November 14, 2011

Two More U.S. Representatives Endorse Romney

I try not to front page all the individual legislators that endorse presidential candidates, but I’ve got to highlight this one just because she is my Representative from the wonderful state of Wyoming: Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) has thrown her support behind Mitt Romney.

Lummis was a welcome replacement here in the Cowboy State for the much-maligned Barbara Cubin back in 2008. Then in 2010, Lummis was one of the original members of Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party caucus (you know, the group that supposedly doesn’t like Mitt Romney).

She may be most well known nationally, however, for this bit on the Colbert Report. Heh.

Also announced today was an endorsement from Robert Dold (R-IL), giving Romney all three of the Illinois Representatives who have endorsed thus far in the race.

  10:49 pm Endorsements, Mitt Romney  

Super PAC Ad Suggests Team Huntsman Ramping Up Efforts

Our Destiny PAC, the Jon Huntsman super PAC, will start airing the following ad in New Hampshire tomorrow:
The indispensable Chris Cillizza adds:

Our Destiny PAC has yet to file a report detailing either its donors or financial activities with the Federal Election Commission. It was officially formed in late August and boasts Fred Davis, the ad maker behind Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign, as its main strategist.

A source close to the ad buy suggested it would be “substantial” but would not discuss specifics. One GOP media buyer said the initial expenditure was $132,000 in the Manchester (N.H.) medi market but the group has also bought time in Boston and Burling, Vermont — meaning it is likely in excess of $500,000.

At first glance, this seems like yet another attack piece from the Huntsman faction. However, once you move past the initial frames, things start to get more positive, and Huntsman’s major achievements flash across the screen. For a candidate who most voters don’t even know, he’ll need more of this if he hopes to gain any measurable traction in the Granite State. After all, as many here and elsewhere have noted, people rarely, if ever, simply cast a vote for someone out of protest against another candidate; rather, they need at least some reason to vote for someone.

Despite his initial struggles, Huntsman doesn’t appear ready to throw in the towel. Perhaps he believes President Obama will win re-election, prompting the party to seek a more moderate standard-bearer in 2016 and thus giving him plenty of reason to continue positioning himself as the heir to John McCain. Maybe he wants to remain relevant to increase his chances of landing a Veep or Secretary of State spot. Maybe he has simply become a victim of delusion.

Whatever the case, pondering Huntsman’s situation reminded me of an intriguing piece I read a couple months ago, from everybody’s favorite Republican, David Frum. At the time, Frum surmised that Huntsman’s speech to the Florida CPAC conference may portend the Ambassador running to Mitt’s right in an end-around attempt to become the Tea Party-backed Romney alternative.

Similar whispers have popped up more recently. And with the unexpected (to say the least) volatility of the Tea Party vote throughout this nomination process, it would behoove us to at least avoid dismissing the idea out of hand.

After all, it’s not too hard to imagine; notwithstanding his confrontational rhetoric toward the party base, Huntsman does sport arguably the strongest records of any candidate on some key Republican issues, such as life, taxes, and guns. And if the primary polling has taught us anything, it’s that the Tea Party support remains incredibly fluid and receptive to rhetoric and tone (to that point, none other than Erick Erickson has already started expressing openness toward J-Hunt). Therefore, Huntsman could conceivably charge after the base by emphasizing the highlights of his resume as he introduces himself to voters (and especially New Hampshirites).

He could also take an even bigger risk and attempt to ideologically position himself as a fusion of a conservative populist (a niche that no candidate has truly seized) and a McCain-esque, Independent-friendly maverick. It sounds inherently contradictory and would certainly prove difficult, but it’s actually not impossible, especially in this current political environment.

First and foremost, a candidate with this strategy would have to rail against concentrated power in virtually all forms – big government, big corporations, an adventurous foreign policy, etc. They would have to describe themselves as pro-market, not simply pro-business. Huntsman has already taken a step in this direction with his tax proposal, as it would remove the myriad deductions and credits in the tax code that distort markets, pick winners and losers, and place power in the hands of a select few instead of empowering individuals with more equitable opportunity to pursue their happiness.

A candidate like Huntsman could also thread the aforementioned ideological needle by advocating means desirable to Independents to achieve ends favored by Conservatives, and vice versa. As a means to reduce the deficit (desired by Conservatives), he could call for combining or eliminating federal programs and departments, which he would describe with Independent-friendly adjectives like “wasteful”, “excessive”, and “duplicative”, in addition to describing his intentions to reduce America’s military footprint in economic and cost-benefit terms. On the issue of entitlements (hot-button for Conservatives), he could call for his own version of a bipartisan panel directed to devise a plan to “strengthen” entitlements and make them more “sustainable” (money for Independents, who also love bipartisanship). As a means to create jobs (what Independents want first and foremost), he could trumpet his tax plan (embraced by Conservatives). On the social front, he could align himself with the polling trends we’ve seen emerge by playing up his pro-life record, especially in the primary, and then re-affirming his support for same-sex civil unions in a general election. And throughout the endeavor, he could remind voters of the “courage” he has shown in “standing up to the entrenched interests in all areas of government” and “addressing tough issues [such as the environment in Utah] by bringing all sides together and taking innovative approaches”.

