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Measuring the drapes, fundraising edition

Mitt Romney at a phone bank fundraiser last year in Las Vegas.
Mitt Romney at a phone bank fundraiser last year in Las Vegas.Associated Press

The conventional wisdom says that President Obama and his campaign team are exceedingly confident about the 2012 race, to the point of nearly being cocky. But Obama isn't the one already selling access at the 2013 inauguration for five figures.

Former Governor Mitt Romney is already offering top donors access to a special "Presidential Inaugural retreat," planned on the assumption that he will be elected president this November.

The offer, in a fundraising email circulated by a top Georgia supporter to fellow Republicans and obtained by BuzzFeed, is one of several goodies offered to those who contribute more than $50,000 to the joint fundraising committee known as "Romney Victory," a program whose outlines were first reported by POLITICO.

Those donors will be named "Founding Members" of Romney Victory and invited to a California retreat with Romney and offered "yet to be determined access at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August."

They will also "have preferred status at the first Presidential Inaugural retreat," the email says.

Just to be clear, there's nothing illegal or unethical about this -- when it comes to inaugurations (for presidents of either party) and fundraising, incoming administrations have even more leeway and flexibility than they do during the campaigns.

But this is still politically problematic. For one thing, Romney routinely likes to complain about "cronyism" in Washington, and yet, here he is selling promises of access for $50,000 at his inauguration.

For another, Romney is already operating as if a victory is a foregone conclusion, seven months before voters have their say.

I've heard of politicians "measuring the drapes" before an election, but this is pushing the envelope.