"Mitt Romney had already sent out invitations for his Phoenix fund-raiser, offering supporters the chance to meet him in a Chase Field luxury box over a $300-per-person lunch or a $3,000 VIP reception. But when former rival John McCain called with an offer to be listed as host for the event in his hometown, Romney happily went back to the printer for a new invitation with McCain's name emblazoned on it," The Boston Globe writes. "Yesterday, McCain's gesture helped Romney's political action committee raise about $80,000. It also consummated an 18-month rapprochement between two competitors who battled for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. Acrimony has been replaced by a professional friendship, the latest success in Romney's methodical campaign to win over past skeptics as he prepares for another presidential run in 2012. McCain did not attend the fund-raiser - he was in Washington - and he has not endorsed Romney or anyone else to be the next Republican nominee. But the imprimatur of the party's standard-bearer on Romney's nonstop fund-raising machine suggests that the former Massachusetts governor may be a stronger political force than he was when he ended his campaign last February, elevated by his party's disarray and a national agenda that matches his business resume."
The Globe points out: "During their primary campaign, McCain did not describe Romney in such favorable terms. He complained that debating Mitt Romney was like 'wrestling with a pig,' though that did not keep him from enjoying the tussle with an opponent he saw as opportunistic and insincere." But, then again, that hasn't stopped Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from reconciling.
Meanwhile, Politico takes a look at what Tim Pawlenty is doing to prep a 2012 run. He "has been quietly assembling the blueprint of a presidential campaign and will announce Thursday the support of a group of high-level political strategists and donors, complemented by a handful of top new media consultants." More: "The moves underscore, and will lend credence to, the emerging belief among many establishment Republicans that Pawlenty is becoming the sole viable alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a potential Republican primary rival. The Minnesota governor has even gone so far as to contact some of Romney's former supporters."