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BLOG: Still working on that Romney visit

Emil Whitis • Jan 8, 2013 at 6:29 PM

And then they stop calling you back altogether.    

I may be jumping the gun but when regional Mitt Romney spokesman Christopher Maloney didn’t return my latest call Tuesday I took it as a sign.

If there’s one thing I can say about Maloney, it’s that he has been extremely punctual at returning calls. He always says the same thing — “I’m working on it” — but he always calls me back. 

So I did what every reporter does when the bureaucracy throws a roadblock — I emailed his superior. In this case I directed my appeal to Ryan Williams.

Williams is one of three main Mitt men responsible for the presidential hopeful’s campaign. It was Williams that told me I had a better chance to land my interview in Ohio than if I were reporting in “Big Sky Country.”

At the time it was a non-promise that sounded encouraging to my novice candidate-chasing ears.

I’d tracked him down at the National Gypsum plant in April during the only brilliant day of my chasing the president career so far.

I talked to campaign generals and even Romney himself in the space of two hours in Lorain in April.

But as soon as I emailed Williams he redirected it to Maloney who’s been stringing me along since.

So on Tuesday I sent another email to Williams. It was, part a plea for a campaign stop and part a request for help landing an interview.

In the end I thought it best to just beg.

“Your man Maloney hasn’t been very helpful in my quest to get a 15-minute interview with Mitt,” the latter part said. “I don’t plan to ambush Mitt with questions about policy or politics. I’d just like to have a short and open-ended conversation about whatever so I can tell my readers what he’s like.”

Of course I did feel slimy and a little vomitous after clicking send but my goal is simple — get the interview.

Plus its not like I’m in any mental shape to duel a career politician. I understand now that if I do get this interview it will be on the Mitt men’s terms.

Meanwhile, there are a few things that are keeping me optimistic.

• One — Romney needs Ohio. 

• Two — Romney needs voters from medium-size towns like Sandusky and the five-county circulation area the Register serves to claim Ohio.

• Three — The Romney machine plans to open a political HQ in Sandusky by September.

Still, when I saw Romney’s latest website promotion I was tempted to throw out a Hail Mary.

It asked supporters to join “America’s Comeback Team.”

By donating as little as $3 I would be entered to win a meeting with Mitt directly after he announces his running mate.

That’s less than a Power Ball ticket. I wondered what the odds were or if odds had anything to do with it. 

“Hello Mitt, it’s nice too meet you — do you have time for a few questions.”

What was it the poster in my high school principal’s office used to say? You know the one with the bald eagle soaring high above a mountainous pine forest.

Dare to dream, Emil. Dare to dream.

Each presidential election year the Register chooses two reporters to keep tabs on the national candidates and attempt to reel them in for a visit to our fine Northern Ohio home. This year reporter Andy Ouriel is following President Barack Obama's re-election campaign while reporter Emil Whitis gives his attention to the GOP race and probable candidate Mitt Romney. They update readers regularly on their progress in a series we call "Chasing the President."

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