Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Day of Respect, and of Political Temptation

This Saturday the streets of Salt Lake City stand to be choked with thousands of people seeking to pay their respects to the late President Gordon B. Hinckley. Members of the LDS faith will undoubtedly make pilgrimages from around the world if they can afford it, to pay homage to their departed prophet, this will include, media has told us, Mitt Romney.

Now it's hard to say when politics stop when a candidate is on the campaign trail. Is the trail something they ever step off of? One may never really know, but if a candidate can step off the trail that doesn't mean what they do off the trail won't have political consequences on the trail.

There's nothing to suggest that Mitt isn't sincere in his wish to pay respects, or anything to indicate that he will try and politically capitalize on the event for publicity. What is a potential concern is the temptation Romney might face to take advantage of the time in Utah to hit up old fundraising acquaintances for some much needed cash.

An interesting analysis pointed out that Romney is at the critical funding stage where carving a share of Super Tuesday delegates will mean dipping into personal reserves if he wants to be competitive with Huckabee in the south and McCain in the northeast. Now the question would be, will Romney who is certain to come into contact with former Olympic planners, as well as other prominent LDS businessmen who have in the past contributed to his campaign at the services Saturday, make any side trips? Or even really accept donations that day?

It's an incredibly risky proposition, and one to worry about. All the donors and resources may converge effortlessly in Salt Lake City for Romney but the potential backlash for even accepting a penny on the day of the funeral of a prophet could be devastating-- if word got out. We shall just have to wait and see...(Eric S. Peterson)

1 comment:

  1. I don't see what's potentially concerning about the possibility of Mitt Romney fundraising while he's in Utah for a funeral. First, that's not a bad idea; two birds with one stone. Second, he's fully capable of financing his own campaign (his personal worth was recently valued around $250 million) and the need to dip into his own pocket is not a motivating factor for Mitt when it comes to fundraising.

    However, I assume he's constantly in campaign mode and will only lightly seperate himself from his presidential aspirations while in Utah. But, I expect a presidential candidate to live that role wholeheartedly and don't expect them to jump in or out of that part.


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