After a month of sleepless nights spent waiting by the telephone, I’ve given up on Mitt.
I think it’s safe to say that my business card didn’t stay in his breast pocket for long. In reality, it probably found its resting place at the Lorain dump soon after the April 19 rally.
But this isn’t love; it’s business.
And I’m not so easily deterred.
I’ve got another trick up my sleeve.
In retrospect, the most important moment at the Romney rally last month at Lorain Gypsum may not have been my brush with the Mitt machine, but with his subordinates.
If you’ll remember, directly after Romney grabbed the business card from my hand, I met one of the candidate’s three public relations gurus: Ryan Williams.
Williams basically told me I had at least an iceberg’s chance in hell of grabbing some face time with Mitt, sometime before November.
With his words still ringing in my ears — and my hopes of a personal call from Mitt extinct — I shoved out a solitary email into cyberspace.
It was addressed to Williams.
“About a month ago I spoke with you at an event in Lorain, Ohio. I told you I wanted an in-person interview with Mitt and asked the chances. You said they were better than if I were a reporter in Montana — a heartening reply. So I ask now, what do you have available?”
To my surprise, the response was quick.
But it wasn’t from Williams; it was from Mitt’s Ohio campaign spokesman.
“Emil, It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance over email,” wrote Christopher Maloney. “I recently joined Governor Romney’s campaign as his communications director in Ohio. Ryan Williams passed along your name, contact information and request for an in-person interview with Mitt Romney ... I will do my best to facilitate an interview the next time Governor Romney is in your neck of the woods.”
I consider this headway, on a major scale.
Still, I wanted to make sure it was a legit message, and not just some campaign worker tasked with responding to random emails.
That said, I later talked to Maloney in a phone call.
He was the real deal.
“Due to the fluid nature of the campaign, I can’t tell you exactly when that will be,” Maloney said, referring to my request for an interview with Mitt. “I’ve got a waiting list a mile long, but I’ll do my best to get you in.”
My mind was intoxicated with visions of me and Mitt shooting the breeze over a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon at Daly’s Pub.
Heck, I’ll even foot the bill.
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 candidate Mitt Romney. They update readers regularly on their progress in a series we call "Chasing the President."