Romney Aide Resigns From Campaig

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jason Roe, the deputy campaign manager of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's 2008 GOP presidential bid, has resigned.

The resignation came a day after the St. Petersburg Times reported that Roe, while serving as chief of staff to Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), had sent an e-mail to the paper saying that Feeney had no way to know that now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff paid for a 2003 trip to Scotland with the congressman. The Justice Department is investigating the trip.

Kevin Madden, Romney's chief spokesman, said that Roe was not fired and that Roe cited family obligations when he announced his resignation on Tuesday. Roe commuted between Washington and Boston.

Yesterday, the campaign began running $2 million worth of commercials on national cable networks, largely the Fox News Channel. Despite posting impressive fundraising numbers, Romney has languished in third or fourth place among Republicans in the polls and is working to increase his familiarity among conservatives.

Presidential Questions

From now on, let's stick with declared presidential candidates.

Sam Waterston, who plays prosecutor Jack McCoy on the TV show "Law & Order," was at the National Press Club yesterday to sell Unity '08, an online effort to draft a bipartisan presidential ticket. But many questions focused on Arthur Branch, the "Law & Order" character played by former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.), a possible GOP contender.

Asked if he debates Thompson, Waterston said: "Fred Thompson is a good man, and I'm curious, and I ask him questions sometimes when I feel like he might be able to answer. He's perfectly capable of keeping his own counsel. On the other hand, whenever he's answered me, he's always been straightforward."

Asked whether Thompson will run, he said: "I think he is going to run for president, but Fred is the one who knows."

Waterston was quizzed about his own political future. One audience member wondered, should a Senate seat open up in New York -- because of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's election to the White House -- would he run? Waterston didn't say no.

Meanwhile, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R) gave his most forceful indication that he won't run for president. (Some have speculated that he might seek the Unity '08 endorsement.) "I do not anticipate being a candidate this time or any other time," Bloomberg said during a visit to Mexico City, according to Reuters.

-- Zachary A. Goldfarb

Political Reality TV

MySpace, the popular social networking site, and Mark Burnett, the producer behind CBS's hit show "Survivor," have teamed up to launch a new political reality television show called "Independent."

Aimed at young voters, the interactive competition will award a political independent $1 million to be spent on fostering political action, building a third-party movement or some other political cause as decided by MySpace users and show viewers. All interested candidates can submit a MySpace video. Once the candidate is chosen, his or her MySpace profile will serve as a campaign platform.

"The largest number of eyeballs able to be reached at any one time is still network television. But, clearly, the world's largest social networking community is found on MySpace, and this huge, powerful group of young Americans will definitely generate strong opinions and unquestionable influence," Burnett said.

-- Jose Antonio Vargas

© 2007 The Washington Post Company