Romney Staff Moves Aimed at Bolstering Beltway Cred
One of the major challenges facing Mitt Romney between now and the end of the year is bolstering his "street cred" inside the Beltway -- showing the chattering classes in the nation's capital that he is ready to make a serious run for the White House.
The soon-to-be former governor of Massachusetts took a nice step in that direction today with the hiring of Kevin Madden to serve as the campaign-in-waiting's national press secretary. Madden is currently the press secretary for House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio). He took that job in February after serving as spokesman for former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas); Madden has also done press stints for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the Bush-Cheney campaign.
Madden is well thought of by party insiders and should be a big help to Romney as he seeks to build relationships with operatives and journalists in Washington. Madden joins an ever-growing inner circle of Romney advisers that includes (but is not limited to): Commonwealth PAC executive director Beth Myers, PAC political director Julie Teer, Republican Governors Association executive director Phil Musser, Commonwealth finance director Spencer Zwick, policy director Sally Canfield, Ron Kauffman of the Dutko Group, media consultant Alex Castellanos, microtargetiung expert Alex Gage and pollster Jan van Lohuizen.
Romney also signed economic advisers R. Glenn Hubbard, N. Gregory Mankiw and Cesar Conda to his team in recent days.
The Fix has talked to a number of other high-level staffers in Washington that Romney and his allies have reached out to in recent days. Expect more people to follow Madden's lead soon. And Romney is not the only likely '08 candidate fishing in the staff talent pool -- both in Washington as well as in key early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont. Arizona Sen. John McCain is also extremely active.
Romney has said he will announce his future intentions in early 2007. Everything points to an announcement of a presidential bid at that time.
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