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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Early Obama Attack, No Early Romney Defense


At Politico, Jonathan Martin and Glenn Thrush preview their latest campaign e-book.  During the summer, the Obama campaign made an early attack to define Romney.  As mentioned earlier, Romney did not push back.
• At a late May meeting in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, Obama signed off on a risky plan to drop a significant portion of their cash, more than $100 million, on a summer assault on Romney. This meant raiding the campaign’s fall budget, potentially robbing it of cash down the homestretch. That entailed slashing broadcast ad spending in the final weeks to a fraction of what Romney’s was expected to be — a mere 1,500 “points,” in advertising parlance, when the challenger was expected to hammer home as much as 5,500 points over the same period.
“It was an untested proposition, if you could go naked at the end of a campaign and still win,” Plouffe told the authors of this book. “We thought it would work because voters would be so saturated in October, and they would have just lived through the debates. … Better to define Romney early and force him to playcatch-up. … It was a gut-wrenching decision, really. You were staring into the abyss.”
Obama said “OK. Go for it” — but he never stopped fretting about the campaign’s cash situation and told aides he never wanted to go into debt as Hillary Clinton had done in 2008.
• Romney had a way to combat the summer onslaught but never seriously considered it: tapping his own multi-million dollar fortune. But his advisers, recalling the bad publicity the candidate got for steering tens of millions of his own dollars into his 2008 campaign, were uneasy about being perceived as trying the buy the White House. Campaign manager Rhoades never even broached the topic of self-funding with Romney, according to a senior campaign official.