McCain Campaigns With Former Rival


From CBS News' Andante Higgins

NEW YORK -- John McCain is on the road today with former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This marks his first appearance on the campaign trail since Romney endorsed McCain following their bitter rivalry. Shortly after Super Tuesday, Romney dropped out of the race and threw his support behind McCain.

The McCain camp says Romney will join McCain at a fundraiser in Salt Lake City and travel with the senator through his events in Denver today. "Governor Romney is a very important leader in the Republican Party and we're excited to have him on the campaign trail with us today," said McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker.

Back in February after Romney's endorsement McCain told reporters he looked forward to having Romney join his campaign efforts. "Gov Romney got over four million votes last time I counted and I'll be eager to have him campaign with me around the country. There are places that he is still extremely popular and I think he can be effective," he said.

It's unclear where else Romney could show up on the trail but Michigan is likely since the former Massachusetts governor did so well in that primary contest. "We found out the Romney name and the Romney campaign is very successful in the state of Michigan. I think there are other places such as the Midwest where Romney can be very helpful. In fact I would probably think that in some ways the MI connections are deep as well," McCain said.

Reporters will be reading the body language of these two men who seem to have only come together for the good of their party. Back in February when Romney endorsed the AZ Senator, he acknowledged their disagreements in past. "Even when the contest was close and our disagreements were debated, the caliber of the man was apparent. This is a man capable of leading our country in a dangerous hour," Romney said. "There's no question in my mind, this person should be president of the United States. Not Hillary Clinton, not Barak Obama. That's why I am endorsing him and that's why I'm asking my delegates to vote for him."

McCain who lost a bitter battle in 2000 to then Gov George Bush understands the dynamic of throwing your support behind a rival. "I will freely admit. I know what it's like to lose. I know it's tough and I know it's tough. Primaries many times are tougher in some ways than general elections," McCain said. "And so many times it takes a little time to have the unity that we're seeking and I am especially appreciative that he quickly came on board."

McCain says he and his supporters also moved fast to support the nominee in 2000. "I would argue that after an amount of time my supporters were as enthusiastic as the bush supporters. You couldn't tell any difference," he said.