Romney out of state 212 days so far in 2006
Gov. Mitt Romney, who is preparing for a possible run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, has spent all or part of 212 days outside Massachusetts in 2006, according to the Boston Sunday Globe.
Romney plans to spend the rest of the year vacationing with his family in Utah, putting him on track to be away from Massachusetts for all or part of 219 days this year.
Since announcing he would not seek re-election a year ago, Romney has traveled to 35 states and eight countries -- and been out of the state an average of more than four days each week, according to The Globe, which reviewed his public schedules.
In October, for example, he spent six full days and four partial days in Massachusetts, his schedules show. Starting Nov. 28, he was gone for 19 of 20 days.
New Hampshire, home to the first presidential primary contest and Romney's summer home, is one of the states he visited more than 10 times in 2005.
Romney, who is expected to announce his presidential intentions early next month, spent most trips working as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, raising money for his Commonwealth PAC or testing the waters for a presidential bid, the newspaper found.
Among other trips, Romney attended the elevation of Cardinal Sean O'Malley in Rome and made visits to troops and officials in Iraq and Afghanistan and a detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He recently returned from a trip to Japan, Korea and China, which he paid for himself.
"Gov. Romney is a national leader in the Republican Party. He was increasingly called upon to help candidates from his party, and he took a leadership role in the Republican Governors Association," said Eric Fehrnstrom, the governor's communications director, in defending Romney's absences.
Romney's State Police security detail accompanies him out of state. Fehrnstrom said he did not know the cost, but the charge to the state was "minimized."
Romney also used his PAC -- created in 2004 to raise money for Republican candidates -- to build and sustain an infrastructure of at least 17 paid staffers and a large group of consultants in eight states.
New Hampshire's Republican State Committee received $20,000 and overall, New Hampshire candidates and party committees were among the chief recipients of Commonwealth PAC money -- $164,150 this year -- second only to Iowa and Michigan, which received $276,165.
Romney's PAC paid $104,895 to the Rath Group, the public affairs division of Republican National Committeeman Tom Rath's Concord, N.H. law firm. Rath is stepping down from the RNC to join Romney's campaign.