Some Republicans are blaming Mitt Romney for Rick Perry's entry into the 2012 race because the former Massachusetts governor has been running a relaxed, low-intensity campaign, The Hill's Michael O'Brien reports. Romney has had a light schedule of public appearances, concentrating on raising money instead -- and in general election swing states like Ohio instead of key primary states like Iowa. "If Romney had been more aggressive, some Republicans say, he might have discouraged Perry and dispelled the continuous murmurs of additional candidates who might enter the race," O'Brien writes. NBC News' First Read says Romney's strategy for protecting his frontrunnerhood has had mixed results--and it looks a bit like Hillary Clinton's last presidential election. That didn't work out so well for her.
The campaign's logic has been transparent from the outset: it has always believed that by setting a later start day and by having a more relaxed schedule, it would minimize public fatigue of Romney, and limit the rate at which the staff would burn through its fundraising, allowing Romney to stockpile cash instead."Right now, your greatest enemy is overexposure. People get tired of seeing the same person day in and day out," [Romney] said in early June on CNN. "And until Labor Day hits, I'm going to be pretty quiet."
Overall, though, no one landed a blow on her, and at this point in the game, that's how these debates have to be judged. In a way, she reminded us of one of those Dean Smith teams playing "four corners" or "stall ball" -- by playing it extremely safe. This is what a front-runner does: protects a lead. But if she were being judged on actually answering the questions she was asked, she'd get the lowest marks among those on the stage.
The most worrisome sign for Clinton at the meeting was her own caution. ... With such timidity, Clinton risks sharpening one of her detractors' best weapons - the charge that calculation, not conviction, is her compass. Front-runners dislike risk, but in her case, the riskiest move might be playing it safe.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.