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Money talks, and it's saying Romney or Perry

October 17, 2011 |  1:18 pm

Mitt Romeny

In Las Vegas, it's called "the smart money";  it’s bet by "the wise guys."

You want to argue about who's better, Packers or Steelers?  Go ahead. The wise guys don't care; the smart money goes on the best bets.

So what does this have to do with the Republican presidential race?

Herman Cain is the conservative darling of the moment, with growing grass-roots support. He's outpacing Mitt Romney in some polls; his rise in those polls has been in stark contrast to Rick Perry's fall.

So why is it that campaign contribution filings  over the weekend showed $14 million for Romney, $17 million for Perry -- and $2.8 million for Cain?

True, Cain's campaign said he raised another $2 million in the two weeks after the filing period. But that still puts him well behind Romney and Perry.

Heck, it even puts him behind Ron Paul, who raised $8.2 million; and speaking of grass-roots support, nearly half of Paul's money came in amounts of $200 or less.

Which means the smart money remains on Romney and Perry.

Sure, grass-roots support matters.  But money matters more.  Rich people didn't get rich making bad bets with their money.

And there was an interesting sidelight to the campaign contribution story. Fiscal conservative Michele Bachmann, who on the stump makes much of her vote against raising the debt ceiling, took in $4.1 million in contributions.  And how much did she spend?  About $6 million.

Apparently, deficit spending is no way to run a government, but it's a fine way to run a campaign.

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--Paul Whitefield

Photo: Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney greets supporters after speaking about his jobs plan in September at McCandless International Trucks Inc. in North Las Vegas, Nev. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

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