Immediately after Nikki Haley’s overwhelming victory in the South Carolina Primary, we noted Team Mitt’s panic over the credit Governor Palin received:
It appears Mitt Romney is getting a bit nervous as a result of all the well-deserved credit Governor Palin received for helping Nikki Haley in South Carolina, both in the media and by Haley herself. In fact Romney is so nervous he feels compelled to return to South Carolina to campaign for Haley before the runoff on the 22nd.
This is classic Mitt Romney. When all the mud was flying and Governor Palin publicly and steadfastly stood behind Haley, Romney was, as is his custom, nowhere to be found. Undoubtedly Romney thought he could gain some conservative cred in South Carolina by endorsing Haley in March who, at the time, was considered a long-shot conservative candidate with little chance of winning. However, after Haley’s incredible surge in the polls (following, not coincidentally, Governor Palin’s endorsement) and ultimate victory last night, Romney saw his plan for making inroads in the important primary state unraveling.
Recent activities on the part of Team Mitt indicate our assessment of Romney’s panic was correct. Today Romney travelled to South Carolina to campaign with Nikki Haley and, while there, announced he was giving the Haley campaign $42,000. How, you ask, can he give a candidate that much money given the limits in campaign finance laws? It’s easy if you’re Mitt Romney. You purchase a team of lawyers to figure out how to get around the spirit of the law. Via Andy Barr at the Politico:
…lawyers for Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC discovered that multiple PACs sharing the same leadership and office space are able to contribute $3,500 each per cycle in South Carolina, according to a Romney source.
With one federal PAC and five statewide PACs each maxing out at $3,500 for Haley in both the GOP primary and general elections, Romney has contributed a total of $42,000.
This is standard operating procedure for Romney. What else can a plastic flip-flopping politician do to acquire the influence he lacks other than purchase it? Unfortunately for Romney, there’s not enough money in the world for him to purchase that which he really needs: authenticity.
C4P readers may have noticed Romney’s astro-turfers spamming the threads on other websites in the days immediately after Nikki Haley’s victory. They repeatedly claimed that Romney, not Governor Palin, was the real endorsement powerhouse in the GOP since he purportedly endorsed 120 candidates since the beginning of the year. They even provided this link to a Romney website as evidence. What a difference a few days make. Now, believe it or not, endorsements don’t really mean anything according to Team Mitt, as a Romney spokesman told Barr:
“Endorsements are nice, but Governor Romney understands that money wins elections,” Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told POLITICO.
Oh, I see. A week ago Mitt was Captain America because of all the endorsements he made this year. Now endorsements may be “nice” but don’t really matter, only money counts. Of course Romney’s hack didn’t mention all the money Governor Palin’s endorsements generate for her endorsees through grass-roots contributions, but why complicate the narrative? What has happened to cause such a dramatic change in Team Mitt’s attitude toward endorsements? Perhaps it’s because Mitt Romney’s endorsements are insignificant, as Rick Santorum indicated in an interview with the National Review to which Ian linked the night before last:
“Palin is the only endorsement anyone wants,” he laughs. “If you ask who the most influential endorsers are, Palin is numbers one, two, and three, with maybe Sen. Jim DeMint at four. Her endorsement is the only one that matters this year. Just look at what she did for Nikki Haley.”
What about Romney, the man Santorum supported in the 2008 presidential campaign? “No offense to Mitt, but he doesn’t carry the weight,” Santorum says. “Mitt can help you with some finance people, maybe in some small way, but his pull is insignificant compared to Palin’s.”
So, to paraphrase, her endorsements are golden, his don’t mean sh*t. Yeah, I guess this realization may well have had something to do with Romney’s change of heart on the importance of endorsements. It also explains why he had to rush down to South Carolina and hire a team of lawyers to figure out how to give Nikki Haley $42,000 for a race she’s going to win easily anyway. Mitt, your erratic actions prove beyond a doubt that, although your endorsements may not matter, hers most definitely do.
Update: Speaking of endorsements, we have another one to report. This is a biggie. The latest endorsement comes from…drumroll please…Will Folks. Yes, that Will Folks. Stacy McCain and Ace are all over it.
Exit Question: Who’s endorsement will carry more weight, Mitt Romney’s or Will Folks’?
Bonus exit question: I think in some twisted way I’m going to miss reading about South Carolina’s zany politics after Tuesday. Am I the only one? Be honest…