WASHINGTON - Want to be among the first to know who Mitt Romney picks for a running mate? There's an app for that.
The Republican's campaign on Tuesday announced an iPhone and Android application to alert supporters when Romney makes his vice presidential pick. The campaign promises they can find out who Romney chooses "before the press and just about everyone else (except maybe Ann)."
"It's a question everyone's asking: Who will be Mitt Romney's VP? There's no telling when that answer might come," the campaign said.
But it will come in the next few weeks.
As is typical of the process, Romney's running-mate search has been a secretive affair, with only a handful of his closest advisers involved. Aides at his Boston headquarters are planning for the roll-out although they have no information about the candidates being considered or when an announcement might happen. Many aides are relying on news reports to anticipate potential candidates and making guesses about where the presumptive ticket would make its first appearance.
It appears unlikely, though, that Romney will announce his selection this week. He was heading back to the United States on Tuesday after a seven-day trip to England, Israel and Poland.
Romney's wife, Ann, also is scheduled to return to London on Thursday to watch her dressage horse compete in the Olympics. It would be unusual for Romney to make such an important announcement without her at his side; she also has been very involved in the search process.
Four years ago, candidate Barack Obama collected thousands of supporters' cellphone numbers with the promise that he would share his vice presidential pick by text message. But word that he had selected Joe Biden leaked before Obama's team sent the text. Obama later used those phone numbers to stay in contact with supporters.
Users who download Romney's free app are directed to enter their name, email, address, ZIP code and smartphone number. The app also allows Romney's team to see users' locations, which could be used to target voters in battleground states.