2012 Presidential Election
1:01 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Signs of a Ron Paul/Mitt Romney Alliance?

After last night’s Republican debate, supporters of Rick Santorum are alleging a cease-fire agreement between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

The British press is even floating the idea Romney may have offered Paul the vice-presidential slot.

Romney and Paul have certainly warmed to each other on the campaign trail. The Washington Post noted so earlier this month:

Despite deep differences on a range of issues, Romney and Paul became friends in 2008, the last time both ran for president. So did their wives, Ann Romney and Carol Paul. The former Massachusetts governor compliments the Texas congressman during debates, praising Paul’s religious faith during the last one, in Jacksonville, Fla. Immediately afterward, as is often the case, the Pauls and the Romneys gravitated toward one another to say hello.

The Post also notes, friendship aside, signs of a symbiotic relationship:

for Paul, an opportunity to gain a seat at the table if his long-shot bid for the presidency fails; for Romney, a chance to gain support from one of the most vibrant subgroups within the Republican Party.

Rick Santorum’s team noted this following his debate performance last night. Progressive politics blog Talking Points Memo writes “Santorum’s chief strategist, John Brabender, got into the action as well.”

“Clearly there is a tag-team strategy between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney,” Brabender told reporters. “There’ve been 20 debates, right? Why don’t you go back and see how many times Ron Paul has ever criticized anything Mitt Romney has done.”

Rick Perry, acting as a surrogate for Newt Gingrich, also took note of the Paul/Romney team up in an interview with conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham on Thursday, describing it as a “‘partnership” that he found “interesting.”

TPM has previously remarked that Ron Paul’s hard-hitting negative ads, like the clip from the Paul camp below pillorying Santorum, never attack Romney. In a post titled “Ever Notice That Ron Paul’s Ads Seem To Help Romney?,” TPM writes:

The ad hits the same themes Romney has been trying to stress in his own attacks on Santorum, mainly his support for earmarks and Bush-era spending items like Medicare Part D that have become toxic on the right in the Tea Party era. 

In possibly related news, Ron Paul’s son Sen. Rand Paul told reporters today “it would be an honor to be considered” himself.