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Wednesday, January 9, 2008
posted by Justin Hart | 8:19 AM | permalink
Please note I said 360° not 180°. :)

A 360° is a business term that denotes a post-project assessment. Whether your building a website, launching a product, or rolling out an partnership you always take a moment after a milestone to take a look at where you've been and evaluate where you are going. A 360° takes feedback from every player on the team and invites serious scrutiny from other players involved as well.

The Romney camp actually does this kind of evaluation on a regular basis. I have no doubt they will be doing a BIG 360° this week.

If I were invited to the session here's what I would say:

First, the Iowa "delta" (or the negative column):
  • We ran a great campaign there but its hard to justify the ROI.
  • We had three problems it seems. Time, scope and format.
  • The Huckabee surge came with precious little time left on the clock.
  • It was too late in the game to change things once Christmas came along
  • Negative ads then looked like desperation.
  • The scope of the candidates left little room for error
  • The format of the caucuses didn't particularly favor organizational prowess.
Next, the Iowa positive column:
  • We got the vote out as best as can be expected. A 30,000 GOTV result is a success by any measure.
  • No where on God's green earth is there another place where 60% of the electorate are Evangelical Christians.
  • As evidenced in New Hampshire, Huckabee will probably not win the nomination.
  • Thompson came in 3rd and McCain in 4th - that's good news.
Second, New Hampshire, "delta".
  • Like everyone else in the world, we thought Obama would win. We thought he would draw out the independent vote in New Hampshire away from McCain. It didn't happen.
  • The Romney camp was hoping for under 30% of the vote to go GOP. 37% turned out instead (which is about the margin of victory for McCain).
  • I thought that organizational prowess would help again. But I think Romney had a difficult time finding a natural base to turn out.
  • Did the negative ads hurt us? I'm not convinced. While 60% of the McCain voters thought Romney ran the most unfair campaign, 60% of Romney voters thought the same thing about McCain.
New Hampshire positive column:
  • With the New Hampshire "place" we have more delegate votes than any other candidate
  • We kept it close which is good. A blowout would have been very bad.
  • Mitt should evaluate the "contrast" ads, but this may not be the culprit.
Overall, we are not where we wanted to be. We have to own up to it. But we're certainly not down and out. The theory behind the early state victories was to leapfrog Rudy. It turns out that strategy might have been overplayed. We have a bit of egg on our face for pushing it heavy but adjusting strategy is nothing to shy away from.

Here's Mitt last night on this very point:
Well, there’s no question but that our message continues to be the same message, and it’s a powerful and connecting message. What’s happened that’s quite different is that we were anticipating that we had to win the first two primaries to go up against Rudy Giuliani, who was way ahead in the national polls, and who would have a commanding lead in Florida. Well, now Rudy Giuliani’s no longer in the lead in the national polls, and it looks like he’s number four or number three in Florida. So the whole world is different than we thought, and it’s much more of an open process than we’d expected with at least three and maybe more Republicans all vying for votes. And I think it’s anybody’s guess as to exactly how this is going to turn out.
Now, the new strategy kick off with a win in Michigan, a good showing in South Carolina and a strong finish in Florida.

My optimism is dampened but I noticed that Mitt's is not. I'll take his lead anytime. For now, keep in mind this graphic depicting the number of delegates earned thus far:
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Morning Bill,

Now I could be wrong, but this is how I see it:

Most people aren't paying as close attention as we are. Their impressions are extremely susceptible to the media's narrative. On the issues, Romney was CLEARLY the superior conservative candidate.

Although he had the endorsement of NR, it was diluted by Byron York, Derb, Goldberg, Frum JPOD etc. Romney's hard work and money, could not overcome the strong liberal New England newspaper and TV media, the NYT, Fox News, the MSM, David Brooks, Dick Morris. Who had the media advantage? The difference is, Romney had to pay for his, while Huck and McCain got theirs free.
If my choice in Nov. is either Huck or McCain, I stay home or vote for Obama!


By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 9, 2008 at 8:52 AM  

I don't see how decreased turnout would have helped Romney. Exit polls showed that McCain beat Romney among registered Republicans. In any event, Michigan looks to be a battle. Too bad there has been virtually no Michigan polling released this last month so we really have no idea where things stand there.

Is it not possible that Mitt's front loading spending is actually paying off across the board?

Mitt has an uphill battle with the first states having open primaries. He is the only candidate that sounds like a conservative, which hurts him in these states because of opposition shenanigans. Can't we stay the course - because his opposition ads make a lot of sense to mainstream conservatives.

Conservativism is nothing to be ashamed of - proclaim it for the sake of our country and the little guy.

I for one would rather lose the white house, gain congress in 2010, then put up with another RINO.

My advice to Romney is to stop sounding like Barack with "CHANGE". Focus on conservative values and proven track record. And for God Sakes stop talking about his hair, silver and gold medals.

By Anonymous Donna from Jackson, at January 9, 2008 at 9:27 AM  

Two things: I agree Mitt should reach out to dems in Michigan. Though he's a conservative he should be able to sell his credentials about getting american jobs back better than McCain or Huck.

Second, we need to analyze why Mitt lost early leads in IA and NH. Something permitted that to happen. You can say it was a groundswell of support at the wrong bime, but the question is why was there a groundswell? Perhaps it was because Huck and McCain had natural constituencies in those states. But maybe it was all the ads, and the negative ones to boot. I think some contrast is appropriate but it's easier to sell yourself than to un-sell someone else.

I don't believe that Mitt's negative/comparative ads were the problem in themselves. The problem was that Huckabee and McCain whinned like little girls about it and the media created a "story line" of the negative and dirty Romney. Heck in the Fox debate Sunday Wallace spent a great deal of time asking Romney about his "negative ads". But little media time is spent on the negative attitudes of McCain or Huckabee. The media can create narratives; and they have created one of Mitt as a negative guy.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 9, 2008 at 11:23 AM  

I was speaking to a McCain fundraiser last night. He expects McCain to win in Michigan. he won there in 2000. He also says he expects Mitt will win the whole thing though. He says its the guy with the oganization who usually wins in the end. He pointed to Bush as his prime example.

Just thought I would tell you that I think we shouldn't focus too much on a win in Michigan. There is a real good chance McCain is going to win there. That doesn't mean Mitt can't win overall.

Outlasting everyone else is the key.

Finally, Mitt's "negative" ads against Huckabee informed the wider public as to his liberal positions on criminals and the economy. Without those ads, Huckabee may very well have been a stronger player now.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 9, 2008 at 12:38 PM  

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