Is it just me or is anyone else wondering why GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney chose to announce the unveiling of his VP pick of Representative Paul Ryan on a Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on the second to last day of the Olympics? The Friday night before I happened to turn on CNN around 10 p.m. and saw a "News Alert" that said Governor Romney would announce his choice the following morning. They and MSNBC (interrupting their prison shows with an impromptu broadcast by Chris Matthews) and Fox News all were speculating it was Paul Ryan.
I thought that politicians traditionally only made public announcements of things they wanted to be forgotten on weekends. I know that is not the case with Romney and Ryan, so why the odd timing?
Most working folks have Saturdays and Sundays off and many sleep in on Saturday mornings. Why not have a noon announcement? Better yet, why not wait until Monday morning after the London Olympics so more Americans can have time to turn to the campaign? Moved to 2 p.m. from 10:30 a.m., Meet the Press was not even on its regular time on Sunday because NBC was airing the Games. One could even argue that it was unpatriotic of Romney to make Americans have to choose between watching his announcement or seeing the Olympics.
The only explanation I can think of is that Mitt Romney wanted to quickly change the conversation off of income taxes and his record with Bain Capital.
Or is this just another example of Romney being out of touch with regular folks? I think it is another sign of his team being just a little off. An announcement of this type is supposed to be a big deal for a candidate, showing his decision-making ability and character judgment. Why not choose a time where more people will be paying attention?
The other disadvantage in this age of a 24 hour news cycle is that it gave Romney's opposition one or two days to prepare reactions to the pick. Already, the Democrats have a TV ad out criticizing the Ryan budget plan that they claim "ends Medicare as we know it".
Even though Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008 took a lot of heat for not properly vetting his VP pick of Sarah Palin, you have to give him credit for the way he presented her. He waited until right before the convention to make his announcement and without allowing any leaks of information, he caught everyone by surprise. This included Democratic candidate Barack Obama who had been criticized for not selecting another woman, his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, for his VP choice. At the time, McCain got a huge bump in the polls which carried over into the convention. The nation was transfixed on Palin for several weeks.
That points out to another miscalculation which Governor Romney has made. Having chosen his running mate two weeks before the convention may have cost him some momentum going forward. It also gives the Obama team time to redefine the GOP ticket. At the very least, it takes away some of the curiosity and suspense that a convention usually generates.
I expected former President George W. Bush and VP Dick Cheney not to be there but am disappointed that such colorful personalities as Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump will not be speaking at the Republican convention.
In another questionable move, it was peculiar to have Paul Ryan campaign on his own the next day. Don't candidates traditionally tour together when first introduced? That gives the public a chance to see and analyze the ticket and their chemistry. It is obvious these two running mates admire one another. Why not show that off? It seemed like Ryan was "thrown to the wolves" with his appearance at the Iowa State Fair on Monday where some hecklers in the front row were yelling questions about Medicare.
I suppose these series of miscues in introducing Romney's VP pick should not come as a surprise. This is the campaign that brought us the "Etch-A Sketch" and defense of RomneyCare gaffes. And their top man on the ticket stumbled on his recent trip abroad where he insulted the British over preparations for the Olympics and accused the Palestinians of being culturally inferior to the citizens of Israel. Apparently diplomacy is not Romney's strong suit.
Whether Gov. Romney's choice of Congressman Paul Ryan will be a plus or negative remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: Team Romney fumbled on the presentation and failed to capture the moment with the American public.