Politico’s Mike Allen analyzes the first quarter campaign numbers.
HH: Joined by Mike Allen, chief political correspondent for www.politico.com. Mike Allen, these numbers coming out of the campaigns are just astonishing to me. What’s your reaction to the data that’s been rolling out like a lava overflow?
MA: (laughing) Well…and it’s been singing and burning and smoking just sort of the way lava might.
MA: On the Republican side, we definitely might have a tortoise and the hare situation going on here. People have been foolishly, as you and I have discussed, looking at Governor Romney’s national poll numbers, which could not be a more meaningless number at this point, and equating that to his support, when in fact, not only does the very high number released today demonstrate a high level of support, it also shows perhaps even just as importantly, a very with it organization, very motivated, structured, efficient organization. And especially as we look toward what’s amounting to a national primary, the ability to put into place a smooth running machine is going to be a big, big factor.
HH: The numbers on the Democratic side show Hillary Clinton with $36 million dollars raised, because she transferred herself $10 million. But we don’t know what the divide is between her national, her general election campaign fundraising and her primary election campaign fundraising, Mike Allen. What do you think her real number is, and that means the primary dollars raised for use in the primaries ahead against Obama?
MA: Well, I don’t have any idea, but I will tell you that other campaigns and reporters think it’s ludicrous that they told us on that campaign conference call yesterday that they couldn’t break out the number according to people familiar with the spreadsheets, and the other ways that the campaigns account. They said there’s these two different accounts, and that it’s silly to say that you can’t account. But as your listeners know, that is one indication of how big the donations are. An overlooked fact today is that of all the six biggest candidates, the three biggest ones on each side, there’s only one, Governor Romney, who on his campaign, does not solicit $4,600 dollars, which is the amount that you can give for the general and the primary. The biggest box that you can check for Governor Romney is $2,300 dollars. So he was maybe the least greedy of them all and did the best.
HH: www.mittromney.com, you can check that out for yourself, America. Let’s talk about what I think is the real story here. There are two of them. One is Barack Obama is the real deal. He’s supposed to come in around $20 million. I’m stunned by that. Number two, I think John McCain’s running on empty, Mike Allen. What do you think?
MA: Well, we can’t know that, because I agree with what Patrick Ruffini wrote today on one of my favorite blogs, Hughhewitt.com, that money doesn’t tell you everything. But it does tell you a lot of important things, including, as I mentioned, the quality of the organization. Now what we got from Senator McCain’s campaign today was straight talk. They were frank about the fact that they did not do as well as they should have, or wanted to. Maybe it’s a little like the President saying he’s not satisfied with progress in Iraq. It’s kind of a no duh, right? But they were forthright about that. Senator McCain, before he went to Iraq on camera, was forthright about saying he was not satisfied with it. They are taking steps to change it, and so I think that his supporters will appreciate that, and I think that that was what people expected from Senator McCain.
HH: Do these numbers assist Fred Thompson in his analysis, Mike Allen? Do they send the message if you’re going to get in, you’ve got to get in now?
MA: I don’t know the answer to that. And there’s, as you know, a lot of former Senator Frist’s organization is coming over, and is basically a campaign in waiting for Fred Thompson. But there’s a lot of people that are uncertain, who know the Senator well, who are uncertain that he’s ready for the rigors of the campaign. You know, there was some buzz among Republicans today, you know, was the number from Governor Romney high enough to keep him out? But there’s no question that he’s got a lot of catching up to do, including building organizations in these key states. Of course, those are expensive. But that’s just one part of the job that’s in front of him.
HH: …go to www.politico.com to read all of Mike Allen’s reporting.
End of interview.