These represent only a few examples that would become available to the Ambassador (or does he prefer Governor?) if he adopted this strategy. Of course, in the end, he would face two enormous – and potentially insurmountable – obstacles: his service in the Obama administration (the scarlet “O”, if you will) and his even-mannered disposition (too vanilla for the Republican electorate, to the less charitable). However, I would argue again that the polling thus far in this race has showed us that nearly any candidate can pique the interest of the Tea Party with the right wording and emotion.

Critics may also charge that this approach would require Huntsman to change past positions. Now, I don’t purport to know enough about his background to categorically discount this claim, but I would counter that with so few people knowing much about him, he could avoid the flip-flopper perception surprisingly easily by making it a point to define his record on his own terms.

It remains a remote possibility that Huntsman will win the nomination. However, a possibility still exists, should he choose an appropriate strategy and, of course, fall in the good graces of Lady Luck

Poll Watch: The Polling Company (R) Iowa 2012 Republican Caucus Survey

The Polling Company (R) Iowa 2012 GOP Caucus Survey

  • Herman Cain 20%
  • Newt Gingrich 19%
  • Mitt Romney 14%
  • Michele Bachmann 10%
  • Ron Paul 10%
  • Rick Perry 5%
  • Rick Santorum 4%
  • Jon Huntsman 2%
  • Gary Johnson 1%
  • Undecided 13%

Survey of 501 likely Republican caucus-goers was conducted November 11-13, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal.

  4:59 pm Poll Watch  

Dick Morris has Breakfast with Mitt

Dick Morris accidentally met up with Mitt Romney in a restaurant at the Detroit airport last Friday. Here is Dick’s report on that chance meeting:


Dick reports that Romney appeared quite loose, very relaxed, and in control. Mitt seemed pleased with the way the campaign has been going. Dick mentions that he was very impressed and feels that Mitt would make a great president.


  2:53 pm Mitt Romney  

SNL Republican Debate Parody

Posted without comment:

  1:59 pm Presidential Debates  

Poll Watch: PPP (D) 2012 Republican Nomination Survey

PPP (D) 2012 GOP Nomination Survey

  • Newt Gingrich 28%
  • Herman Cain 25%
  • Mitt Romney 18% 
  • Rick Perry 6%
  • Michele Bachmann 5% 
  • Ron Paul 5%
  • Jon Huntsman 3%
  • Rick Santorum 1%
  • Gary Johnson 1%


  12:56 pm Poll Watch  

PPP Poll Teaser: Gingrich Leads Nationally

PPP Tweets:

Our national poll, out this afternoon, finds Newt Gingrich taking the lead in the GOP race.

  11:52 am Newt Gingrich  

Poll Watch: CNN/ORC 2012 Presidential Survey

CNN/ORC 2012 Presidential Poll


  • Mitt Romney 24%
  • Newt Gingrich 22%
  • Herman Cain 14%
  • Rick Perry 12%
  • Ron Paul 8%
  • Michele Bachmann 6%
  • Jon Huntsman 3%
  • Rick Santorum 3%
  • Someone else (vol.) 1%
  • None/No one (vol.) 4%
  • No opinion 4%


  11:50 am Poll Watch  

Re-Poll Watch: NBC/WSJ National Republican Primary

Well, this is an interesting twist on things. Exactly one week ago, NBC/WSJ released a national Republican primary poll that we reported here at Race. In the midst of that survey, they identified 102 respondents who were willing to be re-contacted and re-surveyed one week later to see how the race was changing.

So the numbers below are how those 102 respondents answered a few days ago, and the numbers in parentheses are how they answered a week or so ago during the initial survey. Yes, the sample size is small, but doing a completely non-random sample is an interesting take on measuring how a race is changing — something that, to the best of my knowledge, hasn’t been done before.

NBC/WSJ National Republican Primary Re-Survey

  • Romney – 32% (27)
  • Cain – 27% (28)
  • Gingrich – 22% (17)
  • Paul – 9% (10)
  • Perry – 4% (8)
  • Bachmann – 2% (4)
  • Santorum – 2% (4)
  • Huntsman – 1% (1)

Initial survey of 102 Republican voters was taken as part of a larger survey on Nov 3-5. Re-survey was conducted Nov 10-12.

