In a potential sign of things to come, Mitt Romney has endorsed Christine O'Donnell. The release from his PAC below.
Here's what we wrote in First Thoughts on this for context:
One thing is certainly clear, however: This temporary evolution within the Republican Party will end up pushing the 2012 GOP presidential field more to the right. Next year, we won't see a John McCain (supporting comprehensive immigration reform), Rudy Giuliani (supporting abortion rights), or a Mitt Romney circa '06 (supporting a health-insurance mandate). As Pat Buchanan asked on "Morning Joe," if they want to lead this party in 2012, don't the Romneys and Pawlentys and Barbours need to embrace O'Donnell and campaign for her this fall? Buchanan made this point: In '64, Nelson Rockefeller refused to wear a Goldwater button, while Richard Nixon campaigned for him in 40 states. One became president, the other got kicked off the GOP national ticket. Bottom line: Does the Tea Party/DeMint crowd punish any presidential wannabe in '12 who doesn't help O'Donnell meaningfully? Does this become like the '06 Lamont-Lieberman litmus test.
Here's the release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2010
Mitt Romney endorses Christine O'Donnell for U.S. Senate
Today, Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC endorsed Christine O'Donnell, who is running to serve the people of Delaware in the U.S. Senate (www.christine2010.com <http://www.christine2010.com/>). It also is sending her campaign a maximum $5,000 contribution.
"Now is the time for Republicans to rally behind their nominee, Christine O'Donnell. She ran an impressive campaign. I believe it is important we support her so we can win back the U.S. Senate this fall," said Romney.
This endorsement is another in a series of state rollouts of the PAC's 2010 endorsements, which are aimed at electing conservative candidates who will work to lower taxes and spending, restore commonsense principles to healthcare and get our economy moving again. As part of this program, Romney's PAC also has announced endorsements in Ohio, Missouri, California, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Nevada, Illinois, Georgia, Texas, Indiana, Idaho, New Mexico, Virginia, Florida, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, Maine, South Dakota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Wyoming, Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Montana, and Nebraska.
Free and Strong America PAC:
Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC (www.FreeStrongAmerica.com <http://www.freestrongamerica.com/>) supports officeholders and candidates who are dedicated to advancing social, fiscal and foreign policies that will strengthen America at this critical time in the nation's history. The guiding focus is on the core principles that have built and nurtured America since its founding - uncompromised military strength, a belief in the power of free markets and that a competitive America is one where taxes are low and government is small, an emphasis on strong families and a federalist approach to government that leaves decision-making as close to the people as possible.