The long, long run of Sam Brownback
To be sure, nobody forces these folks to run for president.
But it's not an easy job, especially for the second-tier candidates, who must struggle for everything, from money to publicity. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback provides a window into that frustration during an interview on "Political Capital with Al Hunt," which runs about a thousand times this weekend on Bloomberg Television and the E! Network.
"You’ve been running for president for nine months," Hunt gently states. "Not a lot to show in the polls so far. Give me your scenario as to how you think it’s going to turn out?"
"Well, we did third in the Ames, Iowa, straw poll," says Brownback. "And that’s always been one of the early indicators as to whether or not you can do organizational strength. And that’s what Iowa is...We were able to come in third. We were close to being a second at that."
Hunt asks about the threat of a third-party evangelical candidate should a socially liberal Republican like Rudy Giuliani be the party's nominee. Brownback agrees it would likely doom the GOP's White House chances.
HUNT: "Do you think you can finish first or second in the Iowa caucus?"
BROWNBACK: "I think we can get in the top three and I think we have to get in the top four to be able to move forward. This is a very wide open field.
"And if you look at say, Lamar Alexander, when he runs in 1996, two weeks before the caucuses, he’s running at 1 percent nationwide and 3 percent in Iowa. And then Bob Dole and Pat Buchanan start fighting, and lo and behold, he moves up to second. There’s an odd set, and it is set for a dark horse to come forward. But it’s going to be difficult. There’s no question about it."
Then Hunt probes the ever-present question of money in the presidential political equation and the...
shocking fundraising totals of fellow Republican, Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian who barely registers in the polls but pulled in five times as much money as former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee, who finished second at the Ames straw poll.
HUNT: "Senator, for better or worse, money is called the mother’s milk of politics. Will you raise as much as Ron Paul, who raised $5 million?"
BROWNBACK: "We didn’t meet Ron Paul’s numbers. I am astounded at Ron Paul’s numbers. And I think it reflects there is a desire for less government out there and he radically puts that forward."
HUNT: "What do you think you’ll raise?"
BROWNBACK: "I think we’ll probably be around a million dollars. This has been a tough quarter for me. We did that third in the Ames, Iowa, straw poll and we were hoping to get a bounce out of that. Instead, we didn’t get a bounce through that. So it’s been much more difficult.
"And, if you just look in totals on the Republican side, the fundraising has been much more difficult and less robust than the Democrat side. They’re a lot more motivated this cycle than our guys are."
End of story.