Romney and McCain: "Frenemies" With Benefits

Four years ago the now-cozy pair went head to head for the GOP nomination.

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Sen. John McCain delivered a glowing endorsement of Mitt Romney Wednesday, but take a trip down memory lane and things weren't always so chummy between the two.

Four years ago, the once-archenemies locked horns for the same GOP nomination Romney seeks now, and back then, McCain had more than a few choice words for the former Massachusetts governor, calling him a liar and serial flip-flopper.

But apparently that's all water under the bridge now. McCain has since done a flip-flop himself, and was introduced by his new bestie as a "hero" at an event in New Hampshire, according to a local paper there.

"This man has the knowledge, the background, and the vision," McCain said. "I'm asking you to send him to South Carolina with such momentum that it can't be stopped."

But whether McCain's newfound ability to tolerate the man he once called a "very liberal Republican" can propel Romney to victory is another story. There are a lot of skeptics out there, including (unsurprisingly) fellow GOP contender and former Utah Gov.Jon Huntsman.

[Read: Who Is Rick Santorum.]

"You can get all the Doles and all the McCains in the world — as Romney probably will," Huntsman said. "But in the end, nobody cares."

Heading into the New Hampshire primaries with a solid lead, Romney's biggest challenge might still be to come: wooing Christian conservative voters in South Carolina and Florida. The former governor is campaigning for the remainder of the week in South Carolina—a state McCain won fairly decisively in 2008.

Along for the ride as well is South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley who's also endorsed Romney. Only time will tell if name dropping is enough to get Romney the support he seeks in the southern states.

mhandley@usnews.com

Twitter: @mmhandley

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