ON THE ROMNEY PLANE EN ROUTE TO BOSTON—It's no secret that Mitt Romney's campaign aides have strongly discouraged the candidate from doing too much talking to his traveling press corps, concerned that even the tiniest of gaffes could set off major waves in his bid for the presidency. But sometimes Romney just can't help himself.
On Friday, the Republican candidate ventured back three times to the press cabin on his campaign plane—first to tease Maeve Reston, a Los Angeles Times reporter, who had been accidentally left behind by the press bus after a rally in the Philadelphia suburbs.
"Where is she? Where is she?" Romney asked, peering behind a wall of photographers who had piled in the aisle to capture this impromptu visit from the GOP candidate.
"This is not my fault, governor," she said.
Romney joked that he might try the device with other reporters: "'Sorry to have left you behind, but we waited. We waited!'"
Minutes later, Romney returned again, this time carrying a large bag of beef jerky that he said he had personally received from jerky guru Jack Link.
"Here you go," Romney said, as he handed out gigantic sticks of beef—identified as Jack Link's "Sasquatch" size. Reaching into the bag as he approached Sam Youngman, a Reuters reporter, he pulled out a miniature "All American Beef and Cheese" pack—about half the size of the pieces of jerky he had doled out to other reporters. Glancing at the package and then at Youngman, Romney laughed.
"OOH, sorry," Romney said, letting out a "ha ha ha."
Reporters laughed and exchanged glances. Had the Republican presidential nominee just made a "size" joke?
A moment later, Romney returned, handing Youngman a bigger stick from the bag. "Thanks governor," Youngman replied. "I had jerky envy."
Romney burst out laughing and returned to his seat.