SPRINGFIELD, VA -- Sen. John Thune has some advice for Mitt Romney: Be Yourself.
The South Dakota senator told NBC News that the Romney he knows does not always come across on the campaign trail, and that may be why voters are having a tough time relating to the presumptive Republican nominee.
"I've traveled with him in Iowa and been on the bus with his family and him, and they're just incredible, wonderful, normal people," Thune said. "And that's a side of him that I hope voters in this country get an opportunity to see. And I think really he just needs to be himself."
Thune was here today to address Romney supporters and volunteers at victory office opening. On Thursday, he traveled to Virginia Beach to do the same, joining a slew of other Romney surrogates who are making similar campaign stops in battleground states throughout the country this weekend.
Thune, who himself had considered entering the presidential race, said that the more Americans get to see Romney, the more they will be able to relate to him beyond simply being a former businessman and governor.
"I think often times in politics -- you have tendency to -- people sort of put you in a bubble," he said. "And I think the more that he [Romney] gets a chance to get out in front of the American people, interact with them, in a way that I've had an opportunity to interact with him, they're going to see someone, who I think they're going to find is an incredibly, not only strong leader for our country, but someone that they really will believe in and can have great trust will take this country in the right direction."
Much has been of late about Thune's own political future. He is considered to be a top contender to be chosen as Romney's vice president. Though he declined to say whether or not he is being vetted, he said he does not expect Romney to ask him to join the ticket. But he added "any time you get a chance to serve your country and if you're really serious about public life obviously you don't rule options out."
And if VP is not in the cards for him, speculation is rampant that he could be next in line to become Republicans' leader in the Senate. If that is in the cards, he is confident he'll have a Republican to work with in the White House.
"It's always hard when the lights go on, and you know...People have a tendency to perhaps be a little bit more conscious of things that they say, and do when you're in public life, said Thune. "But I will say this: If the American people can see what I've seen in Mitt Romney who out on the campaign trail is very relaxed, someone very comfortable in his own skin, someone who has a real sense of purpose of what he want to do for this country. It's a quality that I think the American people are really going to be drawn to. And I think they're going to see that between now and November, and I think they're starting to see that already."