Romney Surrogate: Electability Should Trump 'Beliefs and Principles'

A New Hampshire surrogate for Mitt Romney said at a local political event that it's evident he will be the Republican presidential nominee and suggested that "beliefs and principles" should not be the deciding factor for voters.

State Sen. Gary Lambert said the most important thing is to nominate somebody who can defeat President Obama.

"I don't get it. This is not about picking a favorite, it's not about picking someone you like," Lambert said. "It's not about picking someone even with your own beliefs and principles. This is about picking a person who can beat Barack Obama, period."

Lambert spoke as part of a panel of candidate surrogates Thursday before the Nashua Republican City Committee.

He said it's in Republicans' interest to close ranks behind Romney, considering his fundraising and polling edge, and conserve resources for the general election battle in November. Lambert treated the idea of a Romney victory as a foregone conclusion, urging voters to dispense with the formality of a drawn-out primary contest.

"I'd like to get right to the point. ... Look, we know how this movie is going to end. Mitt Romney's gonna be the nominee," Lambert said. "Forgive me and with all due respect to all my friends out there -- so that's gonna happen."

He continued: "The way I look at it, the sooner we get it over, the better. We can save the money because in the end, guess who we're after? We're after Barack Obama."

Romney's opponents have questioned the former Massachusetts governor's beliefs and principles as they try to convince voters to avoid the temptation of just picking the candidate they think can win in November.

Rick Santorum recently urged voters not to "nominate another moderate who has taken multiple positions on every major issue of our time."

Newt Gingrich repeatedly has hammered Romney as a "Massachusetts moderate" who would not be an ideal nominee.

Lambert, however, told on Saturday that despite his comments at the Nashua event he doesn't think Romney is having a problem connecting with voters when it comes to principles.

"The polling indicates that he is connecting," Lambert said. "He's surging."

Lambert said he was merely trying to make the point that candidates should not be spending time attacking one another at this stage when they could be focusing on defeating Obama.

Romney won the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday by a razor-thin margin, with Santorum finishing a few votes behind him.

Since that contest, Romney's numbers in national and state polls have risen. He leads in New Hampshire by double digits in most polls.