It’s been four days since Mitt Romney officially claimed his party’s presidential nomination, and by most accounts, he’s not exactly heading out of Tampa with the wind at his back. We’ll have more on the post-convention bounce, or lack thereof, a little later.
But for now, it’s worth noting how Romney is spending his day. Bus tour? Major rallies? High-profile interviews? Something to take advantage of post-convention excitement? Apparently not.
…Romney plans to spend much of the week in private preparing for the fall’s debates with President Obama, with no public appearances currently planned.
After spending Sunday and Monday at his summer home on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, Romney will travel to Reading, Vt., for several practice sessions at the home of Kerry Healey, who served as his lieutenant governor in Massachusetts. Joining them will be Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who was tapped recently by the Romney campaign to portray Obama in the mock sessions after the rave reviews he received for playing Obama during GOP nominee John McCain’s debate prep in 2008.
Romney’s campaign previously had said he would be making public appearances this week during the Democratic convention, but senior adviser Kevin Madden told reporters on Saturday that no public events are now on the schedule.
I can say with some authority that Vermont is a delightful place to be in early September, and I certainly don’t blame Romney for heading to the Green Mountain State. For that matter, debate prep is always a good idea.
But the first debate is still a month away and it’s hard to remember the last time a major-party nominee didn’t even try to capture some post-convention momentum. Four years ago, Obama/Biden launched a bus tour of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio after their convention wrapped up. McCain/Palin did a post-convention tour of their own. In 2000, Bush/Cheney took a whistlestop tour by train of Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois after their convention. In 1992, Clinton/Gore launched a 1,000-mile post-convention bus tour. In 2004, Kerry/Edwards traveled even further.
Even this year, after this week’s convention in Charlotte wraps up, the Obamas and Bidens are hitting the road for some joint events in New Hampshire and Iowa, before spreading out to other states.
But Romney’s staying out of the public eye? On purpose? It’s a strange strategy.