South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint has endorsed Mitt Romney for president. The South Carolina primary is expected once again to be a very significant showdown, so picking up the endorsement of one of the state’s two Republican Senators is good news for Romney. South Carolina’s less reliably conservative Senator, Lindsey Graham, has endorsed John McCain.
UPDATE: Sen. DeMint has explained his decision to endorse Romney at this time to Byron York. The Senator told Byron:
If I’m going to get in, the time to make a difference is now. My good friends Lindsey [Graham] and John McCain have made a whole lot of calls, and people have wondered, is McCain the only alternative? I’ve talked to a lot of candidates, and frankly it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anybody light up a room like Mitt Romney does.
Byron adds that
DeMint, who spent most of his life in private business, admires Romney’s business background and believes Romney has shown the talent to apply that experience to government. “He has demonstrated, when he stepped into government in a very difficult state, that he could work in a difficult partisan environment, take some good conservative ideas, like private health insurance, and apply them to the need to have everyone insured,” DeMint says. “Those kind of ideas show an ability to bring people together that we haven’t seen in national politics for a while. We don’t need the nation to be more polarized.”
Byron asked DeMint about Romney’s former position on abortion:
DeMint said he and Romney discussed it at length. “I said, ‘It’s an issue that’s very important to me, and to the people of South Carolina, and I’m concerned, I want to know where you are, and I want to know why you changed your mind,'” DeMint says. DeMint says Romney discussed the issue in great detail, telling the story of someone his family knew who died of an illegal abortion many years ago