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KB in the News: National Journal – Where Women Win in Washington

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Fundraising, In the News, National Journal, Women in Politics | 0 comments

KB in the News: National Journal – Where Women Win in Washington

Article HERE

Men still dominate politics, government, and lobbying, but in fundraising, women play on level turf

By Elahe Izadi –November 11, 2013

Ann Herberger had designs on becoming “a great Broadway actress.” That’s before she ended up in Washington in the 1980s, and under the tutelage of an accomplished female fundraiser.

Now based in Miami, she raises cash full-time for prominent Republicans—notably the Bush family—and loves her job as a professional fundraiser. “They’re the most powerful people that nobody knows,” she says.

It’s a common tale. While men still dominate top jobs in politics, government, and lobbying, professional fundraising represents an arena in which women play on level turf. Many campaign operatives, lobbyists, and fundraisers say female finance directors and fundraisers are at least at parity with men, and may well outnumber them. Some even say that if there’s only one woman in the room, she’s likely to be the fundraiser.

“It’s a unique place women seem to own,” says Kirsten Borman, a national GOP fundraiser. “Women get a lot more respect and are more easily allowed at the table in this industry. There is no boys club in fundraising. But make no mistake, it’s still incredibly competitive.”

While women account for almost 51 percent of the U.S. population, they make up roughly 18 percent of the current Congress—and that’s a record high. Women occupied only one-third of the top congressional-aide jobs in 2011, according to a National Journal survey; about 40 percent of the Obama administration’s top second-term posts; and just 35 percent of registered lobbyists in 2012, according to a LegiStorm analysis.

Because fundraisers are not required to register, there are no precise statistics tracking gender. But those that do exist point to a field largely populated by women. Women dominate fundraising in the nonprofit and philanthropic world, and account for 74 percent of the membership in the Association of Fundraising Professionals, according to the organization.

“I don’t think there’s a glass ceiling at all for women [in fundraising],” says Molly Allen, who owns a consulting firm and raises money for House Democrats. While noting there are also prominent and effective male fundraisers, she adds, “I’ve never felt that I missed out on a client opportunity because I was a woman…. I guess it’s just because we’ve proven ourselves to be equally successful, and continue to do so.”

Rarely does anyone, man or woman, dream of being a political fundraiser when they grow up. A number of women say their entry into the field was coincidence more than anything. But that has turned into an advantage, as the role of money in politics has grown exponentially.

“It was always the job nobody wanted on campaigns when I started,” says one Republican fundraiser who’s been in the business for decades and raises cash for statewide candidates. “The position [of finance director] has grown in importance. The smart campaigns have always realized the importance of money, but it’s always been a back-burner thing in most cases.”

Another longtime Democratic female fundraiser fell into it after “nobody wanted to do it.” But she quickly took to the job. “I got to do a lot more fun things than everybody else,” she says. “You also get more time with the candidate than anybody else. Everyone wants to do field [work], but the field staff doesn’t get much time with the candidate.”

The job appeals to many women because of the flexibility to work from home and be able to take breaks between campaigns without being penalized. Success as a fundraiser is also objective: You either raise your target amount or you don’t.

“It’s a field dominated by black-or-white results: Did you make your goal or didn’t you?” Herberger says. “That’s all that matters.”

Showing savvy as a fundraiser can lay the groundwork for other political careers, too. Stephanie Schriock led Howard Dean’s 2004 fundraising, an operation that helped change the way campaigns raise cash in presidential cycles. She went on to manage campaigns for Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Al Franken of Minnesota. Now, Schriock leads EMILY’s List, which raises money for female Democrats who support abortion rights.

“I definitely, over the years, have seen a lot of women start in fundraising and move on to other activities in campaigns and politics,” she says. “Women really do a great job at the sort of detail-orientedness followed by relationship building that is really important in fundraising. At EMILY’s List, we argue it’s the same ability to relationship-build that is a good reason you should run for office.”

