For months and months and months, people speculated which Republican presidential candidate would Iowa Governor Terry Branstad endorse. We waited and waited. Finally, the wait ended. And this morning, the Governor's office said he would announce his choice at 12:30 p.m. I can't imagine anyone was surprised he went for Mitt Romney. Branstad blistered Romney a few times before the Iowa Caucuses for seemingly half-heartedly trying to win.
Of course, we now know while Romney himself didn't come here often, his campaign worked hard rekindling that 2008 support that finished second to Mike Huckabee. Romney did pick up the pace in December (which Branstad praised today).
Here are Branstad's comments as released from the Romney campaign:
“Few leaders in Iowa have been better public servants to the state than Governor Branstad,” said Mitt Romney. “He has focused on making government smaller and more accountable to the taxpayers. I am fighting for these same principles in my campaign so we can cut spending, create jobs, and ensure that future generations have the same opportunities we have. I am honored to have Governor Branstad’s support and will need his counsel and hard work to help make President Obama a one-term president.”
At a press conference Tuesday, Governor Branstad said, “Now that dozens of primaries and caucuses have occurred across the country, the process did what it was supposed to do and that is to produce a candidate who will capture the needed number of delegates and that candidate is Mitt Romney. In Mitt Romney, America will have a clear contrast to President Obama in the November election. Governor Romney is committed to stopping this out-of-control federal spending that’s increasing the national debt by $1.3 trillion every year. Governor Romney is committed to unleashing the private sector to create the jobs we need to rebuild the American economy and to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity that we have enjoyed due to this great American free enterprise system.”
The timing of the announcement ended up being a bit interesting and, perhaps, a bit humorous. First of all, it came three months after the caucuses, long after his endorsement would have earned the most buzz. But it also came just less than an hour before Rick Santorum dropped out of the race. So did the gov know that was coming and he just wanted to get in this to save face? Nope, according to his staff, who told me the gov had idea about the pending Santorum announcement.
I did have someone tweet me this: "Did the governor also wait until April to fill out his March Madness bracket?"