Slowly but surely, Mitt Romney is shoring up his right flank. His campaign announced Thursday that he’s been endorsed by John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush.
Bolton, whose outspoken views on national security earned him fans among conservatives and critics elsewhere, briefly flirted with a presidential bid of his own. He also became strongly identified with the tea party movement as it rose to prominence in 2009 and 2010.
“Of all the candidates, Mitt Romney possesses the strongest vision for America’s leadership role in the world, and I am proud to endorse him,” Bolton said in a statement released by the Romney campaign.
At the same time, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, another politician with ties to the tea party movement, strongly repudiated the attacks on Romney’s record as a principal of private equity firm Bain Capital Wednesday, according to the Greenville (S.C.) News.
Asked about the attacks on Bain from Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, DeMint told talk show host Laura Ingraham: "I don't like that at all because I was in business a long time as a consultant to a lot of businesses. Everyone knows that over half of new businesses fail and that's part of the process of failing and getting up and succeeding. And I really think that to have a few Republicans in this race beginning to talk about how bad it is to fire people, certainly we don't like that, but it really gives the Democrats a lot of fodder."
DeMint has remained neutral in the presidential race, but CNN reported that an influential coterie of his political advisors will come out for Romney on Thursday, signaling that the candidate’s prospects for taking the state appear to be brightening.
The Bolton endorsement was a blow to Gingrich, who had pledged to make him his secretary of State should Gingrich be elected president.
A former top State Department official, Bolton was nominated as ambassador to the U.N. by Bush in 2005, but was filibustered by Senate Democrats. Bush ultimately made him a recess appointment and he served at the United Nations until that appointment expired in 2006.