Campaign 2012

Villaraigosa sets up shop in Tampa as Obama surrogate

antonio-mantle-tampa.jpgLos Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa isn't doing much for the people who elected him this week — and he'll likely do even less next week. He's in Tampa now doing CNN every morning with Soledad O'Brien, filling the role of Democratic counterpoint to the Republican convention. He also sat down Monday with KPCC's Larry Mantle and mingled with the gathered journalists on the convention's Radio Row. The interview with Mantle is scheduled to air Tuesday morning on KPCC's "Airtalk." "I was certainly surprised that the Chairman of the Democratic convention next week would be on enemy turf a week prior to make his party‚Äôs case to reporters," Mantle posted on a KPCC blog.

Next week Villaraiogsa will have a higher profile as chairman of the Democrats' convention in Charlotte.

Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post took note that Villaraigosa is pushing an "America first" message in Tampa — country over political party. "He is speaking at Democratic dinners around the country, pushing his somewhat contrarian 'America First' message to the faithful. A presidential bid in 2016 is not out of the question," Fineman wrote. "Villaraigosa wasn't likely to win many followers among the GOP faithful here, but they weren't his target audience. The national media were."

With Soledad O'Brien on CNN Monday morning [ad at the front]:

KPCC photo: Gina Delvac

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