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Mitt Romney

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On Wednesday night, the anonymous videographer behind the infamous "47 percent video" shot at a private Mitt Romney fundraiser in May 2012 revealed himself on MSNBC's The Ed Show. Scott Prouty was a bartender working high-end banquets in Boca Raton, Florida, including Romney's $50,000 per plate dinner. He is a registered independent who brought his Canon camera with him in case Mitt Romney wanted to meet and take photos with the staff, as Bill Clinton had after a similar event. No one had told the staff not to bring cameras or take photos. A Secret Service agent was some distance behind him. He set the camera down on the bar and pressed "record."

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On Tuesday, Mitt Romney will conclude a nearly six-year campaign journey for the White House — and his supporters, as Christopher Morris’ latest photo essay reveals, could not be more earnest or more ready. The former Massachusetts Governor launched his first presidential bid in February 2007, and his second in June, 2011 — now the polls are tight and battleground states like Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Florida hang in the balance. Even though Hurricane Sandy disrupted the campaign flow in its final days, Republicans continue to hope that Romney’s earlier momentum and economic vision will win him the 270 electoral votes needed to take the oath of office in January.

Photojournalist Christopher Morris spent the last week of the campaign photographing Romney on the trail for TIME. He first photographed the Republican nominee back in the New Hampshire primary and has witnessed his journey to the upcoming finale. Last week he crisscrossed the country with the campaign, from Canton and Kettering, Ohio, to Tampa and Land O’Lakes, Fla.

Morris trains his lens on the voters rallying with great expectations to Romney’s side. Their anticipation and determination can almost be physically felt. Many politicos have summed this election up as two men and two parties with very different visions for America’s future, and Morris’ images capture just how deep this divide plunges. “I was a bit taken back by the strong division in the country, with a palpable disdain and hatred for President Obama by the crowds at the Romney events,” says Morris, who covered the George W. Bush’s two terms in the White House. “Having covered Gore, Kerry, Bush, and McCain, I’ve never quite seen it like this.”

Morris produced My America, a look at Republican nationalism in the country during George W. Bush’s terms. Later this month, Steidl will release Morris’ new book Americans, which further examines a nation in divide.

Christopher Morris is a contract photographer for TIME and is represented by VII

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Before there was Romney the presidential candidate, there was Romney the romantic. In this week’s cover story, Jon Meacham looks at how Romney’s identity was shaped by his Mormon roots. To illustrate this formative time in the presidential candidate’s life, we turned to a surprising photo found in the archives that shows the rarely-seen personal side of the candidate.

On a recent cover shoot I asked Romney about the image and found out that around 1968, while serving as a Mormon missionary in France, a young Mitt made several photographs with the help of his LDS friends. He described how the photo was taken,  explaining that it was playfully staged for his high school girlfriend and soon-to-be wife, Ann Davies. Romney revealed that the photo is actually one of a series made during his time abroad.

The pictoral gesture worked. Davies joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prior to marrying Romney in 1969, only months after Romney returned to the U.S. The pair later attended Brigham Young University before settling in Massachusetts, where they raised five sons together.

Paul Moakley is the Deputy photo editor of TIME. 

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Mitt Romney launched his fall campaign for the White House in a rousing Republican National Convention finale Thursday night, proclaiming America needs “jobs, lots of jobs” and promising to create 12 million of them in perilous economic times. “Now is the time to restore the promise of America,” Romney said in a prime-time speech to [...]

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Election Day is going to come quicker than you know.

Long the Republican frontrunner, Mitt Romney has been gradually building momentum towards Nov. 6 since clinching the party nomination on May 29. Now, in the throes of virtually non-stop tours around the U.S. with running mate Paul Ryan, Romney moves to the next stage of his campaign next Monday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. 

Photographer Lauren Fleishman has watched Romney’s campaign evolve since she first began covering the former Massachusetts governor for TIME. Traveling with him through more than ten states since March, Fleishman became aware of how the Romney-Ryan team began to pull out the stops as the Republican National Convention loomed closer on the horizon.

This past week, as the Romney motorcade raced through Boston, New Orleans and Long Island, N.Y., TIME was granted some rare moments of behind-the-scenes access, as Fleishman tagged along with him at work on the campaign plane, and at a private luncheon with supporters.

(See more: Paul Ryan’s Life and Career in Photos)

The Romney camp, eager to reach crucial members of their party before the 2012 convention, had ratcheted up their game. Campaign events seemed grander; crowds swelled in front of more-energized-than-ever candidates. And, in as controlled an environment as the modern political campaign allows, Romney exuded a new spirit—that of Paul Ryan.

“Now that he has a running mate, the crowd gets really excited—it feels like almost twice the energy,” Fleishman said.