Although women see few gender barriers to becoming prominent fundraisers, women donors still lag behind men. In the 2011-12 cycle, far more men than women contributed money to federal politics, including candidates, parties, and PACs; two-thirds of such donations came from men, compared with one-third that came from women, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

That’s something GOP fundraiser Lisa Spies, who led Women for Romney last year, wants to change. During the 2012 campaign, their directive was to raise $10 million from women, and they ended up raking in $23 million.

“I had women all over the country tell me, ‘You know what? Nobody ever asks me,’ ” Spies says. “They call me and ask for my husband.”

 

Ready to Run: Why the GOP Needs More Women Running for Office

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Fundraising, Politics, RNC, Women in Politics | 0 comments

Ready to Run: Why the GOP Needs More Women Running for Office

Over the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of traveling the country as one of the instructors in the RNC’s “Blackboard to Blacktop: Ready to Run” training sessions. During these day-long sessions, potential candidates heard from a variety of speakers on the topics that are essential to running for office: Fundraising, Grassroots, Communications, Social Media, etc.  These potential candidates were all women, and they were all Republicans. The RNC hosted these events in Rhode Island, New Jersey, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

I have felt extremely passionate about this topic —  namely, the dearth of women we have actively seeking elected office with an R next to their name — for quite a while. Especially after the 2008 election and again even after our victories across the country in 2010, it struck me that women had no reason to run, as nearly every conservative female candidate in recent memory has been eviscerated in popular culture, the media and even within the party.

I blame this partially on the “Sarah Palin” effect after the 2008 election, but also on longstanding double standards relating to females in politics. (See: Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama in 2008.)

Not only do we need more women at the table, but we must be recruiting and training the RIGHT women to run.

The R2R training group in Atlanta, GA listening to presenter Serenety Hanley on November 9, 2013.

The R2R training group in Atlanta, GA listening to presenter Serenety Hanley on November 9, 2013.

Nationally, Democrats are kicking our butts on this one — and its time to start paying attention. We’ve had our ears plugged and our eyes covered on this topic for too long, and we can’t keep living in denial, assuming that “the strongest candidates will emerge” from the electoral masses.

Women aren’t throwing their hats into local elections, partially because they aren’t being asked, or because the resources aren’t there to support female candidates who have decidedly different needs and concerns than men running for office. Research consistently shows that female candidates must be ASKED to run before they consider elected office. So, lets start asking!

I’m grateful that the national leadership recognizes this need, and is responding in kind. I hope to continue to see (and be involved with) more programs like these as they emerge across the country. It won’t happen overnight, or even swiftly.

 

The “Ready to Run” Seminar in Seattle listening to Secretary of State Kim Wyman on November 2, 2013

We have to continue to invest in nurturing future candidates for office, starting at the local level… and as a party decide that this is a future worth investing in.

The RSLC has started a great program, called “Right Women Right Now” which has pledged to recruit 300 new female GOP candidates this cycle. I’m excited to see what is in store for this program, and others like it… and to see what women do on their own, in their communities.

I was so encouraged meeting the dozens of women who came out to these RNC trainings the past few months. I hope we can continue this momentum and work together to inspire others to run for office as well.

 

 

In the next few days, I’ll explore what I found while speaking with and working with these potential candidates at these seminars across the country, including:

  • What keeps them from running at a significantly lower rate than men
  • Specific concerns about fundraising from a female perspective
  • Areas of improvement for female GOP recruiting

 

KB’s Top 5 Fundraising Mantras: #3 – There is No Magic Fix

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Fundraising, Top Lists | 0 comments

Today I continue to count down my top five fundraising “mantras,” highlighting the five tips that I find absolutely essential to fundraising success.  While working with candidates and fundraising staffs, I often find myself repeating these five tips so often that they have become ‘mantra’-like. Though there are certainly many tips that are important to remember, these are the few I find myself accentuating most frequently.

(In case you missed it, check out last week’s #4 – Details = Dollars.) 

#3 – There’s no Magic Fix… so stop looking.

AKA: There’s No Substitute for Phone Calls

 

 

PhoneCalls, 101

There’s a lot in this world I don’t know.

I don’t know, for instance, the first 10 digits of PI.

