Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Todd’

“Credit Chuck Todd for candor,” writes the painfully literal, naive, and unreflective Mark Finkelstein in a NewsBusters expository gloss titled Iowa: ‘Media Ready to Take 3rd-Place McCain Finish and Catapult Him to NH Win’

The NBC News Political Director has acknowledged that the media is poised to take a third-place finish by John McCain in Iowa, declare him the winner and catapult the Arizona senator to victory in New Hampshire …

From the interview that Finklestein quotes:

CHUCK TODD: Yeah you know, I hate to be existential here, but the media — and I say this as if I’m not a member of it — but the media does seem to be ready to will John McCain out of Iowa [i.e., with his “ticket punched” for NH]. It is a stunning thing, and if I were Mitt Romney, or Giuliani or Mike Huckabee I’d be like “wait a minute. You’re gonna take a third place finish and somehow use that to catapult this guy, with free media, and get him the victory in New Hampshire?” And frankly that is what’s gonna happen. There’s a reason John McCain is sort of the king of working the media. He’s doing a great job of it.

MATTHEWS: Gary Hart back in 1984 got 17% in Iowa, Walter Mondale got 49%. Guess who “won”? Gary Hart “won.” The media declared him the winner and he won in New Hampshire. You are so dead right, if it happens … etc.

Well, duh.

No, Finklestein, you have not stumbled across a conspiracy of media elites to dupe the American electorate, but precisely the opposite. What is at stake for Todd and Matthews is the interpretation of events and how to accurately report them.

Here is the question at issue: Should the decision that Iowa returns be accepted on its face, or should observers consider and compare other data, other evidence?

Our own answer: Long ago we argued that Romney had so over-spent and so over-organized in Iowa and New Hampshire that he had prejudiced the outcome—any outcome—in advance. In other words, Romney has denied himself the possibility of an unequivocal victory in either state. Will Romney win? Of course he will—he has wildly out-spent all his rivals combined. So a Romney win is by definition a non-story: dog bites man is not a story. But for Gov. Huckabee with no money or organization to eke out a close second, or Sen. McCain a close third—this resembles man bites dog, which is a story. And should Romney lose?—this would be the story of the decade. See:

Romney poised to fail in Iowa no matter what the outcome (iii)—Romney’s massive spending using his own money has denied Romney the perception of a clean win on fair and equal terms

Our own conclusion? Iowa and New Hampshire no longer matter no matter who wins. Romney will have spent US$80 million dollars—over US$20 million of it his own—for no clear return. But please understand: Team Romney’s death-spiral drain-circling began over a year ago. All of Romney’s alleged successes since then have been an illusion.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


“WASHINGTON – No, this is not another piece about Mitt Romney and his religion,” writes Chuck Todd, the Political Director of NBC News himself, in an article titled Romney’s Crunch Time

His speech on Thursday will be a turning point for the campaign, but not because religion is the candidate’s biggest hurdle.

In fact, his faith may be the least of Romney’s problems.

The premise of Romney’s speech on religion tomorrow is that religion is Romney’s problem. But a counter-message has developed, the “religion is not Romney’s problem” theme elaborated here by Todd. Other examples:

Back to Todd:

Because the chattering press class and political elite got it so wrong with Howard Dean four years ago, his name is invoked all too often. It is used as an example of why folks shouldn’t take Clinton’s or Giuliani’s national poll lead so seriously. Or why no one should assume Romney’s or Obama’s financial resources and early state gains are guarantees of future success …

… Plan B
It’s not an exaggeration to say that every major candidate is at a cross roads, but Romney is a special case. More than any other major candidate, his path to the nomination is tied to an early state strategy. Even Clinton and Obama seem to be attempting to come up with a Plan B if they don’t sweep in the first two states.

So what is Romney’s Plan B? Lose Iowa and win New Hampshire? Well, then he can live to campaign another day. Michigan comes a week later and it’s a state he should do well in.

But lose both Iowa and New Hampshire? Suddenly his chances plummet.

That’s why Dean isn’t the analogy folks should use if Romney’s campaign doesn’t succeed. For Romney, the dubious comparative could be Phil Gramm …

… This leads me to write one of the more cliched pieces of advice political backseat drivers offer up: Romney needs to figure out how to be Romney again.

Thursday’s speech on faith is one of the moments that the Romney camp hopes serves as the beginning of the turnaround. But if religion were the only issue Romney had to deal with, he’d be a more formidable frontrunner.

Right now, no campaign has struggled more with finding its center. The guy who had the best shot at becoming the “change” candidate inside the Republican Party morphed into someone who is trying to assure primary voters he’ll be no different than any other Republican nominee before him

The emphases are ours, all ours.


Todd links Team Romney to the ill-fated Gramm campaign, and argues that Romney has no “plan b.”

