Artur Davis, the former Alabama member of the Congressional Black Caucus-turned card-carrying Republican, took his political odyssey another step rightward Thursday by serving as the star attraction at a Romney campaign event in Bristow, Virginia.
It was a rather modest affair. Davis appeared at the home of Romney supporters Michael and Megan Daubert to talk about the federal deficit and slam the Obama administration for not doing more to work with Republicans on it. The event was organized in part by the Romney campaign, which also filmed it.
Asked if he was now a Romney surrogate, Davis replied: “I don’t think there is a place where you get an official surrogate card. If there is, they haven’t told me about it. I don’t think there is a box that you check to be an official surrogate.”
He then added: “I am supporter of Gov. Romney. I think he would be a very good president of the United States. I think his policies would be better than the Obama policies and I am happy to be here today at the Daubert’s home talking about why, on this issue in particular, Romney is the way to go.”
Well, that certainly sounds like a campaign surrogate. Davis first announced he would vote for Romney last month.
“We are delighted to have his help,” said Curt Cashour, a Romney campaign spokesman present at the event.
It’s a big change from 2008 when Davis served as co-chairman of the Obama campaign.
Davis, a former four-term Democratic congressman, quit his seat to run for governor in his home state of Alabama in 2010. He lost a bruising primary and subsequently began drifting away from his party. He stunned the political world in May when he quit the party altogether, arguing that it has abandoned fiscally conservative moderates like himself.
Those criticisms have made him a rising star on the right. Davis is rumored to be considering a congressional run in Virginia, something Thursday’s event lent credence to. Davis declined to discuss his political future though. “Today, let’s keep things focused on the deficit,” he said.
The event also featured Alex Schriver, chairman of the the College Republican National Committee.
Davis used the event to sternly scold the Obama administration, saying it had failed to continue the Clinton administration’s efforts to keep the deficit under control.
“He famously said that by the end of his first term he would cut the deficit in half,” Davis said. “Well, I think we all know, four years later, that candidate Obama was a very different person from President Obama.”
He added: “When I was in the Democratic Party, I was in the wing of the Democratic Party that frankly cared about deficit reduction. When I got involved in politics Bill Clinton was my president and one of the things that I admired about him was that he was committed to fiscal discipline.”
Davis said he originally thought that Obama was part of that wing of the party too. He blamed the decline of party’s moderate “Blue Dog” caucus on the president, saying that he “sets the direction for the party.”
“I think we are left with, candidly, a Democratic Party that is on the left on this issue and virtually every other one. There is no center-left in the Democratic Party,” Davis said, adding later: “There are Blue Dogs left in the Democratic caucus, but they can’t bark.”