Posts Tagged ‘AP’

WASHINGTON (AP) — A campaign fundraising report shows Republican presidential dropout Mitt Romney lent himself $7 million last month. That means Romney spent more than $42 million of his personal fortune on his failed campaign,” writes Jim Kuhnhenn in an Associated Press transmission titled Romney Lent His Campaign $7M in January

The former venture capitalist and Massachusetts governor finished January with nearly $9 million in the bank. But more than $3 million of those funds must be returned to donors because they were earmarked for the general election [...]

[...] “Before abandoning his bid to become president, Mitt Romney put in at least $42.3 million of his own money, a big chunk of the $97 million he spent on the campaign,” writes the entire staff of the Boston Globe in an article titled Romney spent $42.3m of own money; McCain reports raising $49m

His campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission yesterday that he loaned his campaign $6.95 million during January to reach that total.

The former Massachusetts governor’s total self-financing puts him ahead of Steve Forbes, the publisher who spent $38 million on his unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination in 1996, but shy of the $63.5 million that H. Ross Perot spent on his 1992 third-party presidential campaign.

Romney’s total loan also equates to about $167,000 for each of the 253 delegates he won before suspending his campaign. By suspending his bid, Romney, who made an estimated $250 million as a venture capitalist, can keep raising money to possibly pay himself back.

Romney also reported raising $9.7 million last month, bringing his campaign total to $63.6 million.

That total is appreciably more than that raised by John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee whom Romney endorsed last week. McCain received contributions totaling about $49 million and borrowed nearly $4 million more by the end of last month.

During January, McCain raised $11.7 million and borrowed $950,000, his campaign reported to the FEC. After he emerged as the front-runner, he raised nearly twice as much in January than during the previous three months combined [...]

Conclusion: Romney dominated the field with his own money and his fund raising prowess. Yet he still failed. More evidence of Romney’s preposterously low ROI for his every campaign dollar.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney backpedaled Tuesday after saying former Sen. Bob Dole is ‘probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me,’” write Carl Cameron, Shushannah Walshe, and the Associated Press in a http://www.foxnews.com release titled Romney Backpedals Over Bob Dole Comments

Romney made the remark in response to a letter Dole wrote to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in defense of Romney rival John McCain.

Romney even tried to call Dole, with no luck, from the plane as he and other candidates criss-crossed the country to campaign while voters in the 24 Super Tuesday states cast their ballots for both parties.

“Let me make it very clear. Senator Dole is an American hero, a war hero, a fine man and a great leader for our party,” Romney said in Charleston, W.Va., where GOP voters were a holding a state convention Tuesday [...]

[...] In Charleston, Romney said his comment on Dole was only meant to point out that “the selection of our nominee based on someone having served in the Senate a long time … did not do well for us in that election.”

He said he was referring to “that aspect,” not Dole specifically, when he made his comments.

Romney and McCain have been tireless in accusing each other of being soft on key GOP issues, and with McCain leading in most of the Super Tuesday states Romney has been fighting to stay competitive. The former Massachusetts governor was logging more than 5,000 miles as he undertook a 37-hour coast-to-coast tour in the 21 states holding GOP contests Tuesday [...]

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“A memo from a senior strategist for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says that the media are ready to give the Republican nomination to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), but if Romney can attract more conservatives, he will win the nomination,” writes Sam Youngman in a TheHill.com analytical fantasia titled Romney memo says media ‘ready to anoint McCain’

“We still have an uphill battle in front of us,” Romney strategist Alex Gage wrote in the memo. “The mainstream media is (sic) ready to anoint John McCain and he will have advantages in many states running for president for the past eight years – but Gov. Romney has a clear path to victory on February 5th and beyond.”

The memo, obtained by The Hill, outlines how McCain has failed to win over conservative voters in the states that have voted so far, and it details how Romney could have won if only a few more percentage points of that bloc had come over.

“The coalitions that John McCain assembled in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida have been strikingly similar – and are strikingly tenuous,” Gage wrote [...]

[...] The memo goes on to say that Romney and McCain “are now in a two-man race and a few points’ movement among conservatives is all that’s needed to tip the scales in favor of Gov. Romney.”

Gage writes that in the early three states McCain won, his margin of victory was the result of the support of moderates, independents and voters that disapprove of the Bush administration.

“None of these groups is a majority of the Republican electorate,” Gage wrote, adding that this is the reason “McCain has failed to win more than 36 percent of the vote in any of them” [...]

