Mitt Romney placed a phone call to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain Tuesday, a sign he is attempting to recapture his support before launching another bid.
"He told me he is seriously considering it, and we discussed issues and friendships and things like that," McCain told a scrum of reporters on Capitol Hill. "We had a long conversation. We are very good friends."
McCain wouldn't divulge details of the conversation, but he did say he told Romney he understood wanting to run again for the White House.
Like most Republicans on Capitol Hill eying a slew of alternative choices, McCain's been reticent to lend his unabashed support to Romney this early in the game. But McCain says he told Romney he understands if that is what Romney feels he should do. Romney, he noted, "has a legitimate reason for a rerun" based on his critiques of the Obama administration's foreign policy foibles, alone.
"It's a free country," McCain told a group of reporters about whether or not Romney should run. "Obviously, the things that were debated about national security—clearly the president was completely wrong and Mitt has a point there."
McCain said he would seriously consider supporting Romney eventually, but he joked that he would rather support Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, whom he has encouraged to run.
When asked if he ever considers jumping into the pool of presidential contenders again, McCain laughed.
"Of course I think about it. I dream about it," he joked. His face turned more serious. "I have learned my lesson."
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.