WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney is picking up the pace on the campaign trail as the election hits the important weeks before the August doldrums.
The Republican presidential nominee announced on Monday that he would be embarking on a five-day, six-state bus tour, starting at the end of this week. Titled "Every Town Counts," the tour will wind through the industrial Midwest, with stops in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan coming on the heels of a swing through Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
The itinerary holds some clues into which states the Romney campaign believes are in play. Romney is looking to make Michigan competitive, given his roots in the state, and sees Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker (R) just won a contentious recall election, as potentially fertile ground.
The macro picture is interesting as well. Up until the announcement of the bus tour, Romney had been all but absent from the trail in recent weeks. A review of the schedule released by the campaign revealed that Romney held no public event on 14 of the 22 days between May 21 and June 11.
The former Massachusetts governor has also shied away from the press. From April 30 through May 4, Romney had 31 interviews with local television and radio stations and five national television and radio interviews on his public schedule. But from May 21 through June 11, Romney scheduled just two local radio and television interviews and three national ones. On several occasions during that time period, Romney did an unplanned television or radio interview, such as when he called into Brian Killmeade's radio show to address reports that he had bullied his classmates in prep school.
The Romney campaign did not elaborate as to why it decided to schedule the bus tour now. It also didn't dispute the idea that the pace of campaign activity was increasing, perhaps because the numbers don't lie.
During the week of May 21, Romney held just two public campaign events, and during the week of May 28, he held two events and a Memorial Day tribute. From June 4 through June 8, however, Romney held seven events -- two of which featured his wife Ann -- as well as a tele-townhall, a pooled roundtable discussion on job creation and a photo opportunity with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.).