On a high-profile evening for presidential politics, one of Mitt Romney’s closest surrogates came speeding into Central Virginia to pump up the party faithful for the vice presidential debate.
The campaign bus carrying Tagg Romney, the oldest of Mitt’s five sons, arrived about an hour late Thursday to the Albemarle County GOP headquarters in Albemarle Square but a crowd of about 75 people was there to greet him.
Tagg Romney, 42, was scheduled to watch the vice presidential debate with the University of Virginia College Republicans at the last stop of a four-city tour through the state.
Though Thursday’s tour was a fairly standard campaign swing, rumors have swirled that Tagg may have played a bigger role in shifting the overarching strategy of the Romney campaign.
A POLITICO story published Tuesday described Tagg as being at the center of a “family intervention” that shook up the campaign in order to foster “a softer and more moderate image.”
In a brief interview on the bus Thursday before he spoke to the crowd, Tagg called that notion a “fairy tale.”
“It was totally made up,” Tagg said. “I’m here; how am I running things in Boston?”
He said he’s spent most of his time in recent weeks on the road trying to help his dad get elected.
“I have every confidence in the campaign team back at home,” Tagg said. “It was a good story, but it wasn’t based in reality.”
Tagg also weighed in on the first presidential debate between his father and President Barack Obama.
“We needed to get my dad’s message out. And the debate was a good chance for people to see him unfiltered from the media, unfiltered from attack ads,” he said. “And we knew that as soon as people saw that that people would warm up to him pretty quickly.”
The Romneys aren’t breaking new ground by making the presidential campaign a family affair.
Chelsea Clinton pitched in to help her mother’s presidential bid in the 2008 Democratic primary. The Bush twins did the same for their father in 2004.
“A candidate can’t go everywhere, so it’s helpful to have as many surrogates as you can,” said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “And I think members of the family are probably pretty effective surrogates.