This is a very clever convention marketing tool: schedule a “To Be Announced” speaker, say nothing of it, wait for one, sharp eyed observer to notice it, and watch as the press, pundits, and bloggers try to figure out the mystery. The ploy will not only increase interest in the convention itself, but since the surprise speaker is scheduled right before Romney’s acceptance speech, it will guarantee additional excitement for the convention’s climactic moment.
That’s what convention organizers have done — and it’s working.
Republican convention planners appear to have a surprise planned for those tuning in Thursday night.
Buried deep in the convention schedule released Monday is a vague reference to a mystery speaker scheduled for the event’s final evening. “To Be Announced” has a prime speaking slot late in the Thursday program.
By then, speakers from Mitt Romney’s church will have taken the stage that night. The co-founder of Staples office-supply chain will have spoken about working with Mr. Romney during his time at Bain Capital. State officials from Massachusetts will have talked about the former governor. Olympians will have already thanked the presidential candidate for leading the 2002 Winter Games.
The only other speakers to follow “To Be Announced” will be Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mr. Romney himself, suggesting that the unnamed guest may appear during the 10 p.m. hour when the networks all will be broadcasting the convention.
So who will it be? Sarah Palin? Joe Lieberman? Clint Eastwood? My own guess is Nancy Reagan. She would connect Romney to the ghosts of conservatives past and her appearance would be the emotional highlight of the convention, setting the tone for Romney’s acceptance speech.
But then, I’m just guessing.
Who do you think it will be? Put your guess in the comments section of this post and if you’re right, we’ll publish your name along with the other winners in another post on Friday. One guess only, please.