When Are They Gonna Get to the Fireworks Factory?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 13 2011 10:55 AM

When Are They Gonna Get to the Fireworks Factory?

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has rolled out a new web ad today, a continuance of its successful, not-as-easily-parodied-as-Pawlenty's-videos "Obama Isn't Working" series.

It reminded me: Mitt Romney has yet to run a TV ad in the primary or caucus states for 2012. This is a bit of a surprise. Romney's 2008 ad campaign began on February 20, 2007.

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His current strength in the polls (strength is a relative term) is baed completely on voter knowledge and earned media, like the presidential debates. Nobody's dropped an anvil on him yet; he hasn't dropped an anvil on anyone else. We must be reaching the end of that interzone now, as Rick Perry contemplates ads against Romney. But neither he nor Romney has piled up the sort of bank account that Romney did in 2007, when he introduced himself to voters with $42.3 million of his own money. For comparison, Romney only raised around $15 million in the last quarter, and Perry raised $17 million.

Why aren't Super PACS filling the gap? Some are trying -- Michele Bachmann had some outside help in Iowa, for all the good that did her. Erin McPike has a good explainer on why Jon Huntsman's clever plan of building support on the side with a Super PAC isn't working. All of this needs to be factored in when predicting who can surge or careen in Iowa or New Hampshire -- nobody's run any ads yet!

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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