The Salt Lake Tribune, poring over the floorplans to the Romney family's new vacation house in Deer Valley, Utah, found a small 11-foot-by-5-foot room hidden behind some bookshelves. Which made us wonder what the former governor might be stashing away.
You can see the room in the blueprint at right. It's a little over 50 square feet, twice as long as it is wide. The document marks where the "hidden door" will be built in to shelving in the adjacent study. It's next to the "powder room" and the "coat room," which many people would call a "bathroom" and "closet."
Here are the best theories we came up with for what the room might hold.
It is a panic room.
Pro: If we learned anything from the first decade of the 21st century, it's that fancy houses have special rooms in which residents can hide in the event of a home invasion. Since the Romneys had to give up their Secret Service protection last November, it only makes sense that the family would go out of its way to ensure its safety.
Con: It seems like a panic room would be more effective if connected to a bedroom, not a study. Having to make your way past the murderers on the steps while trying to access your panic room seems prohibitive.
It is Romney's secret campaign memorabilia stash.
Pro: Romney, a proud, proper man, doesn't want to keep his old Romney-Ryan placards (with the word "Ryan" studiously crossed out) sitting out in his living room. So he asked the architects to create a little room into which he can escape when the mood suits him. He's sitting in his study, reading Townhall.com, and is overcome with the urge to remember the high points of 2012. He walks into the hidden room and the lights dim automatically. A podium rises from the floor and an Potemkin audience is projected on the far wall. Lawn signs are spotlit on the walls; his campaign site flickers on a nearby Dell. He gives his victory speech, again, twiddling a knob on the podium to raise or lower the volume of the "Romney! Romney!" chants.
Con: Romney probably doesn't want to remember that campaign that often.
It is a secret room for the sake of having a secret room.
Pro: Admit it: If you were rich and building your fifth house, you'd be tempted to build-in a Scooby Doo-style hidden room. Like in a castle! Imagine the pranks that Mitt could play on Tagg's kids! Now you see Grandpa Mitt; now he disappeared without a trace. Good stuff.
Con: There are no cons to this.
It is a testament to those killed with Romney's deceased husband's guns.
Oh, sorry. That's the Winchester Mystery House.
It is storage.
Pro: This is the angle the Tribune took, though even the paper still left a little room for mystery.
The architectural drawings say it’s for "office storage." It measures 11 feet long and is lined with cabinets. The "hidden door," as it’s labeled on the documents, is masked as a bookshelf and swings into the study. There are no other details, and Romney’s spokeswoman declined to comment.
(Is it the same spokesperson from the campaign? If not, how much easier is that job these days?)
Con: This is boring — and if there's one thing Mitt Romney is not, it is boring.
It will hold a meth lab.
Pro: Honestly, this one seems far fetched.
Con: And besides, Romney probably already goes to bed each night on a giant pile of money.
Hat-tip: Political Wire.