Conclusion: the Romney bubble—bubble as in market bubble—has burst. Even senior journalists are already writing Romney’s post-mortems and speculating on the meaning of Romney’s departure from the race. And note how Todd summarily rejects Romney’s premise—the premise that religion is Romney’s problem—to harp upon the familiar string of Romney’s authenticity problem.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

A tough weekend for Mitt?—asks Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, under the leadership and guidance of Julia Steers in an msn firstread post titled Mitt’s Tough Weekend

Judging by the number of Thompson vs. Giuliani storylines after last night’s debate, Thompson might be judged the ultimate winner; he seemed much more comfortable than at the CNBC/MSNBC/WSJ debate earlier this month. The GOP primary seems to be a fight between Rudy and those who want to be the anti-Rudy. So as far as the anti-Rudy debate went last night, Thompson topped Romney and Huckabee. And therefore, that arguably makes Romney, by process of elimination, the loser. In addition, Romney’s very narrow win at Values Voter straw poll could be interpreted as a bad win for Romney — if there are such things. With the divided vote, was Rudy the big winner at the Value Voters Summit as well? Speaking of Value Voters, Huckabee scored another surprise showing … etc., etc.

The Romney campaign has accomplished by this late date precisely none of the tasks it set for itself. Iowa and NH remain up for grabs. The conservative base remains divided and unconvinced. Romney’s spending overcomes his fund raising and he has failed to develop or extend his donor base. Romney’s negatives remain historically high etc., etc. Yet Romney’s campaign organization gropes blindly from disaster to catastrophe—is someone asleep at the wheel?

Question: Why is Romney not learning from his mistakes? Why is he not taking stock? Why is he not asking hard questions of himself and of his hireling entourage? Why is he not attempting to address his many deficits? Regard: Romney will assume any position that his focus groups or consultants advise him to assume; he will take on and discard ideological commitments like mosts people change their socks. Romney’s campaign, on the other hand, has followed the same non-performing script since we started monitoring it.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“SPARKS, Nev. – Ron Paul won the GOP presidential straw poll conducted by organizers at the Conservative Leadership Conference held at the Nugget Casino this weekend ‘by a large margin,'” according to an organizer, writes the estimable Chuck Todd based on field notes and text messages from NBC/NJ’s Erin McPike in an msnbc FIRST READ: the day in politics post titled Despite Showing Up In Person, Romney Loses Nev. Straw Poll.

Paul won with 32 percent, McCain came in second with 17 percent, Hunter was third with 15 percent, and “Romney was in the lower numbers because people came out for his event but they just didn’t vote for him,” according to organizer and McCain operative Paul Jackson.

Although many of the Republican presidential teams had surrogates representing them at the conference, Mitt Romney and Duncan Hunter were the only candidates to speak at the conference, and the victor himself was not there.

Libertarian sentiment dominated the conference, and a number of attendees expressed disappointment with the Republican Party for not catering to many of their views. Several speakers explained that they were looking to move on, echoing much of the discontent that came out of the meeting of the Council for National Policy in Salt Lake City late last month.

In fact, American Target Advertising Chairman Richard Viguerie, who said he was part of the strategic meetings in Salt Lake City, said Thursday night that even though he has agreed not to support Giuliani, Thompson or McCain, he’s still not close to declaring support for Romney or any other lower tier candidates because they are still actively and seriously courting conservatives. “Why would we stop the flow of flowers and candy?” he said.

Please note that Romney is counted among the “lower tier candidates.”

Almost on cue, Romney said during his speech the next day to the group, “I’m from the Republican wing of the Republican Party,” eliciting a negative response from some rival campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. The DNC jumped and noted that he stole Chairman Howard Dean’s line from the previous election when he told voters he was “from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” before losing to John Kerrymore [emphasis ours]

Even in person Romney fails to persuade or convince. Or should we write, especially in person?—in any case, Romney is taking hits from all sides, and some of those hits have been below the waterline.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“Check out this analysis by Evan Tracey of TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG,” writes Chuck Todd with editorial assistance from the apt and precise Domenico Montanaro in an MSNBC FIRST READ: THE DAY IN POLITICS post titled Romney’s 10,000 TV spots

“Mitt Romney has aired nearly 10,000 TV spots since late February and spent close to $8 million dollars with a majority of his spending in Iowa and New Hampshire. He is now expanding this strategy to South Carolina and Florida. To date, John McCain has relied on some internet ads to drive organization and fundraising. In hopes of reviving his campaign in New Hampshire, he released his first TV commercial last week. Rudy Giuliani continues to build a Feb. 5 war chest and has used some radio ads and the web — and yes, the New York Times — to make some strategic points along the way” … more

Hence: Romney’s astonishing campaign money “burn rate”: Romney’s “burn rate” unsustainable; further evidence of Romney’s frighteningly low campaign dollar ROI.

Yet: despite the media saturation, Romney’s poll numbers—especially nationally—are all flabby, dimpled, sagging, and pear-shaped: 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).

And: the more cash Romney burns on super-expensive television media buys, the less return Romney gets on those media buys because, once again, Romney’s smooth face, preposterous hair, and garbled message have already reached a saturation point: Romney’s massive media expenditures less and less effective; more on Romney and the law of diminishing marginal returns on investment.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.