Posted at 09:03 PM ET, 02/23/2012

Ron Paul-Mitt Romney alliance? Candidates teamed up to skip Georgia debate

What to make of the relationship between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney?


Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, points to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as he answers a question during a Republican presidential candidate debate. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The two teamed up Wednesday night to blast former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) at the GOP presidential debate in Mesa, Ariz.

And now, Paul’s national campaign chairman, Jesse Benton, confirms that the decision last week by the two campaigns to skip a March 1 CNN debate in Georgia was a closely-coordinated one.

Benton, asked on MSNBC Thursday afternoon to detail the specifics on how the two candidates have cooperated during the campaign:

”A lot of it just comes down to scheduling. Both of our campaigns, for example, had places, specific places we wanted our candidates to be on March 1st, and they weren’t in Georgia. Other states that were priorities for us. And so we talked it out and we said, ‘Hey, let’s present a united front and make sure our candidates can get where they need to be rather than being at the 22nd or 23rd debate in Georgia.’ That’s how we cooperate.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, citing Georgia Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Everhart, reported last week that “both Romney and Paul formally turned down their invitations within minutes of each other.”

Santorum’s camp announced later the same day that it was planning on skipping the debate.

The Post’s Amy Gardner and The New York Times’ Rich Oppel have taken separate looks at the nature of the Romney-Paul relationship – an alliance that’s worth reconsidering now that Santorum’s camp is accusing the two of tag-teaming the former senator from Pennsylvania just as he’s ascending in the polls.

As Gardner reported earlier this month:

The two campaigns have coordinated on minor things, (a Paul) adviser said — even small details, such as staggering the timing of each candidate’s appearance on television the night of the New Hampshire primary for maximum effect.

How close a Romney-Paul alliance do you think exists? Is it overblown? Or have you spotted other instances of the two working together? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

By  |  09:03 PM ET, 02/23/2012

 
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