Rep. Kristi Noem says Mitt Romney will have tea party backing in this year’s presidential election because he’s “willing to make tough decisions” to get the country back on the right track.
“He will,” the South Dakota Republican told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Tuesday night when asked if the likely GOP nominee could count on the support of tea party activists.
“He is running against President Obama and it’s a very clear choice when you make that comparison,” added Noem, a conservative who was elected with tea party support in 2010.
Noem stopped short of offering her own official endorsement of Romney. But as a tea party favorite her comments could go a long way toward helping solidify the GOP conservative base heading into the general election.
The first-term member of Congress, who serves in a liaison position with the Republican House leadership, said Romney fits the bill as a candidate with the kind of experience and integrity needed to unite tea party activists and all Republicans.
“When we get a vice presidential candidate as well, I think they will look at the ticket and get very excited,” she said, adding that if Republicans “just talk about what harm has been done to the American people [by the Obama administration], it will make a difference” in November.
“Point to one policy that the president enacted that has actually worked,” she said.
Asked how important Romney’s selection of a vice presidential running mate will be to firing up tea party support, Noem said, “I don't think we need inspiration to get people motivated.
“I think we need a well-rounded person with integrity and willing to make the tough decisions, and then has some experience in the real world. He will do that,” she added.
Noem said she believes the party’s hard-fought primary contest has served the country well, despite the negative beatings the candidates have given one another.
“This is our republic at work,” she said. This is people weighing in, and it refines our candidate. He’ll be ready to run in the election and that much more prepared.”
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