The first big quarterly fundraising comparisons are now available, as the quarterly deadline has passed and most of the candidates are already announcing their number. Team Obama has yet to announce, but their target going in was to raise $60M for both the campaign fund and the DNC. That would match (and/or hopefully top) the previous record for this stage of the campaign, set by his predecessor. As far as the GOP herd is concerned, the only fairly impressive numbers are Mitt’s ~$20M. But that assumes the obvious qualifier that Rick Perry is holding off on an announcement until he can avoid the comparison contest for this round. We’ll have to wait until the 15th or so before we can see the cash-on-hand comparisons and burn rates on campaign cash.

Most of the “game” between the deadline and the reporting date on the 15th is to see whether candidates can hit their expectation. Obama hasn’t released a number yet, but most of the reports seem optimistic that they’ll show $60M and they obviously have the most to lose by showing any report that comes up short of their target. Mitt is already the first to show a gap, having aimed for $40M but only clocking in at $20M. In conventional wisdom terms, the explanation is that this demonstrates either of the following:

(best case for Mitt) – a lot of donors staying on the sidelines until they see the shape of the race once Perry is in.
(worst case for Mitt) – donors waiting to give to Perry.

The one plus for Mitt, however, is that he’s still the only one among his primary opponents raising 8 figures this quarter. Beyond that, here’s a small compilation of the “expectations” for this quarter: NBC’s First ReadThe FixPolitico

More or Less “In It”

Mitt Romney … Apparently, the old flip-flopping Mitt is back. Politico covers Romney’s early Nevada work while the Washington Post has a pretty good overview of how Team Romney is trying to stay out in front of Team Obama in local coverage.

Herman Cain … Q2 clocks in at $2.5M for Team Cain. But someone forgot to tell Cain that the “Gingrich example” was not a good one to follow.

Jon Huntsman … First to release his Q2 numbers, and it comes in at $4.1M. That includes a $2M gift to himself. Not earth-shattering, but not quite small enough given his time on the trail to relegate him to the back of the bench just yet. That’s still likelier to happen when the votes fail to come in for him.

Ron Paul … Q2 clocks in at $4.5M. It may be more interesting this cycle than ever before to see how much of that money is devoted to actual Presidential campaigning vs being transferred to his House campaign due to the more Dem-friendly district he has to defend. Ron Paul’s words to live by: “We’re in Iowa for a very precise reason …. Iowa is a bellwether. It can send signals. That’s what we’re really looking for – a signal.” That explains the tin foil hats.

Rick Santorum … I’ve not seen any leaking of Q2 numbers for Santorum, but he’s starting a bus tour in Iowa this week. So I guess we’ll have to gauge the size of the bus as a possible indicator of his fundraising prowess. Elsewhere, Santorum’s association with Universal Health Services continues to make for some interesting reading.

Michele Bachmann … After confusing John Wayne with John Wayne Gacy in interviews following her announcement this week, the race becomes a bit more real. Ed Kilgore suggests that the way for other GOP candidates to burst the Bachmann bubble will be similar to the way that Huckabee was ultimately done in – by critiques of off-script policy views rather than poking at the theocratic gorilla in the middle of the party. All things considered, Bachmann has probably had a very good week in terms of the media she’s getting. She’s distancing herself from the Palin comparison (a fairly vapid comparison to begin with, but that’s how the world works) in terms of demonstrating a willingness to talk to the media. It’s almost enough to call it a wash when things like her feud with Tom Petty and Katrina & the Waves pop up in the news.

Gary Johnson … PPP polls Johnson’s home state and finds that he is also among the list of GOP contenders who would fail to carry their own state if the election were held today. Coincidentally, Johnson is now facing a Buddy Roemer problem in terms of gaining access to televised debates.

Buddy Roemer#roemermentum. The unfortunate thing about Roemer’s showing is that, while I’d hoped that his campaign experience would leave me with enough cause to maintain my affinity for him, I’m less convinced that a likely cause would be that he sees the need to go full-tilt crazy to appeal to voters and that his $100 donor limit might just be demonstration enough that he’s not fully thought through what it takes to run for President. Don’t get me wrong … I love the idea of a candidate doing what he’s doing with the limit. I think I donated to Roemer and Florida Gov. candidate Lawton Chiles for that very reason back when they ran in 1990/91. But that was a long time ago. You’d think inflation alone would give Buddy reason to at least up a limit to, say, $500?

Hanging In There

Newt Gingrich … The Washington Post gets the full story on what led to the mass staff defections in previous weeks.

Addicted to Publicity “Thinkin’ About It”

Rick Perry … Yeah, there’s that poll. Ron Brownstein asks whether Perry can raise the dough and grow an organization in enough time. The Washington Post turns one of their best reporters on the speculation over his candidacy. Those are definitely the first questions Team Perry is going to have to answer. Add in the fact that the South Carolina primary is in jeopardy, and the big opening for Rick Perry in the GOP field may be a tougher tire to throw the football through than first thought.

Even Slower News Weeks

Chris Christie … Michael Smerconish pleads for the Governor to reconsider a Presidential run.

Rudy GiulianiVisiting New Hampshire. Make of it what you will.

Thaddeus McCotterSeriously?

The Candidate Formerly Known as the Former Governor of Alaska … Sayeth the baby-mama: “I think she would be awesome for our country.” Of course, she also thought Levi Johnston would make a great husband (twice). And in other news, The Palin visited Iowa for the red carpet premier of a fan-fiction movie loosely based on her life. Naturally, all major news outlets had to send road crews out to witness it. Forget policy differences for just one moment and try to convince me how a Palin candidacy for President is any better/different than that of Pat Paulsen?

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