CHICAGO - Former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann today denied any plans to endorse frontrunner Mitt Romney when he visits Minnesota this afternoon, following a Globe online post suggesting the possibility.
The Minnesota congresswoman noted she would be in Washington while Romney was appearing in Eagan, Minn. She also said that while she has had discussions with her formal rivals, she has no immediate plans to endorse any of them.
“Let me be absolutely clear - there are absolutely no negotiations between me and the Romney campaign regarding any pending endorsement of Governor Romney,” Bachmann said in statement that also labeled the story “completely false” and called on the Globe to retract it. “I continue to speak with all the candidates and plan on uniting behind the presumptive nominee.”
In a post early today, Boston.com noted that instead of heading directly for Nevada or Maine, the next two states to vote in the GOP contest, Romney was instead flying to Minnesota for what was billed as a “grassroots rally.”
The post said the camps of the two former rivals had been in conversation in recent days about securing the candidate’s endorsement by the Tea Party favorite and forceful public speaker.
Without identifying its source for the information, the post said that such an endorsement would add to the impression of Romney consolidating the GOP base after rebounding in the Florida primary from his loss South Carolina 10 days earlier.
In particular, it could help the onetime abortion rights supporter with the anti-abortion forces with whom he now aligns himself, since Bachmann is a forceful abortion opponent.
The post also noted endorsing Romney could help Bachmann by earning her an ally to help her pay off her lingering campaign debt.
Reports released yesterday showed Bachmann ended her campaign owing more than $1 million. Nonetheless, she announced last week that she would seek reelection this fall to the US House.
During an interview this morning on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom,” Bachmann herself denied the speculation.
“I talk to all of the candidates on a regular basis. I enjoy talking to them. We had a wonderful relationship and camaraderie on the presidential campaign trail,” she said. “That continues but I haven’t yet made a decision about who I will endorse or if I will endorse before the nominee is chosen.”
She noted that she would not be in Minnesota today.
Asked what was preventing an endorsement, she said: “I think it’s important that the people make the choice about who they want. My goal is to make sure that Obama is defeated as I’m sure people across America also want to make sure happens. I want to be a unifying voice.”
Romney’s schedule today called for him to depart from Tampa, Fla., at 9 a.m. and fly to Minneapolis. Starting at 1:20 p.m., he was to hold a rally at Freightmasters Logistics Inc. in Eagan, Minn. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will join him at the event.
Romney is then scheduled to fly to Nevada for another rally starting at 6:45 p.m PST.
Glen Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.