As presidential candidate Mitt Romney settled on his running mate, Paul Ryan, his campaign over the course of 10 days went to extraordinary lengths to conceal the information and meetings between himself and Ryan from the eyes of an eager press corps.
The search began not long after Romney wrapped up the nomination. On Apr. 16, he announced that Beth Myers, his senior advisor and a longtime aide, would lead his VP search committee. "I had one directive," Myers said in a briefing with reporters on Saturday evening. "That the candidates must be qualified to take office on day one."
Myers spent the next month and a half soliciting advice from those who had been in her shoes, such as Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State James Baker. By May 1, the inner circle of advisors created their short list and Romney began calling all of the candidates to ask if they would be considered. None refused.Continue »
(CBS News) ASHLAND, Va. - Even as he promises to uplift the country with this election, presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took less than a few hours on Saturday to assume the role of candidate Mitt Romney's attack dog.
"President Obama cannot run on this record. It's a terrible record to run on, and he didn't change. I've served on Congress this whole time. He didn't tack to the middle. He didn't do things that were centrist, he stayed hard left," Ryan told a packed gymnasium of cheering voters in Ashland. "So if he can't run on his record, if he didn't moderate what's he got left, he's gonna divide and distract this country to win an election by default and you know what? We're not gonna fall for that!"
In an event in Norfolk, Va., earlier in the day, as his new position was announced, Ryan ticked off economic statistics that he said demonstrate the president's "record of failure."Continue »
(CBS News) NORFOLK, Va. - They billed themselves "America's Comeback Team," a complementary combination of business and government experience, privileged CEO and hardscrabble everyman, establishment party leader and young, inspiring thinker.
Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his brand-new running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, introduced themselves to more than 1,000 voters gathered here Saturday morning as men of contrasting backgrounds with the common goal of fixing America. They are also of contrasting ages: at 42, Ryan is the same age as Romney's eldest son Tagg.
Romney made his decision Aug. 1 and offered the job to Ryan on Aug. 5. His campaign announced late Friday night that he would introduce his choice in Norfolk early Saturday. Within a few hours multiple news organizations confirmed that it was Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman who authored the Republican fiscal plan that makes deep cuts to taxes, spending and entitlements.
The pair kicked off the rollout tour at the Nauticus Museum in the swing state of Virginia, each of them extolling the others biography. Romney, who spoke first, tried to humanize the man known mostly for a budget that makes dramatic cuts in federal programs. Ryan lost his father to a heart attack at age 16 and had to grow up fast, Romney said. "He internalized the virtues and hardworking ethic of the Midwest. Paul Ryan works in Washington but his beliefs remain firmly rooted in Janesville, Wis.," Romney said, naming Ryan's hometown.Continue »
(CBS News) NORFOLK, Va. - Presumptive Republican nominee introduced his new running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, on Saturday as a man of character and integrity. Romney pledged that he and Ryan would go to every corner of the country to improve the economy and strengthen the middle class.
As Romney introduced Ryan as a man who learned character and values early - the Wisconsin congressman's father died when he was 16 years old - he also sought to emphasize Ryan's middle-class roots.
"He internalized the virtues and hard-working ethic of the Midwest. Paul Ryan works in Washington, but his beliefs remain firmly rooted in Janesville, Wis.," Romney said, citing Ryan's hometown.
He praised his work in Congress as a combination of "firm principles with a practical concern for getting things done." And even though Ryan is viewed as one of the ideological leaders of his party, Romney praised him as "a shining exception."Continue »
Pawlenty, a former hockey player, conducted his own roundtable for "sports parents." He then proceeded to lace up a pair of skates - hockey being the secular religion of his home state - and take a spin around the rink. Later that day, at a Romney headquarters in Raleigh, he delivered the ultimate barroom insult to President Obama: that he's "all foam and no beer." Then he shook every hand in the room.
In an election where Obama consistently bests Romney on measures of likability and empathy, it couldn't hurt Romney - the Mormon son of an auto executive turned governor -- to pick someone who has more in common with the average voter than he does. "People want to see that in politics right now, people that are like them and can relate to them," said Dan Forest, a candidate for lieutenant governor of North Carolina who accompanied Pawlenty during the North Carolina swing. Forest said he likes Romney and finds him approachable, but also said that many people at the campaign stops praised Pawlenty's lack of pretentiousness.Continue »
Except it would be kind of awkward, with so many also-rans beside them.
