PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - It's not often that Mitt Romney omits from his remarks that he's running for president, but today the presumptive GOP nominee did just that, secretly dropping by a New Hampshire police station to offer his condolences to a unit grieving over the sudden death of their police chief.
"There was no mention of votes, he didn't talk about any political issues," said current Police Chief Tara Laurent in an interview with ABC News. "He kept his remarks exclusively to offering condolences to the officers here."
Greenland's Police Chief Michael Maloney was killed earlier this month when he went to serve a search warrant to an individual being investigated for a drug charge. The story of his death, as well as the state-wide tributes that have been organized since on his behalf, have been widely covered in the New England press.
According to Taurent, Romney arrived with his Secret Service agents and just one campaign aide just after 12:30 p.m. - when the national press pool who covered the candidate's morning event in Portsmouth, N.H., were likely still sitting on the pier filing stories.
The campaign did not advise reporters of the event, instead telling reporters that Romney was heading into Boston after his event in Portsmouth.
An aide to the campaign confirmed the Greenland visit, saying that Romney had gone to pay his respects to the group.
According to Laurent, Romney stayed for about 30 minutes and delivered remarks to the group before talking to officers individually. Laurent said that she only learned of Romney's visit a few hours prior to his arrival and was not aware of any special relationship Romney had with Maloney.
"Everyone here is in the grieving process, and anyone who is willing to come in and acknowledge that and make the officers and everyone feel good is welcome," said Laurent.
The candidate, who is often criticized for failing to show his human side, did just that, albiet away from the eyes of journalists.
"Yes, people were emotional," Laurent said of the response to Romney's visit by the 11 officers in the station.
"The fact that he didn't talk about his campaign I thought was very touching to me. It seemed genuine, he wasn't here to tell us to vote for him," said Laurent.