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Coakley pollster: 'The campaign had no money'

By Ed O'Keefe

National Democrats believed Martha Coakley (D) did not need more money to win the Massachusetts senate race despite the campaign's pleas for financial assistance, her top pollster said Sunday.

"It's not true that the campaign wasn't focused, but the campaign had no money," Celinda Lake said on CNN's "State of the Union" when asked about the campaign's troubles in the closing days. "And there are lots of people that can be blamed for that including national establishment institutions in D.C. that weren't giving her money, that were turning her down."

The campaign reached out to the White House and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for financial assistance, Lake said, but officials in Washington said, "You don't need it."

The veteran Democratic pollster has received a considerable amount of blame for Coakley's political collapse, and she admitted Sunday that Republican Scott Brown, "took our message and won with our message of change. And we had better seize it back."

DSCC Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) defended his committee's work on the Massachusetts race.

"Clearly we did everything we could in Massachusetts," he told CNN. "I think the big takeaway from Massachusetts, however, is that in fact there is enormous economic angst in the country, both people who have lost their jobs, have a family member who lost their jobs."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs echoed Menendez's sentiments, telling "Fox News Sunday" that "People are angry" and that Brown's victory was not a clear defeat for Democrats or the administration.

White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told ABC's "This Week" that "the entire political community was caught a little bit unawares" of Brown's win, but added that the reaction to Tuesday's result "has been overblown."

By Ed O'Keefe  |  January 24, 2010; 1:54 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Consultants , Sunday Talkies  
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Comments

Brown won because he ran as an independendent. Coakley lost because she ran as a democrat. In special elections the hard liners always have an outsized influence. Despite the stereotype of the liberal bay state, democrats mostly put up establishment candidates who can't really win in a general election controlled and dominated by independents. that's why republicans have occupied the governors office there for 16 of the last 20 years. celinda is right here and the bright side is had this smackdown not been mass., brown would have won by 15 points. If just one smart person had studied what happened in the virginia race the outcome would be radically different. it's pretty obvious that brown's people studied bob mc donnell.

Posted by: dandaman606 | January 25, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Actually stupid liberal media, she lost because she mailed it in, she thought she had already won and didn't have to do squat. She also lost because people don't want to treat other people's health problems with their tax dollars. They want their tax dollars going to their sidewalks and their police officers.

Posted by: futbolclif | January 25, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

What a crock.

Andy Stern of the SEIU and Richard Tromka of the AFL-CIO would have busted their treasuries for her if this was the case.

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | January 25, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Celinda, would you like some cheese with that whine? Seriously, Coakley needs to "man up" (sorry, I can't think of another term) and take responsibility and stop blaming others, PARTICULARLY through surrogates. Right now, she has no political future. It's one thing to lose, quite another to blame everyone else. Mike Dukakis saw the fault was with himself and resurrected his career.

Posted by: gbooksdc | January 25, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told ABC's "This Week" that "the entire political community was caught a little bit unawares" of Brown's win, but added that the reaction to Tuesday's result "has been overblown.""

This Week with Stephanopoulos? Did George let another absurd statement go unchallenged? I guess Georgie is going to compromise his professionalism to give the Obama team a free ride.

I wish Ted Kennedy could speak from the grave on the results of this race.

Why this clown Axelrod still has a job is beyond me. But as one who thinks Obama is a disaster, I like that he does still have the job.

------------
That is akin to having Karl Rove in the same position as Axelrod in the previous administration.. They are both clowns.

Posted by: beeker25 | January 25, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

What I am seeing here is the typical finger pointing on the blame. This is typical of party establishment, the candidates and the staffers of both parties.

Coakley lost on the count of not being a genuine candidate by going out to meet the voters and hearing their concerns and articulate what she would do to be a problem solver and being prepared for the debate with Brown with all the information needed to win.
Instead what they got:
* Refused to shake hands with Red Sox or the Bruins at Fenway in the cold winter,
* Ill prepared with the debate (especially the last one),
* Negative attacks on the opponent and
* Calling out C. Schilling being a Yankee (a no no)
* Acting like she is comfortable or anointed Senator after polls shows her being far ahead when she should be campaigning like a underdog (something Bill Clinton did),
* Lastly, referring Senate seat as Kennedy's seat when it should be referred to as the People's Seat (after all who elects the candidates and who does the Senator serves: The People.)

PS. This is something I would taken if I were to run for office because it's about being a problem solver for your state.

Posted by: beeker25 | January 25, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told ABC's "This Week" that "the entire political community was caught a little bit unawares" of Brown's win, but added that the reaction to Tuesday's result "has been overblown.""

This Week with Stephanopoulos? Did George let another absurd statement go unchallenged? I guess Georgie is going to compromise his professionalism to give the Obama team a free ride.

I wish Ted Kennedy could speak from the grave on the results of this race.

