McDonnell, other governors stump with Romney in Colorado

Posted at 7:46 AM, Aug 03, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-03 07:46:51-04

Peter Hamby, CNN Political Reporter

Basalt, Colorado (CNN) – Imagine the longest wedding toast you ever witnessed, toss in a few American flags and some references to small business tax cuts and domestic gas exploration, and you might begin to get a sense of the event Mitt Romney headlined Thursday afternoon in Colorado.

Hungry for a respite from weeks of bad headlines, Romney made two stops Thursday with a re-tooled message geared toward the middle class.

But it was his second event, held inside a high school gym in the picturesque mountain town of Basalt, that attracted the most attention — and for good reason.

That’s because Romney was joined onstage by 10 GOP governors – including some who opposed him in the Republican primary – who were among the party leaders attending a Republican Governors Association retreat just up the highway in ritzy Aspen.

One of the governors, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, had opposed Romney during the Republican primary fight. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal backed Perry’s bid instead of Romney’s. Then there was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who seriously contemplated his own presidential bid before taking a pass.

In a format resembling a Comedy Central Roast — but one with blue blazers and verbal bouquets instead of vulgar put-downs – the seated governors rose one-by-one to praise Romney and his plans for the economy.

“You can do it and I am behind you,” gushed Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. “America is behind you.”

“We need you, we’re looking forward to your services as president,” said Mary Fallin of Oklahoma.

Christie called Romney a man of “fabulous ingenuity” and “great integrity.”

Perry offered an impassioned takedown of President Obama’s vision for the country and portrayed Romney as America’s savior.

Romney “recognizes that American values are represented in small towns,” said Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.

“I really appreciate your focus on middle class families,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told Romney.

And so on.

After his opening remarks, Romney, in jeans and a button-down, relaxed in his chair and basked in the adoration.

There was no news, and for the presumptive Republican nominee, that was probably a good thing.