Rubio endorses Mitt Romney, says he has ‘earned this nomination’by George Bennett | March 28th, 2012
“I am going to endorse Mitt Romney and the reason why is not only because he is going to be the Republican nominee but he offers at this point, such a stark contrast to the President’s record,” Rubio told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Romney, who has struggled to seal the deal with many GOP conservatives, called the endorsement from one of the party’s brightest conservative stars “a major milestone” for his campaign.
Rubio told Hannity that Romney’s Republican rivals “have a lot to be proud of.” But he said scenarios spun by Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich for winning the nomination at the August GOP convention in Tampa are “a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama.”
Said Rubio: “Look at the President’s record. This is someone who has run the country, not very well over the last 3 years, that has no experience beyond that doing that. At the same time, as he has no experience with the private sector or the free enterprise system. In Mitt Romney, we have a candidate, an alternative, that in addition to being successful as a governor, running an important state in this country, has also been successful in the private sector and offers a very clear alternative to the direction this president is going to take our country.”
He added: “I think all the candidates in this race have a lot to be proud of. They have offered a lot to the debate. But I just can’t buy into this idea that by their own admission, they are saying the only way they can win this race is by having a floor fight in Tampa in August. I think that’s a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama and our country – forget about the Republican Party – our country cannot afford that. We have got to come together behind who I think has earned this nomination and that’s Mitt Romney.”
Rubio came to Romney’s aid in Florida in January.
Gingrich, at the time Romney’s leading rival, boasted in St. Petersburg that he had hired former Rubio campaign manager Jose Mallea while Romney had “apparently hired the Charlie Crist team. I think that’s very appropriate because I think they would be very comfortable ideologically.”
Rubio said the comparison to arch-moderate Crist was out of bounds.
“Mitt Romney is no Charlie Crist. Romney is a conservative,” Rubio said in January. He also blasted a Spanish-language Gingrich radio ad that called Romney “anti-immigrant.” Gingrich pulled the ad.
Romney tonight issued a statement praising Rubio.
“Marco Rubio is living proof that the American Dream is still very much alive,” said Romney. “From humble origins, he has risen to become one of the brightest lights in our political party. He has been a leading voice in the U.S. Senate and the country for the cause of restoring American greatness. He knows that the way forward is to end excessive regulations, shrink government, and get our economy growing. He understands that the way to strengthen our communities is to strengthen our families. He recognizes the dangers that will face America if we fail to maintain our military power. He understands how critical it is to bring new leadership to the White House. Senator Rubio’s endorsement is a major milestone in my effort to make Barack Obama a one-term president. Ann joins me in thanking him for the confidence he is placing in my leadership and for the great honor he has done me today.”