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BLITZER’S BLOG: Backing former opponents – in politics, it happens all the time
January 16th, 2012
03:04 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Backing former opponents – in politics, it happens all the time

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

(CNN) - Jon Huntsman is now a former Republican presidential candidate. And, like former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty who dropped out after a poor showing in the Iowa straw poll last summer, Huntsman is endorsing Mitt Romney.

Never mind that Huntsman said some negative things about Romney during his unsuccessful campaign. Pawlenty had coined the phrase “Obamney care” when trying to link Romney’s Massachusetts health care law to President Barack Obama’s health care law. But Pawlenty quickly forgot about that and supported Romney on the campaign trail.

Now, Huntsman will do the same.

This happens in primaries all the time. I’ve covered presidential politics long enough to know that that’s the way it is.

George H.W. Bush blasted Ronald Reagan’s “voodoo economics” only to endorse him later – and become his vice president.

Four years ago in the GOP primaries, Romney was critical of Arizona Sen. John McCain before dropping out and strongly endorsing him. Now, McCain is campaigning for Romney.

And don’t forget the bitter words that erupted four years ago between Obama and Hillary Clinton when they were fighting for the closely contested Democratic presidential nomination. As soon as Obama won, Clinton was on board. She’s now his secretary of state.

The Huntsman endorsement could be important in South Carolina if the primary Saturday is really close. If, for example, Newt Gingrich were to surge this week following the two GOP debates and close in on Romney, the Huntsman moderate Republican voters could help Romney go over the top.

Romney and Huntsman had divided up the so-called moderate Republican vote. Now, Romney has most of it alone.

The same is not true for the socially conservative, tea party vote. They now have Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Ron Paul to divide it up. And that is good news for Romney. He might be in trouble if he faced only one of them.

But Romney does have another advantage in South Carolina: He has Gov. Nikki Haley, a tea party favorite, on his side.

Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN

RELATED STORY: Huntsman drops out, backs Romney

SEE ALSO: CNN Poll: Huntsman departure a drop rather than splash

Post by:
Filed under: 2012 election • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Kim M Hunteer

    Dear Wolf: Do I detect a bit of favoritism here in your blogs? I watched your "Situation room" today and nary one word about Newt, the former Speaker of The House. And the same on the "John King" show. You should at least announce that you will not say one word about the next President of the United States. It is obvious you hate him and so does King. And all of your staff. Remember, your favorite candidate ~because you know the $240 million dollar man will lose since he is not a conservative at all. And CNN's game is to build up the Mitt so he will lose in the Fall. That is about it, do you not agree? But just what will CNN and you do when Newt wins in S. Carolina? Will you and CNN eat crow? Lots of it? Will you pass the gravey? And do not forget that Mitt BARELY won in Iowa. Eight votes! You have a short memory, Sir.

    January 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Lisbeth

      Huntsman got the endorsement of South Carolina's siggebt paper "The State", and I bet they are embarassed. What is interesting is in the actual endorsement itself, it only listed Romney and Huntsman as the 2 best candidates running, saying Huntsman is the better of the two. I guess that means they are switching their endorsement to Romney......wwoooohoooooooooo!!!!!I'm not surprised Huntsman is stepping down, I am surprised that he is endorsing Romney, given his jealousy of him. I guess God does soften the hearts of man.....GO MITT!!!

      March 5, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  2. TJeff1776

    According to LINDA below, Romney will destroy EVERYTHING in sight- gone are the fowls of the air, animals, airplanes, trees,etc etc etc.....even Newt Gingrich will disappear.....shame.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  3. ron

    I find it frustrating that the media continues to refer to Romney as a "moderate." He disavows the label of moderate and has deliberately moved farther right than even the other candidates on many of the issues.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  4. jrm03063

    What's the big deal? The entire Republican Party used to support the individual mandate for health insurance!

