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More Romney Veep Skepticism

The worthwhile blog Campaign Diaries elaborates on the reasons to be skeptical of the recent veep buzz over Mitt Romney. In particular, the post considers the three ways for McCain to tap Romney's fundraising ability (reputedly up to $60 million in 60 days, which would take us into the public finacing period if Romney wasn't selected until early August) and bats them down in succession:

1. McCain might be willing to tell Romney in the coming days that he will select him as his running-mate. This would be a very unlikely development, given the low odds of that remaining secret for a month and the fact that McCain is almost certainly nowhere near that stage of the process.

2. McCain might be considering opting out of public financing. But I am very skeptical of this. He has not started raising any private money for the general, and it would be a gigantic risk for him to start doing so. His best fundraising month so far has been $21 million. If he opts out in early August, that would leave him 3 months to top the $87 million he would have received from the FEC and do so by a margin substantial enough for the political drawbacks of being hit for his flip-flop to be worthwhile.

3. Romney’s fundraising potential could be used to raise money for the RNC, rather than McCain’s campaign. But would the candidate’s entourage be as excited about that possibility? Sure, the RNC’s resources will be absolutely critical to McCain’s presidential hopes, as the party’s spending will complement the candidate’s $87 million and reduce the gap with Obama’s spending. But McCain would not have any control of how that money is spend, as any coordination would be illegal. Furthermore, Romney has already been doing much more than was expected to raise money, in an obvious effort to campaign for VP. But he is also doing so to position himself for a future presidential run, meaning that he would be likely to continue helping the RNC in the months ahead whatever the fate of his vice-presidential ambitions.

Agreed. It could obviously still happen, but I don't think the fundraising argument is nearly as compelling as it sounds at first blush.

--Noam Scheiber