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‘Mormon Rivals’ — After 2012 defeat, Romney faced a crushing loss in the social-media spotlight

First Published      Last Updated Jun 26 2015 10:53 am

From surreptitious photos of his date nights with his wife to awkward selfies on airplanes, Mitt Romney is the first presidential runner-up to face the full force of social media — a rather sad, voyeuristic experience for which every modern politician must now prepare.

Two weeks after President Barack Obama's re-election, Mitt and Ann Romney were spotted at a movie theater, where they watched the latest "Twilight" flick. Afterward, they enjoyed some pizza. How do we know this? Someone on the street snapped pictures and sent them to TMZ. Two days later, multiple people caught Romney pumping gas in La Jolla, Calif., wearing a wrinkled blue dress shirt with his sleeves rolled and his hair mussed. The blurry images appeared on Twitter and Reddit. The next day, dozens of people pulled out their smartphones to document the Romney family's trip to Disneyland.

The photos didn't stop. There's the picture of him buying a McFlurry in Washington, the same day he met with Obama at the White House for lunch, a meal that included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad but apparently no dessert. There's one showing Romney pushing a cart out of Costco, a black ballcap riding high on his head. He bought two cases of water, paper towels, a down coat and a whole lot of V8.

Welcome to the new reality in which Hillary Clinton's visits to Chipotle become news and selfies with Romney will continue to dot Facebook pages for years to come.