In late March, Mitt Romney met with a handful of Republican senators in Senator Jim DeMint’s Capitol Hill office. DeMint, a South Carolina conservative, made clear to the group that he would remain unaligned during the presidential primary. But he wanted to give his colleagues, especially the freshmen, a chance to converse with the GOP front-runner.
One of those first-term members, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, came away impressed. A successful and mild-mannered former businessman, Johnson appreciated Romney’s focus on economic growth and attention to the ballooning federal debt, which has become the senator’s bailiwick. “We were able to ask some pretty pointed questions,” he tells National Review Online. “That gave me a great deal of confidence that [Romney] fully understands the problem.”
“He’s got a background in finance and we’re dealing with huge budget deficits,” Johnson says. “It’s important that we have somebody in the White House who understands the problem, who acknowledges the problem, and who will solve the problem. That’s what’s missing.”