Norm Coleman signs onto Romney campaign

WASHINGTON – Minnesota’s high-profile Republicans are lining up to support Mitt Romney’s presidential bid over home state candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The latest Romney endorsement comes today from former Sen. Norm Coleman, according to a release from the Romney campaign. Coleman’s official title will be Special Adviser on Policy.

“His advice will be critical as I lay out my vision for improving our economy at home and strengthening our partnerships around the world,” Romney said in a statement.

In the same statement, Coleman, who is Jewish, picked up on an attack line that Republicans have been using against President Obama, that his policies hurt Israel.

“As a strong supporter of Israel, I am also confident that he is the best candidate to restore America’s relationship with Israel,” said Coleman.

Coleman, who was defeated in 2008 by DFL Sen. Al Franken, now works as a lobbyist in Washington, DC but has not ruled out running for office again.

This latest endorsement for Romney joins endorsements by other senior Minnesota Republicans in the past month, including former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whose own presidential bid sputtered, and former Minnesota Congressman and Washington insider Vin Weber.

So far, Bachmann has not garnered any high-profile endorsements from Minnesota Republicans, including the state’s three other Republicans who serve in the U.S. House.

UPDATE: In a brief interview with MPR News this afternoon, Coleman emphasized Romney’s electability as a candidate compared to others, such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.

“I think he [Romney] brings some things to the table that makes him the best choice, the best opportunity for our team to reclaim the White House,” said Coleman.

While backing Romney, Coleman did not criticize Bachmann and went so far as to say he was a “big fan” of the Stillwater Congresswoman.

Coleman said he would play a role in actively courting the Jewish community, where Republicans see a chance to make inroads.

The former senator emphasized that his endorsement was personal and that it did not extend to the American Action Network, the outside conservative political group that Coleman founded. That is significant because the AAN was a major player in last year’s midterm elections, pumping $26 million worth of advertising into crucial electoral races.

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