From the amazing Hotline, read below. Also, don't forget who filed the exploratory papers. None other than super-lawyer Ben Ginsberg: SCOTUS Bush v. Gore, close friend of 43, former RNC GC and current partner at Patton Boggs, etc., etc.
Romney's Staff: An Update
Generally, we pay no attention to the absolute size of a presidential exploratory committee. They tend to be big.
But just five days after kick off, there are 60 Republicans on the staff of ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney. Assuming today's event raises a lot of money (and there's ample reason to assume that the tally will exceed $3 million), these folks will get paid.
There are nine people in the communications shop, including researchers and support staff. There are about a dozen finance and compliance staffers; Julie Teer and Joe Wall are recruting field and political operatives; there are paid staff in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Michigan; there are administrative assistants and an office manager. There's even a warroom.
The Romney 60 doesn't include the four state directors (IA, NH, SC and MI) the campaign has already lined up. Within the next few weeks, Romney will flesh out his teams in these early primary states. [MARC AMBINDER]
Raising Money, Lickety Zwick
BOSTON -- The man behind the curtains of Gov. Mitt Romney's finance operation is Spencer Zwick, a 28-year-old-wunderkind who latched onto Romney at the Olympics -- Zwick was in college then, and never left. He's now the nat'l finance director. Romney has tasked him with the goal of raising $100 million by the primaries.
Zwick is one of many from Romney's inner-cirle of policy and political aides to join his exploratory committee. Romney gubernatorial communications dir. Eric Fehrnstrom, who remembers every word Romney has uttered since '02, will be the senior traveling press aide. Romney gubernatorial chief of staff Beth Myers will manage the campaign. His deputy chief of staff, Peter Flaherty, who did yeoman's work as a liaison to conservatives and other allies as governor, will coordinate outreach efforts for the campaign. The four of them form the core of the campaign, and they are Romney loyalists to the hilt.
In a brief interview with the press, supervised and annotated by press sec. Kevin Madden, Zwick provided a glimpse at the finance effort he's putting together -- Team Mitt, as it is known to some campaign insiders. The 450 fundraisers are using data manangement software purchased from salesforce.com. Logging into the system, called CoMITT, the callers can choose from a library of data -- even video clips -- to help make the sale. Zwick said ComMITT will serve as the technological fulcrum of the campaign's finance efforts. Individual fundraisers and volunteers will be able to create and customize their own lists of names and potential donors. The campaign won't be able to access the lists -- only the fundraisers can give permission.
The system revises and extends the model used by the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign in '04. In this iteration, fundraisers will find incentives to compete with each other to raise money. Any volunteer with an Internet connection can request a ComMitt identity. It's a fundraising technique for the YouTube generation.
Unsurprisingly, Zwick (and Madden, his handler) were coy about the total amount of money Romney would be able to raise. Zwick said the early money would pay dividends in the future. "Money talks, but early money screams," he said. Pressed to divulge the campaign's internal fundraising target, Zwick demurred. "I don't know the final answer," he said, meaning that he wouldn't disclose the final answer.
In a sense, the public display of Romney's fundraising ability and his broad network -- Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, the LDS Church, Massachusetts tech money, Bain, Bain Capital, Bush '41, Bush '43, Olympic, RGA, Michiga, etc -- raises expectations that Romney will be in spitting distance of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) when the first quarter of campaign fundraising closes in March.
BTW: by noon, the 450 volunteers from 40 states had brought in more than $1 million. [MARC AMBINDER]