Fiery freshman Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., labels Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney as “center to center-left,” though not in a critical way.
West told the South Florida Sun Sentinel
in an interview that he’s not ready to endorse a candidate yet.
In the aftermath of the Iowa caucuses, “the top three that finished is a broad spectrum across the Republican Party,” West said.
“You have a person that is center to center-left [former Massachusetts Gov. Romney], you have someone that is center to the right [former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum], and you have a libertarian [Texas Rep. Ron Paul]. Now the question is how can they continue to play their message out with the other primaries. . . . So it’ll be interesting, but like I said, you see the entire spectrum across the Republican Party.”
As for Romney, “Let’s be very honest,” West said. “He did govern a blue state in Massachusetts, so I think that how he presented himself as a New England Republican is probably different from what a person would see as a Republican, or definitely a conservative, when you come down into the Bible belt, the southeast, and maybe even the Midwest.
So do conservative Republicans trust Romney? “There’s a trust factor I think period with politics,” West said. “I think that even with the Democratic Party and the liberals, a lot of things that President Barack Obama said he was going to do he didn’t do. So there’s a little bit of a trust factor period.”
West said he doesn’t view Romney as a flip-flopper. “I’m not into name calling, all that kind of stuff,” he said. “The guy, he governed a certain way in Massachusetts. And I think that everyone believes in redemption. So you can come back and re-create yourself and how he would govern the United States of America would probably be a lot different.”
Asked whether he considers Romney a conservative, West said, “I’ll have to sit down. I have to have an opportunity to talk to him at some point in time. I’m sure I will.”
West expects the Jan. 31 Florida primary to play a major role in determining the nominee. “Florida’s a very diverse state. It’s a very large state. It’s a swing state. And I think it would be really indicative of the way forward as far as this Republican primary,” he said.
Romney comes into Florida with advantages, West said. “You have to look at the fact that already Gov. Romney has a pretty established ground game down here,” he said.
“And that goes back to the fact that he did run in 2008, and so you build upon that. Rick Santorum will have to try to pick that game up as you go through New Hampshire, South Carolina. And Ron Paul is once again, he still has a pretty good ground game. It is already established here from 2008, so we’ll see what happens.”
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