I may have been taken for a ride. Again.
After making what I thought were huge steps toward my goal of landing an in-person interview with Mitt Romney, there’s been nothing but silence from the Romney machine.
Last month, Romney’s right-hand man — well, his regional spokesperson — Christopher Maloney made some promises that have kept me optimistic in my endeavor.
He said things like, “I can’t guarantee,” and, “The governor is really busy.”
Still, after the conversation I was pretty confident I’d get my 15 minutes with Romney.
That’s the way it sounded, anyway. Maybe I heard something that wasn’t there. Maybe I should have been more cautious, more cynical.
Maloney promised to get in touch with me when Romney was back in town.
Lo and behold, I learned recently that the GOP candidate has been on an “Every Town Counts” bus tour, trekking from New Hampshire to Michigan.
On Father’s Day, he crossed onto Ohio soil, making stops in Brunswick, 66 miles from Sandusky; Newark, 106 miles from Sandusky; and Troy, 161 miles from Sandusky.
By Tuesday, the Romneymobile had already been into Iowa, Wisconsin and his native state of Michigan.
Stated his campaign website: “After spending days in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa, Mitt and wife Ann enthusiastically declared how grateful they were to be back in the state where both grew up.”
According to the website, Ann Romney said: “I can’t believe it, we are in Michigan! Yay! This is the greatest state, people don’t know how wonderful it is to be from here.”
Geez. Where were you at, Maloney?
Maloney called me back at 5:40 p.m. Tuesday and said Brunswick doesn’t qualify as my “neck of the woods” because it’s in northeast Ohio. Sandusky is in northwest Ohio.
Let’s not split hairs, shall we? I then said what I should have said months ago: I consider an hour-long drive my “neck of the woods.”
And, realizing Maloney is a pretty busy man, I’ve been trying to give him some space in recent weeks.
But from now on, my strategy is to call and email him once a day.
I’m going to be like his worst girlfriend, ever. He’ll either shower me with updates or he’ll apply for a civil protection order.
Meanwhile, I’ve also decided to seek out more contacts.
I thought a precise approach — focusing on the Romney campaign’s go-to guys — would be best, but now I realize I’m just one of many reporters with the same idea.
I need a way to separate myself and Sandusky from the crowd.
I could always throw up a Hail Mary, too.
At Mitt’s website, www.mitromney.com, campaign wizards are promoting a contest to win a “Day on the Road with Mitt.”
For a donation of $5 or more, donors are entered into a drawing to hang out with Mitt on his “Believe in America Bus Tour.
Or was it the “Every Town Counts Bus Tour”?
Two tours, or two names for one trip? I’m getting confused.
“There’s no better way to kick off the beginning of summer than a road trip across America. And who better to hit the road with than Mitt?” the website promo reads. “Two lucky supporters will get the chance to spend a day on the campaign with Mitt. Donate $5 to be automatically entered to win for the chance to be Mitt’s special guest on the road.”
In my last segment of Chasing the President, I agreed to foot the bill for a six-pack of brew if I get a sit-down with Mitt.
Now I have to donate $5 to enter a lottery? I’ll be up to at least $10 when all is said and done.
At what point do I report this as campaign financing?
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."