Republican presidential nominee apparent Mitt Romney has begun his run toward the political middle, and one aspect of that shift appears to have been the choosing an openly gay man to his team of campaign advisors.
The advisor is Richard Grenell, 45, who also served the administration of President George W. Bush, as a spokesman for the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He was also appointed by Ambassador John Danforth in 2004 to serve as an alternative representative of the United States to the U.N. Security Council.
The campaign’s announcement last Thursday (April 19) did not identify Grenell as gay, only that he was joining the campaign to serve as its spokesman on national security and foreign policy issues.
Grenell has served a long line of prominent Republicans in various capacities, including New York Governor George Pataki, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, and San Diego Mayor Susan Golding.
The fact that the Romney campaign announced Grenell’s appointment suggests the campaign intends to go after those one in four gay voters who tend to vote Republican.
But one blogger —Doug Wead, a senior adviser to the Ron Paul campaign— notes that the Romney campaign also announced, on that same day, Romney’s plan to speak at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. He called the same-day announcements “a clumsy attempt to show respect to both the evangelical and gay communities.”
“Instead,” wrote Wead in his blog dougwead.com, “it shows that the Romney campaign understands neither one.”
But Grenell may turn out to be a little too abrasive to attract any but the hardcore Republicans in the LGBT community. Just last month, he penned an op-ed piece for the Washington Blade that derided gay Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Capehart for defending President Obama’s evolving position on same-sex marriage.
MetroWeekly in Washington, D.C. reported that Grenell and his longtime partner live in California. Other media reported Grenell is expected to be working out of Romney headquarters in Boston.
Grenell is a member of Log Cabin Republicans, the national gay Republican group, and spoke about foreign policy issues at its national conference last year.
Jimmy LaSalvia, head of the national gay conserviative group GOProud, said
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