About a month ago, it looked as if Mitt Romney's presidential campaign had the worst surrogates ever -- several of the former governor's highest profile supporters had no qualms about saying how wrong Romney is on major issues of the day.
Chris Christie went off-message with Oprah.
Gov. Chris Christie told Oprah Winfrey in an interview broadcast tonight on OWN that a lot depends on whether he'll run for president in 2016, but one thing's for sure: "In terms of me, I'll be much more ready four years from now," he said.
Wrong answer. Four years from now, President Romney is supposed to be seeking a second term, at least according to Christie's preferred scenario. For the New Jersey governor to be talking to Oprah about his possible 2016 intentions is to work from the assumption that President Obama will win re-election.
And that's not what leading Romney surrogates are supposed to say on national television. [Update: Politico reported this last night, but Christie made the remarks in January, three months after he made his Romney endorsement.]
Similarly, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a likely Romney running mate, conceded yesterday, "There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president -- but they didn't."
Can't you just feel the passionate support? On Wednesday, Rubio threw his support to Romney, and on Thursday, Rubio admitted he's only backing Romney because better candidates didn't run.
While we're at it, let's not forget that shortly after Bob Dole endorsed Romney, Dole said the former governor "has to answer to" the party over his support for health care mandates. Moreover, former Virginia Rep. and NRCC Chairman Tom Davis endorsed Romney, but noted on the record, "He may not be Mr. Personality. You know, he's the guy who gives the fireside chat and the fire goes out."
This is a Romney supporter.
The list of off-message surrogates just keeps getting longer.
Rep. Joe Heck (R) in Nevada is a top Romney backer in the Silver State and a campaign surrogate, but he doesn't mind talking publicly about how wrong Romney is on housing policy. Randy Pullen, a former Arizona Republican Party chairman and a top campaign backer in the state, offered this assessment of the race: "Santorum connects with people. Unfortunately, my guy has a hard time doing that."
What's more, Rep. Fred Upton (R), a top Romney backer in Michigan, said Romney was wrong about the auto-industry rescue, while Sen. John McCain (R), a very high-profile supporter, told a national television audience Romney's position on Taliban negotiations isn't his position.
Then there's Romney's other group of surrogates: the ones he doesn't want to talk to anymore. Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu was a top campaign surrogate until his recent scandal, and Rep.Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) was a leading surrogate before he was caught up in his own ethics controversies.
And in case all of this weren't quite enough, Romney backer Jon Huntsman argued support of "some sort of third-party movement or some alternative voice out there that can put forward new ideas."
With friends like these, who needs enemies?