Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at 2:01 PM
Eleven House conservatives, most of them freshmen, held a joint media meet-up this afternoon. No real agenda. The theme was "conversations with conservatives." And the first question that tripped anybody up, from The Hill's Russ Berman, was whether members were "excited" about incoming Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
"Well, first, we're excited about the opportunity to defeat Barack Obama, more than anything," said Rep. Jim Jordan, the shirtsleeved chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
"It's high time that conservatives start getting excited," said Rep. Raul Labrador, "start working for the nominee."
Rep. Joe Walsh (profiled here), argued that Barack Obama's popularity was cratering even in Illinois. "The excitement, the passion in this race," he said, "will come from getting Barack Obama out of the White House."
Rep. Louie Gohmert, the aggressively quotable former judge from Texas, basically conceced the point. "If you're not sure about whether to support Mitt Romney," he joked, w"hether you're liberal, or whether you're very conservative, you ought to be excited, because he's been on your side at one time or another."
You could tell, in the room, that Gohmert had just created a "narrative" against Romney. Why, that was unfair. Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona reported on a meet-up with conservatives in his district last week: "They were literally handing out Romney bumper stickers in the room."
Gohmert returned to clean up his splatter. "So I'm not completely misunderstood,"* he said, "I'm not as excited as I am desparate."
*Ironically, this was originally marred by a typo.