Maddow: Top tier Romney surrogates looking ahead to 2016?

Updated
By Quinn Wonderling

On Friday’s The Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow speculated that it would take something pretty terrible to make Mitt Romney want to talk about his tax returns more than anything else – say, his starting lineup of surrogates putting distance between themselves and the campaign, perhaps even fleeing to Iowa with an eye on 2016?

Earlier this week, Tim Pawlenty abandoned his post as Romney campaign co-chair to help dismantle Wall Street regulations as the new leader of the Financial Services Roundtable. The move inspired Maddow to take a look at the travel schedules of some other Romney-affiliated GOP heavyweights. And she discovered they’re heading to Iowa.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal both announced plans to join a bus tour led by social conservative group The Family Leader, where they’ll stop in Des Moines, Pella and Ottumwa next week to protest retaining Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, whose 2009 decision helped legalize marriage equality in the state.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was in Sioux City on Thursday campaigning for Congressman Steve King’s 5th annual Defenders of Freedom Fundraiser. The appearances have fueled rumors that all three could be considering presidential runs in 2016.

“When your own top tier surrogates are saying ‘Forget this guy, forget this year, let’s talk 2016 and me!’ Then it’s time to change the subject to anything,” Maddow said. “Even to your tax returns.”

Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney

Maddow: Top tier Romney surrogates looking ahead to 2016?

Updated