(EVANSVILLE, Ind.) — Mitt Romney leant a hand to a tea party backed Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock, in Indiana Saturday, campaigning with him at a BBQ stop Saturday afternoon to urge voters to elect him this fall.
“We gotta get this guy elected in the U.S. Senate, you know that,” Romney said to applause from patrons seated at tables in Stopte’s BBQ Shack. “He has proven as the treasurer that he knows how to balance books. He’s also proven as a campaigner that he can take his message to the people of Indiana [and] 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. Will you help me elect this guy as the next U.S. Senator?”
At a stop that had the feel of the Republican primary events held in small restaurants across the country earlier this year, Romney, campaigning with Mourdock for the first time, discussed the common vision he shares with the Indiana Republican to cut spending in Washington.
“You can’t keep spending massively more than you take in without putting America in peril. And so a treasurer knows that, a governor knows that. It seems that everybody in America knows that in their households, businesses know it, families know it,” Romney said. “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 and to make sure that we finally get ourselves on track to a balanced budget.”
Romney has recently touted his bipartisan work in Massachusetts and said he’s capable of “burying the hatchet” in Washington, but the Tea Party, which backed Mourdock in the senate primary race, often finds itself at odds with both sides of the aisle in Congress.
Mourdock, an Indiana state treasurer, overwhelmingly beat Sen. Richard Lugar, a six term senator, in the Republican primary in May. Romney stayed out of the primary while other Republican notables, such as Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum, threw their backing behind Mourdock over Lugar. Mourdock will face Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in November.
Romney has not campaigned in the battleground state of Indiana as extensively as other swing states this cycle. Barack Obama won Indiana in 2008 by one percent against Sen. John McCain, who Romney campaigned for in Evansville four years ago.
“Four years ago you were here in Evansville, Indiana, and I had that opportunity to introduce him. And understand in 2008 Governor Romney had begun that trail down the presidential primary route and ultimately when the Republicans went a different direction it was Governor Mitt Romney who was one of the very first to step forward to support our party’s nominee, John McCain, and he came to Evansville to fire up the troops to make sure we would not see a Barack Obama presidency,” Mourdock said of Romney. “He is back and he’s here in part because he is the ultimate team player, and 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. But even more importantly, Governor Romney I am absolutely convinced and I know all of you are as well is here to give you a message that he’s been carrying across this great country about what it’s going to take to get this country back on track.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kevin Liptak, CNN
Dan Berman, CNN
Stephen Collinson and MJ Lee, CNN