I don’t know what year Millard Fillmore was born. I don’t know much about lacrosse (wait, they use those stick things?), or string theory, or the migrating patterns of Canadian geese. And I certainly don’t know why THIS video of a cat fighting with a watermelon has over 12 million views.

However, I know this for sure:

At some point in every candidate’s fundraising journey, they will turn to their fundraiser, campaign manager, or finance staffer and say …. “Why don’t we just send a fundraising email?” or “I have an idea! Let’s do a mailer!”

Inevitably every candidate will look for a way out — a magic fix — a solution to their fundraising problems that will instantly free them of the horrendous burden that this awful phone call nonsense will inflict on them.

These candidates are usually just getting into the hard work of fundraising and think that maybe there’s an easier way than making so many pesky phone calls.

Here’s the truth: There is no substitute for phone calls. There is no magic fix for fundraising.

From Day 1 to Day 1,000 of your campaign, you will need to make calls to raise money.

happy_phone

Now, before I get a bunch of angry emails and tweets from direct mail and email vendors… hear me out. Email and mail solicitation are both great supplements to any successful fundraising strategy.

However the core of any fundraising plan starts with The Ask. And there is no substitute for phone calls (or personal meetings) when it comes to making “The Ask.”

With the advent on online technology and surge in success of email fundraising, this endless quest for the “magic fix” has intensified. Its human nature: we all put off doing the thing that is the ‘least fun’ to do. And, for most candidates, that ‘least fun task’ is fundraising calls. However – there is no magic fix, so stop looking!

So, the next time you or your candidate find yourself reaching for any other option for fundraising… remember that there is NO magic fix.  Pick up the phone and dive back in – that next call could be your best call yet.

Oh, and about that cat….

 

KB’s Top 5 Fundraising Mantras: #4 – Details = Dollars

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Fundraising, Ramblings, Top Lists | 0 comments

Today I continue to count down my top five fundraising “mantras,” highlighting the five tips that I find absolutely essential to fundraising success.  While working with candidates and fundraising staffs, I often find myself repeating these five tips so often that they have become ‘mantra’-like. Though there are certainly many tips that are important to remember, these are the few I find myself accentuating most frequently.

 (In case you missed it, check out last week’s post: Fundraising Mantra #5 – Remove the Excuses)


#4: Details = Dollars

In the business of fundraising, the details matter.

Every voicemail, phone message, missed connection, mumbled pledge or rushed exchange between you and your donors are potential contributions.   And when you treat these potential contributions in a haphazard manner, you are failing to maximize your fundraising potential and most certainly are missing out on contributions.

Think of every message you’ve ever scribbled on the back of a napkin as a possible check.

Consider every voicemail you receive while running between meetings to be a potential contribution.

…. Sound like hyperbole? Think about it:

As you go about the business of campaigning, there are thousands of snippets of information hurled about; often at a frenzied pace that would make the most disciplined multi-tasker’s head spin. Between the grassroots events, media interviews, meetings with constituents, constant phone calls and staff interactions; you are constantly gathering thousands of pieces of information. It is impossible for you to store all this information in your head – no matter how “on top of it” you have always been. It’s time to ensure you have a system (and hopefully a staff member or volunteer) to help you keep up.

As important as the fundraising events, meetings and grand galas are, it is the small, unglamorous bits of data that truly separate the mediocre fundraisers from the great fundraisers.

If you aren’t actively tracking the details of your fundraising work in a thorough and effective way, you are actively hurting your fundraising efforts.

It may be time to take an audit of how you are currently tracking and storing information. Whether your process involves a simple spreadsheet or a complicated database system, save your information in a reliable manner. Those phone numbers, email addresses and call notes are your bread and butter.

Also – (Shameless plug alert!) – consider hiring a finance director or a fundraising consultant. I provide services to my clients that streamline their fundraising efforts to catch the details that are slipping through the cracks. We work with clients’ systems or develop them to best seize the opportunities they encounter. Investing in the help of a professional fundraiser can take your efforts to the next level.

