In the delicate art of convincing big-dollar donors that they are, in fact, being listened to, Republican Mitt Romney has one advantage over President Barack Obama:
The tarmac tete-a-tete.
Whether he’s boarding or deplaning, Romney tends to find a few moments at the foot of the stairs to talk with a donor or two. Upon landing at Newark International today, Romney visited with Edward Czuker, dressed in a white shirt and wearing a yarmulke. Czuker, chief executive of the real estate-developing Legado Companies in Beverly Hills, and his wife have contributed $10,000 to Romney’s campaign and $61,800 to the Republican National Committee.
In addition to the obligatory photo with the candidate, Romney engages the donor in what appears to be — from a distance of 30 yards — more than idle chit-chat. Those conversations, conducted over the roaring jet engines, have been lasting about five to 10 minutes.
That’s much longer than Obama blocks off for grip-and-grins at his high-priced fundraisers. Presidential photo lines are a model of speed and efficiency.
And Obama, who typically uses National Guard or Air Force bases for take-offs and landings, probably can’t waive in donors to stroke their egos on an official government tarmac.
The president also doesn’t have any time to kill. Romney sometimes does, while the ground crew loads or unloads luggage and makes sure the plane is ready for flight. Air Force One is always gassed up and ready to roll.
Obama can make it from the doors of limo to top of the stairs on Air Force One in under a minute–and frequently does. The plane is sometimes bumping along the runway before reporters have founds their seats.