Tancredo Bows Out, Throws Support to Romney (+ poll: What should Tom do now?)

Littleton’s own Tom Tancredo makes it official — jumping off the presidential merry-go-round just 12 days before the Iowa caucus.

New, on-the-scene information from our sister site Iowa Independent included inside.Colorado’s Tom Tancredo, representative from the state’s 6th Congressional District, formally dropped his long-long-long-shot bid for the presidency at a Des Moines, Iowa, press conference moments ago.

Tancredo — who never registered beyond a whisper of single-digit support in national polls — has
endorsed Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, one of the few ideologically-match-made-in-heaven anti-immigration candidates on the GOP stump. Never known for his fund-raising prowess, Tancredo raised a mere 5 percent of Romney’s own $61 million haul, according to the latest Federal Election Commission reports.

In recent days, Tancredo has criticized his fellow Republican stump-mates for participating in a Spanish-language Univision debate. Long expected to back fellow Congressman Ron Paul’s own quixotic campaign, Tancredo ended that speculation on Wednesday when he made a bizarre swipe at Paul over his anti-immigration street cred.

How Tancredo’s nod to Romney will affect Iowa caucus-goers, who have decisively rejected his fiery anti-immigration rhetoric, remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, Tancredo’s announcement is being overshadowed by breathless breaking news accounts of ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s imminent release from a St. Louis hospital for flu-like symptoms.

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From an on the scene report by Iowa Independent’s Jay Wagner:

Stay tuned for on-site impressions of the press conference from our news network sister, The Iowa Independent.

UPDATE 2: With the most milquetoast “thanks for the endorsement” statement heard in quite some time.

Following the announcement, the Romney campaign issued a statement that stopped short of embracing the Tancredo endorsement.

“Congressman Tancredo ran a spirited campaign focused on issues that are important to many Americans. I thank him for his support. While we don’t agree on every issue, we agree on the need to keep America strong. I look forward to working with him and other Republicans to achieve that end,” Romney’s statement said.

UPDATE 1:

During a question and answer session with the media, Tancredo said he’s concerned about the level of support Mike Huckabee is receiving in polls and that his record on immigration while governor of Arkansas led him to endorse Romney.

Tancredo and Romney met in private on Thursday morning for a frank discussion on the issue. Tancredo said the two men don’t agree on every aspect of the immigration debate, but that he feels confidant that Romney will keep his promise to combat the flow of illegal aliens into the country.

More to come.

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Wendy Norris

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