The Hill: GOPers Blaming Coleman (And Pawlenty) For Botching Media Angle On Recount

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The Hill reports that a lot of Republicans are realizing the same thing many of us did a while ago — or perhaps they realized it, too, and are only now just saying it: That Norm Coleman’s recount operation was a mess.

“The buzz in GOP circles is that if Sen. Coleman’s team and party strategists were to have launched a full-blown PR campaign as the recount was unfolding, they would have had a better environment prior to the legal proceedings,” a Republican operative said, adding that “They allowed the legal proceedings to define the media environment.”

A GOP strategist said: “A lot of noise has to be made immediately, and it has to be sustained,” adding, “Where the heck has [Pawlenty] been?”

For the record: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) briefly did wade into the spin game, but quickly faded into the background. At this point, he’s hedging on whether he’d grant an election certificate should the state Supreme Court rule for Franken.The comparison has been made here to what happened in Florida in 2000. The Bush people were out there quickly with a consistent message, and rode out the crisis. This time, though, it was the Franken campaign that was clearly more prepared and more disciplined — indeed, they had begun working on a contingency plan for a recount months in advance — while the Coleman campaign relied on local lawyers and didn’t seem to exhibit a clear idea of how to manage the situation.

On the other hand, is this really a legitimate beef with Coleman, that he failed to manage the media operation, or just a bunch of folks covering their posteriors? The fact is, practically zero media outlets took the idea of a Franken win seriously until late December, and Coleman and the GOP have had a pretty easy ride in the press as they’ve kept this seat vacant for months on end. Just imagine what the push from Fox News would have been, if it had been Franken down in the vote count and launching this lawsuit.

To a certain degree, this is all a tautology: The campaign that won was a well-run campaign, and the campaign that lost was badly-managed.

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