The Coakley campaign is bridling at finger-pointing from the White House and Washington Democrats, and an outside adviser to the campaign has provided to POLITICO a memo aimed at rebutting the charge that Coakley failed and making the case that national Democrats failed her.
The adviser, who made the case to my colleague Jonathan Martin on the condition of anonymity in response, he said, to “the current leaking coming out of the White House and the DNC that is chalking all of this up to a “bad candidate”.
The adviser, who cited internal polling numbers to make the case, e-mails that, “There’s more to the story than that. If Martha is guilty of taking the race for granted, so is the White House and the DNC.”
The adviser pointed to internal polling to argue that Coakley held a wide — 20 point — lead on Dec. 19, and that the damage she took between that survey and a Jan. 5 Rasmussen poll putting the race at 9 points came from the national scene: The Senate vote on health care, with the controversy over Ben Nelson’s deal for Nebraska, and the Christmas Day bombing.
The Coakley adviser’s memo:
National Dems Failed to Aid Coakley Until Too Late
— Coakley campaign provided national Democrats with all poll results since early December
— Coakley campaign noted concerns about “apathy” and failure of national Democrats to contribute early in December. Coakley campaign noted fundraising concerns throughout December and requested national Democratic help.
— DNC and other Dem organizations did not engage until the week before the election, much too late to aid Coakley operation
Brown Capitalized on Concerns About National Democrats
— From the beginning, Brown labeled President Obama’s health care and cap and trade plans as tax increases. Polling throughout the race showed this to be the most effective attack on Coakley.
— Coakley’s lead dropped significantly after the Senate passed health care reform shortly before Christmas and after the Christmas Eve “bombing” incident. Polling showed significant concerns with the actions of Senator Nelson to hold out for a better deal. Senator Nelson’s actions specifically hurt Coakley who was forced to backtrack on her opposition to the abortion restriction amendment.
— Democrats concerns with Obama’s Afghanistan plan forced Coakley to oppose the Afghan war in the primary, which hurt her in the general.
Claims about Coakley’s Scant Campaigning and Miscues Were Exaggerated
— Because of the failure of national Democrats to support Coakley, she was forced to devote significant time to fundraising in December. She also released a variety of plans in December and had a public event nearly every day.
— Coakley’s failure to release television advertisements until 12 days before the election was the result of a fundraising problem that national Democrats failed to resolve. Meanwhile, right-wing groups pumped significant amounts of money into Brown’s campaign, allowing him to go up with ads first, including negative attack ads funded by the Swift Boat and Willie Horton groups.
UPDATE: A White House official e-mails: “It’s a little mind-boggling to see political consultants spin the election before the election is even over. There’s only one reason to do that.”