For shear number of alarming quotes, it'd be hard to beat this New York Times article on presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's fundraising operation. Romney is looking to leverage the deep pockets of a few major contributors into the office on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Romney, a multi-millionaire himself, is a fundraising machine with a Rolodex of wealthy friends-- “It is why he is a viable candidate for president,” according to Ron Kaufman, a former White House political director who praised the candidate's dialing-for-dollars apparatus:
He invited 400 wealthy supporters, including dozens of chief executives he knew through business connections, to a reception at an adjacent hotel. The next day each sat down before a personal-contact list loaded into an assigned laptop, with dozens of technical support staff and campaign finance advisers standing by to assist. Reporters watched from the sidelines for hours as Mr. Romney’s supporters raised $6.5 million.
“It was a great show,” said Ron Kaufman [. . .] he walked out thinking, “That was the most impressive thing I have ever seen.”
Impressive? I'd call it scary: a campaign's viability resting on wealthy people locked in a room dialing their friends for dollars. Meanwhile, Romney's campaign is calling the money evidence that he's got good public support -- despite having raised his millions from a comparably small group of people. Big money buys a big microphone though, so even if you haven't got broad public support now your message is going to get to voters' ears more than anyone else if you can afford to send it there. "Free speech," indeed.
P.S. Nice work, photo editors at the Times -- nothing captures a candidate with deep pockets but limited public support like a picture of him standing alone at a microphone.