Romney’s media strategy includes courting liberal news outlets

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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DES MOINES, Iowa — Mitt Romney is running for president as a Republican, but his recent media strategy includes granting exclusive interviews to news outlets that cater to a liberal audience.

Romney last week granted one-on-one interviews in Iowa to both MSNBC and the Huffington Post, among the best-known sources of news for liberals in the country. In recent weeks, he also gave interviews to The Washington Post, The New York Times and Politico.

It’s a peculiar strategy for someone who has had trouble convincing conservatives throughout this race he’s one of them.

The Romney campaign runs a tight ship when it comes to media access. Unlike other candidates who can be more open at campaign stops, Romney will only answer questions from reporters during organized media availabilities.

He has had an awkward relationship during the 2012 campaign with non-liberal outlets, especially the Fox News Channel.

Until just recently, Romney avoided — unlike other candidates — appearing on the nightly “Special Report” program and “Fox News Sunday.” When he finally sat down with “Special Report” host Bret Baier, Romney made news for his snippy responses.

In October, he chided TheDC for asking him a question about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal while working a crowd, shaking hands and signing autographs at an event. (RELATED: Full coverage of Mitt Romney)

“I do press [availabilities] and then I answer questions, that are important questions, in the length that I want to do,” Romney said then. “But what I don’t do is in a group like this is stop and rattle off questions to people just as we walk along.” Romney’s campaign held no press availability that day.

Romney did hold an availability on Sunday during a campaign stop at the Family Table restaurant in Atlantic, Iowa. There he took questions about former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, as well as about his outreach to social conservatives in Iowa.

“I’m a conservative,” Romney said Sunday. “I’m proud to be a conservative businessman and what distinguishes me, I think, from the others in the field is that I understand the economy firsthand having lived in it.”

Romney’s campaign has refused multiple times over the last year to provide the former Massachusetts governor for an interview with The Daily Caller.

In some cases, the Romney campaign immediately declined TheDC’s interview request. In one instance in December, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told an editor that the campaign will keep the publication “in mind as he makes the rounds.”

*This post has been updated.


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