When you're a surrogate and prominent supporter of a presidential candidate, your campaign message should probably be focused on helping get that candidate elected. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) may have missed the memo.
New Jersey's chief executive still has his eye on the nation's highest office.
Gov. Chris Christie says he hopes fellow Republican Mitt Romney defeats President Barack Obama this November and runs again in 2016. But the Garden State's governor says he will consider a White House bid if the presidency is open in four years.
"If there's an opportunity for me to serve in another capacity, and I think I have something to add to the mix, I don't think I'd back away from it," Christie told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
If this sounds familiar, it's because Christie also talked about a 2016 campaign earlier this year -- several months after throwing his support to Romney.
At this point, Christie's supposed to be saying, "In 2016, I hope to be working in support of Romney's re-election campaign." Instead, he's openly speculating about his own presidential bid -- which is predicated on the assumption that Romney will fail.
Indeed, Christie isn't the only Romney surrogate going off-message. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) appeared on MSNBC this week and rejected Romney's argument that 2012 is "a referendum on the president."
As regular readers know, this is part of a long pattern of surrogates who just aren't helpful at all.
Earlier this month, for example, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), conceded, "The American people probably aren't going to fall in love with Mitt Romney."
In April, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) publicly criticized the Romney campaign's entire message shortly after he endorsed him. Shortly after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) threw his support to Romney, the senator said, "There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president -- but they didn't." Shortly after former NRCC Chairman Tom Davis endorsed Romney, he said on national television, "He may not be Mr. Personality. You know, he's the guy who gives the fireside chat and the fire goes out."
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 during the GOP primaries: "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 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?