By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times –
TAMPA, Fla. — A gun was left unattended on Mitt Romney’s charter plane by a member of the U.S. Secret Service on Wednesday as the GOP presidential nominee flew to Indiana for a campaign rally.
During a flight from Tampa to Indianapolis, the weapon was discovered in the lavatory by a CBS News reporter, who alerted agents on the flight, according to an account posted on the television network’s website.
An agent immediately retrieved the gun. It’s unclear how long the firearm was left unattended. The agent, who travels with Romney for weeks at a time as a member of his protective detail, was not on the return flight to Tampa in the evening.
Romney has traveled with armed Secret Service agents since February, and his wife, Ann, just received a detail on Friday. Such protection is typical for presidential candidates and their spouses.
Romney had been in Tampa to watch Ann Romney’s address to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night. He flew to Indiana on Wednesday to address the American Legion conference — accompanied by campaign aides, reporters and his protective detail — and returned to Florida in the evening. He planned to watch a speech by his running mate, Paul D. Ryan, from his hotel room, and will officially accept the GOP nomination and address delegates here Thursday evening.
The Romney campaign referred questions about the gun incident to the Secret Service. Agents on the flight declined comment, and a call to the agency Wednesday evening was not returned.