiscal crisis and restore American prosperity. "I also congratulate Senator Santorum on a hard fought primary race. He put up a valiant fight and deserves to be commended for his spirited effort."
"There is no question that Rick Santorum ran a hard fought campaign. I commend his passion and his willingness to put the best interest of our party and nation first. "Mitt Romney will be our party's nominee and it is critical that all Republicans coalesce behind Gov. Romney and focus on electing him as president so he can put the policies in place to create jobs, turn our economy around and get federal spending under control."
"No state more than ours needs a president who understands how jobs are created and believes in the power of American businesses. While America needs creativity and ingenuity in its leader, President Obama has failed to bring positive change to Washington and has left Nevada struggling to overcome the most difficult economy in decades. "It's time to change direction and it's time for Republicans to come together and focus on winning in November. Governor Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee and I stand ready to help him become our next president."
"More than ever, our nation needs a president with the conviction to stop excessive government spending, to rein in record levels of debt and to force Washington to treat taxpayers' dollars responsibly. Republicans and Americans of all political stripes must now come together and rally around Mitt Romney as the nominee who can defeat Barack Obama and put an end to short-sighted, excessive deficit spending."