Conservative leader says GOP will unite behind Romney, but isn't endorsing

The chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), says Republicans will “unite strongly” behind Mitt Romney if he wins the party’s nomination, though Jordan himself is not ready to endorse the former Massachusetts governor.

“Right now it looks like it’s going to be Mitt Romney. He has paid his dues, he has fought the good fight, and if he emerges as the winner, I’m going to be behind him 100 percent to help him beat Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe true commander in tweet Meghan Markle's pre-royal 'finishing lessons' and an etiquette of equality Hannity on Acosta claim he was tough on Obama: 'Only thing missing were the pom-poms' MORE this fall,” Jordan said Thursday in an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” which will be broadcast on Sunday.

Jordan leads a conservative bloc in the House that comprises more than half of the Republican Conference and is known as an incubator of conservative policies.

He said he would be comfortable if Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) or former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) won the nomination. 

Jordan downplayed concerns that the prolonged and occasionally caustic GOP primary fight would hurt the party’s chances of taking the White House, but he acknowledged that what would drive most conservative voters to the polls this fall is not so much their own candidate as the chance to defeat President Obama.

“Two words: Barack Obama,” Jordan said. “If Mitt Romney’s the guy, that’s what gets us excited, is we do not want a second term for the guy who’s in the White House now.”

Party leaders have begun to rally around Romney's candidacy in recent weeks, and the former Massachusetts governor earned the endorsement of Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer Anti-Maduro Venezuelans not unlike anti-Castro Cubans of yore Tax reform postmortem reveals lethal dose of crony capitalism MORE (R-Fla.), a Tea Party favorite, on Thursday. Jordan, however, said he wasn't ready to endorse.

In the House, the RSC has made life difficult for Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerGOP revolts multiply against retiring Ryan Can Jim Jordan become top House Republican? Tensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP MORE (R-Ohio) as he’s tried to corral Republican votes for key legislation. Jordan said the committee’s role is to try to push the conference to the right. 

The 2010 elections that ushered in a House GOP majority, Jordan said, were not about compromise. 

“They weren’t about us coming here and getting along with President Obama,” Jordan said. “They weren’t about us coming here and working with [Senate Majority Leader] Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE — they were about us stopping the Obama agenda, stopping healthcare, stopping the crazy, out-of-control spending, stopping all the quote 'stimulus' spending, stopping the tax increases.

“So that’s why the voters sent me here and sent this huge class of freshmen here,” he said. “Our job is to stop him.”

As for BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerGOP revolts multiply against retiring Ryan Can Jim Jordan become top House Republican? Tensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP MORE, Jordan said: “I would argue that the Speaker has done a good job in a tough situation — maybe the toughest job in this town, maybe the toughest job in America right now is what Speaker Boehner has to do. It’s a tough job. I would argue he’s handled it pretty darn well.”

Jordan said he couldn’t envision a scenario in which Boehner wasn’t the Speaker next year if Republicans keep the House, and predicted the party would elect “largely the same leadership team.”