By Ken Hegan for MSN Travel

Hunter S. Thompson made me a travel writer.

In his book, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, HST hilariously described what it was like to jet around America while covering the 1972 presidential election. By chapter 2, I wanted to bounce around US airports, hotels, and convention halls just like HST did, following candidates as they lusted for the White House.

That’s why I’m excited about Mitt Romney’s new travel contest.

Romney plane

Young Romney fan is ecstatic to fly on Mitt’s plane. AP Photo/Charles Dharapak


If you’ve been following the news this week, you know the Republican presidential candidate is having a lousy September on the campaign trail. After a lackluster political convention, he fell further behind President Obama in the polls. Romney was hammered by critics for his statements on the Libyan crisis. And now there’s a leaked recording of Romney slamming poor people to a room of rich supporters.
According to Mother Jones magazine, Romney told a small group of wealthy donors that 47% of Americans will vote for Obama “no matter what” because they are people who are “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims.” Never mind that many of the so-called “47%” are low-income veterans and seniors who often vote Republican.
The result: Mitt Romney comes off like a Thurston Howell plutocrat  who’s disdainful of half his potential voters. Some political reporters think the video means Romney just lost the race for the White House…even though Election Day is still seven weeks away.But unless he steps down and forfeits the race (highly unlikely), there’s still plenty of campaigning to go. So that’s why I’m excited to tell you about Mitt Romney’s travel contest.
Romney’s website is offering people a chance to “join Mitt on board the campaign plane for an exciting day on the campaign trail — at 30,000 feet! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go behind the scenes and see the campaign from the inside.”Or, in other words, you can win a dream date with Mitt!

To win “a chance to take off with Mitt for a day on the campaign plane” (and a free night in a hotel), all you have to do is:(A)be an American citizen/permanent resident, aged 18 or over(B) donate at least $3 to his campaignIf you’re one of the two lucky winners, there’s no telling which cities you’ll visit on your day with Mitt.

Maybe you’ll fly between two battleground states like Ohio and Florida, where the results are still a tossup between Democrats and Republicans. Or maybe Romney will burnish his foreign policy experience by making a surprise trip to visit US personnel in Afghanistan, Iraq, or whatever US embassy is under attack.

Total prize value is estimated at $2975 US.

The best part? Not only do you get to fly on Mitt’s plane (which his wife, Ann, has nicknamed “Hair Force One”), you can help Mitt rename his jet!

Here’s a quote from Mitt’s recent fundraising email:

“I’m excited to invite two of my supporters to come on board the plane, and join me for a day on this important journey. I hope you’ll enter for a chance to fly with me.

I don’t know exactly what our itinerary will be, but if you’re one of the winners — I can tell you it will be exciting. And, who knows, maybe you and I will come up with a better name for the campaign plane.”

So what should Romney name his jet?

Here are a few ideas:

  • The Golden Gaffe
  • Mitt Hits the Fan
  • Mayday Mitt
  • Mittstorm!
  • The Unforced Error
  • Talespin
  • The Full Monty Burns
  • The Holy Ghost of a Chance
  • The Rominator
  • Don’t You Know How Rich I Am

For your chance to win a dream day with Mitt, enter here. Good luck!

— Ken Hegan


BING: how to lose elections

Read all Ken’s MSN travel stories here

Twitter: @KenHegan