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Re: [prezveepsenator] GOP turns anger on campaign committee

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    Good post, Greg... I found it interesting that there was no mention among the grumbling of personal responsibility of candidates for nearly unprecedented
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 24, 2006
      Good post, Greg... I found it interesting that there
      was no mention among the grumbling of personal
      responsibility of candidates for nearly unprecedented
      corruption and ineffectiveness.


      --- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:

      > GOP turns anger on campaign committee
      > By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent
      > Sat Dec 23, 10:43 PM ET
      > WASHINGTON - Narrowly defeated in his bid for a
      > fourth
      > term, Montana Sen. Conrad Burns (news, bio, voting
      > record) turned his anger on the National Republican
      > Senatorial Committee and commercials it had run
      > months
      > before the election.
      > "The ads hurt me more than they helped. I wouldn't
      > have spent the money," he said, his comments
      > characteristic of the season of second-guessing now
      > unfolding among Republicans.
      > President Bush's low approval ratings, the unpopular
      > war on Iraq, voter concern about corruption and
      > Democratic fundraising all figured in the GOP loss
      > of
      > Senate control in last month's elections. But among
      > Republicans, long-hidden tensions are spilling into
      > view, with numerous critics venting their anger at
      > the
      > GOP Senate campaign committee headed by North
      > Carolina
      > Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
      > In recent interviews, officials said Senate Majority
      > Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., as well as Ken Mehlman,
      > the party chairman, set up outside checks on the
      > committee at critical points in the campaign.
      > As early as last summer, Mehlman signaled he lacked
      > full confidence in Dole's committee. In an
      > unprecedented move, he set up an independent entity
      > to
      > control more than $12 million that the
      > Republican National Committee spent for television
      > advertising in Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri.
      > Aides at both party committees insisted at the time
      > the decision was a joint one. But Mehlman privately
      > told associates he was frustrated with the Senate
      > campaign committee. His actions contrasted sharply
      > with the battle for control of the House, where the
      > RNC contributed funds to an existing campaign
      > organization rather than create its own.
      > Frist also wanted an outside check. In an unusual
      > move, he hired a polling firm, The Winston Group,
      > shortly before Labor Day to conduct surveys in six
      > important races.
      > Based on the results, officials said Frist stepped
      > in
      > to help overhaul Bob Corker's struggling campaign in
      > his home state of Tennessee. Corker ended up beating
      > Democrat Harold Ford Jr. Frist also pushed for a
      > resumption of party-paid advertising in Montana and
      > questioned plans for a multimillion-dollar
      > investment
      > in New Jersey.
      > Final fundraising figures show Dole's committee
      > raised
      > $30 million less than the Democratic counterpart
      > headed by Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting
      > record) of New York. Given the disparity, several
      > Republican strategists questioned the decision to
      > spend more than $4 million last fall in New Jersey
      > and
      > $800,000 in Michigan in an unsuccessful attempt to
      > find a weak spot in the Democratic lineup. Democrats
      > won both races by relatively comfortable margins.
      > At the same time, more than a dozen party officials
      > and strategists criticized the steps the committee
      > took — or did not take — in Montana and Virginia in
      > the campaign's final weeks.
      > Burns and Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting
      > record)
      > lost exceedingly close races — the margin of defeat
      > a
      > fraction of a percentage point. A victory in either
      > one would have left the Senate tied at 50-50, giving
      > Republicans control on Vice President Cheney's
      > ability
      > to break tie votes.
      > Two more weeks of ads in Montana might have made a
      > difference, said one of many Republicans who
      > expressed
      > anger that Dole's committee aired no television
      > advertisements in Burns' behalf for between Labor
      > Day
      > and Halloween.
      > In Virginia, Allen and the Senate campaign committee
      > combined were outspent on television advertising in
      > each of the last five weeks by challenger Jim Webb
      > and
      > the Democratic campaign committee, according to
      > internal GOP figures. The gap exceeded $700,000 in
      > the
      > final seven days.
      > Numerous Republicans also have displayed anger at
      > Bush
      > for the party's election losses, in particular his
      > decision to wait until after the election to replace
      > Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary.
      > "If Rumsfeld had been out, you bet it would have
      > made
      > a difference," said Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio,
      > voting record), R-Pa., who was not on the ballot but
      > lost some of his power nonetheless. "I'd still be
      > chairman of the Judiciary Committee."
      > The prospect of presidential visits sparked debate
      > within campaigns.
      > At one point, officials said, White House aides
      > wanted
      > Bush to make a late-campaign trip to Missouri. NRSC
      > strategists were opposed, fearing the impact of his
      > low approval ratings. Ultimately, Sen. Jim Talent
      > (news, bio, voting record)'s campaign aides decided
      > the president should go to strongly Republican
      > areas,
      > but not Kansas City or St. Louis, where surveys
      > showed
      > the president was particularly unpopular.
      > Some Republicans, including at the Senate campaign
      > committee, complain that the White House and the RNC
      > were urging candidates to use the fight against
      > terrorism as a campaign issue, but offered no advice
      > on combating voter anger on the war in Iraq — an
      > issue
      > that one official referred to as the "800-pound
      > elephant in the room."
      > Also, NRSC officials said the White House and RNC
      > had
      > recommended the late-campaign investment in new
      > Jersey
      > and Michigan.
      > None of the NRSC's critics agreed to place their
      > views
      > on the record. All spoke on condition of anonymity,
      > saying they did not want to contribute to intraparty
      > squabbling.
      > Dole is recovering from hip replacement surgery and
      > was not available to comment. But Mehlman and others
      > stepped forward to defend her tenure.
      > "I think Senator Dole did a fine job under extremely
      > difficult conditions, probably the toughest election
      > environment for Republicans since 1974," said Sen.
      > Mitch McConnell (news, bio, voting record) of
      > Kentucky, the incoming Senate GOP leader.
      > Mark Stephens, the committee's executive director,
      > strongly defended its work. He said it was the only
      > GOP entity to increase fundraising from 2004, and
      > that
      > Burns and Allen — both of whom were plagued by
      > self-inflicted political wounds — probably would
      > have
      > lost by larger margins without its support.
      > Without the committee's efforts, he said, "I think
      > it
      > could have been a lot worse than 49 seats," pointing
      > to Republican victories in Tennessee and Arizona.
      > But in the current postelection environment, nothing
      > escapes notice.
      > Numerous Republicans expressed anger that a top aide
      > at the Senate campaign committee, political director
      > Blaise Hazelwood, was allowed to devote some of her
      > time to a business she owns.
      > Hazelwood declined comment, but Stephens defended
      > the
      > arrangement. "At no time did anybody else's business
      > interfere with their work here," he said, adding he
      > would have stepped if had it been otherwise.
      > Burns, a three-term senator who was under constant
      > attack for ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff,
      > and the NRSC aired no television commercials in
      === message truncated ===
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