House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will hold their first joint rally this weekend.
News of the rally follows an hour-long, private meeting between the two top Republicans Monday in Atlanta. The huddle, first reported by Politico’s Jake Sherman, was the first private sit-down between the two since Boehner publicly backed Romney in April; Boehner and Romney reportedly discussed ways to “work together over the months ahead.”
A look at the House legislative calendar suggests that the two Republicans will have plenty of opportunities to do so. The chamber is scheduled to be in session for only nine of the 21 weeks remaining until Election Day.
Also campaigning with Romney later this week is Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a potential running mate who is joining the presumptive GOP nominee on a bus tour.
The joint Romney-Boehner event is the latest instance of Romney syncing up with Republicans on Capitol Hill. He has tapped several members to serve as his liaisons to House and Senate Republicans.
And an exchange between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and reporters on Tuesday afternoon underscores the degree to which congressional Republicans are gearing up to defend their party’s nominee and act in sync when it comes to their overarching message.
Asked whether he believes that state and local governments have enough teachers, firefighters and police – an issue on which Romney appeared to stumble late last week – McConnell was well-prepared with both an answer and a pivot to criticism of Democrats on the economic stimulus.
“You know, as we all know teachers, firefighters, and police work for state and local government,” he said. “And each state and local government grapples with the issue of how many of those dedicated public workers they should have. And of course I’m sure that decision is based upon how much money they have to provide for those kinds of public employees.”
He added: “It is not the responsibility of the federal government, as we have previously discussed a couple of years ago, to send money down to state governments so that state governments don’t have to make tough decisions about balancing their budgets. There could be another justification which was that it might get the economy going. We tried that with the stimulus. How’d that work out? I think most people think it didn’t make any difference at all.”
Staff writer Ed O’Keefe contributed to this story.