The Daily Rundown | February 05, 2013
>>> today a deep dive into the brain trust behind the obama and romney presidential campaigns. what drove their decisions and what kept them up at night. on tuesday i got to sit down with eight of the campaign's top men and women at the university of chicago 's institute of politics. one of the hottest topics, the influence of big money and super pacs . the president, of course, initially opposed to super pac funding but his team realized early on he would have to change his position.
>> one day i did a round of calls to people i trusted and wrote on my white board how much i thought they were going to spend, and i called david in, and the number was $660 million from the super pacs and david look at that and said we need to have a meeting, and we -- and we flipped soon after.
>> for the romney campaign, super pac support was great once it focused on him, but while he was still fighting his way through the primary season it gave his opponents an advantage they wouldn't have had in the past.
>> campaigns never end because people want campaigns to end. they end because they run out of money, and super pacs took that quality away from a lot of these campaigns. it served to keep candidates alive that didn't have the fund-raising ability otherwise which is why campaigns end.
>> at the time, republicans tried to justify the long primary as a way of testing the candidate under fire, but his team says it didn't feel that way. i asked what was the low point, the os moment, if you will, of the campaign and here's what the romney folks said.
>> colorado, minnesota and missouri because it was just oh -- it was totally o.s. because we had like -- just like another month of this.
>> losing michigan would not have been a positive experience. we went in and it was a very expensive state and a state with a lot of symbolic ghosts, and -- and it was really hand-to-hand.
>> as the long slog, which is what we called the primary process got further and further along , there were some big states that cost a lot of money to put up on tv so there were certain moments in our campaign where we took our -- our bank down close to zero.
>> stuart stevens said late forget primary season had been shorter he believed it could have changed the race. for the obama campaign was the biggest fear was that the republican primary would be too short.
>> our biggest o.s. moment in the primary is we were worried they would end it after new hampshire and we wanted a long primary so once we figured out they were going to go long and we figured out what to do and when to do it.
>> that oh. s. was our oh, good moment.
>> instead of having unofficially wrapping up the nomination the romney team had a tough time of the bridge between the primary and convention because of the limits on the ads, limits the president didn't have.
>> we were raising money but not all money that we could immediately send out the door.
>> our donors would call and say why aren't you up on tv, let me explain what money we can use, very frustrating.
>> define mitt romney before the conventions and that, you know, it was better to -- it was larry larry's proposition to take money out of september and october and put it into may, june and july, and so the other big thing that happened in june is we started running ads about mitt romney .
>> stevens also told me he hopes big money plays less of a role in future elections.
>> these billion dollar campaigns, which will be $2 billion campaigns, are an abomination and we saw it now when you had people campaigning -- heavy fund-raising schedules into september instead of meeting with voters is not how the system should work.
>> the likelihood is that won't happen and hopes that primary seasons will get shorter aren't expected to bear fruit either. one place though where you may see some changes in 2016 , the party's national conventions. both teams laid out the pros and cons of when these big events are held.
>> i think the whole convention system needs to be looked at. i know the chairs of both committees are doing that, and i think that's very good.
>> shrink the awkward period between the primary period and convention. kicking it off in the beginning of the summer and getting voters refocused so that the general election is two months. the general election is four months.
>> for them to be successful for our parties we have to build it bigger than those rooms and days for other people to feel engaged.
>> no better platform for introducing a candidate and the principles of a party.
>> a lot of people right now that are kind of dumping on conventions and will they ever even exist one day? i think they are an important part of the process .
>> it's a moment where people pay attention and focus and there's a chance to get across in a very significant way who you are.
>> this whole thing is going to air on c-span, just so you know, for you real political junkies, and another long conversation we had was on the importance of the month of june. wait until you hear what team obama feared had the supreme court ruled the other way on