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How the Romney Camp Kept Their Veepstakes Secret

by on August 14, 2012

Since we’ve all been gnashing our teeth speculatin’ about what’s been going on behind the curtain of Romney’s vice-presidential vetting process for months, here’s a fun look into how things went down during the eventual selection of Paul Ryan, via NBC. Just ’cause, heck, everybody likes a little political intrigue now and then (when it’s the the good kind of intrigue and not, oh, I don’t know — say, political donors being granted inside access to the White House to rent-seek on behalf of their green-energy schemes. Just as a random example. Cough.):

Myers told reporters she established a system, approved by Romney, to quietly vet candidates after asking if they were interested in the job. A team of lawyers worked with Myers in a secure room of the campaign’s Boston headquarters. No copies were made of any documents, and everything was locked in a safe when the team left at night. No documents were allowed out of the room. …

By August, reporters had begun to whittle down the short list of possible candidates and to keep a close eye on the top contenders. Despite this, on Aug. 5, Ryan quietly slipped out of his home and, dressed casually and wearing a hat and sunglasses to obscure his appearance, drove to Chicago, where he boarded a flight to Hartford, Conn. …

Keeping the Romney/Ryan pairing a secret for the next week proved to be an Olympian challenge. A boomlet of support for the Ryan candidacy drew increased scrutiny, and reporters such as NBC’s Alex Moe were staking out Ryan’s home, chatting with the candidate and his family and keeping tabs on their movement, lest they slip away again undetected. …

Ryan returned home in the early afternoon and went inside through the back as he was locked out of his side door, telling reporters who stood watching on the sidewalk he must have forgotten his keys. That would be the last time anyone saw the congressman in Janesville, because sometime after 3 p.m., he exited his home into the back yard (where reporters couldn’t see) and went into the woods. …

Waiting a couple of hundred yards on the other side: Speth, who took Ryan and his family to an airport in neighboring Illinois, where a private plane would whisk them to Virginia.

And so on and so forth. I must confess, I kind of get a kick out of the fact that thwarting the full and formidable force of the American political media can still rely on something so simple and old-school as sneaking off through the woods.



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