    January 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  5. DDanny1

    Romney hasn't had to endure the spotlight yet. When he does you can bet the skeletons will be bursting out of the closet.
    One that I'm sure the Dems are hanging onto is the Bain Capital startup of Staples. From the very start, the biggest selling point in Staples business plan was that they were going to be able to compete with office supply giant Office Depot because they were going to OUTSOURCE ALL THEIR PAPER PRODUCTION. Paper mills are HUGE polluters and a substantial portion of the production cost is getting rid of, or cleaning up the waste product. (Ever go near a paper mill? You would know it if you had. They stink worse than a landfill.) Staples figured by outsourcing the production of all of their paper sources they would not only save money on wages and benefits, but there is very little environmental regulations. Imagine that.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  6. OrangeW3dge

    I believe it is spelled BANE Capital and the news services simply got it wrong.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  7. markhh

    You can banter back and forth all you want, but the bottom line is that Obama will be re-elected. Mormonism is view as a cult by the vast majority of Christians, and many of these people will just sit this one out.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Kim M Hunteer

      And you are right sir. The media and the left pour more time on the Mitt than anyone else. They have already said that the Mitt has it made. After two primaries? Give me a break. Mitt hardly won in Iowa. Eight votes?? And yet CNN never says a word about that any more. Unless the Newt or someone else can win in S. Carolina, then we will be stuck with Obama for another four years. Can we bare it? I cannot. T. Jeff, I am with you. And if you think the last four years were way off, then imagine the next four years? No America left.

      January 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  8. Olaf Big

    I think we are watching the bith of a national consensus. Nobody likes Romney. The right don't trust him because he can build an intelligible sentence, and does not get froth at the mouth talking about his religion. The liberals don't want him to win the republican nomination, because he is the only candidate with a real chance to beat Obama.
    One thing is clear, republicans are in trouble. It is already clear that Romney will win the nomination barring any revelations about his ties to Fidel Castro, the repulbicans will unenthusiastically unite behind his candidacy, and he will sink in general elections because all the Obama campaign will have to do is play Gingrich's anti-Romney adds and constantly remind the voters that this is what republicans are saying about their own candidate.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  9. dscot

    Romney is certainly hands down the only credible Republican candidate. The problem is he is absollutely awful. His insincerity is so completely transparent, he is just painful to listen to. If the economy is even a little bit better come November, Obama will win in a crushing landslide simply because Romney has nothing to offer other than not being Obama.

    Hopefully the Republican party will reinvent itself so the next election will have some meaning. Romney should have been a mediocre or lower rung candidate among a group of top shelf contenders. Instead, he was a shining beacon of reason among a bizarre collection of misfits.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  10. Griff

    "I have no idea why there is all this panic. Obama cannot possibly get anywhere near the amount of young voters he got last time. It was all anti-Bush. Between Romney and Ron Paul they will reap a lanslide!"

    January 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  11. Drew

    Romney has my vote. Obama is a failed president and this year will be his worst ever. The economy will tank even further with Obama at the helm. Reminds me of the faited cruise liner that ran ashore. Omama's days are numbered.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  12. Ted , New Mexico

    All in the name of politics you can slam someone and yet in the next breath support what you so much disliked. Something that is hard to believe is that they have true conviction in what they say, they say what they must to get support not always what they believe.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  13. ahatfl

    It does appear the feeding frenzy is in full swing. Romney has the establishment money pushing him around in the early states. The backroom promises of the last presidential election are playing out, i.e. Romney supports McCain and then the reverse on a loss. Florida having a winner take all means no one but the party, powers that be, choice will ever win there. So the second tier candidates beat themselves up and waste funds running into the Florida wall. One experienced campaigner is sitting back and letting all this slide while he picks his fight. Senator Tom Davis, a prominent Tea Party Republican just endorsed Dr. Paul. As the anyone but Romney vote coalesces and fewer players remain, Congressman Paul will become a true player at the convention as he piles up tea-party support. The media and GOP better start now to recognize the struggle forming on the edge of this election.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Vince

      Ummm, Florida is no longer winner take all, and has 50% of its votes cut this year for having an early primary.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • collegeat39

      Well said, a educated politico you are. Much respect.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  14. Perk

    Great job and thank-you ! Loved his push for Term Limits ! Gotta fly and watch Ron Paul's speech at Myrtle Beach 1-15-2012 ! His supporters are fired up ! Wish Huntsman would head for the Ron Paul Campaign to support and he's got a lot to offer that makes sense for America.Not sure citizens are ready to trust politicians but hey,he made a start at it and seems to be a great person with lots of ideas. Good Luck with Romney ! Ron Paul For President ! Liberty..."It's Growing"....James Taylor to ya ! The ticket to ride is for Ron Paul ,not Romney !

    January 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • realitybites

      Ron Who?

      January 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Matt

      Huntsman said Paul was the only republican candidate he could not support in the next election.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  15. Linda

    Romney will destroy America – destroy the economy, the infrastructure, our planet, our children's health , – as long as he and his wealthy friends can afford all of their multitude of homes, travel, and can afford to do anything they like, is all he cares about. he cars about his kids, but not ours. He cares about his parents, but now ours. He cares about his money and homes, but not ours. I guess he thinks he can move his family off-planet when the earth is so sickened by fossil fuels that life can no longer exist here. And he calls himself a man of God? Please!

