Sen. Rand Paul Endorses Mitt Romney
If there were any doubts that Ron Paul’s Presidential Campaign was over, this should seal the deal:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, throwing his weight behind the presumptive GOP nominee even as his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), has yet to fully terminate his White House bid.
Rand Paul made the move in an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”
“Well, you know, my first choice had always been my father. … He is still my first pick,” Paul said, according to a rush transcript of the appearance. “But now that the nominating process is over, tonight, I am happy to announce I am supporting Governor Romney.”
In a statement, Romney said that he was “honored” to receive the endorsement of Paul, a freshman lawmaker and founding member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus who is believed to be mulling his own future bid for national office.
“Senator Paul has been a leading voice in the effort to scale back the size and reach of government and promote liberty,” Romney said. “Over the past three and half years, President Obama has made government more and more of a presence in our lives, and Americans can’t afford four more years of the same failed policies. As president, I will reform the federal government and make it smaller, simpler, and smarter.”
The endorsement lends Romney further tea-party backing as he solidifies his support among the GOP faithful.
And it comes as Paul’s father technically remains a candidate in the White House race, although Romney has already clinched the 1,144 delegates necessary to win the nomination
Of course, as I noted yesterday, Paul himself has essentially told his supporters that the race is over and they need to accept the fact that Romney will be the nominee of the Republican Party. The fact that the Senator, who has been much more of a party player than his father (which kind of a requirement when you’re a Senator, actually), endorsed Romney is simply another reflection of that reality. Anyone expecting that he’d repeat his father’s move from four years ago and endorse third-party candidate(s) hasn’t really been paying attention. Of course, that doesn’t mean the move isn’t likely to annoy some of Paul’s more vociferous supporters. In fact, this comment thread over on one of the more active pro-Paul sites is a fairly good indication of what their sentiment is like this morning.
There’s been some speculation that Paul was on Romney’s VP list, and this announcement may fuel some more of that speculation. I don’t believe it. Ideological differences aside, a Paul pick would be completely out of character for Romney. The former Governor is not going to go for a McCain-like desperation move and pick someone just to “shake things up,” for one thing. For another, Rand Paul has less actual political experience than Sarah Palin did in 2008. He’s been in the Senate since January 2011, and that is the full extent of his political experience. Romney is going to go for experienced and non-controversial, and that’s not Rand Paul.
Here’s the video of Paul’s announcement: