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Romney’s “Huge Cash Advantage” + hk2′s open thread

Are you sitting down? This is the headline at The New York Times: Romney Gains Huge Cash Advantage Over Obama,” which Power Line, per usual, summarizes better than the MSM.

First, allow me to sneak in this Power Line take on the media: “Large and enthusiastic crowds greet Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wherever they go. You can get a better sense of this if you check out local media sources rather than the constantly-spun national news. …” (View, to your right, the cropped image of the The Villages Daily Sun newspaper for The Villages, Florida, where Paul Ryan and his mother spoke to a crowd of over 10,000 enthusiastic Romney/Ryan supporters.) ALSO: Below the fold you’ll see behind-the-scenes scoops on how badly the Obama/Biden campaign is being run in 2012.

Now for Power Line’s summary of the verbose NYT article:

We all knew that Mitt Romney had outraised President Obama over the last few months; many were unaware that Obama’s totals to date were nevertheless far greater than Romney’s. … What we didn’t know was how much money the campaigns had on hand. Now we know, thanks to today’s FEC filing by the Obama campaign.

The numbers are pretty stunning, and bode well for Mitt Romney. The Obama campaign has been spending money like water … partly due to what appears to be an inefficient operation, and partly due to Obama’s attempt to smear Romney before Romney has a chance to introduce himself to voters. The result is that as of the end of July, the Romney campaign had $185.9 million on hand, compared with $123.7 million for [Obama]. These totals include the campaigns, … party committees and joint victory funds. …


Say what? The Obama machine is “inefficient”?


We’ve heard the rumors about the Stephanie Cutter/David Axelrod brouhaha and the idea to run the campaign from Chicago while most of the principals are in D.C. Here’s another must-read, the OutsideTheBeltway.com blog’s review, “Obama Campaign ‘Roiled By Conflict’ Says POLITICO in Promo for POLITICO eBook”:

President Barack Obama’s campaign team, celebrated four years ago for its exceptional cohesion and eyes-on-the-prize strategic focus, has been shadowed this time by a succession of political disagreements and personal rivalries that haunted the effort at the outset.

Second-guessing about personnel, strategy and tactics has been a dominant theme of the reelection effort, according to numerous current and former Obama advisers who were interviewed for “Obama’s Last Stand,” an e-book out Monday published in a collaboration between POLITICO and Random House.

The discord, these sources said, has on occasion flowed from Obama himself, who at repeated turns has made vocal his dissatisfaction with decisions made by his campaign team, with its messaging, with Vice President Joe Biden and with what Obama feared was clumsy coordination between his West Wing and reelection headquarters in Chicago.

The effort in Chicago, meanwhile, has been bedeviled by some of the drama Obama so deftly dodged in 2008 — including, at a critical point earlier this year, a spat that left senior operatives David Axelrod and Stephanie Cutter barely on speaking terms — and growing doubts about the effectiveness of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Unless the Obama campaign had a band of POLITICO reporters with insider access in 2008, comparisons are rather meaningless. In any case, it would hardly be shocking if there’s more discord this go-round than last. The 2008 campaign was a perfect storm: …

[Read all of the OutsideTheBeltway.com blog's review.]

While searching for more on Glen Thrush’s ebook findings, I stumbled across GOP.com’s Research section — specifically “Obama’s Morning Meeting” for August 20, 2012. HELENK2 ET AL.: If you haven’t already, BOOKMARK the GOP RESEARCH SECTION, which contains numerous finds every day (so many that, as of August 21, these Politico eBook quotes were in “Older Posts”:

A Focus Group Commissioned By The Obama Campaign On Surrogate Effectiveness Ranked Wasserman Schultz “Dead Last.” “She won the skirmish but lost the war- eventually becoming marginalized. Her fate, to be fair, has been shared by many a party chief in an election year, but by spring some in Obama’s orbit were openly speculating about how much better things might have been under Strickland or Villaraigosa. No sooner had that speculation died down than Wasserman Schultz called Chicago to ask why her national TV appearances, especially on the Sunday shows, had dropped off. The campaign dropped a bomb on her. A focus group, secretly conducted by Binder’s company, was commissioned by the campaign to rank the relative effectiveness of various in-house Obama surrogates. The results, which were made available to me, placed Robert Gibbs at the top. Cutter was second (a later version of the poll placed Jen Psaki, who was soon to return to the fold as Obama’s traveling press secretary, third). Axelrod did pretty well. Plouffe and Press Secretary Jay Carney, not so much. Wasserman Schultz ranked dead last.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)

[...]

The Obama Campaign Spent $2 Million A Month On Polling And Learned That Voters Did Not Want To Hear Obama Telling Them Things Were Getting Better Because They Didn’t Believe It. “At first, Obama’s political team knew only what not to do. The pollster David Binder’s focus group studies, part of a $ 2 million- a- month polling operation that served up fresh data to Obama nearly every day, showed that voters were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. They didn’t blame him for the mess. They basically bought his assertion that he had ‘inherited’ the crisis. But they were happy, even eager, to punish Obama if he suggested things were getting better. Don’t tell us things are getting better, we won’t buy it, the people in the focus groups told Binder’s team.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)

[...]

In “Another Instance Of Obama Loosening The Hope-And-Change Straitjacket For The Sake Of Victory In 2012,” Obama Allowed Biden To Select Steve Ricchetti, A Former Lobbyist, To Work In His Office. “Biden’s second choice was more conventional- the Clinton White House veteran Steve Ricchetti. Plouffe and Axelrod, top Democrats say, vetoed that pick too. Ricchetti was widely liked and a known commodity, but he had once been a highly paid lobbyist for the likes of Fannie Mae, General Motors, and the drug company giant Eli Lilly. It would look bad for Obama’s clean-hands image, they argued. This time Biden wasn’t taking no for an answer. He was like a ‘dog with a bone,’ one observer noted, and made an impassioned case to Obama directly that he needed Ricchetti. ‘Okay, okay,’ Obama said- and overrode his advisers for the sake of internal harmony. It was yet another instance of Obama loosening the hope-and-change straitjacket for the sake of victory in 2012. It wouldn’t be the last.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)

WHAT ARE AXELROD AND CUTTER GOING TO SAY TODAY?

So If We Lose, Is This Axelrod’s Fault?

Obama “Frequently Expressed Frustration With The Axe-Run Communications Shop…” “The next part was tougher. Although he had never been publicly critical of David Axelrod, the rumpled messaging guru who could modulate from aspiration to kneecapping in a heartbeat, Obama frequently expressed frustration with the Axe-run communications shop, especially as he was being flayed on health-care reform.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)

A Reporter Admitted “He Softened His Stories To Avoid ‘Hurting [Axelrod]‘s Feelings’ …” “He may have yearned for his old stomping ground, but people around Axe- so well liked a reporter told me he softened his stories to avoid ‘hurting his feelings’- knew that he enjoyed D.C. a lot more than he let on. He loved his walk-in-anytime access to Obama, valued his power, and had no immediate plans to ditch his Logan Circle apartment, the site of his ‘Tuesday Meetings’ with Democratic strategists over takeout.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)

Axelrod Thought His Departure From The West Wing Would Be Gradual But Pete Rouse And Bill Daley “Made It Very Clear To Him That The Time To Go Was Now…” “Axe wasn’t asking to stay- he was burnt out, too, and needed a break- but he was lingering on the threshold. He had assumed his tenure would overlap with Plouffe’s for a short period of time in the West Wing. The handoff would be gradual and would probably last into the spring, he told reporters. Not so, decided Rouse and the incoming chief of staff, Bill Daley. Sooner would be better- for the sake of setting up the Chicago campaign and the newer, calmer White House order. The end of January would do. ‘They made it very clear to him that the time to go was now,’ said one of several former staffers who confirmed that account to me.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)

Axelrod Was An “Exponent Of The ‘Weird’ Attack” On Romney. “He [Axelrod] was an exponent of the ‘weird’ attack, a catchall dis that many Republicans saw as a veiled reference to Romney’s Mormon faith.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)

Axelrod Said It Was A “Bullsh*t Notion” That Obama Ran A Strictly Positive Campaign In 2008. “Axelrod, who earned his stripes in the rough-and-tumble of Chicago politics before becoming brand manager for hope and change, scoffed at the idea that hitting Romney too hard would damage Obama’s main electoral asset, a plus-50 percent personal approval rating that had remained remarkably steady. It was a ‘bullshit notion’ that Obama ran a strictly positive campaign the first time around, he told me as the campaign heated up. Just ask Hillary Clinton and John McCain if they agree that Obama played patty-cake, he said.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)

There is oh so mure more at the GOP.com’s “Research” section. You’ll enjoy every morsel.

And here’s another tidbit from today’s “Research“:

The DNC Is Plagued By Money Troubles And Obama’s Worst Surrogate JUST A FEW WEEKS OUT FROM ITS CONVENTION, THE DNC’S FUNDRAISING OPERATION IS IN DIRE STRAITS In July, The DNC Raised About $10 Million, While Spending $32 Million, Leaving It With Just $15.4 Million Cash On Hand. “Early reports showed the Democratic National… Read More.

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The “huge cash advantage” story is spreading. It’s the top story on cable news. And it’s spread through the MSM: WaPo; CNN; USA Today; and on and on.