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Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney and U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) wave after Romney introduced Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate during a campaign event at the battleship USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia  August 11, 2012.
Shotgun wedding.
For a campaign that can't shoot straight, this weekend's rollout of the Paul Ryan VP pick was par for the course.

Announcement timing
Fridays are reserved for bad news. Why? Because no one is paying attention to the news on Friday. Saturday are equally dead, particularly in the summer. And triply so on the last weekend of the Olympics, when big final showdowns in soccer, basketball, volleyball and other popular sports are taking place.

So of course, the Romney campaign takes their big decision, and leaks it on a Friday Bad News Dump.

Announcement app
Supporters were urged to download Romney's VP announcement app so that they would be the first to known about the decision. Well, unless the app was called "Twitter," those people got screwed.

Announcement setting
I guess the Romney campaign thought it was clever to hold the announcement on the U.S.S. Wisconsin, I guess to highlight the fact that Ryan is from Wisconsin. Instead, it created a bit of cognitive dissonance. It's one thing for a decorated veteran to use a military backdrop as a prop for his campaign. It's another thing to remind people that this is the first GOP ticket without military experience.

Announcement timing, Part II
Sarah Palin got a big bump of positive press following her nomination. She was unknown, but seemed attractive on paper. It was several weeks before she began her rapid descent into self-parody.

Ryan had none of the benefits of obscurity, and every liability from being the conservative movement's point man in the House. Yet with the proper timing, he still might've been able to enjoy some semblance of a honeymoon. Maybe announce him the week before the Republican convention, or wait until the convention itself to add drama to the proceedings.

The Romney campaign was panicked at falling poll numbers, panicked at the conservative insurrection among his ranks, and panicked at his inability to change the subject from Bain and his taxes. Thus, they announce the pick at a bizarre time when few are paying attention to politics.

What that means, is that by the time people start paying attention, Ryan will be thoroughly defined. The public's first impression of Ryan won't be positive, it'll be chatter about his efforts to destroy Medicare. And given the impression that the match was made out of political desperation, the traditional media hasn't been apt to give Ryan the benefit of the doubt—the coverage has been negative from the start.

Originally posted to kos on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 01:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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