(If you’d like to talk about how we may be able to help your campaign, click here to talk with us about how KB Strategic Group may be able to help.)

Details matter. Treat them with care and your campaign coffers will thank you.

I Went to Chicago to Discover the Future of the GOP

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Politics, Ramblings, RNC, Women in Politics | 0 comments

ChicagoOct2013I have reached my limit. I can’t possibly read one more word opining on the impending implosion of the Republican party, the conservative movement or, apparently, free democratic government. If you are looking for yet another article assessing the pre-apocalyptic GOP… this is not it.

The weeping, moaning and gnashing of teeth can be heard throughout the media, the blogosphere and the op-ed pages…  and there exist in these mediums more opinions, strategies and prognostications than the sky has stars. (Or … more than Obama has czars. I almost went with that.

But I’m over it.  I’m over the whining and complaining. In politics, it seems that the “end of the world” seems to come every 3.45 years or so and seems to only switch main characters and buzzwords.

I didn’t get into politics for THIS.

However, I saw the future of the Republican Party this weekend. And I have HOPE.

Hope may seem like a false comfort when a unifying strategy is the medicine we need, but for me, after the weeks I’ve witnessed in Washington, I’ll take hope.

This past weekend I flew to Chicago to teach a class on fundraising as part of the Republican National Committee’s “Getting Ready to Run” series. This was the 2nd of 6 nationwide trainings for female GOP candidates that I’m honored to be participating in over the next few months, and frankly, I’m thrilled that the RNC is investing in a program like this. These types of trainings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the outreach we must be engaging in.

(Shameless Plug: If you or a Republican woman you know is interested in these trainings, they are a great resource, and please visit: www.gop.com/readytorun to learn more)

These sessions are great opportunities for female Republicans who are interested in seeking public office to learn about the basics of campaigning, grassroots, fundraising, media relations and even social media.

The women teaching the courses are fantastic, and they provide great resources for candidates.  Lisa Camooso Miller, former Communications Director at the RNC and founder of BluePrint Strategies leads a great session on media relations. Serenety Hanley, former Digital Director at the White House and owner of the Social Shack holds a thorough training on social media and the importance of a strong digital presence. Other speakers have included Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, GOP Rising Star and State Representative Marilinda Garcia and RNC Political Director Tiffany Watkins. Its an impressive group and I’m honored to be a part of it.

In these workshops, I’ve met some absolutely amazing women, from strikingly diverse backgrounds: stay-at-home moms who want to run for city council, college students just getting into student government, State Legislators who have run multiple campaigns, first-time candidates for school board and even a few candidates for U.S. Congress!

These sessions reminded me of what I already knew – that the future of the Republican Party starts and ends with better leadership.

Rebecca Kleefisch

Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch speaking to the RNC’s “Ready to Run” meeting in Chicago on October 19, 2013.

We need to inspire, to ignite, to connect with the average voter – something we have unfortunately failed to do in the last two Presidential cycles.  And I strongly believe that type of connection only comes from having more women at the table. Do any of us REALLY think that if more women held office in the House of Representatives that the government shutdown would have reached such a ridiculous impasse? If nothing else, women have shown a stronger ability to compromise and work in a bipartisan fashion than men (Read: Time Magazine – Are Women the Only Adults Left in Washington?) in other debates.

Seeing these strong conservative women at these sessions gave me hope. Hope that we have the ability to connect with female voters across the country, but we cannot continue to ignore their power and hope they jump on our “jobs and economy” message.

Voters choose their candidate based on their ability to connect with them. They have to identify with that candidates story, their background, their message.

This weekend I saw the future of the Republican party.  

I’m more convinced than ever that we have a bright future ahead of us, so long as we nurture the inspiring female candidates who want to be a part of it. 

——

Questions, comments or feedback? Leave them below or tweet Kirsten at @kborman! 

 

 

 

 

Wash Post: Tortilla Coast – Congress’s power restaurant w/ extra cheese

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This article from yesterday’s Washington Post was interesting not only due to its fundraising implications but also for the unassuming honesty from many people in “the know” about how DC works. I hold many events at Tortilla Coast because it is economical (compared with other DC restaurants bar none) and because it remains the most convenient location.

