John McCain got some help Thursday from former Republican rival Mitt Romney, a pairing that months ago seemed improbable as the two fought bitterly for the party's presidential nomination.
In their first campaign swing as allies, Romney appeared with the likely Republican nominee at a private fundraiser in this Republican bastion. The two were traveling to Denver for a second fundraiser.
They were joined by Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., an early McCain supporter whose name has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential pick. Meg Whitman, the outgoing chief executive of eBay Inc., and a former Romney backer, also joined them.
McCain, who has struggled to raise campaign money compared with Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, is on a weeklong western fundraising swing. Romney is popular in Utah and Colorado, states with large numbers of residents who are members of his Mormon faith.
The former Massachusetts governor dropped out of the race last month after it became apparent it would be near impossible to topple McCain in the convention delegate race. A week later, he endorsed the Arizona senator and pledged to do whatever he could to help McCain win the nomination.
Since then, McCain has praised Romney repeatedly as someone who is certain to continue playing a large role in the GOP. Romney, for his part, has suggested that he'd accept the No. 2 spot on the ticket, though some Republicans privately speculate that he's looking ahead to 2012 and a possible repeat run.
Neither man appeared especially fond of the other during the campaign. Romney cast McCain as outside of the GOP's conservative mainstream and a Washington insider who contributed to the problems plaguing a broken system. McCain, in turn, argued that Romney's equivocations and reversals on several issues indicated a willingness to change his positions to fit his political goals.