October 11, 2011 in Nation/World

Republicans starting to pile on Romney

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington on Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

Christie to endorse Romney
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is endorsing Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination, Romney’s campaign said today.


Romney and Christie will hold an event today in New Hampshire ahead of the presidential debate set at Hanover, N.H., where Christie will announce his support, the campaign said.

Christie had been considering a presidential run in 2012. He decided last week not to mount a campaign.

Christie’s financial supporters had been waiting for him to decide before backing a different candidate. The New Jersey governor’s endorsement will send much of that cash to Romney. Romney also stands to benefit from the budget-cutting Christie’s ties to the tea party, a group of voters that Romney has struggled to win over.

Giuliani won’t run in 2012
Rudy Giuliani says he won’t be a candidate for president next year.


The Republican former New York mayor told a gathering of Long Island business executives today that it’s too late for him to join the field of candidates competing to challenge President Barack Obama.

Giuliani sought the GOP nomination in 2008 but dropped out early. One of his rivals that year was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the party’s frontrunner this time.

Giuliani says Romney appeals to the party’s head while Texas Gov. Rick Perry appeals to its heart. Giuliani says that Romney’s shifts on issues like abortion, gay marriage and universal health care will probably be a problem for him in the campaign.

Giuliani’s announcement was first reported by Politico.

HANOVER, N.H. — With eyes on Mitt Romney, his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination prepared for what could be one of their last chances to level a devastating blow to the former Massachusetts governor on his home turf.

Health care, the environment and immigration all were ripe targets for Romney’s rivals and they hinted they were primed to contrast their records with his ahead of this evening’s debate, which will be aired live at 5 p.m. PDT by Bloomberg TV. With time ticking down for them to derail Romney’s presidential campaign, the criticism was expected to take on a stronger tone.

“Gov. Romney personally insisted the government mandate requiring private citizens to buy health insurance be included in his Massachusetts government health care law,” said Mark Miner, a spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, seizing on conservatives’ disdain for Massachusetts’ mandate.

“It is becoming more and more clear that I am the only tried and true conservative running for president in 2012,” former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania told supporters ahead of the forum at Dartmouth College.

With the Republican presidential race moving closer to the first contests, scheduled around New Year’s Day, the candidates are turning to a scattershot effort to deny Romney the nomination by any means necessary. They are using his reversals on abortion and gay rights, his support for environmental policies and even his character.

His rivals hope that, when taken together, it could be enough to stop his second presidential bid. Romney has a comfortable lead in New Hampshire polling after virtually camping out in the state since his 2008 loss and building a strong statewide campaign network.

The debate was designed to be on the economy — voters’ top concern in a nation that recorded 9.1 percent unemployment last month — but there was scant chance Romney would be able to dodge questions about his record.

The criticism so far, though, has not thrown Romney off pace. Nothing, to this point, has started an exodus among his supporters. And time is running short for Romney’s rivals to make that happen.

While New Hampshire has yet to schedule its primary, it is likely to come before mid-January. That means there are fewer than 100 days for the newcomers to make inroads in New Hampshire, a state where Romney is well known, owns a vacation home and won a second-place finish in his 2008 presidential bid.

Looking to soften the criticism, Romney’s campaign announced that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was endorsing Romney. Christie, a conservative darling who had weighed a presidential bid of his own, was considered a top endorsement. Romney’s team hoped it would cement his standing and planned an afternoon photo opportunity with the two leaders.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, businessman Herman Cain, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were also set to join the debate.

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