  10:22 am Poll Watch  

Poll Watch: SurveyUSA California 2012 Presidential Survey

SurveyUSA California 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 50%
  • Mitt Romney 39%
  • Barack Obama 56%
  • Newt Gingrich 32%

What if your choice was between the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and the Republican Ticket of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who would you vote for?

  • Obama/Biden 52%
  • Romney/Gingrich 38%

What if your choice was between the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the Republican Ticket of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who would you vote for?

  • Obama/Clinton 57%
  • Romney/Gingrich 35%

What if your choice was between Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and the Republican Ticket of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, who would you vote for?

  • Obama/Biden 53%
  • Gingrich/Romney 35%

What if your choice was between the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the Republican Ticket of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, who would you vote for?

  • Obama/Clinton 57%
  • Gingrich/Romney 33%

Survey of 800 adults was conducted November 10, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Party ID breakdown: 38% Democrat; 26% Republican; 35% Independent. Political ideology: 48% Moderate; 26% Conservative; 21% Liberal.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal.

  10:00 am Poll Watch  

Poll Watch: SurveyUSA Kansas 2012 Presidential Survey

SurveyUSA Kansas 2012 Presidential Survey

  • Mitt Romney 56%
  • Barack Obama 31%
  • Newt Gingrich 52%
  • Barack Obama 35%

What if your choice was between the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and the Republican Ticket of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who would you vote for?

  • Romney/Gingrich 56%
  • Obama/Biden 32%

What if your choice was between the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the Republican Ticket of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who would you vote for?

  • Romney/Gingrich 56%
  • Obama/Clinton 34%

What if your choice was between Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and the Republican Ticket of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, who would you vote for?

  • Gingrich/Romney 53%
  • Obama/Biden 34%

What if your choice was between the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the Republican Ticket of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, who would you vote for?

  • Gingrich/Romney 52%
  • Obama/Clinton 34%

Survey of 800 adults was conducted November 10, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Party ID breakdown: 41% Republican; 25% Democrat; 33% Independent. Political ideology: 40% Moderate; 39% Conservative; 15% Liberal.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal.

  9:30 am Poll Watch  

Poll Watch: GWU/Politico National Republican Primary

Politico / George Washington University Battleground Poll

  • Cain – 27%
  • Romney – 25%
  • Gingrich – 14%
  • Perry – 14%
  • Paul – 5%
  • Bachmann – 2%
  • Santorum – 2%
  • Huntsman – *
  • Johnson – *
  • Undecided – 9%

Second Choice:

  • Gingrich – 20%
  • Romney – 20%
  • Cain – 16%
  • Perry – 13%
  • Paul – 8%
  • Bachmann – 6%
  • Santorum – 4%
  • Huntsman – 3%
  • Johnson – *

Regardless of who you plan to vote for, who do you think is going to win the Republican nomination?

  • Romney – 48%
  • Cain – 22%
  • Perry – 6%
  • Gingrich – 3%
  • All others – *

Survey of 436 registered Republicans was conducted Nov 6-9.

The topline results — Cain 27, Romney 25 — don’t show the whole picture for this poll, however. According to an accompanying Politico article, on the first day of the survey, Nov 6, Cain led with 40%. The next day Cain fell to 22%, and the final day of the poll he received just 19%.

That’s the Cain Collapse™ captured over the course of just four days, folks.

The reverse was true for Mitt Romney: on the final day of the survey (November 9), a full 40% of respondents chose Mitt Romney.

  9:25 am Poll Watch  

Diversion On The Sidelines

I have suggested that the sum of all the pre-primary/caucus debates this year have constituted, in real terms, the first virtual primary of the 2012 presidential campaign cycle. I realize no actual votes have been cast, but the “debates primary” has, in effect, reduced the relatively large field of major candidates (including 10 announced and a half dozen unannounced hopefuls to two or three. I suspect that, by the time Iowans vote in their caucus on January 3 (only a few weeks away), the field will only be 3-5 active candidates, and only two finalists. The race may be over following the Florida primary in February (or sooner).

The most recent debate (in South Carolina) only reinforced my view, as frontrunner Mitt Romney and emerging final challenger Newt Gingrich performed the best, and strengthened their positions. To be fair, Rick Perry, after a series of poor and finally disastrous debate performances, did the best he has so far, but, like Tim Pawlenty (now withdrawn), Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, Mr. Perry’s moment in the political sun has likely set, at least for this cycle.

The odds for the eventual nominee in Tampa next year still greatly favor Mr. Romney who has run a cautiously flawless campaign so far. Mr. Gingrich, as I and many others observed, has staged a remarkable comeback, thanks primarily to his debate performances, but he will have to demonstrate extraordinary self-discipline and skill from here on to have even a chance to pull an upset.

