Political Animal


January 04, 2012 2:30 PM An endorsement McCain didn’t want to make

By Steve Benen

As had been expected, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) threw his support to Mitt Romney at a campaign event in New Hampshire today, the latest evidence that the Republican establishment is rallying behind the frontrunner.

It’s worth keeping in mind, though, one minor detail: John McCain appears to loathe Mitt Romney. The senator has never liked Romney, and in the 2008 race, could barely contain his contempt for Romney.

It fact, it was exactly four years ago tomorrow that McCain was so disgusted with Romney during a debate, Josh Marshall described it at the time as Romney “being slapped around up there like the dorky kid in the High School locker room.”

Check out this video from early January 2008.

I realize party loyalty probably forced McCain’s hand on this, but it couldn’t have been easy for him to endorse someone he doesn’t like or respect.

Incidentally, the most recent high-profile support Romney has picked up has come from John McCain, Bob Dole, and George H.W. Bush. I have a hunch the Republican base won’t be terribly impressed by the line-up.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • Hedda Peraz on January 04, 2012 2:35 PM:

    You forgot the Reagan endorsement.

  • g on January 04, 2012 2:36 PM:

    Mit touts his record as a job-creator:

    47 jobs lost

    Romney thanked his volunteers for helping carry the leaner campaign he ran in Iowa this time. “When I ran four years ago we had 52 members of our full-time staff. This year we had five,” he said.

  • c u n d gulag on January 04, 2012 2:37 PM:

    "John McCain, Bob Dole, and George H.W. Bush."

    The Republican "Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod."

    Though who's who, is hard to tell.

    That, right there, is a whole lot of FAIL!

  • sue on January 04, 2012 2:41 PM:

    omg, it's the viagra caucus!

  • stormskies on January 04, 2012 2:42 PM:

    soulless buffoons all .......... nothing more than cheap whores with rancid perfume ..

  • c u n d gulag on January 04, 2012 2:43 PM:

    Viagra can only do so much.

    It can't raise the dead!

  • Molly Weasley on January 04, 2012 2:44 PM:

    McCain just wanted an excuse to trash President Obama some more. If you looked up "sore loser" in the dictionary, there would be a picture of John McCain there.

  • T2 on January 04, 2012 2:46 PM:

    politics makes strange bedfellows. As much as McGrouch hates Romney, pretty much every one else in DC hates McCain. As a matter of fact, between the two of them they'd give Gingrich a run for his money as the most despised GOPers in Washington. But I'm sure McOld holds a huge grudge against Obama for beating him like a drum. Note to Mitt Romney - remember what happened to McCain when he picked a crazy lady to be his running mate......steer far clear of Michele B.

  • Perspecticus on January 04, 2012 2:47 PM:

    "John McCain appears to loathe Mitt Romney. The senator has never liked Romney, and in the 2008 race, could barely contain his contempt for Romney."

    The funny thing is, John McCain surrendered whatever principles he supposedly held, so an endorsement of someone he may loathe is not all that surprising.

    What I am left to ponder is, why did John McCain endorse anyone at all, and to whom does a John McCain endorsement matter?

  • pea on January 04, 2012 3:12 PM:

    T2, you bring up a good point. He probably will follow McCain's lead in one thing and I'd like to know which ultraconservatives Romney is now courting as VP material... (let me count the ways this makes my head hurt)

    By the way, Captcha says it's topological ermsolut. Topology in math addresses properties that are preserved under continuous deformations of objects -- hmm, guess Captcha is smarter than we thought and has Repuglican politics all figured out.

  • worcestergirl on January 04, 2012 3:16 PM:

    After W's team wiped the floor with McCain in South Carolina (remember the push polling that McCain fathered a black kid?), McCain found his inner "maverick". That was when he derided the religious nuts as "intolerant" and later opposed a few pieces of legislation.

    He later reclaimed his Republican religion in Pastor Hagee, a real nut that is pining for Jesus to come back and kill all of the non-repentent Jews.

    So no, McCain's endorsement is worth nothing.

    The big question: Has Limbaugh recanted any of his anti-Romney message to his fans? Limbaugh, not originally a McCain fan, nevertheless came around to supporting him. Will he jump on Romney's bandwagon?

  • Bj smith on January 04, 2012 3:17 PM:

    I agree Perspecticus, the republican party is so screwed up, Rove spoke & he jumped. they have a serious problem with corporate guy, seems way too many are not just saying, sure, how high? It is very early on, but that doesn't bode well.

  • Kathryn on January 04, 2012 3:26 PM:

    I don't know if sore loser captures McCain's hatred of Obama, he is overcome with rage and the last three years have not dimmed his anger; if anything, it burns brighter, it's eating the old bastard up. I bet every time the President speaks graciously of him, his blood pressure spikes. Pres. Obama is always gracious, it's a bitter pill for Johnny, ha, ha, ha as Mitt Romney might fake chortle.

  • low-tech cyclist on January 04, 2012 3:29 PM:

    I wonder who twisted McCain's arm into endorsing Romney, and how?

    I wonder if the same 'who' was behind Perry's decision to fight on in South Carolina when he had been about to throw in the towel?

    Just seems awfully suspicious. Perry must know he can't win; the only purpose he'll serve in SC is to divide up the anti-Romney vote more ways, thereby handing the primary to Romney. Kinda like what Fred Thompson did for McCain (and to Huckabee) back in 2008.

  • demtom on January 04, 2012 3:58 PM:

    Two things:

    1) McCain is not alone in hating Romney. My recollection is none of the other '08 primary contenders could stand him, either. And obviously Gingrich despises him now. The Romney style of campaigning seems to involve particularly dick-ish behavior -- something to remember if he needs to get former opponents to rally around and push him over the top.

    2) Doesn't this seem an especially inopportune time for a McCain endorsement? If I'm a right-wing GOP primary voter, I might be reminded that I let a candidate win the nomination four years ago by winning split-vote primaries while I and my friends failed to unite behind a single opposition candidate. It might inspire me to say Santorum or Bust right now, rather than linger with Perry or Gingrich -- which would be the opposite of what Romney wants right now.

  • Danp on January 04, 2012 4:02 PM:

    Like Newt Gingrich, McCain has no problem endorsing a bald-faced liar. Of course we already knew that about Bush and Dole.

  • Jilli on January 04, 2012 4:10 PM:

    McCain lost any credibility when he selected Palin as his running mate. He also lost any respect he had earned when he returned to the senate after the last presidential campaign and acted like a petulant 12 year old.

    His endorsement means nothing.

  • locoparentis on January 04, 2012 4:11 PM:

    "John McCain appears to loathe Mitt Romney. The senator has never liked Romney, and in the 2008 race, could barely contain his contempt for Romney."

    Gov. Romney endorsed Sen. McCain after it was clear that McCain was going to win the nomination in 2008. This is just typical party loyalty, nothing else, from the neocon faction of the party.

  • booch221 on January 04, 2012 4:35 PM:

    Why is McCain doing this? Mr. "Maverick" doesn't owe anything to the Republican Establishment. Is he looking to run for Senate aging in 2016? I hope not. Grow a pair, Johnny!

  • CyraNose59 on January 04, 2012 6:44 PM:

    He hugged W after the smear attacks in South Carolina so he already knows the bitter taste of shame. No surprise here from McCranky.

  • treetop on January 05, 2012 2:29 PM:

    "Incidentally, the most recent high-profile support Romney has picked up has come from John McCain, Bob Dole, and George H.W. Bush."

    Too bad Ford is dead. Otherwise, Romney could get the endorsement of every losing Republican candidate since 1968!