    January 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • David

      Hey Linda...guess what? You are supposed to care for your own children and parents. Don't expect others to do that for you. Don't hate Romney because he is rich. After all, all those homes & vacations cost money that is being spent on cleaning services, travel services, hotels, rental cars etc... He does more to stimulate the economy than you ever will. Romney's America is one where everyone has a chance to be rich. Perhaps you should study up a bit and figure out to get yours rather than waiting for someone or some government to give it to you.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • collegeat39

      I agree with your comment Linda. Romney is a vulture and his allegiance is to the money that made him and wealthy folk behind it.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  16. Revolution 2012

    RON PAUL for president 2012!!!
    ron paul 2012 com

    January 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • realitybites

      True, I hope he's not dumb enough to commit political suicide and pick some extreemist screeching harpy like McCain, though. Then again, I DO hope that. But IF he were to get into the whitehouse I wouid rather see moderate logical people on his staff. You know that's why Huntsman lost, too logical and middle of the road for the GOP. Neither will be too willing to cowtow to the Fundi's.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
      • jerry

        the democratic party is all but marxist...the GOP is now center left (Romney). So the question is: how are the centrist old dems going to vote? Last November was a hint. Obama is probably finished...billion dollars or not!

        January 16, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  17. Mike H.

    Biden bashed Obama during the primaries as well and became his VP. Huntsman trying to build goodwill and position himself for either a sweet spot on Romney's team (if Romney wins) or for a 2016 run should Romney lose to Obama.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  18. GD

    anyone but Obama...Pleeeeeaaaaaasssse!!!

    January 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Ted , New Mexico

      its easy to say but when the next pres gets in remember what was said since it will be the same old politics no matter who gets in.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
      • LeeAT

        At last, someone gets it.

        January 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
      • Juan Carlos de Burbon

        Anybody but Obama! This country is in the toilet because he was too worried about his personal agenda than the well-being of the American people. It's time for us to disregard Obama's privilege to be in the White House. Obama, destroyer of small business. Obama, destroyer of the middle class. Obama, destroyer of the economy.

        January 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  19. John Young

    You mean Jon Huntsman flip-flopped on Romney? How appropriate.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  20. DavidE7

    Wolf Blitzer said that Romney and Huntsman divided the "moderate" vote. But they did not divide the vote of those interested in intellect, character, and judgment. That all went to Huntsman and some of it will now go to Paul.

    January 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Matt

      um Paul is not a moderate but ok

      January 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
      • Andy K

        which is why he said "But they did not divide the vote of those interested in intellect, character, and judgment"

        Maybe next time read the post that you plan on criticizing, first

        January 17, 2012 at 6:19 am |
  21. Republican

    Gingrish, Santorom, Perry and Paul are too soft on Romney: Romney is a trained European Socialist who lived and studied in France and throughout Europe for 2 and a half years studying their culture, governance practices and laws. He came back and implemented the European medical plan and other social laws in Massachusetts, and now wants to apply it across the USA. Gingrish knows that, but all he can describe it as is by saying Romney is a moderate. By comparison then, I suppose that would make Gingrish and the other potential nomonees conservative Liberals.

    January 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  22. P.G

    So we're down to the Corporate Raider, Freddie Mac's historian, the crazy old guy, and a couple theocrats? I'll pass.

    January 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  23. Roy

    I guess these political crooks stick together.

    January 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Ted , New Mexico

      So true trying to get a different weave from the same cloth impossible they say what they thing we want to hear and they do what they want

      January 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
      • realitybites

        The same weave from large black vulture feathers. Birds of a Feather.

        January 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  24. Dreamer96

    There was a lot of capital put into that Solyndra plant...

    A real capitalist would see this as a test of the U.S. system against the Chinese government backed silicon companies, and our own oil and natural gas companies...

    T Boone Pickens and old oil man wants billions from the government and has a interesting plan, and if approved will make a lot of money with our tax dollars...

    Our oil companies buy a land or off shore oil lease and then own the oil they find...on our land or within our water it's our land and our water rights regions....We could pay a company to find that oil, refine it, and we would own the oil.....

    I don't know why we don't get back in the game with Solyndra and make it work...some call this propping up a failed business design/plan.....I just say we are working out the problems looking for the right solution...just like NASA did when we staked a goal to go to the moon...we made mistakes..and learned from them...

