Romney Sez Nonsense (Labor Money Edition)

This past weekend, Mitt Romney took time out from his bus tour to sit for an interview with the Harrisburg Patriot-News, which was kind enough to post the video. In one exhange -- captured in the part 4 video -- Vickers asked about the perception that Romney is not making Pennsylvania a high-priority state in the campaign.

Here is my transcription of Romney's full response, with the whopper bolded:

Yeah, I'm looking to win in Pennsylvania. You may not see as many ads of mine up as you're seeing of President Obama's, but that's because he's raising massive amounts of money. He didn't have a primary; we did. And of course he receives very large sums of money from organized labor -- we don't have some group that can write a check for tens of millions of dollars to our campaign. So it takes a little while to build up our coffers, but we'll be working here, just like I am now.

 First of all, let me just say that once again I'm baffled by Romney's routine use of inside-baseball process language in public -- the proper political answer to the question runs along the lines of "of course I'm going to compete hard in Pennsylvania, with the help of well-known local endorsers X, Y, and Z, because I believe the voters of Pennsylvania are disappointed by the failures of the Obama administration, and I hope they will believe that my X, Y, Z plan will help get this state moving in the right direction again." 

But anyway, if he wants to go to the ad buys, he's right about the first bit of his answer: the Obama campaign had a great big head start in the "coffers" department, which has allowed for some early ad buys in Pennsylvania.

However, the Obama campaign -- the Obama For America (OFA) Committee -- does not accept contributions from labor organizations, or other businesses.

And even if it did, those contributions would be limited by federal law to a few thousand bucks a pop -- there are no "checks for tens of millions of dollars" from "some group" to either campaign.

Perhaps he's thinking of those outside groups -- the Super PACs and such, which can receive such big contributions. Of course, the campaigns cannot legally coordinate those entities' activities, so technically it wouldn't make any sense to say that his campaign plans to compete hard in Pennsylvania using the independent Pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future.

But if that is what he means -- well, actually Restore Our Future is the one that's received multiple million-dollar-plus contributions from individuals and companies -- as has Crossroads GPS, which has run a couple million dollars of anti-Obama ads in Pennsylvania.

It is true that the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA received a $1 million contribution from the air traffic controllers, $1 million from SEIU, and a quarter-million from the apprentices and journeymen -- which is a significant percentage of the measly $6.1 million the Super PAC had raised through April, the last data available (until tomorrow).

But by comparison, Restore Our Future has raised $50 million, with a nearly two-to-one cash-on-hand advantage over Priorities USA. It has received $3.75 million from homebuilder Bob Perry alone.

In any event, there certainly have been no $10 million checks from labor groups filling the Obama campaign coffers to explain why Romney has not bought a lot of ads in Pennsylvania yet. It's just nonsense.


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