House majority leader and Virginia congressman Eric Cantor become the first member of the Republican leadership to back a presidential candidate today. The announcement, coming just two days before his home state goes to the polls on Super Tuesday, came during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press this morning, when the conservative star fingered Mitt Romney as his candidate of choice, explaining, "Who's going to best be able to lead this economy back to a growth mode, create jobs so people can feel better about the future? And I just think there's one candidate in the race who can do that, and that's Mitt Romney." (Watch the video below.)
Meanwhile, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn also announced he was backing Romney in an op-ed published in The Oklahoman, in which he wrote:
"I'm proud to support Romney because he is a leader. What Romney has done in his 25 years in the private sector is precisely what we need a president to do in Washington. Romney has done hard things. He has turned businesses around, told people hard truths about what needed to be done, inspired confidence and overcome excuses. Romney is not a career politician or a career legislator. As a former governor and business leader, he is an executive who knows how to use executive power."
Here are some reactions from around the web to the high-profile endorsement:
James Wolcott, via Twitter:
"I didn't think anyone could be smarmier on a Sunday morning than Newt Gingrich and then Eric Cantor popped up."
Maggie Haberman, Burns & Haberman:
"As Jonathan and I wrote this morning, a number of high-profile Republicans have started making a push for the curtain to drop on the primary after Super Tuesday, and Cantor is the latest to show a desire for a battle that has driven up Romney's negatives to come to a close."
Katharine Q. Seelye, The Caucus:
"Mr. Cantor’s support could be a sign that Republican leaders who have been sitting on the fence are now willing to show their hand in what has become a hotly contested battle that some feel has been potentially damaging to the party’s chances in the November general election."
@EricCantor, via Twitter:
I am endorsing @MittRomney for President of the United States, because he is the only candidate with a bold pro-growth, pro-jobs plan.
@MittRomney, via Twitter:
Thank you @EricCantor for joining the team and helping get our message out prior to Virginia’s primary! #Mitt2012