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Mitt Romney campaigns with Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock in Indiana

Charles Dharapak / AP

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at Stepto's Bar-B-Q Shack in Evansville, Ind. on Saturday.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Mitt Romney stumped with Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock on Saturday at a barbecue shack here, seeking to link himself with the popular conservative who unseated a longtime Washington incumbent earlier this year.

“We gotta get this guy elected to the U.S. Senate,” Romney began his speech at Stepto’s Bar-B-Q Shack, a small restaurant off the main highway in Evansville.

As he praised Mourdock, the state treasurer who defeated six-term senator Dick Lugar in the state’s May Republican primary, he seemed to try to affiliate himself with the Tea Party principles Mourdock played up, like a balanced budget.

“You can’t keep spending massively more than you take in,” Romney said as he explained his five key principles for economic recovery. As the crowd drowned him out in applause, he continued, “A treasurer knows that. A governor knows that.”

“There’s only one place in America that doesn’t seem to understand that you can’t keep spending massively more than you take in every year, and that’s Washington. And one reason we’re both going there is to change Washington,” he said.

While this event was billed as a Mourdock campaign event, Romney spent just as much time slamming President Barack Obama, criticizing him for breaking his promise to keep unemployment under 8 percent.

But Mourdock took the spotlight back at the end of the event, criticizing his Democratic Senate opponent, Joe Donnelly, as Romney worked the dining room shaking hands.

“While the governor’s doing that, I have to share with all of you a thought I had coming in today, how proud I am to stand next to the president of the United States, Mitt Romney. And it’s funny, my opponent, Joe Donnelly, doesn’t want to be seen with their candidate, isn’t that amazing?”

Immediately after his short remarks, Romney headed to a fundraiser at the home of local entrepreneur Steven Chancellor, the CEO of the American Patriot Group, the parent company of several subsidiaries.