Also, great quotes from uber-fundraiser Lisa Spies. Read on to learn more about DC’s “power restaurant”….

 

Tortilla Coast: Congress’s power restaurant, with extra cheese

By Amy Argetsinger, Published: October 16

So, a Texas senator and a dozen conservative congressmen walk into a bar, and . . .

What, exactly? Some shutdown strategizing over a late-night dinner — no one’s sharing what transpired between Ted Cruz (R) and the House Republicans who met at a local watering hole on the sly very late Monday. The punch line, then, when news broke of the supposedly secret meeting was simply the name of the bar: Tortilla Coast.

A low-budget Capitol Hill institution for 25 years, the restaurant quickly found itself the butt of every joke in an otherwise humorless week in Washington.

“I just hope the solution to this problem ultimately is known as the ‘Tortilla Coast Accords,’ ” snickered Willie Geist on the MSNBC political gabfest “Morning Joe.”

“Ted Cruz and his Tortilla Coast Republicans are leading us to a default,” an unnamed GOP Senate aide told Talking Points Memo.

Social media wits LOLed over the name after Roll Call reported on the meeting, which House leadership learned about only because Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) happened to dine at the Tex-Mex hangout that night, too. There were riffs on “running for the border,” “the coast is clear,” the irony of immigration foes enjoying Latin-flavored cuisine — and the hilarity of high-level talks going down in a place with a name just stinking of suburban strip-mall kitsch.

Tortilla Coast!?! That’s where congressmen go?

Read more…. 

KB’s Top 5 Fundraising Mantras: #5 — Remove the Excuses

Posted by on Oct 16, 2013 in Fundraising, Politics, Top Lists | 2 comments

KB’s Top 5 Fundraising Mantras: #5 — Remove the Excuses

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring the topic of  successful fundraising strategies by cataloguing my top tips, or “fundraising mantras.”  These are the little bits of advice that I believe are essential to successful fundraising, so essential that I find myself repeating them often to myself, clients, potential candidates, people in the elevator, the Starbucks barista… essentially anyone who will listen.  In classic internet style,  I’ll be offering these tips via… what else? … A countdown.

(Have no fear, BuzzFeed, I am not planning on writing about the 18 Types of Annoying Cats You Meet On Instagramor the 23 Gorgeous Homes Made Entirely from Shipping Containers” … that’s all you.)

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I debut each additional mantra. Now, let’s get started…

 


 #5: Remove the Excuses

Excuses are the fundraising roadblocks that are often most detrimental to fundraising success, but also the most difficult to diagnose. Excuses often exist in the candidates’ blind spot — they are, in their very nature,  stalling tactics of self -defense. However, these excuses keep us from doing the work necessary for raising money.  They are nothing more than that: Excuses.

That is why I say this phrase repeatedly while working with clients, candidates or fundraisers — “Remove the Excuses!”  

You may consider this ‘mantra’ to be nothing more than common sense. However, this is one of the TOP problems I see hampering the efforts of local, state and federal campaigns. If getting out of our own way is common sense, then why are we still falling victim to it?

Candidates/principals will often contrive excuses subconsciously  to keep from doing the necessary work of fundraising. These excuses can be sensible or nonsensical, essential or ridiculous — sometimes they are even legitimate concerns. However, in reality, there is very little that should keep a candidate from fundraising… if that candidate wants to be successful.

What excuses am I talking about? They can run the gamut, from the practical to the nonsensical. Some of my favorites include:

  • I don’t have the time to fundraise
  • I’ll focus on fundraising next quarter
  • I don’t have enough information about these people to call them
  • I have a sore throat
  • My wife/husband/sister/brother needs me at home
  • I sent them an email – I don’t need to call!
  • Why don’t we ask ____ to call them instead?
  • So…. Don’t we need more yard signs?
  • Has anyone bought the volunteers lunch?