Why this clown Axelrod still has a job is beyond me. But as one who thinks Obama is a disaster, I like that he does still have the job.

Posted by: hz9604 | January 25, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"Coakley pollster: 'The campaign had no money'"

It also had NO:
-brains or intelligence
-acceptable positions
-decent candidate
-responsible party affiliation
-common-sense supporters

and on, and on, and on!

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | January 25, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

" the reaction to Tuesday's result "has been overblown."

Nonsense. Democrats in Congress must face the voters in November with the out-of-touch elitist label or the ineffective coward label, depending on whether they pass health care legislation or table it.

The reaction is not overblown to the loss of a Senate seat in the deep blue at all.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 25, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Boy, Oh!boy! Wish it were possible to hear a angry Ted Kennedy on this. Not sure where the blame lies. But somone missed the boat on this. A "safe" seat handed to GOP as a gift.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NZCWsbvS50

Posted by: Victoria5 | January 25, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I recall a bit of advice from a successful candidate for public office named Bill Clinton about the proper attitude to have going into a race: campaign like you were 20-pts behind no matter what the polls and pollsters said.

The entire Democratic Party establishment -- at every level, all of it -- seems to have forgotten that basic insight, which is altogether too bad. The mischief about to be unleashed by both parties as they struggle for power will put what we have already suffered at their hands in the shade.

Posted by: hogsmile | January 25, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

More money doesn't help when people don't like the message.

Posted by: nubeldorf1 | January 25, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The only thing worse than a loser is a loser who points the finger at everyone but herself. Obviously here's a pollster who can't be trusted to provide the truth. What kind of a pollster is that?
=============================================
A DEMOCRAT, STUPID !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: shumen52 | January 25, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Brown's campaign started out broke. He burnt shoe leather and lifted his campaign off the ground. Shaking hands and telling what his beliefs and goals were. Cloakly in the meantime sat on her rump probably picking her cabinet.Don't expect there was enough money in the world to elect her. What we see now is damage control.Telling you it isn't what it looks like. Well, I'm pretty sure it is. Only plan in 2009 was for Barack Obama to make history.Big "I" and little "you" but healthcare must go on. You could crack hickory nuts with that head.

Posted by: Canopus | January 25, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Not enough money to afford the "leakage" to the likes of Celinda Lake and the rest of the democratic political hacks who managed to yet again maneuver one of their own into being the candidate (remember John "Gigolo" Kerry). I'm sure Bob Schrum and all of his rheumy eyed compatriots had their hands in the pot.

We should all be grateful too that they managed to wrest control from the youngin's and to keep Howard Dean from destroying the party. That would of course be the party that is the lifestyle provided by their donor provided money trains.

From the moment Rahm Emanuel was named COS none of this has come as a surprise to me.
Barack Obama needs to wake up and then to grow up!

Posted by: SoCali | January 25, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

She should have saved the money she spent on her vacation and used it for her campaign. And shaking people's hands doesn't cost a dime.

Posted by: flounder2 | January 25, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

My how things have changed in a year. When it comes to this Admin. its now a question of "if their lips are moving" they're either lying or delusional.

Obama has an entire staff that does nothing but track shifting political trends. Mr. Axelrod, rather than re-hashing campaign trail stories wake up and realize that you've lost three straight elections. Mass. was so glaring, so unbelievable its hard to do it justice in a comment.

Not only that, but you didn't lose to someone like Romney, you lost a race to a State Senator with virtually NO national experience. Heck he makes Palin look qualified. (A male beauty versus a female beaury.) Yet what does this White House say? They're still trying to dismiss this as a failure to communicate.

This Admin. has serious problems but communications are the least of their worries. Obama is CONSTANTLY SPEAKING. Every time I turn on the TV he's talking! He's had more meetings, more speeches, more town halls in one year than Bush had in four. We can argue over the merits of this, but its naive to say that this Admin. is anything but relentless.

Of all the campaign style appearances, the predominant issue was HEALTHCARE. Rarely jobs, or the economy. Heck, we probably had more appearances by the Economist to the Vice President than the President when it comes to economic issues. Who knew that the Vice President had an economist?

When this Admin. speaks about the economy, they whine, and the whining is consistent. The theme is that all bankers are bad and the economy was Bush's problem. Again, how insulting to the electorate.

We've been told that all we have to do is spend billions on traditional Democrat make-work projects like re-paving the country, improve the energy grid and keep teachers, and other municipal workers on the job and we'll be fine. Incredible and sad, really sad.

Where was Obama and his brilliant team when Bill Clinton famously said, "its the economy stupid?"

Why is it no one in academia, the traditional liberal press and the Democrat blogosphere has even broached this subject?

