Mitt Romney: Scrappy pauper presidential candidate!
Attention every journalist that is currently trying to write the definitive 2012 presidential campaign retrospective: We finally have the real
reason that Mitt Romney failed in his bid to unseat President Obama. In fact, we get the answer straight from the
presidential runner-up himself.
The answer? His penny-pinching, underdog campaign simply couldn't keep pace with the cash-fueled machine that was the Obama re-elect:
Talking about what went wrong, Romney said they didn't get the turnout from minority voters that they needed and he acknowledged his campaign was outmatched by his opponent's massive organization.
"I think he had as many as 10 times the number of ground workers, paid staff, that we had, because he could afford them and we couldn't," he said.
Your heart just bleeds for Romney, doesn't it? His scrappy band of underdogs just couldn't compete with the New York Yankees of political turnout operations. And why not? Because Obama could afford 10 times
the ground troops, and Romney's threadbare campaign simply couldn't keep pace.
It's a touching story. It is also complete bullshit.
According to a campaign finance study by the New York Times, the GOP's big three (the RNC, the Super PAC Restore Our Future, and the Romney campaign) actually outspent the Democratic big three (the DNC, the Super PAC Priorities USA, and the Obama campaign) by about $6.3 million in the election cycle.
Both candidates enjoyed the benefit of just a shade under a billion dollars each spent on their behalf. Let's state what should be obvious (except, perhaps, to CNN, who inexplicably let Romney's asinine statement go unchallenged): Neither candidate was destitute in this campaign.
The issue was not that Team Romney's abject poverty denied them the ground game needed to propel the squad to victory—it was simply that Team Romney made it clear fairly early that they didn't give a damn about having a competitive ground game. The Atlantic's Molly Ball noted this two weeks before the election, when she noted, among other things, that Obama had 298 field offices in the three major battlegrounds (Florida, Ohio and Virginia), whereas Romney had ... 117.
And, of course, team Romney did throw a lot of cash at their ground game. The problem wasn't a lack of resources, as anyone following the story at the time well knows. The problem was glaring ineptitude. ORCA, anyone?
One cannot totally blame Romney for his somewhat comical attempt to rewrite history, positioning his campaign as the cash-strapped underdog. Shame on CNN, though, for an utter lack of skepticism at what has to be one of the single most idiotic snippets of post-2012 spin that we have read to date.