Businessman Herman Cain formally endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential bid in an event on Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon.
Cain’s announcement followed a meeting of tea party supporters that was titled “The More Perfect Union Panel.”
“One way to achieve this goal of a more perfect union is by getting Barack Obama out of the White House,” Cain said. “Throwing our support and energy behind Mitt Romney is a big step in accomplishing this mission.”
Cain in mid-January announced that he was endorsing “the people.” Then, three days before the Florida GOP primary, he threw his support behind former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), like Cain a candidate with strong appeal among tea-party backers.
Wednesday’s event also marks the third time that Cain has offered an endorsement of sorts for Romney.
Even before Gingrich formally announced last month that he was leaving the GOP race, Cain had indicated that he was backing the presumptive GOP nominee.
“When John McCain was our candidate three and a half years ago, 6 million conservative Republicans stayed home,” Cain said early last month at a gathering of about 200 tea party supporters in Gilbert, Ariz.
“If your favorite nominee does not get the nomination, get over it. Focus on the mission. My favorite person isn’t in there either – me. ... So when you hear people say, ‘Well, I don’t like Romney, so I’m not going to do anything,’ you tell them that’s a vote for Barack Obama.”
Then, in an interview with Fox News Channel a week later, Cain reiterated that he believed the party should unite behind Romney.
“The numbers are on Mitt Romney’s side, and yes, I am always saying, I will support whoever the nominee is, and it looks like Mitt Romney’s going to be that nominee, and we do need to get behind him,” he said.
Cain’s influence on the race will likely be minimal, although he retains an enthusiastic base of support among tea party backers, many of whom – like the onetime candidate himself – argue that the allegations against him were the product of a “coordinated character attack.”
In his Arizona address, Cain devoted much of his remarks to blasting the “mainstream, lamestream, lapdog media,” which he contended had conspired against him during the campaign.
He then reminded a reporter in an interview after the event to attend his April 16 anti-tax rally in Washington, D.C.
This post has been updated since it was first published.