Mitt and Ann Romney spoke with members of the conservative press for two hours in an off-the-record meeting Wednesday in Washington, D.C., reports the Huffington Post. Attendees told HuffPo that the meeting was an “olive branch” to conservative media and an effort to get them on their side and “working with the campaign.” As many as 60 writers attended in person or by phone.
The attendees came from numerous conservative sites and right-of-center publications, including National Review, Daily Caller, American Spectator, Washington Examiner, Right Wing News, Powerline, Townhall, Ace of Spades, Rhiel World View, White House Dossier, and Pajamas Media. RNC chairman Reince Preibus also attended.
Romney told attendees that it will be tough getting the campaign's message across through mainstream media in a general election, presumably because of the assumption shared by conservatives that political journalists are likely to put their thumb on the scale for Obama.
During a Q&A period, attendees brought up Fast and Furious, the botched U.S. gunrunning sting that conservative outlets have given more attention than the national media, along with concerns that the Romney campaign will continue leaking to establishment outlets, including ABC News and Politico, rather than conservative ones.
Some conservative journalists left satisfied with what they heard. At one point, Romney told attendees that the campaign intended to work closely with their outlets and will even help conservative outlets writing about Obama with opposition research, according to an attendee.