EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday made a joint campaign stop with Indiana Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock, where he painted himself and the tea party favorite as two peas in a pod headed to Washington to change it.
“He has proven as the treasurer that he knows how to make sure to balance the books,” Romney said of Mourdock, the state treasurer who knocked off six-term Republican Sen. Richard Lugar in the state’s primary last May. “He’s also proven as a campaigner that he can take his message to the people of Indiana, they’ll support him. This is a man that I want to see in Washington to make sure that we cannot just talk about changing things, but actually have the votes to get things changed.”
The joint appearance signals Romney’s intention to try to win over tea party voters, the faction that was most resistant to his candidacy during the primary campaign.
Mourdock emerged during the primary as a hardline tea party-backed conservative who is vocally opposed to legislating through compromise. After winning the primary in May, he told Fox News, “I have a mindset that says bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view.”
It’s a strong contrast to Romney, who has been preaching bipartisan cooperation in recent weeks. In an event in Golden, Co., earlier this week, he told a crowd, “We’ve got to have someone that goes to Washington that buries the hatchet and says, ‘You know what, there are good Democrats, there are good Republicans that care about America. Let’s work together to get the American people working, get some growth again.’”
Mourdock called Romney “the ultimate team player,” recalling how Romney immediately endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain after Romney ended his own presidential bid in 2008. “Politics is all about being a team. This is not a solo sport. And for that purpose alone, governor, thank you so much for coming here and supporting our candidacy today,” Mourdock told a crowd of about 100 people at Stepto’s BBQ Shack.
Romney also had a fundraiser in Evansville Saturday night, that Mourdock, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and former Vice President Dan Quayle were expected to attend.