Thursday, 4:30 PM
Romney meets with press 'off the record' at holiday party
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
An elusive Governor Mitt Romney has finally agreed to meet with members of the local media today after weeks of shunning hometown reporters as his presidential ambitions have taken him to Japan, South Korea, and beyond.
Romney, who spent the weekend in Louisiana and Tennessee, is hosting his annual Holiday Press Party tonight in the Executive Suite at the State House. There is, however, one caveat that his staff made clear on the governor's schedule with bold letters and an asterisk.
The holiday party is "off the record."
Eric Fehrnstrom, the governor's communications director, said in an e-mail this morning that the media holiday party has been "off the record" as long as he can remember.
"It's a social event, not a news conference, and it's a way for the governor to celebrate the holiday with reporters, thank them for their work and wish them all a happy new year," Fehrnstrom said.
This is the first year that the party has been listed as "off the record" because it is the first time the event has been on the daily schedule put out by the governor's office, Fehrnstrom said.
The Globe reported on Friday that Romney has avoided reporters in the face of questions about his support of gay rights and his use of a lawn service that employees undocumented workers despite his tough stance on illegal immigration. Romney, who was once very accessible to local reporters, has increasingly referred questions to his staff.
Romney did, however, grant an exclusive interview last week to the online version of the conservative magazine National Review. The Republican has not formally announced his run for the presidency, but he is widely expected to seek the GOP nomination.