John McCain Endorses Mitt Romney Says his former rival 'will lead from the front' By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jan 4, 2012 1:29 PM CST 16 comments Comments In this 2010 photo from Mesa, Ariz., John McCain, right, answers questions with Mitt Romney at a town hall meeting. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Newser) – No last-minute change of heart: As expected, John McCain today endorsed former rival Mitt Romney for president in New Hampshire, reports NPR. "He will lead from the front as Ronald Reagan did, not from behind as this president does," said McCain. Four years ago, Romney endorsed McCain after dropping out of the GOP race, and McCain returned the favor today. “I am really here for one reason and one reason only, and that is to make sure that Mitt Romney is the next president of the United States,” McCain said. The move, however, may not do much to rally conservatives behind Romney, writes Ben Smith, formerly of Politico and now at BuzzFeed. McCain has never been a favorite in that camp, and this "may even intensify the alienation of a vocal group of grassroots conservatives." It should, however, make Romney even tougher to beat next week in New Hampshire, notes Alicia M. Cohn at the Hill.