Marco Rubio entered the 2012 Florida presidential primary late Tuesday by saying that Mitt Romney was a “conservative” and noting that the former Massachusetts governor had endorsed him in his 2010 primary against Charlie Crist.
In an apparent response to claims made by Newt Gingrich and Gingrich’s Florida campaign manager Jose Mallea that the primary was shaping up to be a replay of the 2010 Rubio-Crist race, with Gingrich playing the Rubio part, Rubio told reporters that “Romney is a conservative, and he was one of the first national Republican leaders to endorse me.”
But a source close to Rubio’s 2010 campaign tells Newsmax that his memory of Romney’s involvement is a “bit faulty.”
Romney was not “one of the first” Republican leaders to back Rubio’s senate bid.
In fact, Romney’s endorsement came quite late, on April 21, 2010, just one week before Crist bolted from the Republican party to run as an independent.
By that time, polls showed Rubio with a significant lead over Crist and the likely winner.
Early national GOP endorsements for Rubio came more than a year before Romney’s endorsement and began with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., in June of 2009, followed soon thereafter by conservative columnist George Will.
Charlie Crist’s name has resurfaced in the hotly contested GOP primary, because Romney’s national campaign is managed by the same team of political consultants that ran Crist’s 2010 Senate bid against Rubio.
As Newsmax has reported, Stuart Stevens and his firm Stevens & Schriefer, had been consultants to Crist for almost a decade. The firm specializes in electing moderate and liberal Republicans in blue states.
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