Did Romney Get Rooked?

Among the many mistakes Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign made was his “unusual in-house ad strategy,” described by Politico this way:

Unlike other presidential campaigns, which typically outsource their ad reservations and placement to specialized firms with large teams that know how to make the most of the complicated FCC payment procedures, Romney does all his TV buying in-house through a lean operation headed by a single chief buyer.

The campaign rarely buys cable ad time, focusing overwhelmingly on broadcast television. Romney places his commercials on a week-to-week basis, rather than booking time well in advance, and typically pays more so that his ads don’t get preempted and to spare his campaign the hassle of haggling over time as prices rise.

Which led to situations like this:

Voters in Columbus, Ohio, saw 30-second television ads for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney while watching “Wheel of Fortune” on their CBS affiliate over three days in September. For Obama’s team, the order per spot cost $500. For Romney’s, the price tag on the order was more than five times steeper at $2,800 per ad.

So it was really no surprise when this piece ran in the Des Moines Register yesterday (via Politico’s Morning Score).

Iowa’s ad war: Romney outspent, but Obama out-advertised

DES MOINES — In the final five weeks of the presidential campaign, the Mitt Romney coalition nearly doubled what the Barack Obama coalition spent on TV advertising in Iowa — only to lose the state by nearly 6 percentage points, which was double Obama’s national victory.

Money quote:

Romney spent more than $3 million in the Council Bluffs-Omaha market during the final weeks while President Obama aired only $144,000 in ads there…Although Romney won Pottawattamie County, the biggest county in the Council Bluffs market, by 5 points, ‘I’m not sure how they could justify spending that much in Council Bluffs,’ said Jeff Link, a Democratic strategist in Des Moines and veteran of the 2008 Obama campaign. ‘The numbers are startling. I think Romney was fleeced by his team.’”

That’s especially interesting in light of this New Republic profile of #1 son Tagg Romney, who was inserted into Romney’s presidential runs for a very specific reason:

He was anointed one of six deputy managers [in the 2008 race] and sat in the campaign war room. “No question that his primary role was to watch his father’s back, watch the money,” says one Romney adviser . . . “I think [Mitt] wanted to trust but verify that he was getting a full day’s work out of people.”

Given the current reports, sounds like Romney was getting worked over by his people.


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3 Responses to Did Romney Get Rooked?

  1. Al says:

    Isn’t Romney the man who bragged he saved the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics with his superior business acumen, and wasn’t that business skill what he said was the reason why he, and not Barack Obama, should be president? Well, what happened, did he drop the ball, was he out of touch, or just not up to the task? It isn’t as though this was his first first race for president. He knew the drill.

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