When GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney dips into town tomorrow morning for breakfast, he’ll be bringing along Sen. John McCain. The Arizona senator snagged the party’s nomination from Romney in 2008, but supports the Republican contender this time around.
“I think he’s got the wind at his back,” McCain said today in a telephone interview.
The senator said he thought Romney had a good chance of taking Florida’s Jan. 31 primary. He considers the state a big-deal stop on the campaign trail.
“Florida’s the first big and truly important state,” McCain said. “ —I mean, New Hampshire and Iowa are important in their on way.”
Four years ago, McCain beat out Romney for the GOP nomination. Then he lost to Barack Obama. How can Romney beat him now?
“We’re not taking anything for granted,” conceded McCain, maintaining that he thought Romney was the best thing going in the 2012 Republican field— “I think he’s the kind of guy with the best chance to beat Barack Obama.”
McCain also said that he recognized some differences in the GOP party of four years ago and the one of today. He said that Tea Party-esque issues could play a “key role” in this area.
“I think that there’s no doubt the Tea Party element was a very strong element in the Republican Party,” he said. “Particularly in Northwest Florida.”
The senator is no stranger to Northwest Florida. Aside from campaign stops, he attended flight training in Pensacola.
“I’ve always enjoyed coming back to Pensacola,” he said, stressing that Romney was the best candidate when it came to the area’s pro-military agenda.
McCain jumps on the Romney campaign bus just before the presidential hopeful slugs it out with Newt Gingrich—and to a lesser extent, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul—in the Florida primary. If Romney wins, McCain said, the GOP race is all but his.
What if he loses Florida?
“Obviously, I think it would be a real set back,” McCain said, adding that he was sure the campaign would continue in any regard.
Romney, along with McCain, will hit the Fish House in Pensacola tomorrow morning for breakfast.