Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), just like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, can't win the Republican presidential nomination without knocking Mitt Romney out of the frontrunner spot. And yet, Paul has a confusingly chummy relationship with Romney. A recent analysis by liberal site ThinkProgress found that Paul hasn't attacked Romney once in the 20 GOP presidential debates to date, although the Texan went after his other rivals with relish repeatedly. Rick Santorum has gone so far as to accuse Paul and Romney of colluding to deny Santorum the nomination. Has Paul abandoned his principles to help Romney win?

Ron Paul has sold out: Paul is the "most ideologically pure fiscal conservative" in the field, says Molly Ball at The Atlantic, and Romney is the "least conservative, least consistent, [and] most establishmentarian." So why on Earth has Paul given Romney a free pass? Paul denies charges of collusion, and maintains that the two are simply friends. But Paul has clearly "sold out" and started "playing lapdog," probably because, after his years in the wilderness, "someone important has finally been nice to him," ushering Paul "into the sacred clubhouse of legitimacy."
"Does the Romney-Ron Paul pact make Paul a sellout?"

Give me a break. Ron Paul hasn't changed a bit: "The world is full of dark mysteries and sneaky tricks," says Brian Doherty at Reason, and it's theoretically possible that "Ron Paul's campaign is in secret alliance with Mitt Romney, the Axis Powers, Victor von Doom, and the Reptilians." But where's the legitimate evidence? Paul has a clear record of "criticizing specific things Romney said" with which he disagrees — on issues such as Afghanistan, military spending cuts, and the indefinite detention of terror suspects. How, exactly, is that selling out?
"More on the Paul/Romney non-alliance"

But we can't deny this "bromance": Romney and Paul obviously share "something special," says Joshua Green in The Boston Globe. Though Romney clearly benefits from the "bromance," it's "harder to fathom" what's in it for Paul. One popular theory: Paul wants his son, controversial Tea Party Sen. Rand Paul, to be Romney's running mate. But "that's nuts." It's more likely that Romney would reward Paul with an audit of the Federal Reserve and a prime speaking slot at the convention — which would make the Texan an awfully "cheap date."
"Romney and Paul, what a curious couple"