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Heading into New Hampshire, Mitt Romney Gets John McCain's Support

January 3, 2012 - 6:00pm

U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presidential nominee who lost to Barack Obama in 2008 and two-time winner of the New Hampshire primary, announced on Wednesday he is backing former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts for president. McCain and Romney were rivals for the Republican presidential nomination back in 2008.

McCain -- along with his wife Cindy -- endorsed Romney at a campaign event in New Hampshire.

Few Americans have sacrificed so much for their country -- it is an honor to have Senator and Mrs. McCains support, Romney said on Wednesday. For his entire life, Senator McCain has been a committed public servant and is an example for all those seeking higher office. Senator McCain has been a leader in the fight to stop the growth of government and make government more accountable to taxpayers. With his leadership on cutting spending in the Senate, we can rein in out-of-control federal spending, and restore confidence in government. I look forward to campaigning with Senator McCain and working with him on the issues important to our national and economic security.

The time has arrived for Republicans to choose a presidential nominee; a new standard bearer who has the ability and determination to defeat President Obama and the strongest commitment to returning America to prosperity and defending our interests and values overseas, McCain said. Im pleased to have made my choice, and to endorse Governor Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president.

McCain took aim at Obama on Wednesday.

These last few years have been a terribly tough time for Americans, and President Obamas policies have failed to address effectively the problems of weak economic growth and persistent joblessness that have caused so many sleepless nights for so many Americans, said McCain. The Obama administration has ignored the most serious challenges threatening our future a $15 trillion debt, and the job-destroying effects of a complex, unfair and incomprehensible tax code, bankrupt entitlement programs, and unnecessary government regulations. We can overcome these challenges as we have overcome every challenge in our past, but only if our country changes leaders.

McCain attempted to contrast Obama with Romney.

Governor Romney offers us the common-sense reforms of government policy that are necessary to turn around our economy, said McCain. His record of accomplishment in government and business are a testament to his leadership abilities. His commitment to a strong defense and principled diplomacy will earn the worlds respect for American leadership.

I had the privilege of running against Governor Romney for the nomination four years ago, and I know he is a tough competitor, added McCain. I have no doubt he is the best candidate we can nominate. And I am proud to support him for president.

A poll released on Wednesday -- a day after Romney beat former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania by 8 votes to win the Iowa caucus -- found the former Massachusetts governor is leading in the Granite State.

Romney leads the Suffolk University/7News tracking poll of likely primary voters with 43 percent. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who finished third in Iowa, takes a distant second in New Hampshire with 14 percent. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich takes third with 9 percent followed by former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah with 7 percent and Santorum with 6 percent.

The poll of 500 likely New Hampshire Republican primary votes was taken on Jan. 2-3 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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