THE RACE: Romney wooing GOP Hill leaders has risks

June 19, 2012 - 12:11 PM
Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, Ann Romney, center, and Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., arrive for a campaign stop at Bavarian Inn Lodge on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 in Frankenmuth, Mich. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney is throwing his lot in with his party's leadership in Congress, a break with other recent GOP White House seekers who have kept some distance.

On a five-day tour of swing states that wrapped up Tuesday in his home state of Michigan, Romney campaigned with and lavished praise on Republican leaders.

He appeared in pivotal Ohio alongside House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman, both from the state. And he stood in Wisconsin with native son Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, whom Romney calls "a great leader."

Romney's strategy carries risks. While it's winning points with the conservative GOP base, many independent voters view the congressional GOP with suspicion.

And approval ratings for Congress overall are in the basement.

Boehner has led House GOP majorities that have crushed Obama initiatives, even legislation some Republicans previously had backed. And Ryan, a tea-party favorite, is the architect of the House GOP budget which would curb the growth of Medicare and other safety-net programs and extend all Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthy.

Other recent GOP White House seekers haven't cozied up to the Republican congressional leadership in quite the same way.

George W. Bush's 2000 "compassionate conservative" platform wasn't always in sync with the right-wing congressional GOP leadership. When he sought re-election four years later, he didn't need help from Capitol Hill. And 2008 nominee John McCain was a senator and didn't tether himself to other GOP lawmakers.

In Michigan, Romney met Tuesday with businessmen and spoke at rally in Frankenmuth, planned to stop by a bakery-cafe in DeWitt and was ending his day with a rally in Holland

Obama was in Los Cabos, Mexico, winding down summit talks with other world leaders, much of it focused on Europe's debt crisis.

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