Charles Dharapak / AP
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets Texas Gov. Rick Perry, left, and Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, right, on Thursday as he campaigns at Basalt Public High School, in Basalt, Colo.
BASALT, Colo. – Fresh from a foreign trip marked by a number of stumbles, Mitt Romney was back in his element late Thursday.
It was a Republican governors’ love fest outside the resort town of Aspen as the presumptive GOP nominee was joined on stage by 10 prominent Republican governors.
“I want to learn from these ladies and men if I become president of the United States on each policy, each major piece of legislation on how it affects them and their people instead of just dropping it in their lap,” Romney told several hundred people inside Basalt Public High School’s auditorium.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer all accompanied Romney on his first day back campaigning in America since his trip overseas.
Each took turns praising the man they hope will defeat President Barack Obama in just a few short months.
“We need a president that believes in the free enterprise system. And we need a president that can deliver the goods,” Brewer said. “I will tell you, Gov. Romney, you can do it, and I am behind you. America is behind you.”
Perry, who ended his own run for president in January, had one simple message: This election is about trust.
“The difference between the current president of the United States and the next president of the United States is that this man trusts you. Barack Obama does not trust you,” Perry said. “He does not trust you to make decisions about your health care. He does not trust you to make decisions about your children's education. He does not trust you in Colorado to make decisions about your energy policy.”
The event spurred plenty of vice presidential buzz too. Among the ten governors here in Basalt, Jindal, McDonnell, Christie and Martinez have each stirred speculation.
“It's a treat to be here from the Commonwealth of Virginia that's going from Obama blue to Romney red in 90 days,” McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said.
The RGA has been holding closed meetings in Aspen for two days.
Jindal took several minutes to boost Romney’s education platform, which he said would include a school voucher system of the kind he is instituting statewide in Louisiana this fall.
“Our sons and daughters deserve nothing less than the best education we can give them -- the best education that any child will receive in the entire world. We'll get that Number 1 ranking back by electing Gov. Romney as the president of these great United States,” he said.
But just who should be Romney’s VP?
The consensus by the governors in attendance: whomever Romney wants.
“There are a lot of really capable ones, but I will leave that up to Mitt, he will have it all figured out,” Perry told reporters about the handful of governors rumored to populate Romney’s shortlist.
“His decision,” Martinez said. “There is only one vote and that is his [Romney’s].”