One of the signs that the Republican nomination is settling into a climactic stage before the voting has begun is that the liberal Old Media institutions have begun a drumbeat of personal attacks on Romney and Gingrich. These attacks, immediately previously directed at Herman Cain, appear to be concentrated, in Mr. Romney’s case, on his management of the companies he ran in the private business world; and, in Mr. Gingrich’s case, on his personal life more than 15 years ago. In the latter instance, many of the old “scandals” have proven to be myths (most notably his divorce confrontation with his first wife on her “cancer deathbed.” Not only is that first wife still alive, but her daughter, an eyewitness, says the confrontation never happened.) Mr Romney’s “scandals,” it would appear, are based on his successful management decisions that included firing employees and consolidating operations.

Following the Cain allegations, and the fact that the Old Media has virtually ignored serious allegations made about Senator Obama before the election, and the increasing number of scandals tied to him as President (the Solyndra case being only one of these), it has been suggested that the voting public, particularly the all-important independent and centrist voting public will pay less and less attention to media attempts to stir up sensational gossip and allegations against only one side.

It is an interesting irony that most of the many GOP presidential debates so far this year have been broadcast and managed by Old Media outlets, producers and media stars acting as moderators. Overwhelmingly, they are liberals who make no attempt to hide their preference for the Democrats and Mr Obama. Much of their efforts have thus been perceived, especially by Republicans and more neutral observers, as biased and unfair. Yet the debates’ frequency has drawn increasingly large audiences, and their impact has been to give the underfunded candidates and their underfunded party an enormous amount of free “advertising” and publicity. Mr. Gingrich, particularly, had no money after his early flub over Paul Ryan, and yet he was able to regroup until the debates have now brought in a flood of campaign funds (reportedly $1 million last week alone) just in time to finance serious efforts in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In spite of all of this, it is critically important to remember that the presidential election of 2012 will not be about nominee Mitt Romney, nominee Newt Gingrich, or if by an unexpected turn of events, any other Republican nominee. A second-term election of a first-term president is almost always about them, that is, the voters’ evaluation of whether or not the incumbent president merits another four years in office. We can turn out endless analyses of the candidates in an election, but the journalists who do this are really writing for their own small community. It won’t just be the economy alone, but the whole condition of American life, including unemployment levels, degrees of inflation, pension fund stability, affordability of health care, Obamacare, interest rates, the stock market, crises in Europe Asia and the Middle East, and the reputation of the U.S. as a world leader that will determine how Americans feel about Barack Obama and his presidency.

That is where the ball is in play. The rest is diversion on the sidelines.


-Please visit Mr. Casselman’s personal site.

  8:59 am 2012 Misc.  

Obama’s Obsession

The following was taken from a blog at MittRomney.Com:

President Obama has accomplished what no other president in modern history has: unemployment above 8% for each full month of his presidency, one million home foreclosures, $15 trillion in debt, and the loss of our prized AAA credit rating. In their desperation to hold onto power, the Obama political machine will say and do anything to distract from President Obama’s abysmal economic record.

In recent weeks, the president’s rhetoric has gone from clueless to divisive. And his campaign machine has turned all of its focus towards their greatest threat: a conservative businessman that knows how the real economy works.

By looking at what the Democrats are saying, it’s hard to misconstrue their obsession with Governor Romney:

  • …[T]he Democrats referenced Mitt Romney in 24 of the 31 posts on their debate watch commentary website. No other GOP candidate was mentioned by name (emphasis added).
  • Ben LaBolt, Press Secretary for Obama for America, references Mitt Romney in 24 of his last 28 tweets on Twitter.
  • Over the last 10 days, DNC Press Secretary Melanie Roussell has made mention of Mitt Romney over 50 times.
  • In the last 10 days, over half of all blog posts at mention Mitt Romney.
  • In recent weeks, the DNC has released 26 attack videos on their YouTube channels. Unsurprisingly, all 26 videos have only one target — Mitt Romney.

It’s easy to see why Mitt is on their mind. With Governor Romney’s record of creating jobs and turning around businesses in the private sector, saving the 2002 Winter Games, and balancing the Massachusetts budget every year as governor, can you blame them? Democrats realize that Mitt Romney is the only Republican who can defeat President Obama in 2012.

Nice logo. :)

While their rhetorical spin might be debatable — they are the main Romney site after all — the facts they cite are nonetheless quite revealing. It would appear that Obama and his people are beginning to focus their attacks almost exclusively upon Mitt Romney. If you couple that with the fact that Intrade now has Mitt at 71% to win the nomination, one gets the distinct impression that the smart money is starting to coalesce around Romney. Mark Halperin of Time Magazine wrote just today, “As we hit the homestretch, there is a palpable sense (reflected in polling data) among voters, press, pundits, and even late-night comics that Romney is the most likely to win the nomination.”

  1:31 am Barack Obama, Democrats, Mitt Romney  

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