Senator McCain was on Bill Bennett’s program Friday, and the transcript is here. His explanation of his Vanity Fair comments on “the fence” is wholly unpersuasive, but Senator McCain shines as usual on the war, and his answer to a Bennett question on Iran is moving towards the sort of full-throated warning the mullahs have to hear from all candidates of both parties:
BB: Should we be on record about Iran? I mean, that we would like regime change in Iran?
JM: Sure. We should be encouraging the forces of democracy in Iran, just as we have in other countries throughout the world. It’s not unique. Those students recently showed their distaste for the president of Iran. We need to have a radio free Iran, we need to do a better job in encouraging and assisting the forces of democracy in a repressive and oppressive regime.
Meanwhile, less than four days after Mitt Romney’s announcement of an exploratory committee, two “captains” in the Romney fund-raising network independently contacted me to ask me to contribute to the governor. (The online operation is also up and running.) These “asks” are from people I have known for years, and not because of the book I am finishing. One lives on the west coast; one on the east coast. During one of my interviews with Romney, he had to pause for twenty minutes to conduct a phone conference with a team of supporters that stressed that if he decided to run, he would be looking to them to help roll out the early fund-raising effort. That effort is clearly underway, and my experience is probably not unique.
There is a dynamic in politics that always sees money follow momentum. Don’t be surprised if the early money breaks to Romney as smart money likes to be with the eventual nominee early, and also to be part of the team from its first days. This is what distinguished George W. Bush’s campaign in 1999-2000.