Mitt Romney will embark on a multi-state bus tour on Aug. 10, a campaign aide confirmed Tuesday, setting off a new round of speculation over the presumptive GOP nominee’s choice of a running mate.
News of the bus tour, which was first reported by CNN’s Peter Hamby, comes as Romney returns to Boston from a six-day foreign tour and as several VP shortlisters have been barnstorming key states on his behalf.
A campaign aide could not immediately confirm what states Romney is expected to visit on the trip. According to CNN, the bus tour will take Romney to the Washington area as well as Richmond and Norfolk, Va., on Aug. 11. The next day, Romney is expected to hit the swing state of North Carolina, with the final leg of the tour expected to bring him to Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami, Fla., on the last day of the London Olympics.
The Orlando Sentinel reported late Tuesday that U.S. Senate hopeful Connie Mack IV is expected to join Romney for part of the Florida tour. One of the VP shortlisters – former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) – is scheduled to attend a New Hampshire Republican Party ice cream social in Manchester on Aug. 11, the second day of the bus tour.
A tour of battlegrounds including North Carolina, Virginia and Florida would seem a logical way to kick off a VP announcement. In 2008, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced his pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) at a campaign event in Dayton, Ohio; the two then went to the swing states of Pennsylvania and Missouri.
Then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) opted for the more symbolic route, announcing his pick of then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) in Springfield, Ill.; the two then parted ways as Biden headed back to Delaware while Obama embarked on a tour of Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Montana and Colorado.
This year’s Republican National Convention – where Romney and his running mate will formally receive the GOP nomination -- begins in Tampa on Aug. 27.
Romney later this week holds his first events since returning from his foreign trip; on Thursday he will hold them in Colorado, including a high-dollar fundraiser in Aspen.
On Friday, Romney is expected to hold a quartet of fundraisers in Reno, Nev.