Often the candidate/fundraising principal doesn’t even consciously recognize that they are making excuses – they think they are rationally prioritizing, or dealing with the things that must be dealt with in the order that they come up. But, much like any detrimental behavior, acknowledging it is the first step to moving past it.

Another note: “Remove the Excuses” also applies to those in the ‘support’ role of fundraising.  Staffers, assistants, finance directors, friends, volunteers… even spouses! If you want your candidate/principal to succeed at fundraising then make it as easy as possible. Remove THEIR excuses, so they have nothing left to do but to make the calls, go to the meetings and make the ask. Bad numbers on the call list? Fix it! Too cold? Get a space heater! Are they hungry? Bring a sandwich to call time!

“Remove The Excuses” doesn’t JUST apply to those running for office – it can surely apply to many other areas of business, health & fitness (um, unused gym memberships, anyone?) or professional success. But it is one of my essential fundraising mantras because it is necessary at many points in your fundraising plan to take a step back and examine your roadblocks. If you are aware of your roadblocks – real or imagined – you can work on avoiding them and getting to your goal.  As long as you are making excuses you aren’t raising money!

 

Stay tuned next week for Mantra #4…. “Make The Ask!” 

 

 

Blogging about Fundraising and Federal Politics… you’ve been warned.

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Fundraising, Ramblings | 0 comments

Thanks for joining me here at my blog at KBStrategic.com.

I hope to make this blog a space where I post relevant fundraising insights, tips and advice as well as share breaking news about political fundraising, federal finance reporting, campaign updates… and of course shameless plugs for my clients.  Also shameless plugs for people I just happen to like. In the interest of full disclosure, there may occasionally be an amazing BuzzFeed List, political rant, hilarious meme making fun of political leaders or a delicious pumpkin cheesecake recipe here as well.  You’ve been warned.

Many people acknowledge the importance of fundraising in today’s political landscape, and much attention has been paid to the growing power fundraising has over the political system, especially in the media. (Um, SuperPACPanic of 2012, anyone?)

I don’t pretend to offer the preeminent opinion on fundraising, as it is a constantly changing industry without a specific playbook — though it does have many, many rules. In this business you will find just as many different opinions on the “right” way to raise money as you will find bad toupees. (Read: a LOT. What is it with hair in #ThisTown?)

However there are some basic principles and some tricks that I have learned along the way.

I expect that at this juncture, the only people reading this blog are my mother (hey, ma!) and perhaps a few who stumbled onto it whilst searching for a reliable home builder (KB Homes.com, right here, y’all…) – but I’d love to hear from you if you have ideas for future posts or questions.

Happy reading… and fundraising! Only 386 days until the 2014 election!

 

Upcoming Fundraising Seminars – RNC’s “Getting Ready to Run”

Posted by on Oct 11, 2013 in Fundraising, RNC, Women in Politics | 0 comments

Upcoming Fundraising Seminars – RNC’s “Getting Ready to Run”

I’m excited to be a part of the RNC’s “Blackboard to Blacktop: Getting Ready to Run” training sessions happening across the country this Fall. I will be leading sessions training these impressive Republican women in the basics of fundraising for a campaign.

THIS is exactly what we need to be doing – nurturing female Republican candidates from the ‘ground up,’ starting at the local level in communities across the country.

I’ll be posting updates from these training sessions as they happen – and I’m excited to meet so many amazing women who want to be involved in our party!

If you want to sign up for one of these sessions or find out more, head over the RNC’s website.

 

KB in the News: Why Ann Romney Was Right – March 5, 2013

Posted by on Mar 5, 2013 in In the News, Politics, Uncategorized, Washington Post | 0 comments

KB in the News: Why Ann Romney Was Right – March 5, 2013

Why Ann Romney is right — a Republican rebuttal

Read article via the Washington Post HERE

 

By Chris Cillizza, Updated: 

After we penned a piece on Monday titled “Ann Romney is wrong” that disputed her idea that the media bore a major share of the blame for her husband’s defeat last November, Kirsten Borman, a Republican consultant with Florida ties, took issue with the piece via Twitter. We invited Kirsten to write a fuller response and she took us up on it. It’s below in its unedited form.