The Romney camp's announcement Monday that the candidate would embark on a four-day bus tour this weekend through Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio quickly raised speculation that he was getting ready to introduce his vice president.
But staff members for Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, both potential vice presidential picks, soon confirmed the two politicians would be joining Romney while he was in their home states.
It would be no surprise to see Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has stumped with Romney before and does Hispanic outreach for the campaign, to appear with Romney when the bus tour rolls through Florida on August 13. And former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty could be along for the ride in North Carolina, where he has already campaigned twice for Romney this cycle.
To have Romney parading around his new running mate with the runners-up for the job standing by would demonstrate party unity, but talk about awkward. More likely the confirmed presence of reported VP short-listers means that Team Romney is waiting until closer to the Aug. 27 party convention to announce the pick.
Bus tour attendees aside, it's also worth noting that the London Olympics will still be in full force through Sunday. It's a rare occasion these days that Americans can put aside politics and all root for the same outcome, and who is Romney to step on those good feelings? (Aside from the deluge of political ads during the commercial breaks, of course.)
(CBS News) EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday made a joint campaign stop with Indiana Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock, where he painted himself and the tea party favorite as two peas in a pod headed to Washington to change it.
"He has proven as the treasurer that he knows how to make sure to balance the books," Romney said of Mourdock, the state treasurer who knocked off six-term Republican Sen. Richard Lugar in the state's primary last May. "He's also proven as a campaigner that he can take his message to the people of Indiana, they'll support him. This is a man that I want to see in Washington to make sure that we cannot just talk about changing things, but actually have the votes to get things changed."
The joint appearance signals Romney's intention to try to win over tea party voters, the faction that was most resistant to his candidacy during the primary campaign.Continue »
(CBS News) NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev, - Presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Friday's unemployment report "another hammer blow to the struggling middle class" as he slammed President Obama for failing to improve the economic outlook. But he stopped short of saying the country was in another recession, saying that question should be left to economists.
The report showed that the tepid economy added 163,000 net jobs last month, per the Labor Department's survey of business payrolls. A separate survey of households showed nearly 200,000 job losses, pushing the unemployment rate up from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent.
"This is an extraordinary record of failure," Romney told a crowd of several hundred voters who gathered at a trucking company. "The president's policies have not worked because he thinks government makes America work. He's wrong."
Speaking with reporters afterward, he termed the economic situation a "moral failure" for a country as prosperous as the United States to have gone so long with persistent unemployment. While he demurred to professional economists on whether the country has slipped into a recession, he said that for the 23 million Americans who are out of work or underemployed, "it's a recession or them, if not worse."Continue »
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talks to senior adviser Beth Myers after they boarded his charter plane in Centennial, Colo., on Thursday en route to Aspen, Colo.
Despite saying on Thursday that he hadn't yet decided on a running mate, Mitt Romney gave a possible hint on Friday that he's nearing a decision: Three of his top strategists accompanied him on a flight from Aspen, Colo., to Las Vegas.
The trio included Beth Myers, who is leading his vice presidential selection process, as well as former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie and senior campaign advisor Kevin Madden.Continue »
(CBS News) DENVER - Mitt Romney fired back on Thursday against Democrats questioning his tax proposals and tax-paying history, rebuking President Obama over his characterization of Romney's tax plan and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over his claim that the presumptive GOP nominee has not paid income taxes in 10 years.
Romney was campaigning in Colorado on Thursday touting his own tax plan at the same time that the Obama campaign spent the day highlighting a Tax Policy Center study released this week. The nonpartisan center concluded Romney's plan would result in a net tax increase for lower- and middle-income taxpayers in order to cut taxes for the highest earners.
"He knows that is a completely dishonest characterization of my plan," said Romney, whose campaign has characterized the study as a "joke" because it was co-authored by a former Obama advisor - even though the Tax Policy Center's director, Donald Marron, worked in George W. Bush's White House and the Romney campaign has praised the center's work in the past.
