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The Week in 2016: What Mattered (And What Didn’t)

In today’s political news cycle, so much happens so quickly. So here’s a look back at the past week in 2016 politics, making sense of what mattered – and what didn’t.

What Mattered

  1. Mitt Romney’s no-go: The 2012 Republican nominee’s decision NOT to run for president has two immediate consequences: 1) It makes the GOP establishment’s path to the nomination a bit easier (you’re not dividing up this vote three ways among Romney, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie), and 2) it gives Christie – and possibly others – more room if he does decide on a run.
  2. Former Romney adviser David Kochel becoming Jeb’s campaign manager-in-waiting: Was this news – one of Romney’s top strategists from 2008 and 2012 deciding to work for Bush – the final straw convincing Romney to forgo a third presidential bid?
  3. Scott Walker’s buzz after last weekend’s Iowa cattle call: A current GOP governor is bound to be a serious player in the battle for the GOP nomination, and the GOV who gobbled up the most attention this week was Walker, who also formed his Our American Revival group.
  4. The Koch Brothers’ $900 million they will spend in 2016: This is maybe the week’s biggest news of all. The nearly $900 million they plan to spend in the ’16 cycle is more money that the Obama campaign spent in ALL of 2008 (about $750 million), and it comes to $1.3 to $1.4 million a day (!!!) from now until Election Day 2016.

What Didn’t Matter as Much

  1. Hillary Clinton delaying her campaign until the summer: First came the story that Clinton is likely to launch her campaign in April. Then there was another – just days later – about her delaying it until the summer. A little perspective here: In 2012, both Obama and Romney started their campaign committees ($$$) in April, but didn’t start campaigning/announcing until much later.
  2. Lindsey Graham “testing the waters”: Yes, Graham, the U.S. senator from South Carolina, deserves more ‘16 ink (or bandwidth) than the Ben Carsons and Carly Fiorinas have already received. But the only true impact of a potential Graham run is making South Carolina political consultants nervous that other candidates might take a pass on the state with a favorite son in the contest.
  3. Romney’s digs at Hillary and Obama: Romney sure sounded a like a presidential candidate on Wednesday at Mississippi State, where he took shots at both President Obama and Hillary Clinton. In retrospect, was it less a signal about his 2016 intentions – and more of a final dig at these two Democrats?
  4. Sarah Palin’s performance in Iowa: Lots of talk about her, at best, uneven performance at last weekend’s Iowa cattle call. But let’s be honest: Ever since resigning as Alaska governor 2009, she’s been more of a political celebrity than a serious political figure.