Mitt Romney's advisers say his five-day bus tour of small-town America was a success in part because it generated something they'd like to see a lot more of: favorable news coverage.
Among the positive stories was a piece in the Washington Post Tuesday headlined, "Romney--now 'one of the guys'--basks in new enthusiasm from GOP." Team Romney provided me with a two-page list of links to other stories, including a CNN piece headlined, "Easy As Pie: Romney Finds Momentum on Bus," and the Wall Street Journal's "Romney Bus Tour Gets Rolling." In Pennsylvania, there was the Lebanon Daily News' story, "Romney Cheered in Cornwell," and in Ohio, it was the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's "Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Talks Of Family At Father's Day Campaign Stop In Brunswick."
There were also negative assessments across the media landscape, but by and large, Romney and his advisers say the trip was a big plus because he got attention for his criticisms of President Obama and showed a more appealing personal side.
"Governor Romney loves being able to talk with voters, and the excitement of Governor Romney's candidacy was evident as he traveled across the country to spread his pro-jobs message," Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, told me Wednesday. "The American people know how tough things are but they also believe in America and know that, with the right leadership, we can get our economy back on track."
Romney's theme throughout the five-day trip was Obama failing to keep his campaign promises on many fronts, especially his pledge to improve the economy and create jobs. Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, argues that his brand of conservatism will end the downturn and increase employment.
Another goal was to show Romney in family-friendly settings where he could connect with everyday voters. His critics say he is too aloof and can't bond with Middle America because he is a multi-millionaire who comes from a privileged background.
On the trip, which covered New Hampshire, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Romney visited a convenience store, strolled with his wife on a sandy beach, took a ride on a Mississippi River paddle-wheel boat, and mingled with people attending a pancake social.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook and Twitter.