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Breaking News: Romney reaps big conservative endorsement

November 5, 2007 |  1:11 pm

Score another touchdown for Mitt Romney in the Republican struggle for the party's conservative family values base.

The former Massachusetts governor has just received the endorsement of Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative leader over the last quarter-century and a founder of the Moral Majority and the Heritage Foundation. The news was leaked to the Brody File, written by David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, just the audience the Romney campaign wants to reach with what Brody calls "a big one."

Coming on the heels of the recent endorsement of Romney by Bob Jones III, now chancellor of the evangelical Bob Jones University in South Carolina, this adds substantially to a sense of conservative momentum toward Romney.  And, by extension, it shows two prominent Christian leaders ignoring Romney's Mormon religion, which has bothered some fundamentalist Christians.  It could be a big help for Romney's early states strategy, counting on success in Iowa and New Hampshire, where he has lead, to build momentum for South Carolina, where he has trailed until recently.

The 65-year-old Weyrich, a onetime journalist who moved into politics, founded the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of state legislators; was a co-founder of the Council for National Policy, a strategy-formulating organization for social conservatives; co-publisher of the magazine Conservative Digest; and national chairman of Coalitions for America, an association of conservative activist organizations. The CSFC later reorganized into the Free Congress Foundation, which he now chairs.

In his endorsement, Weyrich praised Romney saying, "He will strengthen our economy, our military and our families. More importantly, he already has an exceptional record of putting conservative values to work."

As Brody noted, "It's not about the amount of influence Weyrich has today.  It's about how his name is synonymous with traditional values conservatism. That's the payoff more than anything else."

-- Andrew Malcolm