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Mitt Romney Campaign Deploys Heavy Hitter Surrogates In Iowa

First Posted: 12/28/2011 8:19 am Updated: 12/28/2011 8:45 am

Mitt Romney's campaign has executed most of its plays in the Republican primary in a way that reveal forethought and strategic planning, and the way they are rolling out big name surrogates on Romney's behalf in the days before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses is another example.

As Romney meets with voters Wednesday morning in Muscatine, Iowa, he's being accompanied by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), who is not from Iowa but who is a recognizable face to many voters in southeast Iowa, since his district is less than an hour over the state line.

Schock is scheduled to accompany Romney to his other two events of the day in Iowa's southeast region.

A few minutes after Romney's event in Muscatine begins, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) will headline a breakfast with Romney supporters on the other side of the state, in Sioux City, Iowa. Sioux City, of course, is near Iowa's northwest corner, just over the state line from Thune's home state and not far from Minnesota either. Missouri also adjoins Iowa on its southern border.

Thune, Coleman and Talent are also doing three events in the northwest portion of the state, going to Le Mars and Orange City after their breakfast in Sioux City.

On Friday, the Romney campaign will deploy New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to three stops in more urban populated parts of the state, with a stop in Des Moines, another in Cedar Rapids, and a third in Dubuque, which is near the state border with Wisconsin and Illinois.

In another example of what is likely the Romney campaign's behind the scenes maneuvering, a sitting congressman and a governor who also served in the House are going after Romney's primary opponent Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker from Georgia.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter -- who have both endorsed Romney -- told the Des Moines Register that, contrary to what Gingrich has argued, he did lobby the House in 2003 to vote in favor of the Medicare Part D legislation that angered many conservatives because of its cost.

“He told us, ‘If you can’t pass this bill, you don’t deserve to govern as Republicans,’” Flake told the Register, guaranteeing coverage in Iowa. "If that’s not lobbying, I don’t know what is.”

Gingrich was out of Congress in 2003, and was a paid consultant to two large pharmaceutical companies that stood to benefit from the passage of the Medicare legislation, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc.. He was also a paid consultant to the pharmaceutical industry's trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Gingrich has already come under fire for receiving $1.6 million from Freddie Mac over the better part of a decade after he left Congress. The fees from the government-backed mortgage giant play into the impression that Gingrich forsook conservative principles in order to cash in on his Washington connections.

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