April 6, 2007

Romney Fundraising A Spook Story For The NYT

The New York Times appears willing to damn Romney for being rich and both using his own money for his presidential campaign and not using his own money for his presidential campaign. In seeking to explain Romney's success at fundraising, David Kirkpatrick doesn't give Romney much benefit of the doubt in an article headlined, "Romney Used His Wealth to Enlist Richest Donors":

Mitt Romney, the multimillionaire founder of a giant private equity firm, knew he did not need other people’s money to mount a presidential campaign. But as they began planning a campaign more than two years ago, Mr. Romney and his advisers wanted to avoid the fate of two other millionaires, Steve Forbes and Ross Perot, whose self-financed campaigns went down as quixotic indulgences.

“By Mitt or anyone else self-funding, you don’t have a lot of people making investments in you,” said Spencer Zwick, 28, the campaign’s fund-raising director and a close aide whom the candidate sometimes calls his sixth son. “To be credible, you have to show that you have raised resources from around the country.”

Instead of tapping his own money directly, Mr. Romney embarked on an effort to leverage his personal fortune into donations to his Republican primary campaign. ...

Mr. Romney’s financial support is deep but narrow. He amassed $20 million from fewer than 33,000 donors, according to figures disclosed by his campaign. By comparison, Mr. McCain raised $12.5 million from nearly 50,000 donors while Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, raised $25 million from more than 100,000. Their average contributors each gave about $250; Mr. Romney’s gave more than $600.

All of this is true. However, Romney didn't have the advantages of McCain, Obama, or Hillary Clinton in fundraising. McCain has served in the Senate for 20+ years and has made himself one of the GOP's highest-profile politicians. Barack Obama has had the media fawning all over him ever since his eye-opening speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. Hillary Clinton has Bill Clinton and 15 years of dominating headlines.

Romney, by the Times' own admission, had little name recognition at the start of the campaign. Like Steve Forbes and Ross Perot -- and John Kerry -- Romney loaned his campaign a significant amount of money to get started. Unlike Forbes and Perot, he recognized the pitfalls of self-funding a presidential campaign, which eliminates any buildup of loyalty among followers. He organized well and began his campaign by building on his existing political relationships, amassing a prodigious amount of cash in the very first quarter.

Kirkpatrick compares the number of donors unfavorably to Obama and McCain, which is silly. Obama's 100,000 donors speaks well of his ability to connect to the grass roots and makes him a formidable force in the election. Putting that aside, Romney's 33,000 donors compares rather favorably to the 50,000 each for Hillary Clinton and John McCain. With little name recognition, he manages to tap two-thirds as many as the two high-profile politicians on both sides of the primaries. That sounds like a rather significant victory for Romney, not an indictment of his "deep and narrow" draw in the race.

Kirkpatrick also gets a little paranoid about the religion of Romney's donors. One-quarter of those who have contributed the maximum to his federal PAC come from Utah, and half of the top eight donors are Mormon. Why would this surprise anyone? Romney worked wonders for the Salt Lake City Olympics, turning a corrupt, collapsing effort into a success by cleaning out the graft and righting the committee financially. Romney is a Mormon, and Mormons will be likely to support his candidacy.

The entire article makes it look like the Times has begun to fear Romney's success. He has expanded his attraction from a narrow group of supporters to a broad band of donors, reaching to two-thirds of the donor lists of his most media-friendly opponents. That looks like a good start to me, and not a narrow base for a vanity candidate.


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Comments (7)

Posted by Fight4TheRight [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 7:45 AM

When I read the segment of the Times article comparing the "few" donors for Romney compared to McCain and Obama and how Romney's per donor pledge is $600 versus the others.....I scratched my head and thought, 'isn't someone missing in this comparison?"
Ahhhh (lightbulb time)...Hillary Clinton. If my math is close to right, Romney's pledge per donor is $600 , Mrs. Clinton's pledge per donor is $520.
But I'm sure that is just an oversight on the part of the NYTimes.

Posted by macfan1950 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 8:39 AM

The interesting thing about Romney's fundraising team is that they continue to innovate at every turn. College students can earn money in the summer as 'Students for Mitt,' by receiving 10% of all the money they earn over $1000. Don't think that has ever been done before, so I expect we will see several more of these 'worry columns' by the end of the 2Q & 3Q.

Posted by gull [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 9:15 AM

Creative and original, yes. I'll certainly contribute again.

The liberal NY Slimes and the Boston Glob will never find favor with a conservative condidate.

Posted by Lew Clark [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 10:53 AM

"Romney is not a Marxist and should not be "appointed" supreme leader". That's their true motivation. At least the old Soviet Union and China were honest about that. We need such honesty from the American left.

Posted by viking01 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 11:46 AM

The NY Times also fails to recall whether angry Hillary will take ChiCom contributions through Lippo Bank etc. like Slick did in 1996. The Clintoons accepting large, illegal contributions from foreign nations is family tradition.

Romney's fund raising methods are reflective of true Free Enterprise with tangible rewards given to employees for productivity. That is the polar opposite of the Stalinist Five Year Plan mentality central at Pravda on the Hudson.

The first post efficiently illuminates the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would say) to effectively out the NY Times continued willingness to lie by omission in sock-puppet obeisance to their beloved Hillary.

Keep shining the light of truth on Sulzberger's agitprop clown car and maybe he'll lose another billion for his fishwrap this year too.

Posted by burt [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 6:22 PM

Good point, viking01.

Kerry used the fortunes of Senator Heinz, not even a Democrat, and Soros. I guess I missed when NYT was outraged about that.

Posted by Corky Boyd [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 8:35 PM

This is not the first story in the Times playing the Mormon card. The first was aimed the religious conservatives, hoping they wouldn’t support someone outside the traditional Christian faith. Didn’t work.

I suspect the Times, which is solidly in the Clinton camp, has access to polling data showing Romney her greatest thereat. He has charisma, appeals to the female voters and most importantly, is an eloquent speaker. He would devastate Hilary is a debate.

Look for more Romney hatchet jobs from the Times.