Romney Plans to Announce His Running Mate through an App

When Mitt Romney finally reveals who his running mate will be, it will not be in a press conference or before a public gathering.

It will be announced through an iPhone and Android application, the Romney campaign says.

The campaign promises that supporters who have the app will be able to find out who Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, chooses "before the press and just about everyone else (except maybe Ann)."

"It's a question everyone's asking: Who will be Mitt Romney's VP? There's no telling when that answer might come," the campaign said.

But it will come in the next few weeks, perhaps even in the next few days.

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As is typical of the process, Romney's running-mate search has been a secretive affair, with only a handful of his closest advisers involved.

The campaign made its announcement about its app plans as a new poll that looked at the benefits of five potential running mates for Romney showed that only two -- Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state under the George W. Bush Administration -- would help the former Massachusetts governor fare better than President Barack Obama in the crucial state of Florida.

The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling.

Rubio has kept a high profile push for Romney, recently campaigning for him at an event in Nevada. And on Thursday, Rubio is scheduled to speak at Harbco General Contractors, Inc. in Orlando about "Romney’s plan to grow the economy" and "why President Obama’s policies haven’t worked," according to a press release by the Romney campaign.

Aides at Romney's Boston headquarters are planning for the roll-out although they have released no information about the candidates being considered or when an announcement might happen.

Many aides are relying on news reports to anticipate potential candidates and making guesses about where the presumptive ticket would make its first appearance.

The Republican National Convention starts Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla., and the vice presidential nominee typically is announced before delegates arrive in the host city.

Romney was returning to the United States on Tuesday after a seven-day trip to England, Israel and Poland. He resumes his campaign at home with appearances Thursday in Colorado.

Romney's wife, Ann, is scheduled to return to London on Thursday to watch her dressage horse compete in the Olympics. It would be unusual for Romney to make such an important announcement without her at his side; she has been very involved in the search process.

Separately, Republican officials noted an announcement could come any day.

Four years ago, candidate Barack Obama collected thousands of supporters' cellphone numbers with the promise that he would share his vice presidential pick by text message. But word that he had selected Joe Biden leaked before Obama's team sent the text. Obama later used those phone numbers to stay in contact with supporters.

Users who download Romney's free app are directed to enter their name, email, address, ZIP code and smartphone number. The app also allows Romney's team to see users' locations, which could be used to target voters in battleground states.

Recent published reports have quoted unnamed sources described as close to Romney as saying that he is leaning toward former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or Ohio Sen. Rob Portman for a running mate.

This story is based on a reporting by The Associated Press.

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