Aboard Romney’s farewell tour
By Brian Snyder
We received the email with the election day schedule around 1am and we weren’t even at our hotel for the night yet. The 6:55am call time for Tuesday morning would mean we would be in our hotel rooms less than 4.5 hours. The schedule indicated that the protective pool would cover Governor Mitt Romney voting in Belmont, Massachusetts and then travel to Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for some Get Out the Vote phone calls, before returning to Boston to await the election result.
Voting in Belmont went much like it did in March when Governor Romney voted in the Massachusetts primary on Super Tuesday.
A short motorcade trip from Belmont to the airport and we were off to Cleveland, where we met up with Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan.
The two men went to a campaign call center in the Cleveland suburb of Richmond Heights where we were told they would make some calls to voters. It seemed odd at the time that they never sat down and made any calls – rather, they went around the room shaking hands with and thanking workers and volunteers as well as briefly addressing them as a group.
Busy filing photographs from the visit on the ride back to the airport, we scrambled out of the vans when the motorcade stopped at a Wendy’s restaurant. Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan went inside and ordered some food.
It was a quick 18 minute flight to Pittsburgh, where a large group of supporters welcomed the Governor from a parking garage just outside the fence surrounding the airport.
Another quick motorcade ride to the campaign call center, where, unlike in Cleveland, there was no expectation of the Governor doing anything other than thanking the workers.
It was here that it began to feel like our trip to Cleveland and Pittsburgh were a farewell tour, and not a get-out-the-vote effort.
Governor Romney came back to talk to reporters on the plane ride home – something he had not done in quite a while during the election campaign. After about 1300 miles of travel for the day, we landed back in Boston in the dark to await the result of the election.
The protective pool waited in a hold room near the rally site and we watched the results come in on TV like everyone else. Once the television networks called Ohio and the election for President Obama, we moved to the buffer around the stage, only to be told something had changed and it might be up to an hour before anything happened. We waited in a different hold room until shortly before 1am, when Governor Romney delivered his short concession speech.
And with that, he walked off stage. The protective pool went back to our hold room to file photographs. We said goodbye to the Secret Service agents assigned to us, said goodbye to some of the campaign staff we had worked with day in and day out. And it was over.