Political gossip is a big part of the action at the Business Council of Alabama’s summer governmental affairs conference, held annually in Point Clear.
But the buzz jumped up a notch at this weekend’s conference, when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Saturday that he’d chosen Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to join him on as his running mate.
Reaction was generally positive from the Republican-leaning crowd, which included dozens of state lawmakers and officials including Gov. Robert Bentley, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and Attorney General Luther Strange, among others.
Other whispers heard at BCA:
National & International Politics
60 MINUTES: Romney & Ryan – The First Interview
WASHINGTON POST: 10 ways Ryan annoys liberal media
The selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as Mitt Romney’s running mate blows up a bunch of phony story lines the media have been peddling.
1. “Romney has no ideas.” Actually, he and Ryan have the new policy ideas. Tons of them. If you doubt it, wait for the vice-presidential debate.
2. “Romney is excessively cautious.” Tim Pawlenty would have been the cautious pick. Ryan is young and vibrant and stands ready to battle for conservative ideas.
3. “The media are really important.” If Romney thought the mainstream media were critical, he’d duck the Mediscare fight. The pick is one that reflects confidence in the conservative agenda.
4. “Romney and the right are at war.” Sure, conservative activists and Romney have their issues, but if they can bond over Ryan you see how small the differences actually are.
5. “Romney’s campaign can’t execute.” They really did keep this a secret until late Friday night. Kudos to Romney, Beth Myers and those in the know who didn’t spill the beans.
He wore a T-shirt, blue jeans, sunglasses and a baseball cap as he slipped into Chicago O’Hare airport the morning of Sunday, Aug. 5. He made his way through security, hopped on a plane to Hartford, Conn., caught his connection to Boston, and ducked into a waiting SUV.
Paul Ryan had gone unnoticed.
Inside the SUV sat 19-year old Curt Myers, who drove Ryan to the Brookline, Mass., home of his mother, Beth Myers, the longtime aide to Mitt Romney overseeing the vetting process for potential running mates to the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
That was just the first chapter of a cloak-and-dagger, Hollywood-style operation carried out by Myers and the Romney campaign to offer the job to the 42-year-old Republican congressman from Wisconsin, and then to announce him to supporters and the press, all without spoiling the surprise.
Myers, a 55-year old lawyer and political operative, and her team were successful in keeping the identity of Romney’s choice a secret into the late hours of Friday night, until news finally leaked out at midnight. In the process, they allowed the 65-year old Romney and his campaign to maximize the positive impact of the veepstakes guessing-and-waiting game, neutralizing to a large degree the daily broadsides from President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign as the press fixated on Romney’s pick.
On Saturday evening, as the sun began to set at the end of a long day of campaigning, and about nine hours after Paul first walked on stage with Romney in Norfolk, Va., Myers sat down on a folding chair, in a large airplane hangar on a back airstrip at Dulles airport, and told the story to about 30 reporters.
POLITICO: Staffing Ryan
Paul Ryan’s team is being filled out, with Mitt Romney adviser Dan Senor now being assigned as a senior adviser to the vice presidential hopeful. Staffer Jake Kastan becomes the body man, according to campaign officials.
Senor has played a major political as well as foreign policy advisory role on Romney’s team, but he will be serving in a much broader role with Ryan, helping on things like debate prep and the convention speech
Senor was asked by Romney top adviser Beth Myers, who led the VP search process, to serve in the role for the eventual nominee months ago, well before it was clear who it would be, sources said. As it happens, he and Paul go back nearly two decades, to days as congressional staffers. Senor was the campaign adviser most involved in arranging Romney’s recent trip to Israel.
He’ll be traveling with Ryan full time from here on out, as the VP hopeful and Romney split up and cover different ground.
Kastan will be in the role of perennial guard and intermediary for the candidate with the rest of the world.