News that Mitt Romney wants to vastly expand one of his six homes -- an expensive sea-view spot in La Jolla, Calif. -- reminded Republican veterans of a key but unreported moment in the 2008 presidential campaign, a moment with resonance this year, too.
Four years ago, Romney was on the short list of possible vice presidential running mates for the winner of the GOP nomination, Arizona Sen. John McCain. But during the very week they were considering whom to pick, McCain created a headache for his campaign by blithely asserting in a press interview that he didn't know how many homes he and his wife owned. It turned out that the correct number was eight.
When Romney's name then came up in the McCain campaign's private veep discussion -- other pre-Palin short-listers included Charlie Crist and Tim Pawlenty -- McCain speechwriter and mavericky alter ego Mark Salter strenuously objected to Romney, according to a fellow campaign staffer, who spoke to The Huffington Post on condition that he not be identified by name.
"Mark pointed out that we couldn't go to the country with a Republican ticket that owned 14 houses between the two of them," the source said. "That knocked Romney off the list right there."
The rich-guy image continues to hamper Romney, to the point that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly asked him about it this week. His answer: "Guess what? I made a lot of money."
Romney's personal real estate includes six homes: one in La Jolla, two in the Boston area, a ski lodge in Utah and two lakeside residences in New Hampshire.