From NBC/NJ's Erin McPike
ALTOONA, Iowa -- Romney may be behind Huckabee in Iowa, but with scores of national reporters in nearby Des Moines checking out his message this morning, McCain remains his top target.
Again this morning he's touting his role as a change agent. He said that he can't forecast what will happen in the election, but he'd offer some of his thoughts on elections generally. One of his thoughts was, "No one votes for yesterday; they vote for tomorrow." He went on. "Elections are about the future, our future, our family's future, our nation's future."
Over the course of the last week, Romney started hitting harder the Washington outsider game that he brings as a governor from outside the Beltway. He told New Hampshire voters last weekend that if they wanted a politician who has spent nearly three decades in Washington, he was the wrong guy -- a direct swipe at McCain.
And even though he's steering clear of direct attacks on his opponents on the stump in Iowa for his final round of appearances, he's still on the offensive against McCain by beating the drum on the future throughout the day yesterday and again this morning.
He's also bringing out the surrogates. Ann Romney joined him and spoke for half of the allotted time at all six events yesterday, and although she has a separate schedule today, she did join him at the first stop at the coffeehouse this morning. The first of her events is a house party hosted by Diane Herndon, who showed at the coffeehouse this morning, too. Romney singled her out in the crowd for having run into him while jogging in the morning in Des Moines about six months ago and screaming with excitement at the time.
Also with him today on the Mitt Mobile is Sen. Jim Talent, who Romney pointed out to the crowd during his remarks and acknowledged his overarching role in the campaign. He has a pro-life advocate in attorney Jay Sekulow, who's traveling on the press bus now. Yesterday, Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra joined him at all of his stops and spent some time on the press bus along with his son, too.