ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Well, scratch that last one.
In an interview with ABC News on Thursday Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter said he was ending his quixotic presidential bid and endorsing Mitt Romney. Why? One reason, McCotter said: “Electability.”
“The overarching goal has to be a new president in 2012,” McCotter said. “It’s not going to be me.”
And while McCotter has, at times, been a harsh critic of the former Massachusetts governor (see McCotter’s appearance on ABC’s “Top Line” in July) who is running behind Rick Perry in most national polls, he said Romney has “the business background people are looking for in tough economic times.”
McCotter said that Romney has something else going for him: he’s “been vetted through one presidential race already.”
“In a general election,” McCotter told ABC, “Governor Romney stacks up better.”
It’s a turnabout for McCotter who, as a candidate, often sought to link Romney with President Obama.
“We have Obama as the champion of big government, we see Romney as champion of bail out banks in Wall Street bailout,” McCotter said in Fox News interview this summer. “They are less rivals than they are running mates.”
(On Thursday McCotter said he still has “major differences” with Romney.)
The Michigan Republican said he has “every intention” of running for re-election in the House of Representatives where he plans to continue talking about many of the issues he campaigned on: getting tough on China, entitlement reform, and fixing the housing market, among others.
When Fox News would not allow him to participate in Thursday night’s presidential debate in Florida, McCotter said he knew his presidential hopes were over. He said he was happy for former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who managed to meet the 1 percent national polling threshold to claim a spot at the debate.
“We were traveling below coach,” he said of himself and the other lower-tier presidential candidates like Johnson and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer.
As a candidate — one who most Americans will never know even ran for president — McCotter said he most enjoyed traveling the country and meeting grassroots GOP activists.
“I’m one of them,” McCotter told ABC News. “I’m still precinct delegate at heart.”
Oh, and for anyone wondering about his political future, McCotter made one last point: “I’m not planning on running in 2016 against a Republican president.”