Republican bundler Mosbacher says Romney is an easy sell now, because he's organized and 'not a crackpot'
Veteran G.O.P. bundler Georgette Mosbacher is finally feeling excited about 2012.
"It's fun now," she said in a phone interview on Tuesday evening. "It's getting exciting. This is the part where you really see that sun coming up. You can see over the horizon. We're starting to realize, this could be big for Republicans."
Mosbacher was particularly excited about a fund-raiser at Grand Hyatt in midtown this morning for Mitt Romney, for which, she said, she had succeeded in raising a lot of money with surprising ease.
The event listed 88 co-chairs on the invitation, including some well-established figures in New York-based Republican fund-raising, many of whom followed the same plodding path to Romney's door as Mosbacher did.
In February, she was concerned about the glacial pace of the presidential campaigns; in September, she was still pining for Governor Chris Christie and bemoaning the lack of an exciting conservative candidate; and in early October, after Christie declined, she supposed she'd be mobilizing for Romney, if only because the other remaining choices struck her as unworkable. Now, according to Mosbacher, Romney has become a something of a hot commodity for previously uncommitted donors.
"People feel pretty confident that he's going to be our candidate and so while they keep saying there's a lot of time left, there really isn't a lot of time left," she said. "There's really very little time left. So everyone is jumping on that bandwagon. I could say it in far more politically correct terms, but that's what it's about. And nobody wants to be left out." Mosbacher, a former Republican National Committee finance co-chair who was a leading bundler for John McCain's presidential campaign, said she was surprised at how easy it was to recruit donors to Romney's cause, and that the event would be a "home run" for her personally, given how much money she was funneling to the campaign's coffers.
She couldn't think of a single name in her Rolodex who was left to be swayed, and she shrugged off any remaining threat from Governor Rick Perry, who, according to one Perry supporter I talked to, has another New York trip planned this month.
"The only other person worth talking about now is [Herman] Cain," she said. "Rick Perry has literally dropped off the radar. Even though he's come out with these programs in the last week, no one seems to be paying much attention to them. The only person who I hear when I'm making my calls is, 'I like this Cain guy.' I'm always taken aback by it."
(Cain has two New York fund-raisers coming up on Nov. 11.)
But Mosbacher said that kind of response mostly came from people who aren't as familiar as she is with the nominating process.
"For those of us who know how this works, know there's no substitute for money and organization," she said.
Mosbacher said her change of heart about Romney came about after seeing him perform so consistently in the debates, and because of her belief that President Obama is so vulnerable that Republicans simply need to send up someone credible to beat him.
"Whatever else one wants to say [about Romney], he is smart, he's disciplined, he's capable and there are no surprises out there, because he's been running so long," she said. "I think there's a realization: Mitt Romney can beat Obama. He's not a crackpot. He's not someone we have to hold our breath about. In a debate with Obama, he will do very very well. He's a smart guy. This is someone who, while the base had problems with him, absolutely, they will get behind him."
She hopes that the swelling support for Romney will spur the campaign to compete in Iowa, and effectively lock up the nomination with a win in the first caucus. "Let's close it down," Mosbacher said. "He has the money. Even if he blows it, it won't hurt him."