U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint– the man known as “the Kingmaker’ for his role in getting a number of conservative Republicans elected to Congress in the 2010 elections– has been sitting on the sidelines this GOP presidential primary season.
DeMint told MSNBC he’s not willing to pull the trigger on endorsing a GOP presidential candidate yet.
A number of political observers say a DeMint endorsement could push any of the candidates over the top in South Carolina. DeMint supported Romney in 2008.
In a Thursday interview, DeMint would only say that the polls indicate that Romney is the frontrunner right now. He did offer some advice for the eventual nominee.
“Our nominee needs to be listening to some of the things that all the candidates have been saying, particularly Ron Paul’s understanding that the Federal Reserve is out of control, that the government needs to be limited, and individual liberty is the core of Republican principles,” he said. “The big-tent Republican Party needs to be composed of libertarians and conservatives. That’s where I hope the debate will move.”
Newt Gingrich has levied attacks against Romney for his role as CEO of Bain Capital, a venture capitalist group that Gingrich contends laid off workers as they restructured companies they bought in South Carolina. A number of Republican conservatives have attacked Gingrich for his tactics as he attempts to compare and contrast venture capitalism with the free market system. DeMint calls Gingrich’s ploy as “too little, too late.”
“I think it’s too late to do that. If you wanted to bring that contrast to the American people it should have been done in Iowa,” he said, “But now that appears that Newt and others do not appear to be in the game, to damage the front-runner makes no sense to me.”
Rick Perry has also levied attacks against Romney’s practices as CEO of Bain Capital calling them “vulture capitalists.”
DeMint says Romney’s response to Gingrich’s attacks must be consistent and to the point because he is likely to face the same tactics from Democrats if he eventually wins the GOP nomination.
“This is something that would have been an attack on Romney if he is the nominee anyway, so he needs to figure out how to explain to America that these decisions sometimes have to be made in business,” he continued, “Now I’m not saying there weren’t mistakes made or that there was not greed involved, but I’m saying we need leaders that understand that hard decisions and pain and unpopular decisions have to be made.”