Commentary Magazine


Topic: Romney 2012 presidential campaign

Romney’s Five Campaign Themes

I went to hear Mitt Romney this morning in New York, and he gave what I assume is his standard stump speech. He is now emphasizing five points, which is a vast improvement on his 59-point economics plan of last year. First is to exploit America’’s vast new energy resources unlocked by fracking and potential new areas now off-limits to create a large number of new, well-paying jobs, greatly improve our balance of payments, and improve our geopolitical position in the endless game of international politics.

Second is to reform the education system so as to put the interests of children ahead of the interests of teachers in order to prepare them with the skills needed in the 21st century. Third, pursue foreign trade. Fourth, cut the deficit and put the federal budget on a path towards balance. Fifth, repeal ObamaCare.

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I went to hear Mitt Romney this morning in New York, and he gave what I assume is his standard stump speech. He is now emphasizing five points, which is a vast improvement on his 59-point economics plan of last year. First is to exploit America’’s vast new energy resources unlocked by fracking and potential new areas now off-limits to create a large number of new, well-paying jobs, greatly improve our balance of payments, and improve our geopolitical position in the endless game of international politics.

Second is to reform the education system so as to put the interests of children ahead of the interests of teachers in order to prepare them with the skills needed in the 21st century. Third, pursue foreign trade. Fourth, cut the deficit and put the federal budget on a path towards balance. Fifth, repeal ObamaCare.

It was an impressive performance, and it made me even more optimistic about the outcome in November. That optimism is based on reasoning very similar to Professor Paul Rahe’’s reasoning, although I would add Glenn Reynolds’’s caveat: “Don’’t get cocky.” Karl Rove in this morning’’s Wall Street Journal thinks it will be a close election, decided by the undecided, and the Romney campaign should certainly act as though that’’s the case.

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Ayotte Veep Speculation Mounts

VP buzz around Sen. Kelly Ayotte was already growing before she joined the Romney clan on vacation in New Hampshire yesterday. But Ann Romney has thrown fuel on it by telling CBS the campaign has been considering a female VP pick:

Ann Romney says her husband is considering a woman for the ticket—and admitted she’s been playing a big role in the VP search, too, according to an interview with CBS News.

“We’ve been looking at that,” Ann Romney replied, when asked if her husband should pick a female as his No. 2. “I’d love that option as well. So, you know, there’s a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now.”

While she had previously suggested she wasn’t playing a major role in the VP search, Ann Romney admitted she’s been giving the process “a lot of thought, actually” and has been offering her husband advice on his choice.

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VP buzz around Sen. Kelly Ayotte was already growing before she joined the Romney clan on vacation in New Hampshire yesterday. But Ann Romney has thrown fuel on it by telling CBS the campaign has been considering a female VP pick:

Ann Romney says her husband is considering a woman for the ticket—and admitted she’s been playing a big role in the VP search, too, according to an interview with CBS News.

“We’ve been looking at that,” Ann Romney replied, when asked if her husband should pick a female as his No. 2. “I’d love that option as well. So, you know, there’s a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now.”

While she had previously suggested she wasn’t playing a major role in the VP search, Ann Romney admitted she’s been giving the process “a lot of thought, actually” and has been offering her husband advice on his choice.

Ann Romney doesn’t specify, but who else could she be referring to other than Ayotte? The chatter about Condoleezza Rice never seemed serious, and a Tea Party favorite like Nikki Haley would draw instant comparisons to Sarah Palin. Speculation about NM Gov. Susana Martinez also seems to have tapered down after this email flap. Ayotte is still a first-term senator, but she’s already impressed the party establishment, and she’s been a prominent and effective surrogate for Romney. That said, it would still be a bit surprising if she’s being considered seriously. If Marco Rubio’s lack of experience supposedly kept him off the short list, then why would it be any different with Ayotte? They’re both freshman senators, and both very capable on the campaign trail. Maybe this is a sign there was a deeper issue plaguing Rubio?

It’s also possible that Ayotte is being vetted as a possibility (as Rubio is) but hasn’t made it onto the short list. That’s what Erin McPike surmises at RCP:

Mitt Romney may be tight-lipped about his vice presidential short list, warning that only he and longtime aide Beth Myers know who is on it, but a close examination of the campaign’s activity suggests four contenders have risen through the ranks: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell may be considered wild cards, and Romney has said he’s thoroughly vetting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, though the first-term lawmaker’s status appears unchanged.

That’s an interesting top four. Portman and Pawlenty are obviously very different picks than Ryan and Jindal. The first two are the safe and bland route, the second two would be far more exciting but riskier. Ryan in particular would be a game-changing choice, instantly turning the race into a referendum on his Path to Prosperity plan. Conservatives would love the opportunity to have that debate, but it would also be an uncharacteristically bold decision for Romney. Then there’s the question of whether Ryan would accept.

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Court Ruling Will Be Fundraising Boon

ObamaCare has lived to see another day. According to the Supreme Court ruling, the only substantial change is that the individual mandate is now considered a tax, something the Obama White House refused to admit it was.

Three hours after the decision was passed down, the Romney campaign’s spokeswoman announced they surpassed the $1 million mark in organic fundraising, mostly from small donors who, after hearing the Supreme Court’s ruling, made their way to the Romney website and clicked “Donate.” The average donation to the Romney campaign was for a little more than $115. As of yet, neither the Republican National Committee (RNC) nor the Romney campaign have sent a fundraising email based on the Supreme Court ruling. If these organic fundraising numbers are any indication, the Supreme Court’s decision on ObamaCare could be the biggest moneymaker for Republicans this election cycle.

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ObamaCare has lived to see another day. According to the Supreme Court ruling, the only substantial change is that the individual mandate is now considered a tax, something the Obama White House refused to admit it was.

Three hours after the decision was passed down, the Romney campaign’s spokeswoman announced they surpassed the $1 million mark in organic fundraising, mostly from small donors who, after hearing the Supreme Court’s ruling, made their way to the Romney website and clicked “Donate.” The average donation to the Romney campaign was for a little more than $115. As of yet, neither the Republican National Committee (RNC) nor the Romney campaign have sent a fundraising email based on the Supreme Court ruling. If these organic fundraising numbers are any indication, the Supreme Court’s decision on ObamaCare could be the biggest moneymaker for Republicans this election cycle.

During the ObamaCare debate in Congress in 2009, conservative groups saw a major uptick in donations. At the time, the Michael Steele led-RNC was dealing with high levels of donor mistrust after multiple stories about RNC wasteful spending and poor decision-making; thus, most conservatives chose to donate to organizations and campaigns directly. In 2009, the Heritage Foundation saw a 45 percent increase in donations and the American Enterprise Institute saw a 58 percent increase. Scott Brown ran as the 41st vote against ObamaCare and saw historic fundraising numbers for his election, raising over $1 million during a one-day moneybomb. These were incredibly strong fundraising numbers for an off-cycle year and were indicative of the high levels of donor discontent with the ObamaCare bill.

Every time it is polled, ObamaCare becomes more and more unpopular with the American people. As any good fundraiser knows, it’s easier to solicit donations from the discontented. While the Supreme Court decision may not be what conservatives were hoping for, the fundraising departments of conservative organizations and candidates are now in overdrive as Americans will now register their disappointment and frustration with their wallets.

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