In it, but not of it. TPM DC

GOPers Struggle To Say Anything Good About Romney

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In a more serious moment, Gohmert acknowledged that the right is stuck with Romney, and needs to make the best of it.

"I'm not as excited as I am desperate," he said. "It's a desperate situation. We've got to get this White House in the hands of a new president."

The highest praise any panelist could offer was that Republicans' commitment to defeating President Obama will ultimately excite and unite conservatives -- implying that Romney's own qualities won't suffice on their own, nor will they be the key motivating force for the GOP base.

"The excitement, the passion," said Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), "will come from getting Barack Obama out of the White House."

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) found many things to be excited about -- including the opportunity to change course on policy and maintain the Supreme Court conservative majority -- but Romney himself didn't make the list.

"I'm excited that the process is over," he said. "I'm excited that we have, potentially, a nominee that is going to be taking it to Obama. And I'm excited that we are going to be able to contrast visions between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party."

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the influential, and deeply conservative Republican Study Committee, left no doubt that conservatives will work hard to elect Romney, given the alternative.

"I would say first, we're excited about the opportunity to beat Barack Obama," Jordan said. "You're going to see conservatives unite behind [Romney] and do everything we can to help him win this November."

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) said it's time for conservatives to get over their gripes.

"Face it, we got the best candidate that we could out of the process," he said. "The primary worked. Competition works ... And we got the best candidate we can get to beat this president, and for that reason I am excited about it."

When it came to making the case for Romney, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) did the best he could.

"I believe we've got a candidate in Mitt Romney who's got experience as a businessman, as a senior executive, a chief executive," he said. "And I believe we're going to see America move forward."

About The Author

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.