The Stump

Romney Hires Adviser, Seals 2012 Victory

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Barack Obama might as well throw in the towel, because Mitt Romney wrapped up the election just now. Which is probably for the best, because the campaign's already getting kind of tedious, and now we can turn our attention to other matters, like the Miami Marlins' new uniforms.

What, you hadn't heard? Romney has hired Republican fixer Ed Gillespie. Which means that...well, let's let uber-pundit Mark Halperin tell us what it means:

Whatever Romney's chances of winning the general election were before, they are higher now. Gillespie's strengths as a strategist are exactly what the underdog needs to start a comeback. He's a practitioner of the "what's mine is mine and what's yours we'll negotiate over" school of politics.

Ah, yes. What's clearly been hindering Romney's campaign so far is a dearth of dark-suited former lobbyists with deep GOP establishment ties. So let's bring in Gillespie, who, Politico tells us, "has served as a Capitol Hill leadership aide, a national and Virginia GOP chairman, and a senior aide in the George W. Bush White House. He also was a powerhouse lobbyist and founder of the Quinn Gillespie firm but he has not lobbied for five years."

What Gillespie has done in the past five years is co-found, with Karl Rove, the powerhouse PAC American Crossroads, which runs ads on behalf of Republican candidates, and its sister outfit Crossroads GPS, which focuses on "issues," not elections, and therefore does not need to disclose its donors (never mind that those "issues" include, for example, attacking Obama over the Solyndra debacle.) The Crossroads groups together spent $39 million leading up to the 2010 midterms and plan to spent at least $200 million this year.

Oh, and they are of course required by law not to coordinate with any campaign. But have no fear -- the man who helped co-found the groups, Gillespie, will be taking a leave of absence from his role with them as he now moves over to advise the Romney campaign. A clean break, as it were. And it's not like he's actually going to be working for the campaign. No, he is, as Politico tells us, a "sort of strategist without portfolio" in a "volunteer capacity." Wait, you mean another one of those "informal advisers" that the Times told us about a few days ago? Apparently, you can't have too many of them. After all, there are a lot of people to take care of in that Gang of 500. Five hundred, in fact.

follow me on Twitter @AlecMacGillis

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