Gage’s conclusions are based on an emerging fixed point in the discussion. Sen. McCain can reach across party lines to build issues coalitions; Romney can win the base. Chris Suellentrop develops the data coming out of Florida’s contest to arrive at a similar conclusion:

[...] In short, Mitt Romney won the Republican Party’s idea of itself ­ and that, too, is a big deal. If you’re white, Protestant, anti-abortion, go to church on Sundays, think well of the President, want lower taxes, hate terrorists, make a good living, want to do something about immigration, and live in Florida, chances are you voted Romney. The question before Florida was whether McCain could win a closed Republican race, and now we know he can. The question now is whether he can win conservatives ­ and in Florida, he did not [...]

Here, for Romney, begins what we earlier called the race to the base.

Hence Romney’s sudden volte face on whether to mount a last ditch advertising salvo. On January 30 David Espo of the AP reported that “Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney signaled Wednesday he’s not ready to finance a costly campaign in the states holding primaries and caucuses next week.

By February 1 Dan Morain and Scott Martelle of the LA Times issued the headline: Romney launches Super Tuesday ad barrage; The multimillion-dollar campaign in far-flung states, he hopes, will help him regain the edge he’s losing to McCain. Experts question whether ads will help at this point

[...] Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney launched a multimillion-dollar purchase of television ads Thursday, in a last-ditch effort to remain competitive with GOP presidential front-runner John McCain in the Super Tuesday contests.

Sources familiar with Romney’s plans said the ad buy would exceed $1 million in California alone, enough to give the former Massachusetts governor a presence in much of the state. Romney also was expected to spread some money around to some of the other 20 states holding GOP primaries or caucuses Tuesday, though experts question whether the late advertising would have any impact.

“I don’t think it’s possible to flood the airwaves in 22 states,” Romney said, but he nevertheless authorized “a seven-figure — I won’t give you the exact number — but a seven-figure advertising buy for our campaign.”

After a series of single-state contests in which voters could shake candidates’ hands, the Republican presidential nomination could be decided by millions of voters casting their ballots after having seen the candidates only in advertisements or news reports.

Those political ads depend on candidates’ ability to pay for them, and with the fields in both parties dwindling this week, the surviving candidates looked to pick up the support of former candidates’ fundraisers and bundlers [...]

Can Romney pull off this last chance, high-stakes, 11th hour, and super-expensive gambit? Can Romney secure his nomination and destroy the GOP? Keep watching the skies. Or the airwaves.

Whateverz.

Haven’t we all been here before?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

Romney as reported by Glen Johnson of the AP:

[...] I think it‘s time for Washington — Republican and Democrat — to have a leader who will fight to make sure we resolve the issues rather than continuously look for partisan opportunity for score-settling and for opportunities to link closer to lobbyists,” Romney said during a news conference [...]

Also:

[...] The multimillionaire [Romney] points to the more than $17 million in personal funds he has spent on the campaign and his public fundraising as proof he can govern free of Washington‘s special influences [...]

We comment on the naive and intuitive “third way” rhetoric of US self-funded, outsider campaigns elsewhere:

[...] U.S. self-funded outsider campaigns tend to articulate themselves in an intuitive, naive “third way,” “beyond right and left” rhetoric that describes a polity or a society, in weirdly medieval way, as an organic whole comprised of various components, e.g. towns, guilds, fueds, church, estates etc. Ross Perot and Romney both speak of “bringing together” government, labor, corporate interests, engineers, specialists, communities etc. to develop the consensus necessary to support policy solutions. Social problems become technical problems. Political questions become adminstrative tasks—e.g. Romney’s now infamous to-do list for Washington [...]

We wonder how the super-geniuses at the National Review—the knuckle draggers who endorsed Romney because of his—snarf!—guffaw!—steadfast and constant commitment to conservative principles—cough!—choke!—will explain away this. Ponnuru? Get to work.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Imagine if John McCain had narrowly lost to Mitt Romney in New Hampshire last night, and, when you down broke down the results, it was clear that the voters most concerned about the war in Iraq and terrorism went heavily for Romney—plus thought he would make a better commander in chief,” writes James Pethokoukis in a USNews.com blog burst titled Struggling Romney Needs an ‘Oprah Moment’ to Win

That would kind of kill McCain’s whole rationale for running, don’tcha think?

Well, that is pretty much what did happen, except in reverse. Voters who were most concerned about the economy went strongly—41 to 21 percent—for McCain over Romney, the multimillionaire venture capitalist. The Wall Street legend. The guy with the M.B.A. The guy who turned around the Salt Lake City Olympics. The guy who says, “I know how the economy works.” Even worse, Romney lost to a fellow who has admitted in the past that economic policy is not his strong suit and that he might need more of an expert as his veep if nominated.

See, the problem with Romney isn’t necessarily that voters don’t like his ideas—such as cutting corporate taxes or eliminating investment taxes for middle-class voters. It’s that voters don’t think he understands their problems. Until that hurdle is overcome, ideas don’t matter.

You have to do politics before you can do policy [...]

We concur. The struggle for NH has entered its archival phase. As we wrote before of Iowa, this is when the political community and various media dispute, interpret, or redact he outcomes of the contest.

Team Romney has failed at every task it set for itself. It failed to consolidate the social-conservative base as evidenced by the exit polling from IA and NH. It crucially failed to return clear decisions for Romney in IA and NH. Further, Romney massively-titanically overspent and received precious little in return. How much? Upwards of US$20 million of his own money on top of the US$80 million that he raised, but no one really knows. Tellingly, Team Romney isn’t saying.

Romney now leads in delegates, but by one estimate Romney has spent almost US$1 million dollars per delegate—so the question then becomes, given this preposterously low ROI, just how sustainable is the Romney tribe’s campaign?

This is also when a new discursive front opens up against Romney’s flank as

(a) pressure for Romney to withdraw begins to develop

-and-

(b) doubt, dissensus, and discord breakout within Romney’s own ranks.

To address (a) Romney has radically scaled back his operations, particularly his massive and massively ineffective media buys. To address (b) Romney has issued internal memos and issued promises to major financial backers.

“BOSTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has decided to pull his advertising from South Carolina, where he was hoping to take on Mike Huckabee and John McCain, and from Florida, where Rudy Giuliani has been spending time and money,” write Jim Kuhnenn and Glen Johnson in an AP release titled Romney Pulls Ads in SC, Fla.

“We feel the best strategy is to focus our paid messaging in Michigan,” Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said Wednesday.

The decision comes on the heels of back-to-back second-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney, a multimillionaire who had used some of his own cash, had invested heavily in both states, counting on the two to give him the momentum toward the nomination.

Earlier on Wednesday, Romney had assured his top financial backers that he will win the upcoming Michigan primary, as he and his staff worked to soothe supporters unsettled by his losses in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

“It’s just getting started,” the presidential contender told hundreds of supporters gathered at a convention center for a followup to the “National Call Day” that raised an unprecedented $6.5 million a year ago

He promised to carry on to Michigan, which votes Jan. 15, as well as Nevada and South Carolina, which vote Jan. 19.

The public spectacle, a rarity for the normally tightly controlled Romney political operation, included appeals for calm from a top financial backer, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, and a top political supporter, former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri [...]

To assuage his paid staff and hirelings in field, Romney’s strategist Alex Gage issued one of his infamous “internal memos.”

Gage’s argument: Despite Romney’s losses and setbacks, “the Republican race remains wide open.” Talking points include:

  • Gov. Romney’s message of change generated momentum in New Hampshire.
  • Gov. Romney is the best candidate in the Republican field to match up against the Democrats in the fall.
  • No other candidate is competitive in as many states as Gov. Romney.
  • Gov. Romney has a clear path to victory moving forward.

That the Republican race remains “wide open” is true on its face. The other points in support of a continued Romney candidacy are false or simply meaningless until Romney solves his ROI problem, especially as the campaign transitions to a far more long-term, slow-accumulation-of-delegates strategy. Did e.g. Romney’s message of change generate momentum? No. Or: even if the answer is yes, the outcome of the contest indicates that it was not enough momentum. And how much did Romney spend per day in NH to promulgate his non-momentum message?

Sargent: “[Grrrr-Romney] was spending $100,000 a week through October, and he’s now upped the ante to $200,000 a week [in NH]”

Does e.g. Romney have a clear path to victory? Maybe. Perhaps. But at his current spending levels it he would have to blow his entire fortune to pursue it.

What Romney needs, and does not have, is a message that connects with people on the ground—a narrative, a story, something, anything. A successful message could resolve or at least ease his ROI problem. As Pethokoukis argues, what Romney needs is an Oprah moment.

Only Romney needs more than a moment. And Romney’s own moment may have already passed.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney will deliver a speech entitled ‘Faith in America,’ addressing his Mormon religion, on Thursday at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Tex,” writes Michael Luo for the NYT blog, The Caucus, in a post titled Romney to Address His Mormonism

His campaign is describing the address as an opportunity for Mr. Romney to “share his views on religious liberty, the grand tradition religious tolerance has played in the progress of our nation and how the governor’s own faith would inform his presidency if he were elected.”

Mr. Romney personally made the decision to give the speech last week, feeling it was the right moment to do so, his advisers said. After he decided he would make it, the campaign consulted with former President Bush’s library, which invited him to deliver it there … etc.

“The venue is not a surprise”—writes Mark Halperin in a The Page post titled More on Romney Religion Speech“since Romney has given a previous major address (on defense policy) at the Bush library, and the two families are very close. And Texas, of course, was also the venue for John F. Kennedy’s famous speech on religion in 1960 — the one to which this event will be endlessly compared” … etc.

Only days earlier Romney had said this:

“I have some folks who think I should do it soon, some say later, some say never, some say right away,” Romney said. “I’ll make the decision. But there’s no particular urgency because I’m making progress in the states where I’m campaigning,” or so says his imperious and aloof excellency, Willard Milton Romney himself as reported by Glen Johnson in an AP release titled Romney’s advisors’ say on speech.

Eye of eyeon08.com issues this rejoinder:

Well. There’s urgency now. Romney is now clearly in 2nd in Iowa. There is now clear evidence that Romney’s religion is hurting him in Iowa, something that we predicted early on based on the strange makeup of the caucus electorate … etc.

Just as an exercise, let us review Romney’s reasons for not delivering “the speech,” as argued by Romney himself, not 10 days ago, in a Human Events interview mis-titled Romney’s 4 Wedge Issues:

... Tom Winter (TW): … last week [Romney] told a columnist Larry Kudlow that the recent telephone push-polling in Iowa that negatively referred to your Mormon religion was ‘un-American.’ For months, we’ve heard about a speech that’s already written, a Kennedy-like speech, about your religious beliefs, that you’re just waiting for the right time to deliver. In view of this, and Christopher Hitchens remarks today that you’re religion is fair game in this campaign, do you think it’s now time to deliver this speech?

ROMNEY: I don’t have anything new on this at this stage. There is no speech written. I get lots of suggestions. I have several people –

TW: There is no speech written?

ROMNEY: There is no speech written. Not by me. And the speech that will be given is a speech I will write. And I do have people who propose speeches to me. Sometimes people give me ideas, “Why don’t you say this? Why don’t you say that?” It’s a decision I will make. I have some of my colleagues who think it’s a terrific idea. I have others who think it’s a terrible idea. And a lot of people in between. I listen to people’s perceptions, and I will weigh that in my own analysis and my own decision-making. But I have not made a decision at this point about whether and when to give such a speech.

This was Romney’s line up until a few days ago. As we described it elsewhere:

… Romney ha[d] concluded [at the time] hat to allow the issue to remain suspended in the twilight of an eternal filibuster—to feign a divided mind or a divided camp—is more useful to his candidacy than to decide the issue one way or the other …

Back to Human Events:

TW: You don’t think it could become too late, it you let this boil over and become an issue? I mean the idea of the speech was, as Kennedy did, you would put an end to this kind of discussion.

ROMNEY: You know, in the case of Senator Kennedy — and later President Kennedy — as you point out, he made the speech, I think it was in September prior to the November election. And so, if I were to do so now, I would be nine or ten months before he did.

Romney has seriously misread the historical moment. Sen. Kennedy did not face a fully realized and conscious-of-itself Evangelical movement in the Democratic primaries running up to 1960. The Evangelical movement did not exist in 1960. The Evangelical movement may trace its pedigree to the Great Awakening or to the Apostles and martyrs of the primitive church, or to the talmid of Yochanan, the Rabbi Yeshua himself, but it emerges as a political force in the US only in the mid-to-late 70s, yet another realization—and splintering off—of baby-boomer moral-spiritual consciousness. Romney’s own father did not face a fully realized Evangelical movement—Gov. George Romney (may his name be for a blessing) never confronted the same questions about his Mormon confession.

Romney, however, does face a fully realized Evangelical movement. On this basis the NRO’s Yuval Levin argues that Romney must deliver not the Kennedy speech, but its opposite:

… “Kennedy’s speech was very much a general election move (it was delivered in September, less than two months before the election), and its purpose was roughly the opposite of that which Romney is seeking. Kennedy’s speech was a case for a strict separation of church and state — he promised essentially to keep his religion out of his politics entirely. Romney seems to have a more complicated challenge: he needs to persuade people who believe a man’s religious convictions do and should make a difference in the sort of leadership he offers that his convictions are like their convictions” … etc.

Back to Human events:

[Romney:] It’s just something which, you know, I have to take a look at. I do get the chance, of course, to take a look at a number of people’s articles about this. There’s a whole book written about it. By Hugh Hewitt, saying, “Don’t dare give such a speech. You can’t possibly satisfy the critics.” And of course no one could compare with the landmark address that was given by Senator Kennedy, so, it’s not something that I’m ready to announce any change on …

Yet Romney has announced a change, a change in the form of a complete reversal, and within only 10 days of it being “not something that [Romney is] ready to announce any change on.” Romney himself has set himself up such that the timing of his speech can only be read as a desperate hedge against collapsing poll numbers.

For more on this theme:

how Romney botched the Mormon-Kennedy-speech issue by setting up impossible expectations, by consistently failing to identify opportunity and seize the initiative, and by allowing others to frame the debate

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“ARLINGTON. Texas (Reuters) – Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney needs to assure evangelicals that his Mormon faith would not be his ultimate guide if he wants their support, an influential Southern Baptist official said on Tuesday,” writes the estimable and precise Ed Stoddard of Reuters in a story titled Baptist advice to Romney: follow JFK’s lead

“If Romney wants to get significant Southern Baptist and evangelical support he’s going to have to give a Kennedy-style speech,” said Richard Land, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Land was referring to a speech by then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy in Houston in 1960 in which he assured southern evangelicals he would not let his Catholic faith dictate his policies but defended the right of a Catholic to run for office … etc.

The problem for Land is this: how can he embrace Romney and not appear to endorse the Mormon Confession, which he cannot do and remain consistent with his tradition and his reading of the Apostolic kyregma? So what Land wants from Romney—if we read Land correctly—is a rationale similar to the rationale Kennedy offered the nation in Houston in 1960. Regard: Often in a negotiation to get a concession you need to offer a rationale that allows the conceding party to save face or to justify his or her new position. Otherwise the other party risks being perceived as inconsistent, weak, too easily swayed etc., or risks collapse altogether. (Instance: Say that management extracts too many concessions from labour negotiators without offering a rationale or rationale(s); the result will be collapse in the form of the labour negotiators themselves getting dismissed by their organization.)

We are indifferent to whether Romney chooses to issue Land and his coreligionists their rationale. That would be between Romney and Land, because we, for our part, could not possibly care less. But what does interest us is how badly Romney has played this issue—how, once again, Romney has ceded effective control to others—in this case, Land—how, once again, Romney has positioned himself such that whatever move he makes, he loses.

Observe:

“This weekend at a gathering in New Hampshire, former Gov. Mitt Romney was asked, yet again, whether he would give a speech outlining his religious beliefs,” writes Douglas W. Kmeic in a story titled There’s More To Romney Than Mormonism; National Review Online: GOP Hopeful Must Refocus Voters Away From Religion

He said he would be happy to do so, but that some of his advisers caution against doing so, since it would “draw too much attention to that issue alone.”

It’s too late – the governor and his faith have our attention … etc., etc.

Well, yes and no, Mr. Kmeic. Romney has had our attention, and has been publicly deliberating about a possible address on the issue, for months. See:

Romney’s fatal indecision (ii): Hamlet ponders his Mormism

Romney has concluded that to allow the issue to remain suspended in the twilight of an eternal filibuster—to feign a divided mind or a divided camp—is more useful to his candidacy than to decide the issue one way or the other.

“I have some folks who think I should do it soon, some say later, some say never, some say right away,” Romney said. “I’ll make the decision. But there’s no particular urgency because I’m making progress in the states where I’m campaigning,” or so says his imperious and aloof excellency, Willard Milton Romney himself as reported by Glen Johnson in an AP release titled Romney’s advisors’ say on speech.

No particular urgency!? What leadership. What courage. What commitment to principle—the principle of expedience. (This explains a lot about Romney’s decision making process and why his campaign seems to shamble from disaster to catastrophe like a reeling drunkard. The man simply does not think ahead, nor does he explore the consequences of his acts.) But derisive laughter aside, Romney’s dilatory filibuster is useful for any number of reasons beyond a simple lack of “urgency.” Here are a few:

(a) The issue compels not just press, but sympathetic press—does it not offend your sense of fair play when people are excluded because of their confession or participation in a faith community?

(b) The issue draws attention away from Romney himself, always useful if you happen to be Romney himself

(c) The issue serves as an effective alibi for the non-performance of the Romney campaign—do you oppose Romney?—well, you must be anti-Mormon

(d) Related to (c), the issue transfers the burden of proof for Team Romney’s non-performance on to the querent, as the querent is enjoined to account for how Romney can be opposed or dismissed on grounds other than his Mormon confession.

But here is the problem for Romney, and it is functionally the same problem that Romney faces in the early-primary states: Romney has botched expectations.

(a) Romney’s delays and deliberations on the issue license voices like President Land to issue calls for a decision and get lots of attention when they do so—had Romney acted decisively one way or the other he could have preempted this discussion. Are you a pastor without portfolio who craves media attention? Write a press release calling for Romney to deliver a Kennedy-esque speech. Or: make yourself available for interviews and promise to explain how Romney can reach out to Evangelicals etc.

(b) Romney, by means of his interminable delays and effectively meaningless filibusters, has transferred the initiative to claimants like Land. This means that Romney has allowed Land to both frame the issue and set the terms for the debate.

(c) Note precisely what Land has called for: a speech like Kennedy’s—say what?!-–that’s a high standard, wouldn’t you say?—could Romney ever in his life deliver a speech like Kennedy’s?—answer: no. Neither could we. Neither could anyone. So why allow someone to set such a standard for you?

(d) Now, no matter what Romney decides, or when he decides it, or if he never decides the issue, he loses.

Were Romney to decide to forgo a Kennedy speech, he provides Land and his coreligionists the rationale to not vote for Romney and not be perceived as anti-Mormon. Why?—because Land has shifted the burden of proof—he and others have asked for their rationale and never got it. Nor did they ever get a clear and well supported ‘no’. Hence they may conclude on presumptive grounds that (a) their case had merit on the simple grounds that it was not dismissed out of hand, and (b) since their concerns went unanswered, those must have merit too. Perhaps to embrace Romney really is to embrace the Mormon confession—Romney himself could never bring himself to oppose the claim according to the terms that Land has demanded—Land enjoys the benefit of reasonable doubt, does he not?

-or-

Were Romney to decide to issue his Kennedy speech, he loses on several grounds. (a) Understand: In a sense, what Land demands is not a Kennedy speech, but the antithesis of the Kennedy speech. What made the Kennedy speech effective was that it was an instance of Kennedy seizing the initiative to set the terms of the debate in advance. What Land demands is not initiative as an expression of independence but its opposite: compliance. Romney is incapable of delivering the Kennedy speech as he ceded effective control of the issue months ago. Romney, alas, can only comply or not-comply. (b) The expectations for such a speech are by this time so high that whatever noise Romney emits, by whatever force of eloquence or strength of argument, will fall well short of the mark. Romney is not Kennedy. But even if Romney were Kennedy, or had Kennedy’s leadership or eloquence, the historical moment will not support such a speech—this is not 1960! (c) So: Whatever Romney does now—after having waited for so long—will be perceived as a concession or a sign of weakness. (d) Related to (c), were Romney to issue this concession in the form of a speech, he will find himself confronted by further calls for further concessions, clarifications, and explanations on the issue of his Mormon confession—because Romney failed to act decisively at a time when he could frame the debate, other players will do it for him, and their demands will only escalate.

Question: How can Romney scratch, claw, kick, and thrash himself free from this box he willfully, deliberately nailed himself into? We haven’t got a clue. An experienced or effective communicator would never get himself or herself trapped like this. And: This is not an aberration for Romney. Setting up impossible expectations, consistently failing to identify opportunity or seize the initiative, and allowing others to frame the debate is how Romney has botched his whole campaign. See:

Chris Cillizza provides further evidence against the success of the Romney von Schieffln plan

Oh, but by all means, let us make this ineffective counter-of-office-receipts our president! He is super-rich, after all.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, seeking to protect his narrowing lead and fend off challenges from rivals in this early-voting state, assailed Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani over supporting tuition breaks and broader sanctuary for illegal immigrants or their children,” writes Liz Sidoti in an AP release titled Romney Assails Foes on Immigration

As a new poll showed his advantage trimmed in Iowa, the former Massachusetts governor on Tuesday singled out the two Republicans giving chase here and likened them to Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. “There are those people in both parties who are in a sanctuary state of mind, who believe in sanctuary cities, who believe in policies which are sanctuary in nature,” he said.

Just weeks before voting begins, the race in the leadoff caucus state has tightened. Romney led in Iowa by double-digits in polls for months but now is trying to curb Huckabee’s recent rise in surveys and gains among religious conservatives, while working to prevent Giuliani from mounting a more serious challenge.

Underscoring the fragile state of Romney’s lead here, a CBS News/New York Times poll released Tuesday showed Romney with 27 percent backing by likely GOP caucus-goers. Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, now threatens Romney’s lead with 21 percent of support; Giuliani, the former New York mayor, has 15 percent … etc.

Just as we predicted. Here is what we wrote elsewhere:

… (6) Contra assumption (iii), there are players other than Mayor Giuliani in this race. Gov. Huckabee is increasingly competitive in Iowa and has consolidated the religious right. See:

Sen. McCain will contest New Hampshire, and Mayor Giuliani is active in Michigan and South Carolina. Precisely because Mayor Giuliani continues to lead in the polls nationally and to lead in the delegate rich larger states, he enjoys strategic depth—i.e. he can allow other candidates to disperse Romney’s energies and hold Romney to at best a split or unclear decision in the early state primaries. In other words, contra Lunquist, Mayor Giuliani does not need to win in the early state primaries. He doesn’t even need to fight a holding action in the early state primaries. He only needs to allow others to fight a holding action in the early state primaries—which is what they will do anyway. In this way Giuliani conserves his own strength even as Romney nails himself insensibly to the cross of his own early-state strategy, disperses his energies fighting off several other campaigners, and hemorrhages further millions of his own money.

Further: Romney is perceived as the front-runner in Iowa, New Hampshire etc. He is the one whom the other candidates will position as their foils, will draw distinctions against. For evidence and analysis see:

Another problem for Romney: you risk going down in flames when you go negative while your own negatives are high. No ones negatives are higher than Romney’s; see:

Romney has the most negative image at this point of any of the major candidates for president, claims Newport of USA Today’s GallupGuru; the Romney campaign’s death-by-internal-memo part (ii)

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

P.S. Back to Sidoti:

… responding to Romney, Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella accused him of ignoring his own record as governor while he campaigns for president. “Under Governor Mitt Romney the number of illegal immigrants skyrocketed, while he recommended millions of dollars in state aid to numerous sanctuary cities and to companies employing illegal immigrants, not to mention the illegals working on his own lawn,” she said … etc., etc.

P.P.S. Hey, Romney. Did you ever wonder why experienced marathon runners almost never start out in the lead?—why they tend to cluster for much of the race? Did you ever wonder why experienced commanders will often allow opposing forces to invest an objective before moving on it? Did it ever occur to you that your rivals would adapt themselves to your much-vaunted von Schlieffen plan? We’re just wondering.

“As governor, Mitt Romney’s efforts raised the tax bill on Bay State businesses by $300 million as he worked to eliminate a state budget deficit estimated from $2.5 billion to $3 billion,” or so reads an AP release carried by the Boston Herald titled Biz leaders say Mitt hiked taxes as gov

Now running for president, Romney says he never raised taxes, only closed loopholes. Brian Gilmore, executive vice president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the state’s largest business lobbying group, disagrees.

“These certainly were tax increases and a new source of revenue,” Gilmore said.

“His indicating that he balanced a budget without raising taxes is misleading at best,” Gilmore said. “We respectfully disagree” …

Also see:

The Brody File: “Romney campaign won’t beat Giuliani on who cut taxes more as a public official.”

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“BOSTON (AP) — From his slicked, carefully coifed hair to his data-driven business principles to his unwavering devotion to his oft-maligned Mormon faith, Mitt Romney is the spitting image of his father physically, professionally and morally,” writes Steve LeBlanc in an AP story titled Romney’s Life Is His Father’s Legacy

The depth of their bond can be seen in one early story … etc., etc.

Evidence exists to suggest that Romney’s relationship with his father is a tiny bit more complicated than LeBlanc would indicate. See:

yours &c.
dr. g.d.





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