Mitt Romney's 2016 Outreach Includes Tea Party Firebrand Laura Ingraham

The Washington Post reported that Mitt Romney recently wooed conservative firebrand Laura Ingraham in preparation for his potential 2016 presidential campaign. Ingraham is a right-wing media darling known for her fringe rhetoric against Democrats and undocumented immigrants, whom she has referred to as invaders who would turn the country into a “hellhole.

The Post reported that as one of his moves laying the groundwork for another potential presidential run, Romney welcomed Ingraham “to his ski home in Deer Valley, Utah” where they “spent more than one hour discussing politics and policy.” Ingraham told the Post that Romney “was relaxed, reflective and was interested in hearing my thoughts on the American working class.”

The conservative pundit regularly pushes fringe rhetoric on her radio program and as a contributor to ABC News and Fox News. She has repeatedly mocked Hispanics for how they speak; called American children of undocumented immigrants “anchor fetuses”; smeared Obama's immigration policies as comparable to “spousal abuse”; and claimed Obama's “core ties to the African continent” undermine public safety on Ebola.

Ingraham has lambasted potential Romney primary opponent Jeb Bush since the former Florida governor announced he was exploring a run for president. During a January 8 appearance on Fox Business's Imus in the Morning, Ingraham said she's not supporting anyone for president but “I have been fairly clear in one proclamation that Jeb Bush is not the right choice for the Republican Party.” She later added that “I've always liked Romney. I don't think he's going to run ... I think if you are going to run against the Bush machine, you're going to have to be willing to really take him down. And I think a lot of these people are afraid of taking on the old Bush record.”  

She has similarly criticized Bush on her radio program, and suggested his immigration policy could lead to a Paris-type attack.  

Ingraham made waves during the summer when she heavily supported tea party Republican David Brat in his underdog victory against Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

In 2006, President George W. Bush invited Ingraham, along with other conservative pundits, to the White House to lobby them on Iraq and immigration reform. The New York Times reported that “Ingraham, who recently went bike riding with the president, has continued to complain about federal spending, progress in Iraq and, lately, the Republican leadership's handling of the [Mark] Foley scandal.”

Romney also called Fox News contributor Scott Brown and CNN analyst Newt Gingrich to discuss his potential campaign, according to the Post