Veep Beat: While Mitt's Away, Surrogates Take Stage

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ROMNEY SURROGATES FLOOD THE FIELD: Mitt Romney may be abroad, but his campaign is deploying a number of surrogates over the next week to make sure the presumptive GOP nominee's message is relayed to voters. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Virginia Gov. McDonnell will jump on a Romney campaign bus tour called the "We Did Build That" tour in Iowa Thursday to stump for Romney. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also is expected to hold a rally, his first solo campaigning slot for Romney, at an elementary school in Las Vegas Saturday. With Romney abroad through mind-next week, will we see any other surrogates/VP contenders on the trail for him?

HEAD OF VP SEARCH KEEPS SECRET EVEN FROM FAMILY: ABC News' Chris Good reported on the head of Romney's VP search Beth Myers' attempts to keep the vice presidential search process a secret, even from her family as they pepper her with questions at the dinner table. "Beth Myers, who is leading Mitt Romney's search for a running mate, rallied about 55 Republican women at a Mexican restaurant in Ashburn, Virginia, on Tuesday. While Myers gave few details on the search process and took no questions afterward, she did say she was pleased with Romney's options," Good wrote. "'This year we have a ton of qualified Republicans. It is amazing. It made my job really, really hard because it wasn't a year where there were three people who might fit the bill. We have a deep bench, including your governor,' Myers said, referring to Virginia's Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has been seen as a second tier possibility in Romney's search. '"

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T-PAW WOULD BE 'HONORED' TO BE VP: ABC News' Shushannah Walshe highlights this Tim Pawlenty interview with Hot Air's Ed Morrissey in which he says he'd be "honored" if asked to serve as Romney's vice president. "As for me I've been down this road before," Pawlenty said in an interview with Hot Air's Ed Morrissey. "Last time in 2008 I was on the short list. I really want to help Gov. Romney as I can as a volunteer. I think I can help him best in other ways, but obviously anybody would be honored to be asked to consider serving in such a position." The possible running mate did list the qualities that should be found in a vice president including "somebody who is ready to be president of the United States, has the requisite experience and maturity and judgment, discernment, wisdom, strength to be president and all the other characteristics you want to see in that office."

PORTMAN'S TROUBLE WITH STEEL: If selected as Romney's running mate, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, may face attacks from Dems for urging President Bush's negotiators in 2005 to not implement restrictions on Chinese steel imports, Politico's Scott Wong reported. "Democrats have made no secret of how they would skewer Ohio Sen. Rob Portman if Mitt Romney puts him on the ticket: by tying the former White House budget guru to former President George W. Bush and his controversial economic policies. That's the broad-brush. But there's one particularly potent line of attack top Democratic strategists are itching to launch. As Bush's top trade negotiator in 2005, Portman urged the president not to impose restrictions on cheap Chinese steel imports, causing a drop in sales and job losses for the U.S. steel industry."

ROMNEY ADVISOR TOUTING RUBIO: One Romney advisor is still hoping the presumptive GOP nominee will place Marco Rubio on the GOP ticket this fall, the Washington Post's Peter Wallsten reported. "Al Cardenas, a Rubio mentor and fellow Cuban American from Miami, tells The Post that Rubio would be the smartest choice because the excitement among Hispanic voters in key states and core conservative voters nationally would help boost the Romney's campaign's crucial get-out-the-vote machinery," Wallsten wrote. "Cardenas, a former Florida GOP chairman who now heads the American Conservative Union, said he thinks Rubio's presence on the ticket would boost Romney's turnout performance in Florida by as many as four percentage points. That's a big deal in a race that appears to be a dead heat.'There's a turnout factor that's hard to ignore when you're even-steven in the race,' Cardenas said."

CHRISTIE MAINTAINS HIGH APPROVAL RATING: ABC News' Shushannah Walshe reported that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's approval rating remains above 50 percent, according to another poll in the Garden State. The latest survey from Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press shows the tough-talking governor with 52 percent approval while 35 percent of resident disapprove among all New Jersey residents. Earlier this month, a Quinnipiac poll showed New Jersey voters approve 54 to 39 percent of the job their governor is doing.

JEB BUSH TO IOWA: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will head to Iowa, a state whose caucuses his brother George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2008 and his father, George H.W. Bush won in 1992, in October, ABC News' Shushannah Walshe reported. "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is heading to Sioux City in October. He will be the keynote speaker at the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on Oct. 8. A spokesperson for Bush confirms the speaking engagement, first reported by ABC News' Sioux City affiliate KCAU," Walshe wrote. "Although he has repeatedly ruled out sharing the ballot with Mitt Romney, telling ABC News' Jon Karl just last month, 'I am not a candidate … I'm not going to be asked,' he has left the door open to a future run for the White House, telling CBS' Charlie Rose in June he has 'not made that decision' when asked if he will run in the future."

CHRISTIE WEARS A LEI, LAUDS MARGARITA VILLE ON THE JERSEY SHORE: Watch Chris Christie hold a press conference in a lei as he welcomes the Margaritaville restaurant to Atlantic City.

RUBIO MEETS ELTON: Rubio met with musician Elton John, who is in Washington, D.C. this week for the International AIDS conference. Rubio's office distributed this photo of the meeting. Rubio will sit on a panel discussion Wednesday at the International AIDS conference and will express his support for foreign assistance programs like PEPFAR.


@robportman: Had another teletownhall mtg tonight- great questions including from Jeff - hardworking Ohioan who understands what's made our country great

@govchristie: . @jimmybuffett Great meeting u in AC 4 Margaritaville groundbreaking. Once it opens, come back & we'll grab a #CheeseburgerInParadise #DOAC

@governorva: We are thrilled that Morooka chose Virginia for its first U.S. location, creating up to 50 new jobs in Hanover! …

@kellyayotte: Senator Ayotte at Marine Corps parade @ arlington natl cemetery this evening w families of wounded warriors