Mitt Romney’s campaign schedule does not contain enough public appearances and has placed too much emphasis on fundraising events. That’s according to a number of Republican strategists and commentators, who point out that Romney’s campaign itinerary is sparse compared to that of John McCain in 2008.
During the two days of campaigning after the GOP convention, Mitt Romney paid visits to Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia, stopped once in each state, and then took a day off from the campaign trail in Boston. This, points out the L.A. Times, has been the most active period of Romney’s campaigning since the vital post-convention stage began, with Romney having held fewer public events than either presidential candidate did in 2008.
A number of critics from Mitt Romney’s side of the political spectrum have suggested the presidential challenger is spending too much time bolstering his campaign’s war chest and preparing for the presidential debate. John Weaver, a veteran GOP political consultant who worked with McCain in 2000 and 2008, told the Times:
“Of all the times when he needs to be seen talking about the economy and job creation with average Americans … it’s now. To be doing fundraising events in Costa Mesa and Utah and Texas … they’re going to have to change that. He is the challenger. He’s going to have to work harder.”
The bid to raise campaign funds is shared by President Obama, argues Dan Schnur, a former Republican political consultant:
“The fundraising pressures on both campaigns are tremendous. Romney’s in Texas, Obama’s in New York. They’re both spending a lot of time in places where there is a lot more money available to them than votes.”
However, pundits point out that Obama has held more public campaign appearances than Mitt Romney, despite the fact that, as sitting president, he’s also busy running the country.
Mark McKinnon, a strategist for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, believes that the balance of fundraising events and public appearances is part of a long-term gamble by Romney’s team:
“I think they’ve made a calculation that raising money and debate prep time is the most valuable use of Romney’s time. The problem is that it is creating a perception of a campaign in trouble that is not working that hard. But if Romney knocks it out of the park at the debates and overwhelms Obama in the closing weeks with a money advantage, the critics will reconsider.”
The constant need to raise campaign funds has come about because both Obama and Romney refused to take public financing, which would have limited each candidate to spending a $91.2-million public grant in the election. Larry Noble, president of Americans for Campaign Reform, explains:
“Since the presidential public funding system has collapsed, effectively, because of non-use, we have a system where candidates are spending an inordinate amount of time fundraising. They don’t see that they have any choice.”
Do you feel Mitt Romney is focusing too heavily on fundraising for his run at the White House?