Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By Beth Fouhy The Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and wife Ann wave to the crowd at The Gdansk Old Town Hall, in Gdansk, Poland, Monday, July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
ROMNEY CAMPAIGN TO ALERT SUPPORTERS OF VP PICK VIA SMARTPHONE APP
Want to be among the first to know who Mitt Romney picks for a running mate? There's an app for that.
The Republican's campaign on Tuesday announced an iPhone and Android application to alert supporters when Romney makes his vice presidential pick. The campaign promises they can find out who Romney chooses "before the press and just about everyone else (except maybe Ann)."
"It's a question everyone's asking: Who will be Mitt Romney's VP? There's no telling when that answer might come," the campaign said.
But it will come in the next few weeks, perhaps even in the next few days.
As is typical of the process, Romney's running-mate search has been a secretive affair, with only a handful of his closest advisers involved. Aides at his Boston headquarters are planning for the roll-out although they have no information about the candidates being considered or when an announcement might happen. Many aides are relying on news reports to anticipate potential candidates and making guesses about where the presumptive ticket would make its first appearance.
The Republican National Convention starts Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla., and the vice presidential nominee typically is announced before delegates arrive.
Romney was returning to the United States on Tuesday after a seven-day trip to England, Israel and Poland. He resumes his campaign at home with appearances Thursday in Colorado.
Romney's wife, Ann, is scheduled to return to London on Thursday to watch her dressage horse compete in the Olympics. It would be unusual for Romney to make such an important announcement without her at his side; she also has been very involved in the search process.
Separately, Republican officials noted an announcement could come any day.
Four years ago, candidate Barack Obama collected thousands of supporters' cellphone numbers with the promise that he would share his vice presidential pick by text message. But word that he had selected Joe Biden leaked before Obama's team sent the text. Obama later used those phone numbers to stay in contact with supporters.
Users who download Romney's free app are directed to enter their name, email, address, ZIP code and smartphone number. The app also allows Romney's team to see users' locations, which could be used to target voters in battleground states.
-- The Associated Press
So now he's trying to fix that.
With less than 100 days until the Nov. 6 election, Romney is starting to introduce himself to them in earnest -- through a combination of carefully selected media appearances and biographical ads -- before President Obama's efforts to define him in a negative light cripple his candidacy.
"I got the chance to start my own business. ... I went off to have the chance at running the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002. ... The real experience was in Massachusetts," the former governor says in a new television commercial released Tuesday that features him on the campaign trail, in factories and with his wife, Ann, by his side. "I want to use those experiences to help Americans have a better future."
Until now, Romney has emphasized his record at the private equity firm Bain Capital, giving Obama and other Democrats the chance to portray him in their ads as an out-of-touch corporate raider and job killer. The new ad is an effort to deflect that barrage by letting him round out that biography by touching aspects of it that he hasn't stressed in the past.
The ad marked the start of a new phase for the Republican presidential candidate as he looks to move from a seven-day, three-nation trip abroad and into a period where the media glare will shine even brighter as he prepares to announce his vice presidential running mate in the run-up to the GOP convention where he'll accept the party's nomination.
In what may be his most extensive series of national broadcast interviews this campaign, Romney and his wife spent much of the trip answering questions from TV anchors on everything from her part ownership of a horse competing in the Olympics to whether they were each other's true love. (The answer? Yes.)
In one appearance, Romney touched on the challenge he faces in introducing himself to voters as the clock ticks down on the campaign and he runs against an incumbent who is universally recognized and generally liked by most voters.
"You know, I've been on 'The Tonight Show' and 'Letterman' and 'The View' and I do some of those things to get better known," Romney said when NBC anchor Brian Williams asked if he was a "hidden man." Romney said he expected voters to tune in more after Labor Day. "Most folks won't really get to see me until the debates and will get a better sense of the character that I have," he said.
It was an unusual acknowledgement for a major party's presidential standard-bearer this late in a campaign, but one borne out in recent polling.
A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in mid-July found that 31 percent of registered voters were either undecided about him or hadn't heard enough about Romney when asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him.
The new ad is meant to boost those numbers. It's a striking shift from the negativity that has marked much of the TV advertising in the campaign so far this year.
Romney granted wide-ranging interviews on the trip to many news organizations the campaign has largely avoided. He spoke to the three major broadcast networks and CNN after spending months favoring venues like the conservative-friendly Fox News over other cable and network TV outlets.
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