One of the more interesting things of this campaign cycle has been that Mitt Romney, the take-charge private equity CEO, is actually quite a cautious politician. Despite poor performances in key states, Romney hasn't fired any of his top consultants.
With Michigan very close and some predicting a Santorum win in light of Operation Hilarity, he may well start firing people. Today, Romney acknowledged "some mistakes" on the campaign trail. “I’m trying to do better and work harder and make sure that we get our message across,” Romney told The New York Times. The fault, he says, lies with him, not his staff. But does it?
If anything, he is getting the worse campaign money can buy. Romney is burning through cash. Indeed his presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting him hauled in $13.1 million in January, yet spent $32.7 million, the latest figures available. That burn rate hurts especially as his top donors, who have already maxed out for the primary. Romney raised only 15 percent of his $7.7 million haul from small donors, according to financial disclosure forms released Monday.
This is bad news for Romney: The more Romney maxes out his donors, the less control his campaign will have over the narrative, as the Super PAC supporting him steps in.
Add to that the shifting set of expectations that are going on in the Great Lake State. On February 16th, Romney said that a Michigan loss "won't happen." On February 28th, Romney conceded that he might just lose and that the race was "too close to call."
Worse yet, Romney's attack on Santorum of encouraging Democrats to vote for him may well fall flat and smack of desperation, calling it "outrageous" and "disgusting."
But Romney was guilty of just such "dirty tricks" himself in 1992. As he explained his vote for Paul Tsongas in 1992, "When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I’d vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for the Republican."
Romney has said that it was "easy to excite the base," but that he was "not willing to light [his] hair on fire" to get votes, but if Romney were being honest, hasn't he tried everything but?
Witness Kid Rock coming out to endorse him.