From the Fix:
McCain To Headline Romney Fundraiser: In a sign that the 2008 campaign is water under the bridge, Arizona Sen. John McCain will host a fundraiser for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC next Wednesday at Chase Bank Field in Phoenix. McCain — along with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) — will co-host the event, which includes a VIP reception ($3,000 donation per person) and luncheon ($300 per person). Romney and McCain clashed repeatedly during the 2008 campaign and the Arizona Senator made little secret to mask his distaste for his most serious rival for the nomination. But, McCain’s willingness to sign on for a fundraiser to collect cash for Romney’s leadership PAC suggests the rivalry of 2008 is gone if not totally forgotten. That’s a good thing for Romney as he prepares for his increasingly likely run for president in 2012.
It is interesting to me that McCain is willing to do this for Romney, and so early after the recent election. They did, after all, have a very rough primary. I can only attribute it to the fact that Romney was very gracious in his concession to McCain and immediately, and with full-throttle, campaigned for him up all the way up to election day.
Here is a reminder of the post-primary Romney from an excellent article entitled The Long-Distance Runner by the Boston Globe:
“He lost a tough race,” says New Hampshire state Senator Jeb Bradley, a Republican and former US congressman. “After that, Mitt could have done anything he wanted with his life: back to the nonprofit world or start a new business. But what has he been doing? He’s kept at it. He’s been busting his butt since losing more than anyone I have ever seen.”
Romney returned to his office the following week in a T-shirt and jeans, ready to travel to his California home. From there, Romney’s staff informed McCain’s, he would be willing to travel to Arizona for a formal endorsement ceremony. But McCain’s camp volunteered their candidate, campaigning that day in Rhode Island, for an immediate photo op in Boston. Romney wavered about doing it so quickly — he held a ticket for a middle seat on a JetBlue flight later that day and hesitated about paying the cancellation fee — but was flattered that McCain would show deference and come to him. Hours later, after postponing his flight and changing into a suit, Romney met with McCain privately for 15 minutes and asked what he could do. McCain made a standard request: He entreated Romney to campaign for him and other Republican candidates. Then the two walked out in front of an American flag and made it official.
“That we just put down to him being smart,” says Mark Salter, a McCain adviser who was among Romney’s most vehement detractors during the primaries. “He got out and then graciously said, ‘Put me to work.’ And I don’t think he turned down anything we asked him to do.”
I’m reminded that Romney “did events for 33 federal candidates running for office and 37 surrogate events for Senator McCain and Governor Palin”.
They put him to work indeed.