Scott Brown on Thursday called Mitt Romney “Republican-light” before immediately correcting himself at the CPAC conference in Washington.
The cringe-worthy moment came in the midst of Sen. Brown's (R-Mass.) otherwise very warm introduction for the former Massachusetts governor.
“It is my truly, truly my unique pleasure to introduce to you one of the Republican light – one of Republican Party’s bright lights and a man I once called my governor and now I’m even more proud to call my very, very dear friend,” Brown said.
A Freudian slip? Romney often parried charges in the 2008 Republican presidential primary that he was not a true conservative because of his past support for abortion rights and gun control.
Few conservatives in the packed conference hall appeared to notice the slip and gave Romney a rousing round of applause when he took the stage.
Brown has credited Romney for being one of the earliest supporters of his campaign to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).
But there might be some tension between Romney and Brown if Brown harbors any ambition to run for president in 2012.
Romney is expected to run for the White House in 2012 and would not be happy about competing with his political protégé.
A GOP strategist who advised Romney’s ’08 campaign predicted that Brown’s political aides will steer him away from a 2012 run because they are still loyal to the former governor.
“The team around him will uniformly recommend that running for president is the dumbest thing because they’re dead loyal to Mitt Romney,” said the strategist.
After his speech, Brown declined to comment on Romney’s White House ambitions.
“I’m not sure what his plans are,” said Brown. “I’m here actually just to support him. I’ve known him for many, many years and I have great respect for him and his family.”
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