Lauren Fleishman is an award-winning photographer based in New York City. See her previous coverage of Romney on Super Tuesday here.

Related: The Rich History of Mitt Romney

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When Douglas Gilbert photographed Lenore Romney’s U.S. Senate campaign for Look Magazine in August of 1970, little did he know that one of his unused images would end up on the cover of TIME 42 years later. “At the time I was hoping for LOOK magazine,” he says. “Certainly not TIME! It is a nice surprise.”

Gilbert spent some three days trailing Lenore and Mitt through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula the summer Lenore tried to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Phil Hart, for whom the Hart Senate Office building is now named. Many people know that Mitt’s father, three-term Michigan governor George Romney, ran for President and lost in 1968, but few know the story of his mother’s own campaign for high office and how it shaped her son’s presidential run in 2012. Fewer still have ever seen Gilbert’s photos of mother and son—those collected here did not run, except for one (slide #4), in LOOK’s story, and the negatives ended up buried in the Library of Congress archives until TIME discovered them in May. In an ironic turn of history, Gilbert’s portrait of newlywed 23-year-old Mitt and his mother strategizing in her campaign hotel room exactly captures a central theme of Mitt’s current cautious campaign style, the subject of TIME’s cover story this week, “Dreams of His Mother.”

Lenore’s losing run deeply shaped her son, perhaps even more than her husband’s failed presidential bid. Lenore initially called her campaign “a love affair between me and the people of Michigan.” But a month after Gilbert shot these images, her tune had turned. “It’s the most humiliating thing I know of to run for office,” she said. And Mitt, who was at her elbow at every turn that summer, felt the effects.

Nevertheless, Gilbert saw the charismatic Lenore that Mitt championed. “I found her to be very personable and friendly. I never really felt any pushback from her at all,” he remembers. “She attracted people.” On the mama’s boy, Gilbert’s memories are more vague. “I remember mostly Lenore. Mitt was, as far as I knew, the college-aged son who was helping out,” he recalls. “I knew it was a funny name, Mitt, but I didn’t know him beyond that.”

Mitt however was making a name for himself on the campaign trail even then. He traveled to each of Michigan’s 83 counties on his mom’s behalf, and talked openly with reporters about her platform every step of the way. Mitt Romney finds himself in a similar position, more than 40 years later: traveling the country, and this time, convincing voters of his own credentials to become President of the United States. That outcome hinges on voters this November; Lenore’s influence on that journey, though, is indisputable.

Read more in this week’s issue of TIME: How Mitt’s Mom Shaped Him

More photos: The rich history of Mitt Romney

Elizabeth Dias is a reporter in TIME’s Washington bureau. Follow her on Twitter @elizabethjdias.

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In the days leading up to yesterday’s Super Tuesday primary contests, Republican candidate Mitt Romney set his sights on Ohio, a swing state that has played a crucial role in recent presidential elections. Photographer Lauren Fleishman, who was photographing the candidate for TIME, did the same.

“I have been here before. It’s what I remember,” she says of the state, where she previously spent time working on an extensive personal project about the Amish. “The landscape still looks the same.” And, although the photographer was focused on a different kind of Ohioan this time around, she found that, while Romney was the star of the scene, the people of Ohio were still the highlight of the trip.

Photo opportunities with Romney were highly controlled—something that Justin Maxon, who was also photographing Super Tuesday for TIME, found to be equally true for Rick Santorum’s campaign. It was especially so after when Fleishman left her car to join the official campaign bus. The increase in access, the backstage passes, was paid for in limitations on where and when the photographer could stand and shoot. Taking those photographs was an artistic and technical challenge—how to make a good picture when you can’t get close enough?—but Fleishman found that the people who turned up to see the candidate were the real source of interest.

For example, at a factory in Canton, Ohio, on Monday, Fleishman turned her camera to the workers. “They were in their work outfits, which is just jumpers and construction hats, because they went to work on a Monday and a lot of them, I was told, didn’t even know that there was going to be something going on,” she says. “For me the most exciting thing is getting to see the people from each town come out, and to speak to them and to see their faces.”

From Dayton to Youngstown, each town had its own character—and each town had its own characters. Each campaign event presented the photographer with one group of people that made up one piece of Ohio. As the campaign bus traveled through the state, the photographer was able to put those pieces together, many portraits of people becoming a portrait of a state. And yesterday, anticipating leaving the state to join Romney as he waited for the day’s results in Boston, Fleishman hoped that her photographs from Ohio would show the state itself as a part of a larger puzzle.

“You get these little glimpses into different towns,” she says. “I want the photographs in some way to show a portrait of America through the candidate.”

Lauren Fleishman is an award-winning photographer based in New York City. See more of her work here and her last post on LightBox here

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