In 2012 Race, GOP Candidates Rely Less On Fill-Ins

At Mitt Romney's New Hampshire headquarters, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie played a time-worn shtick for the cameras, picking up a telephone alongside volunteers who were dialing undecided voters on behalf of the candidate they support.

Christie actually called Romney and the two chatted about an upcoming debate.

"Be yourself," Christie advised, as he accomplished what he needed to while a dozen reporters watched: He generated positive media attention for a candidate who was elsewhere at the time.

When they can't be in New Hampshire, Iowa and other early voting states, presidential hopefuls traditionally have sent others in their stead.

But this campaign season, surrogates such as Christie have been scarce, in large part because the field of candidates was so slow to develop. Christie, for example, thought of jumping in until October.

"In the past, you would have had full campaign staffs for all the candidates six to eight months out at least, and some campaigns here are still just starting to put boots on the ground," said South Carolina political consultant Luke Byars.

He said aside from the candidates' wives and adult children, no stand-ins have spoken in his state, though he expects activity will pick up.

In Iowa, Rick Perry's wife, Anita, has campaigned and one of Romney's sons, Josh, filled in for his father this month at a GOP event in Des Moines. In 2008, Romney's five sons traveled the country in a Winnebago.

New Hampshire has seen a bit more activity beyond politicians' family members. In addition to Christie making pitches for Romney, former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge has campaigned for Jon Huntsman. But otherwise traffic has been light.

Tom Rath, a veteran New Hampshire political operative who has advised Romney's presidential campaigns in 2008 and this year, said surrogates are of limited use in states where voters are accustomed to close encounters with the candidates.

"Frankly, New Hampshire doesn't take kindly to surrogates. We like the candidate," he said.

He does consider Christie the ideal type of surrogate, someone who can bring independent validation of a candidate's message and explain clearly how he came to his endorsement.

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  • by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 01:15 AM
    Oooohhh, that'd be a gift! Let us run against Newt...or Romney...o­r Bachman...­or Perry..or Cain..or WHOMEVER..­.(it doesnt­s all Christmas for the Dems)...OB­AMA 2012!!!!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 04:57 PM
    RON PAUL is the only candidate with integrity and knowledge to pull this country from the hole. The rest are neocon puppets.
    • reply
      by Newt Supporter on Nov 27, 2011 at 07:03 PM in reply to
      Ron Paul would be almost as bad as Obama when it comes to national security, sorry, I would vote for him if he was the nominee but face it, he will not be.
      • reply
        by Ha Ha Ha on Nov 28, 2011 at 10:48 AM in reply to Newt Supporter
        Lets see Obama on National Security: The success in Libya, taking out al-Qaeda terrorist leaders, credit for Gadhafi’s demise, ending combat operations in Iraq to focus on Afghanistan and al-Qaeda, killings of Osama bin Laden in May and Anwar al-Awlaki in September, the end to a nine-year war where we lost almost 4,500 brave troops and he is bringing home the 39,000 remaining troops in Iraq with their heads held high — and in time for the holidays.
  • by jeez on Nov 27, 2011 at 02:32 PM
    oh my 4 comment, and four bigots, oh my! as long as there are folks like you 4, there will never be a solution, because you like all the rest of the people in washington, are too busy calling others who don't agree with you names, i would love to see both parties shoved into a deep hole and covered, then we might actually achieve something positive. otherwise all we are left with are bigots and hypocrites.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 04:52 PM in reply to jeez
      Keep you pants on, they just called it like it is. But I would love to see your enthusiasm when old Snake Oil post again....which wont be long.
      • reply
        by jeez on Nov 28, 2011 at 06:23 AM in reply to
        and i called like it actually is, you are a bigot, and as i stated you are the problem, and i guess you always will be, nothing but a bigot. good luck to you and the rest of the 99% in your sorry bigoted pathetic little lives.
  • by Pam on Nov 27, 2011 at 12:25 PM
    Its bizarre to me that these gop/tea candidates just a few short months ago that nobody wanted are now thrust into the national spotlight as our only choices for our National President. They may control over everything including our vast military and the nuclear football. Am I missing something here? Is this even happening?
    • reply
      by Liberal Media on Nov 27, 2011 at 03:06 PM in reply to Pam
      You MUST believe too much of the nonsense that the liberal media throws at you if you believe that "nobody wanted" them a few months ago. Every one of these candidates has more experience and knowledge to run this country than Obama has, even today, after three years in office. Obama has succeeded in dividing the american people, alienating our allies worldwide and spending our great-grandchildrens money. That will be his legacy and the american people who vote on ability to lead and not on party lines will see to it that he is a one term president.
      • reply
        by Barlow on Nov 27, 2011 at 06:14 PM in reply to Liberal Media
        Well, if the country were one giant pizza parlor then I would vote for Herman Cain. Because of his "experience and knowledge" in that regard.
        • reply
          by Research on Nov 27, 2011 at 07:07 PM in reply to Barlow
          Do the research Bar-low, Cain has a vast majority of knowledge and experience, the man was a rocket scientist, literally, too bad the liberal media doesn't know how to look up and post a resume so that idiots like you would know the whole truth. You are so laughable with your ignorant comments, I would be willing to bet your comments make up least 75% of the liberal comments on this site, I simply can't believe there are that many stupid people in Eastern NC.
        • reply
          by Did he just say Cain was a Rocket Scientist on Nov 28, 2011 at 01:08 AM in reply to Barlow
          To Research at 10:07: Last time I checked, being a rocket scientist is not a requirement to be the President. Bush has a MBA from the Harvard School of Business. Your point is what?
  • by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 12:08 PM
    Gonna be a long one. Long and divisive. We'll see the GOTP teeth on this one. And the country will be even more repelled than it already is by the GOP Clown Party.
  • by Geeszzz on Nov 27, 2011 at 07:35 AM
    Mitt packs neither a punch or a square jaw. If he wins the GOP primary he will be so beat up by the time President Obama gets to him there will only be two punches. President Obama hitting Mitt and Mitt hitting the floor.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 06:53 AM
    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, these idiots are priceless!

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