Speaking in an interview on the radio program of conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity, Romney said his plan ensures that the wealthiest Americans continue to pay the same share of taxes, and that the president was merely seeking to distract from his own stewardship of the economy.Continue »
(CBS News) DENVER - After a foreign trip that received its fair share of criticism, Mitt Romney is steering his campaign back to what he hopes is the more comfortable topic of the U.S. economy.
In his first campaign event since returning from Europe earlier this week - and his campaign's first event in Colorado since a tragic movie theater shooting two weeks ago in nearby Aurora - Romney on Thursday unveiled a "presidential accountability scorecard" he says he will use to measure his expected success in office while attacking President Obama for failing to achieve goals he set as a candidate.
"When the president was here as a candidate accepting the nomination four years ago in Colorado, he laid out the report card upon which he hoped to be judged by," Romney told a crowd of more than 1,000 enthusiastic supporters in Colorado. Pointing principally to the high unemployment figure, he added, "All measures he laid out are measures that have gone in the wrong direction."
The campaign passed out copies of a six-category scorecard: jobs, unemployed and underemployed, unemployment rate, home prices, budget deficit and family income. A column marked "Obama Record" shows arrows demonstrating negative movement in each category, while two columns marked "Romney Record Massachusetts" and "Romney Plan Goals" show green arrows for positive movement.Continue »
(CBS News) DENVER - Mitt Romney will unveil a "presidential accountability scorecard" during a campaign event in Colorado on Thursday that he will use to measure his expected success in office while attacking President Obama for failing to achieve goals he set as a candidate.
The scorecard, part of the campaign's push to unveil a plan geared toward the middle class, also is intended partly to counter a study by the Tax Policy Center released on Wednesday that said Romney's plan would result in a net tax increase for lower- and middle-income taxpayers in order to cut taxes for the highest earners.
Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom called the report "a joke" on a Thursday conference call with reporters.Continue »
(CBS News) Mitt Romney's trip to Poland on Monday -- the last stop on his three-country, six-day foreign tour -- offers him a chance to bolster his image as a competent diplomat, something he could use after his gaffe-filled stint in London. But the real potential prize for visiting the Eastern European nation lies at home: more votes from the Polish-American and Catholic communities.
The states that hold the largest communities of Polish-American voters overlap significantly with this year's swing states. Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio all are home to numerous voters who trace their heritage to Poland, according to John Kromkowski, a Catholic University professor who studies urban and ethnic politics.
"They're not only in swing states, but over the decades that I've been tracking this, they're also swing voters," he said. "It's sort of a mixed population, so it's an almost archetypal swing vote."Continue »
CORALVILLE, Iowa - Mitt Romney's foreign trip may have gotten off to a shaky start in London, but popular conservative Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia on Thursday lent their help to his stateside campaign, traveling across Iowa to fire up Romney volunteers and make more hay of President Obama's "you didn't build that" comment to business owners.
The governors planned four events today spanning Iowa's eastern half to bolster Romney's candidacy. Continuing what has become a common GOP attack line, both tore into the president's remark earlier this month in reference to people who have benefitted from government investment in roads and bridges.
"It's a staggering comment, and it's not out of context. What it is -- it's out of touch and it shows an administration I think that's out of ideas and really out of time in order to restore the American dream and build economic prosperity in our country," McDonnell said while speaking to workers at Per Mar Security in Davenport.
Jindal, in Coralville, said Obama's comments "reveal something about how our president thinks."Continue »
(CBS News) A super PAC supporting President Obama is tying together Mitt Romney's Olympics experience, Bain Capital career and foreign tax shelters in a new ad released as Romney visits London for the 2012 Olympic Games.
The new ad from Priorities USA Action will run in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia during the Olympics. The spot juxtaposes footage of Romney at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, which he ran, with mocking narration and video about countries where Romney sheltered money and where companies backed by Bain while Romney was CEO reportedly moved jobs.
The footage shows Romney walking out and waving in full Olympic garb as an announcer says he is waving to China ("thousands owe their jobs to Mitt Romney's companies,"), Burma ("where Romney had the uniforms made for the 2002 games,"), and Bermuda ("home to a secretive corporation set up by Romney. No one knows why. And Romney won't tell,"). There are also nods to India and Switzerland for outsourcing and a bank account, respectively.Continue »