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Rep. King endorses Romney, er Fred

From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
And the endorsements keep coming... Congressman Steve King (R), one of Iowa's most strident critics of illegal immigration and a champion of the state's rural conservatives, has endorsed Romney.

With a mere 17 days until the Iowa caucuses, King's endorsement may resonate with conservatives in the western part of the state. King had fostered a close relationship with longshot candidate Tom Tancredo, who shares his strong anti-illegal immigration views. But speculation yesterday was that the much-revered (in some circles) congressman wanted to make a splash by endorsing one of the race's front-runners.

King's endorsement of Romney could serve to further the Massachusetts governor's case against Huckabee, whom Team Romney hopes to paint as weak on immigration.

*** UPDATE *** King just announced that he's supporting Thompson. Team Romney is in the back of the room looking bewildered. They were all here, leading all the press to conclude that it was an endorsement for Romney.

Stand by for more.

*** UPDATE II *** Thompson just issued this statement on King's endorsement: "Congressman King's leadership in support of the sanctity of life and his efforts in the fight against illegal immigration have made him one of Iowa's great Republican leaders. He's a tireless fighter for the 5th district of Iowa and I'm honored by his support. I look forward to working with Congressman King over the next three weeks and into 2008 in support of the traditional conservative values he and I share."