Allen, Alter and Cillizza on Romney and Rove
Governor Romney looks so strong at this point. I think there was a time, tell me if you disagree, I think there was a time that if you’d put a gun to the head of most Republicans, insiders, they would have said Rudy Giuliani somehow, by hook or by crook, is going to wind up as the nominee. I think pressed now, today, those same Republicans would say Governor Romney, it’s his to lose.
Allen on Fred Thompson:
Just to give you a quick little insight into the Fred strategy? They plan a little bit of a low impact campaign. They’re pointing to Governor Bush’s schedule in 2000, where his pattern was two events and a fundraiser a day. I think that that is the sort of schedule Senator Thompson’s going to stick to….[H]e’s not going to do the diner to diner, church to church, break your back sort of campaigning that at least in the primaries has come to be sort of customary.
HH: But Mike Allen just said to me that he’s heard that Thompson’s going to run a two-event, one fundraiser a day campaign. And I wonder, and it’s more of a feel issue, and you’ve been on the road a lot more than I have in the last three months, can a Snuffy Smith, you know, lying in my hammock, getting up off the back porch for some lemonade campaign work in 2007 and 2008, Chris Cillizza?
CC: I don’t think so, and I think it would be a mistake if that was the campaign Thompson was running. Now he has, throughout his political career, faced questions about his political metabolism, you know, does he have the heart to do it. I mean, Hugh, you’ve seen this, and I’ve seen it up close, running for office is not a cakewalk. You’ve got to be tireless, going to event after event. When I was in Iowa one day last week, Mitt Romney did six town halls in one day. You know, the problem for Fred Thompson is he’s up against a guy like Romney who seems tireless, who whether he is enjoying it or not makes it look like he’s enjoying it. And when you’ve got a guy out there going to six events, and you’re doing two at the most, well, I’m no mathematician, but he’s probably meeting three times as many people as you are.
HH: Jonathan, 30 seconds, if you’re Hillary Clinton, who don’t you want to run against as the Republican nominee?
JA: I think you don’t want to run against Romney. I think that she could take Giuliani more easily than she could take Mitt Romney in a general election.
Alter on Karl Rove’s place in history:
Louie Howe was as powerful as Rove before FDR came to the presidency, and helped make him president. And he had a lot in common with Rove in terms of their sort of personal style. But Howe suffered some ill health, and after Roosevelt became president, he died about three years after Roosevelt took office, and was ailing for much of that time. So he ultimately will not be seen as nearly as influential as Rove. And Mark Hanna, by the way, who Rove is also compared to a lot, who was William McKinley’s handler, he entered the Senate on his own, and so he also is not really comparable to Rove. I think that Rove will go down in history as the most powerful presidential aide, you know, staff guy, ever….I think you’re right that that [Rove] would be very comparable in the way Bobby Kennedy threw his weight around in the Kennedy administration. But you know, President Bush has been in office a lot longer than John Kennedy. So Rove has been powerful a lot longer than Bobby Kennedy was…..And we forget that six years, that’s a long time, and at a level…and it’s impossible, I think, to overestimate how much influence he had. He had his fingers in policy early on, long before people recognized it, and in foreign policy pretty early on, although it wasn’t until after the 2004 election that he actually got the title of deputy chief of staff.