John McCain gave the greatest concession speech in American political history in 2008. That was his plan all along it seems. McCain never did actually campaign to win the election. He even said Obama would make a fine President. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is fighting to win. He hits back at the Obama regime without mercy and has rattled them. Polls show the election as a neck and neck race. Clearly the Romney campaign plans to run the opposite of McCain’s campaign.
Mitt Romney and his top aides are building a strategy, partly by design and partly because of circumstance, around what they consider John McCain’s disastrously run campaign in 2008.
The strategy: whatever McCain did, do the opposite.
Many of the current strategy discussions are centered on not falling into the traps McCain did: looking wobbly as a leader and weak on the economy in the final weeks of the campaign. The private discussions include ruling out any vice presidential possibilities who could be seen as even remotely risky or unprepared; wrapping the entire campaign around economic issues, knowing this topic alone will swing undecided voters in the final days; and, slowly but steadily, building up Romney as a safe and competent alternative to President Barack Obama.
McCain, according to Romney advisers, blew it on all three scores. And of the three, the most conscious effort by Romney’s team to do things differently will be in the V.P. selection process. One Republican official familiar with the campaign’s thinking said it will be designed to produce a pick who is safe and, by design, unexciting – a deliberate anti-Palin. The prized pick, said this official: an “incredibly boring white guy.”
Whereas McCain was often disdainful of the money chase, Romney seems to delight in it. McCain got his clock cleaned on fundraising ($750 million to $450 million), and his lifelong opposition to big money in politics made outside groups dubious about helping him. Romney and his outside allies such as American Crossroads could match or beat Obama.
Charlie Black, an outside adviser to the Romney campaign, said the biggest lesson to learn from 2008 is, “Do whatever it takes not to get outspent.” Much of the Romney money is being invested heavily early to eat into Democratic strengths, especially with technology. By the time Romney finishes his current hiring spree, about one-fourth of his 400 staffers will be on the digital team — fundraising, communications and organizing.
This is another smart move by Mitt Romney. John McCain ran one of the worst campaigns in American political history. He refused to take the fight to Obama. Romney, on the other hand, is giving Obama the fight of his life. Keep it up Mitt!