Just a hop, skip, and a jump from her Nashua, N.H., office, Sen. Kelly Ayotte endorsed Mitt Romney Sunday on the steps of City Hall -- a prominent Granite State endorsement for the former Massachusetts governor.
The afternoon was somewhat uncharacteristic of Romney's campaigning style of late on two levels -- he rarely has public events scheduled on Sundays, nor has he had many meet-and-greet style diner visits with voters.
But the former Massachusetts governor was in fine form Sunday, and seemed completely at ease in the state his lead constantly seems to be growing in. He kissed Ayotte on the cheek when she rose to the podium to give her endorsement and munched on bacon happily while distributing BLTs at the diner.
At one point, a man in the crowd asked Romney what his favorite Guns N' Roses song was. "Um, I don't think I can give you a good one," said Romney. "All I can give you is some good food out here today. But today, this here is me just raw and unleashed." The joke was not lost on anyone who had caught the opening skit of Saturday Night Live last night, which mocked Romney's goody-two-shoes reputation with vignettes of him trying to be "raw and unleashed." One of his campaign trail rivals, Gov. Jon Huntsman, appeared on the program in person Saturday.
Ayotte's endorsement was highly sought after by many of the Republican candidates for president. She won office in 2010 with help from some prominent GOP figures -- including John McCain, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Romney himself. Earlier this month, Ayotte was one of 11 GOP senators who joined Herman Cain for a private dinner at a downtown Washington steakhouse. Ayotte joins a laundry list of notable backers for Romney in the Granite State, among them former Govs. John H. Sununu and Judd Gregg, often in tow at Romney events in the state. The campaign had been working for some time to secure Ayotte's endorsement.
With her husband by her side, Ayotte said "Joe and I are here today to endorse Governor Romney for president because we know that with his experience he will make sure that we get our fiscal house in order in Washington, that we stop crushing all of us and our children with mountains of debt, and that we get Americans back to work."
Speaking right after her, Romney thanked Ayotte and also seized on the opportunity to attack President Obama with regard to the super committee currently at a stalemate in Washington. When Democrats were asked on the Sunday morning shows what role the president has had in helping them come to some sort of resolution, Romney said, "He hasn't had one" and this was an example of "failed leadership."