Romney tells donors: No presidential announcement anytime soon

I know what you’re thinking, but no, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll miss the debate at the Reagan library. That’s scheduled for “spring 2011” and he’s only committing to stay out of the race through February. To put that in perspective for you, Bill Clinton didn’t officially announce his candidacy in 1991 until … October.

Why not announce sooner, though, since we all know he’s running?

“People are exhausted from the 2010 election, and they’re not anxious to begin right away with the next campaign,” Romney told 245 of his top financial supporters on a conference call Thursday, a Romney aide told POLITICO. His team organized the call to connect with top supporters following a busy 2010 season and discuss Romney’s political future.

Romney also told supporters that his organization will be “smaller in scale than our last effort.”

The rationale, as Romney explained it: In 2008, he was a little-known figure who had to spend millions on a large organization if he was to compete against Arizona Sen. John McCain for the Republican nomination. In that cycle, he announced an exploratory committee in January 2007 and officially announced a bid in February.

I find it odd that he’s touting a smaller campaign apparatus given that money’s not an issue and he’s the one guy whose hopes may depend on a 50-state primary campaign to defeat the candidate who emerges from the “true conservative” wing of the party. Could be that it’s a managerial thing — fewer aides means greater efficiency, etc — but I wonder if he isn’t deliberately trying to keep a light organizational footprint to blunt criticism from the base that he’s part of the “machine” or whatever. One of the takeaways from that Times profile of Palin that I linked last night is not only that her own “organization” is small, it’s so small that it basically doesn’t exist. It’s just her and Todd and four or five advisors trying to coordinate things as best they can with conference calls and e-mail tag. In fact, possibly the most revealing line in that piece is Palin herself admitting that she knows things will have to change if she’s going to make a run. Getting bigger is a purely practical move on her part. Is that also true of Romney’s decision to get smaller, or is there more to it?

Here’s Carville, fresh off his observation about the number of balls Obama and Hillary share, musing about why Romney remains the frontrunner. His logic’s not as persuasive as Philip Klein’s, but then the point here isn’t analysis, it’s derision.