Entries in Bill Burton (3)


Mitt Romney Says Talk Of Delegate Math Is Just For ‘Insiders’ (Unless You’re Mitt Romney)

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Delegate math? That’s a topic only “insiders” care about, Mitt Romney said on Sunday.

His comments, however, don’t square with the message he and his campaign have been driving home recently — especially over the last week.

“I know a lot of people will talk about delegates and strategies and math and that’s all very interesting to the insiders,” Romney said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “But I think the American people want to see someone who has the leadership, skill and experience to defeat the president, and a vision of conservatism that will get American back on track again.”

But rewind to Tuesday when he told reporters ahead of the Alabama and Mississippi primaries: “This is all about getting delegates. If the polls are right, we’ll pick up some delegates. That’s what it’s all about.”

Later that day, after Santorum won both states, Romney said in a written statement that he was “pleased that we will be increasing our delegate count in a very substantial way after tonight.”

“With the delegates won tonight, we are even closer to the nomination,” he added.

By 11 a.m. the next day, Romney’s political director Rich Beeson had fired off a memo with one central message: “Tuesday’s results actually increased Governor Romney’s delegate lead.”

(Romney did, in fact, capture more delegates last Tuesday despite Rick Santorum’s wins in the two Southern States.)

In an interview on Fox News Wednesday morning, Romney echoed his campaign’s point about the delegate math: “Oh, and by the way, last night I got more delegates than anybody else.”

And while campaigning in Mobile, Ala. two days earlier, Romney noted in another Fox News interview, “this is all about delegates.”

“At this stage we’re putting together as many delegates as we can. We’ve got a good solid lead,” he said. “We’re closing the deal, state-by-state, delegate-by-delegate.”

Romney even volunteered a procedural point: “As you know delegates are awarded proportionally, so that lengthens the process, but we’re winning this.”

On Sunday, however, his recall of party rules appeared fuzzier.

“I can’t tell you exactly how the process is going to work,” he told Fox’s Bret Baier, “but I bet I’m going to become the nominee.”

The former Massachusetts governor’s team in Boston has been aggressively touting their delegate advantage, using terms for their rivals’ ultimate fate like: “date of mathematical elimination.” But Romney’s advisers also seem to be heeding warning calls coming from inside and outside of the Republican Party that math is not a message.

“Let your smart operatives do the process stuff. You do the vision thing,” GOP pollster Whit Ayers said in an interview with The New York Times last week, giving Romney some unsolicited advice. “It’s a mistake to get sucked into a mathematical discussion to the point where that’s the only message that is being communicated.”

As the candidates claw toward the magic number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination — 1,144 — Romney has a heavy advantage. The latest ABC News tally shows Romney with 501 delegates compared to 253 for Rick Santorum, 136 for Newt Gingrich, and 50 for Ron Paul.

But Romney’s Democratic opponents have been only too happy to see arguments over the delegate count overshadow other Republican talking points.

“When you listen to him over the course of this week shift his message from anything that a voter might care about to delegate math, you can see why he’s having trouble catching on,” Bill Burton, the head of a Democratic super PAC, said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “If I’m his campaign, I’m trying to focus on the economy, trying to focus on issues that actually matter, not going on television day after day talking about the probability of different mathematical scenarios.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bill Burton: Romney ‘a Phony’; Pawlenty ‘Not the Kind of Steward You Want’

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Bill Burton left his post as deputy White House press secretary this spring to head up a new outside group dedicated to President Obama’s re-election -- the same kind of group, it should be noted, that the president says should not exist because it doesn’t have to disclose its donors.

On ABC’s Top Line webcast Wednesday, Burton previewed some of the messaging that Priorities USA Action is likely to use in taking on the president’s possible challengers.

“One thing that we've learned as we go around the country and we conduct some research talking to voters, it’s very clear that voters don't have a clear sense of who Mitt Romney is, they certainly don't know who Tim Pawlenty is,” Burton told Top Line. “But the more that they learn about the fact that they would both like to bring about Paul Ryan's budget plan, which would essentially end Medicare, they find it pretty shocking, pretty disgusting.

“Mitt Romney's positions, which have changed throughout the years, I think will help to make the case that he's a phony, he hasn't said anything that he's really stuck by on any issue that matters over the course of his decades running for public service.

“And Tim Pawlenty, you know, look at the mess he left in Minnesota. He left a $6.2 billion deficit that came about as the result of the fact that all of his budgets had all of these hidden tricks and gimmicks where he tried to hide problems. And that's not the kind of steward you want at the forefront of your economy.”

Burton defended his decision to form an outside group that’s organized legally in similar ways to ones the president has blasted as a “threat to our democracy.” Priorities USA was formed to respond to groups formed by Karl Rove and the billionaire conservative Koch brothers, Burton said.

“Our view is that we don't think that they should be able to go unfettered and be able to go and spend all this money without any response whatsoever. We may not like the rules, we may...think that there should be reform, but we're not going to let Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers and right-wing conservatives dictate the terms of this election.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton to Leave White House

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Almost three weeks after being passed over for the White House press secretary position, and just a couple hours after the first briefing by the man who did get the job, Jay Carney,  deputy press secretary Bill Burton announced Wednesday that he’s leaving the White House. Friday will be his last day.

Burton, in an e-mail to friends and colleagues, announced that he would be forming a Democratic consulting firm with Sean Sweeney, the former chief of staff to former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. The two worked together at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006, when Emanuel was the chair, Sweeney was the political director, and Burton was the communications director.

Prior to Wednesday, Burton, a loyal lieutenant to former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, was the only member of the press office to have briefed reporters in Gibbs’ absence. President Obama not asking him to serve as Gibbs’ replacement was something of a surprise to many reporters.

In his e-mail, Burton recalled that it was four years ago this week that he “stood with many of you in Springfield as then-Senator Barack Obama announced an improbable campaign for president on an unbelievably cold day.  And then I stood with a lot more of you on an unseasonably warm night in Chicago as the next First Family strode onto stage in Grant Park.  There was another cold day in Washington -- when all the rest of you hangers-on showed up -- and that Senator became President.  And all those days since, we worked together to make the change he promised a reality in the lives of countless Americans.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio