04/19/2012 10:33 am ET Updated Apr 19, 2012

Eric Cantor: House Republicans Are Excited About Mitt Romney. No, Really.

WASHINGTON -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Thursday insisted that House Republicans are excited about Mitt Romney being their likely presidential nominee, despite the fact that several GOP lawmakers have openly said otherwise.

"I can tell you, our conference is excited about coalescing behind Mitt Romney as the candidate who is the standard bearer for economic freedom, entrepreneurialism and small business," Cantor said during a sit-down with Politico's Mike Allen for a "Playbook Breakfast" event.

Asked directly why so many House Republicans seem lukewarm about Romney, Cantor said, "I just don't think that's true." He blamed the press for "selecting the ones who may want to give you ... that narrative you want to portray."

"I think that we're now at a point where members in our conference are satisfied that Mitt Romney is going to be a terrific candidate for us and are now getting behind his candidacy and his policies," he said.

Cantor's optimism is a sharp contrast to the way some conservative lawmakers have described their level of excitement for Romney. During a Tuesday event at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, nearly half a dozen GOP lawmakers said their enthusiasm for the presidential race was for just about everything but Romney himself.

"We're excited about the opportunity to beat Barack Obama more than anything," Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said at the event.

"I'm not as excited as I am desperate," said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).