Also, Romney's schedule is closely held — and his campaign typically won't say what he's doing when he's not at one of the few public events he holds each week. Even public appearances often are announced less than a day in advance — or not at all. Recently he rode to the site of the failed energy company Solyndra on the unmarked press bus, leaving the logo-plastered Romney for President bus behind at his hotel. Aides said the campaign was concerned the Obama administration would work with local officials to prevent Romney from holding an event there.
Romney's campaign also usually won't disclose with whom the candidate meets — regardless of whether they are high-ranking officials or simply voters. He kept reporters away from a private meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last month, and says he regularly holds "off the record" meetings with middle class families, though he won't say who they are.
Obama's public schedule tends to list more Oval Office meetings than President George W. Bush did, but many of his sessions are not divulged. The White House does release Obama's visitor logs, and they are open on the White House website.
On his possible policies as president, Romney has been more upfront with audiences behind closed doors than he has been when the media are present.
At fundraising events not witnessed by reporters, donors are sometimes given access to policy roundtables with top staff, and Romney himself gave donors in West Palm Beach, Fla., a more detailed outline of which federal departments he plans to cut than is part of his normal campaign speech. That address was overheard by reporters who stood outside on a sidewalk.
Romney has suggested he's purposefully vague when he talks to the media — and, therefore, the general public — about his policy plans. Asked recently why he hasn't released more specifics, he compared his approach to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
"The media kept saying to Chris, 'Come on, give us the details, give us the details,'" Romney said. "'We want to hang you with them.'"
In the aftermath of the Florida event, Romney agreed to allow a handful of reporters to attend just a few of the many finance events he holds each week. Still, his campaign refuses to say how much money each event raises, and doesn't regularly release a full schedule of the events from which reporters are barred. Romney's campaign expanded the number of people allowed into the fundraisers beginning this week, allowing three news service reporters instead of one and also allowing a TV network representative in, though without a camera. Reporters are still barred from covering fundraisers at private homes.
Romney's secrecy goes beyond the details of his campaign schedule or his policy proposals.
He has been selective at best in providing public records from his 2003-2007 term as Massachusetts governor.
Late last year, he acknowledged that just before he left office he authorized a sweeping purge of electronic data from his executive office, allowing top aides to purchase and remove their computer hard drives. He also benefited from a law that widely exempted the governor's office from state public records disclosure requirements. His campaign aides point to more than 600 boxes of materials that were sent from his office to the Massachusetts archives, but a week-long examination of the Romney records now in those archives by The Associated Press did not turn up a single email or internal document either authored by or sent to Romney. Some such emails have since surfaced in connection with public records requests.
Obama, Romney's rival, entered office pledging to create the most transparent administration in American history. But while some open- government groups give him credit for trying, aspects of his administration remain closed or inaccessible to the public eye. A review this year by the AP found that federal agencies had improved their response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act but still had had sizable backlogs.
In his campaign, Romney has limited the release of documents and information that in the past often have become part of the public record.
He is the first winning candidate of either party in more than a decade to refuse to give the public a list of the people who tap their business and social networks to raise tens of thousands of dollars for him. In 2008, Obama and McCain both released lists of bundlers. Bush released his in 2000 and 2004.
- Abercrombie & Fitch CEO posts statement on...
- Defending the Faith: A case for the...
- Tornado relief spurs LDS Church, Layton's...
- Brave woman tried to reason with London...
- One block: How neighbors saw twister's deadly...
- IRS role in Obamacare adds deeper layer to...
- Authorities: Man questioned in Boston bombing...
- Photo gallery: Tornado rips Oklahoma suburb
- Mitt Romney talks IRS, AP records,... 65
- Journalists criticize Obama... 38
- Defending the Faith: A case for the... 25
- Associated Press CEO calls records... 23
- White House insists Obama was not... 22
- Former IRS chief to Congress: Can't say... 21
- IRS official Lerner invokes Fifth... 21
- More Obama aides knew IRS targeted... 19