The President's new political advice seems to be based on "doubling-down." Clearly he is being advised to press this further. People like Axelrod and Howard Dean have been quoted as saying that Obama is not liberal enough. Really? How much more liberal can he be? Federalizing, rather than reforming healthcare, massive federal spending programs, a stimulus that has done little, Fannie and Freddie now with a blank check at the same moment he is slamming the entire banking sector. This is what passes for consistent economic policy?

This Admin is stubborn and stubborn is just stupid. Perhaps someone can convince this President that bold action is now required and it should not be based on taking a poll or listening anyone who says the solution to a problem is a federally controlled program.

Posted by: ardano | January 25, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Democrats are making every excuse in the book. The people do not like Obama's agenda, this horrific health care debacle designed to increase federal power, the Stimulus bill that stimulated the palms up of leftists, environmentalists, and unions designed by resurfaced hippies of the 60's, his lack of safety pushing the release of Gitmo prisoners to go back to Yemen to just try to kill us again, his agencies that just cannot connect the dots, and his push to put terrorists into criminal courts which is nothing short of insanity. What more do you want? Keep it up and the Democrats will get creamed. People are fed up.

Posted by: greatgran1 | January 25, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

For all of Coakley's whining and excuses, the MA Dems simply picked a lousy candidate. It's reminiscent of MD Dems running the dim bulb dingbat Kathleen Townsend Kennedy for governor...who was so inept that she handed the election to the disastrous Robert Ehrlich.

Posted by: checkered1 | January 25, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

It's no wonder that Coakley lost.

This is the most corrupt, unethical, and un-American Congress and Administration in history. Who in their right mind would vote to perpetuate the mistake?

Posted by: TruData | January 25, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Not enough money? How about too much Arrogance and assumption at the Democrat National level and not enough clue at the candidate level?

Posted by: pielusztcontractor | January 25, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

She at one tmie was running over triple hte money - had millions spent by the american taxpayer when obama flew in ... please...

Posted by: barbiek1 | January 25, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

jdsher00 is absoultely correct - it's the candidtae, stupid. or should I say its the stupid candidate.
national view had nothing to do with tis outcome. it was the choice of an arrogant attorney general who felt entitled and some dude who likes to drop his pants for anyone.
based on who is in elected office these days, the pants dropper will win every time.

Posted by: DRCinDC | January 25, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

In addition to having MORE money, Coakley also had the president of the United States campaigning for her, the vice-president, a former president, movie stars, Kennedy's tearful widow, and union biggies ... and still got clobbered.

She also had a huge party infrastructure where Republicans have virtually none in Massachusetts, and FULL assistance from a highly partisan media.

Also, ALL of the election officials are Democrats.

All the excuses proffered for this shellacking are just plain laughable.
.

Posted by: gitarre | January 25, 2010 5:30 AM | Report abuse


A crock. The Boston Globe reported that spending by both candidates, from all sources, was about even. Combined, the candidates spent about 21 million.
The US Chamber of Commerce spent about 1 million on Brown's campaign.

Posted by: kenhyde | January 25, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Just out of curiosity I looked up how much money each campaign raised:

First, on scott browns website, he says he raised $1.3M
http://www.brownforussenate.com/red-invades-blue

Second, here's an article in boston.com that says Brown raised $1.2M, and Coakley raised $5.2M
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/01/01/coakleys_camp_says_it_has_raised_52m_far_more_than_rival/

So 5.2M (D) vs 1.3M (R) and she still lost! Thats more than 4x the amount Brown raised!

The DSCC was right: she didn't need the money.. and this pollster is being less than honest when she says they didn't have the money they needed.

Posted by: rgb_ | January 25, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

This pollster -- she of the 15-point lead? -- should never work in politics again. The Coakley campaign was a failure to get the candidate off her butt and campaign. She couldn't be bothered to talk to voters. Rather than blaming party leaders in D.C., Coakley should have attempted to run a serious campaign in Massachusetts. Boston City Council candidates, working with less money than the $1.3M Coakley raised on ActBlue.com, ran much more vigorous campaigns than she did.

The only thing worse than a loser is a loser who points the finger at everyone but herself. Obviously here's a pollster who can't be trusted to provide the truth. What kind of a pollster is that?

Posted by: jdsher00 | January 25, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

How much money does it take to stand out in front of Fenway Park and shake people's hands?

Posted by: seattle_wa | January 24, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

I live in Massachusetts and there were at least 3 times as many Coakley commercials aired as compared to Brown.
I saw several occasions where the entire commercial break consisted of nothing but Coakley ads.
No money indeed.

Posted by: 9155 | January 24, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Most of the $787 trillion Stimulus money still hasn't been spent. Why didn't she use some of that? Weren't Democrat victories the purpose of the Stimulus?

Posted by: dennis10 | January 24, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

It's a cute article, but it's likely had Coakley had more money to push her views, she might've lost by a bigger margin.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | January 24, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

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