If, on the very off chance Ron Paul manages to capture the Republican nomination for president, he will be able to count on the support of Mitt Romney. But Newt Gingrich, not so much.
Paul’s two fellow presidential hopefuls were each asked separately by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer whether they would support the Texas congressman in the event that he got the party’s nod.
Gingrich said “no,” citing Paul’s incendiary and racist newsletters, as well as his views toward Israel and Iran.
Gingrich did, however, hedge when Blitzer followed up by asking who he would choose in an Obama-Paul match-up. “I think you’d have a very hard choice at that point,” he said, explaining: “I think Barack Obama is very destructive to the future of the United States. I think Ron Paul’s views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American.”
The next day, Blitzer asked Romney whether he would support Paul if he were the nominee.
Romney offered an emphatic “yes,” reaffirming his previous statements from debates that all the Republican hopefuls would be preferable to the current president. After Blitzer followed up by pointing to Paul’s views on Iran, Romney replied: “I don’t agree with a lot of things that Ron Paul says, and I would vehemently oppose many of his initiatives, and I believe that we’d be able to move him in a direction that’s more productive.”
The National Jewish Democratic Council — which has been hitting Republicans for not mounting a stronger effort to push Paul to the margins — pounced on Romney’s statement.
At another appearance at an Iowa coffee shop, Romney did take a not-so-oblique shot at Paul on Iran. “At the same time the greatest threat Israel faces and, frankly, the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear Iran,” Romney said in response to a question. “We have differing views on this, some of the people, actually one of the people running for president thinks it’s OK for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I don’t."
Ron Paul, for his part, gave an interview to Haaretz, in which he largely reiterated his previously articulated positions on Israel and repeated his efforts to portray them as friendly to the Jewish state. It might have been interesting if Paul had been asked about his views on World War II.