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[I&A] 【整理】2008-02-16:罗姆尼转投麦凯恩,共和党大局已定

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I'm Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room with the Best Political Podcast from the Best Political Team. Today, democrats' growing fears of a civil war of Party insiders decide the nominee, also, Hillary Clinton cranes up a populist pitch in Ohio, but first, presidential dropout Mitt Romney's gift to the man who beat him. In the Republican race today, a new show of unity behind the likely nominee John McCain. Former candidate Mitt, uh Romney endorsing McCain, offering him as delegates and urging the Party to move forward. Let's bring um, CNN's Dana Bash, she's been watching the story for us, update us on what happened, Dana?

Well, you know, Wolf, sources close to Mitt Romney have been telling us since he dropped out la, last week that this is likely to happen today, but you know, with McCain here in New England on a campaign trip, and with a little last-minute behind-the-scenes prodding from an old McCain advisor, uh, Mitt Romney decided this morning that he was going to formally throw his weight behind his old rival.

It maybe an awkward alliance, but what a valentine for John McCain.

"I am honored today to give my full support to Senator McCain's candidacy for the presidency of the United States. I'm officially endorsing his candidacy."

After a bruising primary battle, Mitt Romney now found qualities he says will make John McCain a good President.

"This is a man who tied his political fortunes to the fortunes of our country, at a time of war. Such courage is not always rewarded in politics, but it was this time."

McCain standing with Romney in his headquarters were just last week, they were advising strategy against him, expressed thanks.

"We all know it's a hard campaign. Primaries are tough, and we know it’s a hard campaign, and now we move forward, now we move forward together for the good of our party and the nation, and I'm honored, I am very honored to have Governor Romney and the members of his team, at my side."

For McCain, Romney's endorsement is his best shot yet at bringing the Party behind him, after all it was Romney who stoked Conservative distrust of McCain with lines like this.

"If you want that kind of a liberal Democratic course as president, then you could vote for him."

Privately Romney advisors acknowledge this Kumbaya moment is as much about Romney's political viability as McCain's.

"This individual should be the next president of the United States not Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton."

Romney looking towards another potential run in the future is hoping being a team player now will be remembered by a party that traditionally rewards that.

"We can't afford a coronation."

It's also a message to Mike Huckabee, who's trying to prove his GOP chops by staying in as an alternative for GOP voters dissatisfied with McCain.

Now, Romney said today that he's releasing the delegates he won to McCain. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're all going to get behind him. But, regardless, Wolf, you remember back in 2000. McCain has been there before. He lost to George Bush and he had to come behind him just like Mitt Romney did today. So, uh, he is very grateful for that. He told reporters on his bus leaving Romney headquarters that he intends to give Romney a big role moving forward.
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