If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survives next week’s recall election, Schnur said, he will become an “extremely valuable” surrogate, as is Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.). “These are all people who carry more currency with conservative voters than Romney himself,” he said.
The same could be said for some of Romney’s rivals from the primaries, including former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former senator Rick Santorum. Gingrich has surprised some Romney allies with his strong defense of Romney in recent appearances, and plans are underway for Santorum to stump in battleground states to help rally conservatives behind Romney.
Campbell would not discuss Santorum’s plans, but a Republican close to Santorum said he intends to campaign for Romney in parts of the industrial Midwest, where he connected with social conservatives and white working-class voters in the primaries.
Romney saw this week the damage some off-message surrogates can cause. As he clinched the nomination on Tuesday night, he shared the stage at a Las Vegas fundraiser with real estate mogul Donald Trump, who had spent the day reasserting his debunked belief that President Obama was born outside the United States.
Last Sunday, Rudy Giuliani went on CNN’s “State of the Union” as a Romney surrogate only to give a back-handed endorsement by saying his job creation record as mayor of New York was stronger than Romney’s as governor of Massachusetts.
Such slip-ups are more the exception than the rule, however, and Romney believes it’s a risk worth taking.
“I don’t agree with all the people who support me, and my guess is that they don’t all agree with everything I believe in, but I need to get 50.1 percent or more, and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people,” Romney told reporters this week.
The Romney campaign is trying to spotlight non-political surrogates as well. It booked Staples founder Tom Stemberg, who worked with Romney at Bain Capital, on CNBC Wednesday morning. Actor Jon Voight, NFL player Nick Mangold, comedian Jeff Foxworthy and singer Kid Rock have campaigned with Romney. And endorsements from Olympic champion speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Derek Parra play at the beginning of Romney’s tele-town hall conference calls with voters.
The campaign is enlisting Latino supporters to give Spanish-language interviews and visit community events in states including Florida, Nevada and Colorado.