Tim Pawlenty is broke. Or at least, that's what everyone's thinking, now that he's decided to stop running his majestic campaign ads on Iowa TV stations in the run up to the August 13, Ames Straw Poll.
Winning voters on just radio ads and on foot is a great way to run a presidential campaign... in the 1940's. Now, it doesn't seem like such a bright idea.
In light of this terrible news, City Pages combed through T-Paw's Federal Election Commission reports, finding a handful of things he spent money on, and probably wishes he hadn't.
Coral Gables, FL
With big bills in early May and early June, Pawlenty's campaign spent more than $4,000 at the Biltmore, according to FEC records. Surely, he's now thinking twice about running up a tab at one of the nicest hotels in South Florida.
Maybe T-Paw wanted to stay at the Biltmore to do laps in its famously gigantic pool, or maybe he just had to dig in to the duck confit with morel mushrooms and potato mousseline. At this point, it's probably better that the campaign stick to the Holiday Inn, with the super-slide and the continental breakfast.
James "Nick" Ayers, the campaign manager for Pawlenty for President, is not the most popular guy in conservative circles. In fact, he might be the least. According to the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis, Ayers is "probably the most hated among the political operative set" in the Republican party.
Paying 30 grand every two months to the new Karl Rove or Lee Atwater, some cold-blooded flack who'll do anything to win, is one thing. It's something else to throw that much at a man-child who's successfully run your campaign into the ground in a matter of months.
Ayers got more than $30,000 in a series of payments in May and June. But in the ultimate sign of buyer's remorse, Pawlenty for President got a $2,500 donation from Ayers on June 29, one day before it paid out $10,025 to him in salary. Basically, Pawlenty decided Ayers was getting paid a bit too much, and asked him to give some of it back.
South Carolina Republican Party
Recognizing that it was broke, and newly-minted presidential candidates are flush with cash, the South Carolina GOP tried to skim a little off the top when it hosted the first Republican debate. Pawlenty eagerly ponied up the 25 large to get in... and for what?
At the South Carolina debate, T-Paw stood on the stage and argued with a bunch of nobodies. After Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann skipped this one, Pawlenty was stuck debating Herman Cain, the pizza guy, and someone named Gary Johnson who apparently just wandered in off the street.
Pawlenty probably "won" this thing, but it was like a grown-up hitting a home run in Little League. He'd have been better off spending that $25,000 on a bottle of champagne.
Woods Herberger Group Inc.
Coral Gables, FL
This high-priced consulting firm is one of a number of teams that Pawlenty has hired for "Finance Consulting." Woods Herberger helped Florida's Marco Rubio, an unknown Tea Party candidate, steal a U.S. Senate seat last year, and Pawlenty's obviously wishing for some of that to rub off on him.
So far, that's not working out great. Pawlenty's struggled to raise money, and clearly isn't spending it well. Pretty much any amount of money he's spent on "finance consulting" looks like a waste by this point.
The expenses with Woods Herberger occured about the same time as Pawlenty's big tabs at the Biltmore, also based in Coral Gables, which means he probably held meetings there. When your financial consultants tell you to live it up at one of the most expensive hotels in town, you should probably fire them.
Oak Brook, IL
In this, the pinnacle of wild finances, the Pawlenty for President campaign went on a spending spree at a McDonald's restaurant, piling up burgers, fries, and soda like they would never see food again. The charges came one right after another. You can almost imagine staffers handing around the campaign credit card, cackling maniacally at their excess.
What fools! How could they think this was worth the money? Don't they know every dollar counts? They could've walked table to table, eating leftover fries, or checked the dumpster out back for some barely-used grease. Or they could've just starved: Many humans can live a week or more without ingesting food of any kind, and any staffer that dies of hunger isn't one you really want anyway.
Pawlenty's never going to get his financial house in order until he teaches these kids some discipline. From now on, no food, no salaries, and everyone's sleeping in just one hotel room. Everyone has to sacrifice if Pawlenty's going to become president some day, which, clearly, he won't.