Walter Mencken 9 a.m., Jan. 30
Romney's New Media Aide Had Rocky Road in San Diego
Ric Grenell, newly announced media aide to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, has apparently already violated one of the cardinal rules of political flackery: don't attract attention to yourself.
According to the Huffington Post's Michael Calderone, the former Bush administration official deleted 800 tweets from his twitter feed and took down his personal web site after reporters started mining them for potentially controversial items.
As San Diegans with good memories may recall, Grenell parachuted into town in 1998 to become chief spinmeister for then-mayor Susan Golding, who at the time was ramping up an ultimately disastrous bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
After his West Coast interlude with Golding, Grenell headed back to New York City, where he became chief of public relations for John Negroponte, George W. Bush's United Nations ambassador, and later Negroponte's successor, ex-GOP Sen. John Danforth.
There Grenell was the target of allegations that he was "'rude,' 'arrogant,' and a 'bully,' neither popular nor a particularly good source," according to the Village Voice.
Then in November 2004, it was announced that Grenell was heading back to San Diego to accept a PR spot at La Jolla's Titan Corp., the big defense outfit where Golding, a longtime friend and political associate of CEO Gene Ray, had landed on the board following her failure to move up the political ladder.
Titan had plenty of public relations problems to deal with, having become enmeshed in the infamous prisoner-torture scandal at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad and a federal bribery investigation.
"Ric will be a great asset to the Titan team," Ray, a major GOP donor, said in a news release at the time.
"His experience over the last 12 years as the primary communications advisor for public officials at the local, state, federal, and international levels will be a valuable asset, as we provide National Security Solutions to our government customers."
Wrote Union-Tribune columnist Diane Bell: "After a lifetime career in the public sector, Grenell calls this private enterprise post, which he assumes in December, a great challenge -- and a welcome return to San Diego."
For some reason, though, the job didn't stick.
When we checked backed on Grenell's status with the company in February 2005, we were told by spokesman Wil Williams, "Mr. Grenell has decided not to join Titan."
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