Romney's embrace of congressional Republicans comes at a time when the public, whose view of the legislative branch can generously be described as dim, is focused more on the enervated global economy than presidential politics. That gives Romney the chance to make inroads with Washington's GOP establishment without much risk of turning off independent voters, who are not yet fully tuned into the race. All while seeing how the Obama campaign's attacks play in the media.
To wit: Today, Romney will appear with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan in Wisconsin -- usually a Democratic stronghold but possibly in play for Republicans after GOP Gov. Scott Walker's recent tour de force in political survival.
On Sunday, Romney made home state appearances with Ohio's Sen. Rob Portman, widely seen as a frontrunner to be Romney's No. 2, and House Speaker John Boehner.
And President Obama's advisers are taking every opportunity to link Romney to GOP congressional leaders, who, like all lawmakers, have less than amazing approval ratings.
"It's fitting he's with John Boehner today, because Gov. Romney's going to rubber-stamp the congressional Republican agenda, which is basically [to] give huge tax cuts to the wealthy. They believe the economy works best from the top down; that's failed," David Plouffe said Sunday.
Regardless, Republicans know their fates are, at least in part, hitched to Romney's star.
"He's our guy," said Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the Republican Study Group, according to The Wall Street Journal.Update:
The Romney bus tour, with Ryan in tow, stopped in Janesville, where Romney predicted he would win Wisconsin--which hasn't picked a Republican in a presidential race since 1984--in the fall, the AP reports.
"[Obama] just assumed from the very beginning that Wisconsin was going to be his. But you know what? We're going to win Wisconsin and we're going to get in the White House," Romney said, according to the AP.
AP Photo: Top--Mitt Romney, flanked by Portman (left) and Boehner, speaks during an event in Troy, Ohio on Sunday. Bottom--Gov. Scott Walker (left) speaks at an event for Romney; Ryan applauds in the background.