ROMNEY LEAVES VERMONT LARGELY UNTOUCHED
By William Boardman Email address removed
When Mitt Romney spent three days in Vermont in early September, the biggest news he made was a press event in New Hampshire. The rest of the time the gaggle of local and national media people were limited to reporting that Romney was in West Windsor to prepare for the October 3 presidential debate and, no, you can't see the house from the dirt road, or the foot of the driveway, with Vermont State Police and Secret Service vehicles blocking the entrance.
According to AP writer Kasie Hunt, "The story about Romney focused largely on the size of former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey's $3.9 million vacation home, where Romney's debate practice sessions are being held." Mrs. Healey and her husband Sean have owned the 143-acre property for about ten years.
West Windsor's local law enforcement consists of one part-time, elected constable. The town has a residential population of a little more than 1,000 people.
Although Vermont isn't even close to being a battleground state, the Romney sequester elicited no noticeable political protest. In 2008, Obama got 67% of Vermont's vote, with 30% going to McCain. Obama got 68% of the vote in West Windsor that year.
No surprise then that Romney's only public appearance was in Lebanon, NH, on September 5, when he did a series of media interviews in an impromptu TV studio set up at the back of the LaValley Building Supply warehouse. New Hampshire is generally thought to be a swing state in this year's election.
The Romney campaign also reached out to Vermont State Senator Randy Brock, the Republican candidate for governor of Vermont. Romney and Brock met privately for about 15 minutes. Afterwards Brock countered the common image of Romney as detached, telling a reporter, "I thought he was outgoing, he was friendly and very personable in my discussions with him."
Brock also spoke about promoting Vermont as a destination for Presidential debate preparation retreats. "Now if we could get Obama to do the same thing, it could be a revenue producer," he said.
Brock also took the opportunity to assert some independence from total acceptance of the Republican platform, pointing out that he supports a woman's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. For younger women, however, he said he supports parental notification.
Also concerned with generating Vermont revenue, like Brock, the Woodstock Early Bird blog commented on the stack of empty pizza boxes left by the media people on the Woodstock Green, pizza boxes from a pizza place in NH.
The Early Bird was not pleased by the campaign's choice of patronage, lamenting that "the entire motorcade stopped in to pick up some take-out pizza from Lui-Lui's. Good stuff. But, ya' know we have at least six places for tasty pizza right here along Route 4 in VERMONT!" click here;
Mostly the news during Romney's three days in Vermont consisted of reports with no substance that he was doing debate prep with U.S. Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, standing in for Obama. Portman played the same role for Sen. John McCain, R-AR, in his 2008 presidential campaign.