(CNN) – As Mitt Romney makes waves overseas, his campaign has deployed a crowd of possible vice presidential picks to continue hammering home the Republican candidate’s message on American soil.
The slew of high-profile surrogates covered the country over the weekend hounding President Barack Obama for what they say is a failed economic and foreign policy, all the while singing Romney’s praise.
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Of Romney's supposed shortlist of possible running mates - Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell – all made appearances on the trail while the presidential hopeful is away.
As Romney meets with top officials on the second leg of his three-country swing in Israel, Ayotte appeared on CNN's “State of the Union with Candy Crowley” on Sunday to talk, among other topics, of Romney’s performance thus far on the foreign stage.
Asked by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley if Romney’s trip was progressing the way she imagined, Ayotte affirmed her support for the candidate’s foreign policy credentials following a series of international blunders, including Romney’s expressed concern over London’s Olympic preparedness while in Great Britain meeting with top officials.
“Well, I can tell you that certainly, Mitt Romney is going to be strong on American exceptionalism, and strong foreign policy for America, and he won't go around and apologize for America,” said Ayotte, referring to a 2009 speech given by a freshly-elected Obama in Cairo.
Conservatives frequently cite Obama's foreign swing soon after becoming president as an "apology tour," though independent fact checkers point out he never uttered the words "I'm sorry" at any point during his trip.
On Sunday, Ayotte also criticized the president’s handling of the conflict in Syria, defining Obama’s tactics as an ‘outsource’ of leadership to the United Nations.
The potential number two continued touting the former businessman’s revival of the 2002 Olympic Games, wrought with scandal and mismanagement before Romney’s takeover.
“When Salt Lake City was in trouble, Mitt Romney stepped in, served his community,” said Ayotte. “He went in, he served his country. Salt Lake City was a success. America was proud. And now we need someone to clean up Barack Obama's mess, and Mitt Romney is the person to do it.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan stumped for Romney on Sunday in his home state and potential battleground of Wisconsin along with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Sen. Ron Johnson. The three visited campaign offices throughout the state.
Rubio, considered a rising star on the Republican stage, took the Romney campaign's message out West, speaking at a victory rally in Las Vegas on Saturday. Rubio handed down harsh criticism of the president's managing of the economy and derided the commander in chief for having no belief or understanding of the concept of free enterprise.
Further defining the choice between Romney and Obama, Rubio said, "You're not just working to get rid of somebody, you're working to replace somebody with someone like Mitt Romney who understands what's made us prosperous in the past and understands what will make us prosperous in the future as well.”
Portman, stationed in the Midwest, campaigned for the Republican contender in his delegate-rich home state of Ohio while Pawlenty campaigned in North Carolina on Saturday.
Jindal took Romney's message to Iowa with McDonnell on a “We Did Build That” tour on Thursday, touting the former Massachusetts governor's economic prowess and harping on a highly repeated remark made by Obama at a campaign event in Virginia.
Rubio was also slated to appear in Iowa Saturday but after airplane malfunctions following his Las Vegas appearance, he phoned into the Des Monies event instead from his temporary landing spot in New Mexico.
With Romney abroad until Tuesday, the candidate's vice presidential pick is expected to be announced between his return and the Republican National Convention in Tampa, which begins August 27.
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