Winning presidential elections is about raising a candidate's profile with the voting public, and that often comes down to raising money. So, Gingrich's success at raising money through his section 527 American Solutions for Winning the Future led many to believe that he would be a formidable candidate. Quarter after Quarter, his fund raising dwarfed even Romney's, though much was made of the different tax codes and contribution limits between the legal entities.
Now, we hear that part of the reason his campaign staff resigned en masse this week is that he wasn't raising any money. We read this from a Washington Post article this morning,
"On the other side was a team of political operatives shocked by the flamboyance of the candidate’s stumbles, his resistance to their advice and the dire state of his campaign finances. While he was away on a lavish vacation that they had warned him not to take, they drafted a memo raising the possibility of a graceful exit from the race."
Evidently, the vaunted fund raising never materialized because funding a campaign means doing the hard work of asking people one by one to give you money. I believe it was a distaste for this kind of work that largely kept Mike Huckabee out of the race.
The question for me is "where is Mitt Romney?" Day after day, Huntsman, Pawlenty, Paul, Cain and others post schedules of dozens of public avails in obscure places in IA, NH, and SC. Romney pokes his head up about once a week, but is otherwise pretty quiet. What's he up to?
I think we all now he is a virtually non-stop effort to raise money, in venues small and large, across the country. By the end of June, he will have held fund raisers in more than half the states in the nation, many of them more than once. He will have met with big bundlers in intimate gatherings of a few dozen and in large receptions of hundreds where the admission was as little as $100.00.
The rest of the Gingrich story is/was of a candidate undisciplined in his message and calendar and unrealistic in his view of the campaign, his strategic objectives, and the tactical execution to win.
In contrast, Romney this week announced that he would not be attending any of the straw polls, specifically in IA, FL, and MI. It was a powerful exhibition of a disciplined campaign acting on their plan. Here are some of the ramifications I see in the announcement:
1. It will save the campaign nearly $5,000,000 in expenses that have a debatable impact on the caucus/primary outcome, especially for a well-known candidate.
2. It lowers expectations for Romney in IA, but leaves him able to accelerate in IA after the straw poll
3. It puts huge pressure on Pawlenty to win the straw poll, thereby forcing him to spend mega bucks and time in IA that he might otherwise wish to spend in NH and SC.