1. Mitt Romney needs to avoid giving his critics easy ammunition. The controversies over "I like firing people" and not being concerned about the poor are totally unfair. They are also totally predictable and involve phrases it should be relatively simple to avoid using.
2. Reading articles about how Newt Gingrich could make a comeback, I'm seeing a lot more messaging advice than suggestions as to what primaries will allow him to amass the delegates necessary to beat Romney.
3. In 2008, Ron Paul's official campaign organization was widely panned while his "self-organizing grassroots" were praised for doing the heavy lifting. It was the latter who invented the concept of "money bombs," raised millions of dollars to break single-day fundraising records, dominated online straw polls, and developed the candidate's best ads and slogans. This time around, it may be the opposite. Paul's official campaign is much more professional and the grassroots has had less of an impact independent of the campaign.
An example: In Iowa and New Hampshire, the campaign identified and help turn out supporters. Paul finished third out of seven in Iowa and second out of six in New Hampshire, breaking 20 percent in both states. In South Carolina and Florida, they left get-out-the-vote operations mainly to the grassroots. Paul finished fourth out of four candidates and underperformed his poll numbers in both states. Much of this can be attributed the makeup of each of these four states and the smaller crossover vote in the last two primaries. And it was the campaign's own strategic decision to not really spend money getting out the vote in South Carolina or Florida. But it is a trend that bears watching as we head into caucus states where the campaign is once again engaged.
4. A lot of the endorsements Rick Santorum is getting now would have been more helpful immediately after Iowa. Even though he wasn't the announced winner until later, Santorum came out of Iowa with momentum that could have helped him bypass Gingrich.
5. If Romney is the nominee, no matter who he chooses for veep Barack Obama is going to try to make Donald Trump his running mate. He will have Romney and Trump standing before every workforce Bain touched saying, "You're fired."
6. Good economic statistics will help Obama make the case for his reelection, but more important than the official numbers are people's perceptions of the economy. Remember that the 1990-91 recession had technically ended before Bill Clinton even announced his candidacy and the economy was actually growing smartly in the last quarters of George Bush's presidency. But Clinton was still able to run against the "worst economy" since the Depression because jobs and incomes hadn't returned to their pre-recession levels, so it didn't feel like a recovery to the voters. It's actually dangerous for Obama to be too rosy about the economy if the electorate doesn't share his assessment, as it will make him seem out of touch.
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