Posts Tagged ‘liz mair’

“Justin Hart has notified me that he has resigned from his position as a Vice Chair of the Romney campaign’s Faith and Values Steering Committee after I challenged himfor not disclosing that he was an official in the Romney campaign,” writes in a post titled Blogger in contact with Western Wats resigns from Romney campaign

[Personal note: This sucks. We hope Mr. Hart continues to participate on and we wish him all the best.]

Please: Go to and read the rest. There’s more. E.g.: eye refers to a Liz Mair post where Mair concludes: So, a top pollster and the firm alleged to have made the calls in question both agree: consultants determine the questions and the call sample, calling firms solely execute the project

Why is this relevant? Well, it indicates very, very strongly that whoever orchestrated the calls wanted these particular respondents– who could be counted on to run to the media complaining about the calls– contacted. Certainly, it was not up to Western Wats (allegedly) to determine who was called, so it wasn’t an accident, mistake, oversight , or even deliberate action (perhaps to aid a candidate that some at the firm seem to strongly back) on their part that led to these people being called.

Of course, this still doesn’t move us that much closer to determining who commissioned the calls– but we do at least know now, with a very high degree of certainty, that the party that pushed them wanted people who would rush to the media, and had pre-existing biases included … etc.

Dear Team Romney: how many more of your crack campaign staffers must fall on their swords for you? You need to get ahead of this situation now, dudes. As we wrote elsewhere:

… Either prepare to die the death of a thousand cuts, or get your lazy pear-shaped side-ways organization in gear and get out in front of this. The only way you can do that is to

(a) immediately reveal everything that you know about this,


(b) mount your own investigation promise to take action against any staffer who may be involved.

You need to position yourself as being on the side of law and order. Right now, Team Romney, you’re behaving as if you’re hiding something.

Were you anything other than a joke-campaign—and if your negatives were not higher than space—we would further recommend mounting and circulating a vigorous counter-narrative. Do you remember Prosecutor Star and the constant revelations about Monica Lewinski etc. leading up to Pres. Clinton’s impeachment? Clinton partisans has a counter-narrative that they repeated constantly: THIS IS ALL ABOUT SEX. This would not work for you, however. Your candidate’s ultra-high negatives and icy-cold humanoid persona will not support a negative message.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


“John McCain must be causing Mitt Romney some serious heartburn in New Hampshire,” writes Jay Carney in a Time-Blog Swampland post titled Romney Blames…McCain??

How else to explain Romney’s magnificently absurd claim that the recently-reported push polls attacking Romney’s Mormonism are somehow the fault of…that’s right, John McCain — more specifically, the campaign finance reform law known as McCain-Feingold, which passed in 2002. Politico’s Jonathan Martin has the story here. Of course, push polling existed long before McCain-Feingold became law, as Mark Salter, McCain’s senior aide, alter ego and co-author points out in this lacerating riposte:

It is appalling, but not surprising, that Mitt Romney would seek to take advantage of this disturbing incident to launch yet another hypocritical attack. It’s the hallmark of his campaign.

Back when Governor Romney was calling for public financing and taxing political donations, and before McCain-Feingold was passed, push polling was, regrettably, alive and well in American politics. Anyone who spent a day in South Carolina in 2000 can testify to that. It is not a surprise that Governor Romney would use even an attack on him to make yet another hypocritical statement. It is the hallmark of his campaign … etc., etc.

Liz Mair offers her take on why Romney wants to blame the victim in a post titled Romney and the religion bashing calls

… I’ve been less impressed with the Romney camp’s swift move to tie all of this to McCain-Feingold. The issue here is one of religious bigotry being shopped to voters– not of the utility of campaign finance reform, of which I personally am no great fan. And, it’s interesting that the Romney camp has moved in this direction so quickly. Sure, they never miss an opportunity to beat up on McCain, so it’s not surprising that they’re doing it here. Still, it seems as though this whole incident has thus far proved pretty beneficial to Romney. He is now in the victim/underdog role that one of his campaign aides indicated a couple months back could prove helpful to his campaign. He’s also been given another prime opportunity to denounce an initiative that has been widely unpopular with conservatives, and make himself out to be the anti-McCain (something that still has a lot of appeal with some members of the GOP base). Despite the fact that it’s Romney’s religion that’s been beat up on here, he’s looking like the overall winner from the whole episode … etc.

We were wondering how Romney would botch his response to these events.

Romney!—dude—your negatives are soaring!—a more effective response strategy to the push-poll revelation would have been to:

(a) Praise Sen. McCain for his integrity; infer your confidence that neither the Senator nor any of his people were involved. If later events undermine that confidence you can express surprise etc.

(b) Praise the Attorney General for his swift response; infer your confidence in the US justice system etc.

(c) Praise the American people—in particular, the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire—for their tolerance; infer your confidence in their wisdom, temperance, moderation, and sense of fair play, then segue into your own commitments to those values by means of a personal story.

Then, and only then, and without naming any names, decry dirty tricks, dishonest campaigners, and the laws and loopholes that enable them. This way, Romney, you would appear larger than you are, as opposed to smaller—and you still get to say everything that you want to say. This is how you affect to appear statesmanlike, even presidential, as opposed to, say, affecting the pose of an angry department of motor vehicles clerk (Romney’s usual pose). This, Boy Romney, is how you address the world when your own negatives are somewhere in the stratosphere.

Otherwise, you get responsa like Carney’s, Mair’s et al.—which is precisely what you got, and precisely what you will continue to get until you dismiss your entire communications staff down to the last unpaid-intern fetcher of coffee. Speaking of which, is there anyone in Team Romney that has any actual experience in, or any actual training or study in, rhetoric or communications?—we’re just wondering. So far, Team Romney has provided us with between 12 and, we think, 15 separate case studies for how not to develop and manage a message campaign.

Our students will be grateful to Romney for years to come.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“The testiness between campaigns as the first nomination votes near has now cropped up between Republican rivals John McCain and Mitt Romney,” writes Foon Rhee, deputy national political editor, in a Boston Globe Presidential Campaign Blog post titled McCain and Romney camps go at it, too

McCain’s campaign bristled at an opinion article, published Tuesday in the New Hampshire Union Leader, in which Romney suggested that he would be the most qualified to be commander-in-chief and that Hillary Clinton, if she’s the Democratic nominee, would have a similar policy on the Iraq war. Those assertions evidently got under the skin of McCain, who is basing his campaign on his foreign policy experience, his life story as a Vietnam War hero, and his early criticism of President Bush’s Iraq policy.

Former Congressman Chuck Douglas, McCain’s vice chairman in New Hampshire, where Romney leads but where McCain is trying to make up ground, issued a statement that said in part: “For Gov. Romney to suggest that he is uniquely qualified to be commander-in-chief is like saying that he should replace Tom Brady because he has watched Patriot football games.”

“Governor Romney is naive if he believes that Senator Clinton or the Democrats’ position on the Iraq war will not be ‘dramatically different’ from Republicans next year,” the statement continued. “The Democrats and Senator Clinton have consistently advocated for a deadline for defeat in Iraq” … etc., etc.

See Liz Mair’s Running Interference for Rudy in AmSpec’s Campaign Crawlers

... Whatever McCain’s true intentions, they may matter little in the larger scheme of things. Ultimately, the more bogged down Romney becomes in responding to McCain’s proverbial bottle rockets, the more free Giuliani is to campaign on his terms, as opposed to Romney’s. Conversely, the more time Romney has to spend responding to McCain, the less time he has to sell himself to voters … etc., etc.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.