During the last 24 hours, a small uproar has arisen in reaction to Ann Romney’s comments on “Fox News Sunday”, where she was asked about the media’s role in her husband’s loss. This outrage is best summed up by the usually sensible Chris Cilizza’s own headline: “Why Ann Romney is wrong OR why if you are bad at tennis, it’s not the racket’s fault.”

With all due respect to The Fix and some of my overzealous friends in the DC media, you’ve got this one all wrong.

I’ve watched the video of the Romneys’ appearance several times now, and I’m unable to reconcile the intense criticisms of Mrs. Romney — which range from the slightly defensive to the downright mean — with what she actually said.  Put into the near-impossible position of sitting beside her husband and assessing his defeat under the lights of our relentless media cycle, Ann Romney’s offenses appear to be that she had the gall to: 1. Be a genuine human being 2. Be a protective spouse and 3. Attempt to answer the questions asked of her. (For those who are experienced in the DC spin game, the latter may be her gravest mistake yet.)

Watching the interview in its entirety and not in small bites as many critics have done, I see a gracious, self-deprecating and haltingly cautious political spouse doing her best to balance the delicate subject of her husband’s loss. Within the context of the full interview, she names many reasons for Obama’s victory, including the President’s superior ground game and outreach to minority groups.  Her brief comment regarding the media was exactly that: A brief comment.

Upon reviewing the full context, you’ll see that Mrs. Romney was gracious, (“They had a better ground game than we did, that’s for sure,”) self-aware (“I come on like a she-lion, when it comes to defending Mitt”) and even referenced the popular 1980s cult classic film The Princess Bride, joking that she was “mostly over it,” with a genuine smile and a nimble laugh.

Regarding the much-talked about segment on whether coverage of the election was “fair,” Mrs. Romney’s response was not particularly striking: “Anytime you are running for office, you always believe you are being portrayed unfairly…. I think that’s a pretty universally felt opinion.”

Only when pressed and directly asked by Wallace, “Do you blame the media?” Mrs. Romney replies with a gleam in her eye and a full-throated laugh, “Oh, I won’t hesitate to blame the media.”

What more can we ask for? What more do you want from a woman who was a front-row spectator to her husband’s electoral shellacking, and also to the brutal post-election analysis and subsequent blame game that would send the most hardened political actor into the corner, rocking in the fetal position.

I won’t pretend that the interview was comfortable, by any definition. As a conservative Republican and Romney voter, I question why the Romney’s agreed to participate in the interview. I would posit that it’s impossible for almost any normal political couple (read: Anyone without the last name Clinton or Bush) to handle this interview and these questions without appearing bitter to some.

However, what was most striking to me in the subsequent journalistic onslaught is that it belies the media’s lack of knowledge of the intensely personal, real emotions that are felt during a campaign.

Campaigns are tough. Really tough. When you are doing it correctly, campaigns are supposed to be painful, exhausting, adrenaline-filled and intensely personal.

I challenge you to find any spouse of a losing Presidential candidate who hasn’t, overtly or otherwise, blamed the media’s portrayal for part of the loss.  The faux-outrage over this relatively tame comment by Mrs. Romney shows that many members of the media don’t get the passion and loyalty needed to make it on the campaign trail.

Somewhat ironically, many of the very same critics who constantly dogged the Romney campaign for a perceived lack of genuine feeling, spontaneity and emotion now balk at her honest, personal candor.

To succeed in politics, and on the campaign trail, you have to learn how to take a punch. And the Romneys took quite a few, many gracefully without comment. Instead of glass jaw boxing, perhaps those who are offended by Mrs. Romney’s comment can learn from tough political actors they cover — and even from Mrs. Romney herself.

Kirsten Borman, a  DC-based GOP fundraiser and political consultant, is a veteran of several Congressional, Statewide and Presidential elections. A Florida native, Borman most recently led the campaign team of Rep. Daniel Webster, who emerged victorious despite attacks from Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2012 and Rep. Alan Grayson in 2010. Follow her on twitter at @kborman.