In politics — even more than most industries — PR reps strive to maintain control over the media narrative and save the most sensitive stories for release at the best possible times. On that note, the biggest news from Mitt Romney’s campaign in the coming weeks will be its official announcement of the former governor’s running mate.
Third parties and a certain former VP have advised the Romney camp to avoid the media explosion prompted by Sarah Palin’s appearance on the national stage four years ago, and the team has followed suit, aiming to divert the attention of the press by dropping big, unlikely names into the pool and encouraging friendly media outlets to run with the fake stories as they “break.”
NBC’s First Read reports that three candidates remain in the running, yet NPR and TechPresident believe that Romney’s PR camp may have revealed their hand by way of editorial activity on Wikipedia. Given the fact that traffic on any candidate’s page will shoot up in the wake of such an announcement, we find their theory credible: Last-minute edits are needed to make the potential Veep look as good as possible. So which of the frequently-named VP candidates’ pages have seen the most changes of late?
While Florida Rep. Marco Rubio was an early leader, Ohio Senator Rob Portman seems to be the winner in recent weeks, with Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Paul Ryan following close behind. We can’t say which of these top contenders will get the nod, but it’s a fascinating study in PR behavior for those who love to follow the horse race.
So what do you think: Is Rob Portman the likeliest choice? And is there any way to keep stories like this one under wraps in our hyperactive media environment?