    We could make pure hydrogen from our wind and solar it for later use...pipe it, mix with the CO2 from our coal and natural gas power plants and make methane gas, natural gas is 90% methane gas....and we can grow oil make our own oil.. or we can listen to the big oil companies and wage wars and someday run out...

    January 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  25. GaryB

    I was actually a Huntsman supporter. Romney's current positions (I say current because they seem to change constantly) and track record are nothing like Huntsman's. If you supported Huntsman, there is really no reason to support Romney despite Huntsman's endorsement. Of course, if you're from that anyone but Obama camp, you'll supoport whoever the Republican party cranks out. But if that person is Romney, you have to ask if a guy whose main path to greater wealth (I say greater wealth beause Mitt was born pretty darn wealthy) has involoved layoffs and outsourcing is really the guy you want in the White House right now. Haven't we had enough of that nonsense?

    January 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  26. Terry

    You may be right Wolf in your article but, How can someone publiclly state his opponet is unelectable? and still support him...Its not about anymore now than just removing Obama Wolf

    January 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Ted , New Mexico

      Terry I think its always been about that no matter who is nominated, it could be the most unqualified person, the person will be supported and we the people will suffer as we see this is our political world right or wrong.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  27. RB

    Our government, who is supposed to represent the American people, has to help even the playing field by adding tariffs that are proportionate to the inequities in wages and regulations in the country where the goods were produced and or where we're importing them from. We could then use the money raised by these tariffs to help companies build state of the art manufacturing plants here in the USA, which would create more jobs here at home for US citizens, which would then in turn increase our income tax revenue. We also need to bring customer support services back to the United States of America and staff them with employees who are US Citizens. (All preferably, non-union)

    Most US Citizens are not as concerned about the “Global Economy" as they are about being able to earn a living, their children’s future and the future of our country.

    We may have to pay a bit more for products made here in the USA by US citizens, but at least we'll still have jobs and a future for our children.

    January 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  28. RB

    We need to bring manufacturing back to the United States of America and both parties are ignoring tariffs as a way to level the playing field, raise money and bring jobs back home. Let's guess why?

    Oh that's right, tariff is a dirty word.

    I guess we should keep letting Corp Boards, Wall Street and CEOs promote sending US jobs to countries where they work for slave wages, no benefits, no OSHA safety standards or no real environmental regulations. How's that been working for us? The so-called “Global Market Place” is not a level playing field. Companies may have made higher profits by doing this, but they've been putting middle class Americans who are a good part of the world’s customer base out of work. I’m not a lefty or member of any union. I run a business that employs over 20 people and produces products that are purchased by customers that do manufactur­ing and packaging. I’m just an average Joe, but I've been saying this for more than 10 years now. If I can see it, so can our so-called leaders (political leaders) who are beholden to the same people who are exporting our jobs.

    January 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  29. Wise1Speak

    "How much of an impact will Jon Huntsman's ending of his bid for the presidency make in the race for the GOP presidential nomination"?

    Absolutely no difference! Jon Huntsman was in the 2012 race as a dry-run for his 2016 campaign; and to also get name recognition prior to the 2016 elections.

    January 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  30. ron

    MAJOR strategic error on Huntsman's part. This is a sell out to Romney and will be viewed as such in 2016 when Willard runs AGAIN for the republican nomination. Willard will certainly dig up the video from "moment of shame". I think Huntsman is lost as long as Willard has money to continue running for president. Believe me, Willard will run until the Evangelicals and conseratives of the right just beat him down. The GOP establishment will try to jam Romney down the throats of the party members, over and over again!!! Just watch and see....

    January 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  31. Truth and Nothing But The Truth

    Darn... I'm sorry to see Huntsman's daughters drop out of the race.... ooops I mean Huntsman. Oh well, he never had a chance after working for Obama. The tench of Obama was just too much to over come.

    January 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Cindy

      Sure glad they didn't hold it against Eisenhower when he worked with Rosevelt and then Truman.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
      • jerry

        good old Ike...everyone liked him. Problem was he was not a good General and not a good President. Fact is the Germans out generald him over and over... but, the allies had the numbers...and thank God for that. There will come a time when history will indicate the war was not necessary...that is if we had competent leadership in our govt it would not have been necessary...roosevelt mismanaged our economy to the point where only war would pull us out of a pending he## that would have made the depression look good. We were fed a lot of propaganda then and now... sad.

        January 16, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

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