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Flap’s Links and Comments for May 4th on 08:43

These are my links for May 4th from 08:43 to 08:46:

  • President 2012: Where is Mitch Daniels’s ‘A’ team? – First, the lineup is exceptionally light on presidential campaign experience. Mark Lubbers was on a 1996 Dick Lugar presidential campaign (honest, the senior Indiana senator really did run once). Kim Alfano is the closest to a seasoned national campaign adviser, and her experience consists primarily of a brief stint as a consultant the ill-fated Fred Thompson campaign. GOP advisers with whom I spoke praise Alfano’s abilities, but are generally not impressed with the quality and level of the campaign team’s experience. Indeed, if you compare the list to the all-star lineups put together by Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty you wonder whether Daniels understands the rigors of a national campaign.

    Second, as one adviser put it, “You’d think for a guy with strong Bush ties that you’d see some of the Bush operatives lining up to help Daniels get prepared. So far that doesn’t seem to be the case.” This is especially true, if, as has been reported, Daniels has spoken to former president George W. Bush about a run. Two GOP communications gurus point to the presence of the former head of the National Economic Council, Al Hubbard. He’s certainly a respected economist and able fundraiser, but not the sort who would run a campaign or serve as a top strategist. Others suggest that once Daniels comes on board many Bush administration veterans will climb on board.

    In short, it doesn’t appear there as of now is an “A” team of top-notch advisers on whom Daniels would rely. That is perhaps to be expected at this stage given former White House staffers’ observations that Daniels is someone who keeps his own counsel. That, in a presidential race, however, has considerable downsides and leaves a candidate unused to the national spotlight without critical sounding boards. (In private, Daniels has suggested he really can do without a lot of consultants.) If Daniels does throw his hat into the ring, he most likely will need to bolster his home-state team with some seasoned pols.


    Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post has a "hard-on" for Mitch Daniels i.e. she criticizes him at every turn.

    One wonders who then will be Jennifer's pick will be for the race for 2012?

    Jennifer is a good conservative pundit but when you get on her bad side, I guess you better be able to take the heat.

  • President 2012: Mitch Daniels’ political inner circle – The Mitch Daniels Inner Circle (listed alphabetically)

    *Kim Alfano: Alfano served as Daniels’ media consultant in his 2004 and 2008 gubernatorial campaigns. While Daniels’ lore holds that he writes his own television ads, Alfano was also intimately involved in helping craft the populist persona that proved so successful for Daniels in Indiana. Alfano has also done work in the past for former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign and made the ads for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad during the 2010 election.

    * Debbie Hohlt: Hohlt runs Daniels’ D.C. office and is the main point of contact for the governor in the nation’s capital. She’s been in GOP politics for years including serving a stint at the Republican National Committee as deputy communications director during the 1988 election. Her husband, Rick, is a major GOP fundraiser — and a native Hoosier.

    * Eric Holcomb: Holcomb is the first among equals in Daniels’ political world, having managed the governor’s 2008 re-election campaign. He is now the chairman of the Indiana Republican party, replacing Murray Clark, another Daniels’ ally, who stepped down at the end last year.

    * Al Hubbard: Hubbard is an Indiana native who has spent considerable time in previous Republican Administrations, serving as head of the National Economic Council during George W. Bush’s second term. Hubbard was also a major fundraiser for Bush during the presiden’st two terms in office.

    * Mark Lubbers: Lubbers is a longtime friend of Daniels who served as his top political adviser for a time in the governor’s office. He also managed Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar’s 1996 bid for president and helped organize the reality television show Daniels created during his gubernatorial campaigns. Lubbers is married to Teresa Lubbers, a former state senator and now the Commissioner of Higher Education in Indiana.

    * Christine Matthews: Matthews is the low-profile pollster who handled survey research for Daniels during his 2004 and 2008 runs for governor. She is the president and founder of Bellwether Research.

    * Brian McGrath: McGrath is the executive director of Aiming Higher, a Daniels-aligned political action committee in the state.(The group sponsored ads slamming state House Democrats for leaving town earlier this year.) McGrath has a hand in the fundraising and policy-making worlds of Daniels, according to those in the know.