I really hate to say this because I’m a big Marco Rubio fan, but Marco is being really dishonest in his defense of Mitt Romney.
We’re late to this, but Sen. Marco Rubio, the favorite of the GOP base who defeated Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist in a race for a Florida Senate seat last year, gave Mitt Romney cover on Newt Gingrich’s attack yoking Crist and Romney together, via POLITICO’s Reid Epstein:
“Mitt Romney is no Charlie Crist. Romney is a conservative. and he was one of the first national Republican leaders to endorse me. He came to Florida, campaigned hard for me, and made a real difference in my race.”
Back in May of 2009, I got together with Erick Erickson, Stacy McCain, and other bloggers to support Marco Rubio and went after the National Republican Senatorial Committee for endorsing Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio.
Florida Senate Endorsement
Causes GOP Grassroots Rebellion
WASHINGTON, DC, May 21 – Conservative activists are sparking an online grassroots uprising in response to the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s decision to endorse Charlie Crist in the 2010 Florida Senate race 15 months before the GOP primary for the seat currently held by Republican Sen. Mel Martinez.
Erick Erickson, CEO of the popular RedState.com site, invited fellow conservatives to join a Facebook group vowing “Not One Penny to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.” RightWingNews.com founder John Hawkins called for Texas Sen. John Cornyn to resign as chairman of the NRSC. A “Not One Red Cent” blog chronicling the online grassroots protest attracted thousands of readers in its first four days.
Hawkins says the NRSC made a strategic blunder by backing Crist over former Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio, a GOP conservative who is also seeking the Senate seat in 2010.
“The leadership of the Republican Party keeps saying we need to get back to our principles and talking about how important it is to attract more young voters and Hispanic Americans,” Hawkins said. “Then, we get a viable, young, conservative, Hispanic candidate running for Senate and they arrogantly try to shove him aside to make way for a better connected, moderate pol who’s more acceptable to the GOP establishment. This cuts to the core of what’s wrong with today’s Republican Party.”
Back then, when Charlie Crist had what looked like an overwhelming lead and the support of the GOP establishment, guys like Mitt Romney were absolutely nowhere to be found.
APRIL 12, 2010
Poll: Marco Rubio 57%, Charlie Crist 28%
Rasmussen Reports robo poll has Marco Rubio beating Charlie Crist for the GOP Senate nomination, 57 percent to 28 percent: The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely GOP Primary voters in the Sunshine State shows former state House Speaker Marco Rubio edging up a point from last month to 57%, his highest level of support to date. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate in the race, and 12% are undecided.
So Mitt backed Marco Rubio when he was more than doubling Crist’s support and there were already rumors that Crist was going to go independent because he had no chance to win the primary. Is that the sort of “conservative” leadership we could expect from Mitt Romney in the White House? Being willing to step up to the plate to back conservatives as long as they have a 2-to-1 advantage at the polls?