January 24, 2015

Zogby Poll: GOP Presidential Race

A number of people have linked to this poll in the comments, so I thought I would go ahead and give it its own thread.

This is a Zogby poll, which is not exactly considered the gold standard of polls. To begin with, it is an on-line poll. That means it is not a random sample. The people participating signed themselves up to do so. Second, it attempts to take a snapshot of the entire nation using a sample of only 223 likely Republican primary voters — a very small number four or five times smaller than any reputable polling firm uses. As it is, they claim a MOE of 6.6% which means Rand Paul could be in first place for all we know.

Anyway, here it is:

  • Romney 16%
  • Bush 13%
  • Rubio 13%
  • Christie 11%
  • Huckabee 9%
  • Walker 6%
  • Jindahl (sic) 4%
  • Paul 3%
  • Perry 3%
  • Cruz 3%
  • Haley 0%
  • Portman 0%
  • Martinez 0%
  • Santorum 0%

As I said, it’s Zogby, so take it with a grain of salt. About the only thing that can be said is once again Romney’s in first place, Bush is in second, and Santorum is at or near dead last.

Jeb Bush’s Speaks to the National Automobile Dealers Association

Last night Jeb Bush made his first major address since announcing he was seriously looking into running for President. He spoke to the National Automobile Dealers Association in their annual convention in San Francisco.  The Washington Post reports:

[T]he Republican former Florida governor spoke confidently and in significant detail about the broad range of issues beginning to shape the campaign for the White House. Bush signaled he would offer the country the “adult conversations” he said are lacking in Washington and would focus on people who have been left out of the economic revival.

Bush was sharply critical of Washington — not only of President Obama but also of the Republican-controlled Congress — saying there were too many “academic and political hacks” with “hard-core ideology” who are running the country without making progress.

“They’re basically Maytag repairmen,” he said. “Nothing gets done.” Bush added, “It is time to challenge every aspect of how government works — how it taxes, how it regulates, how it spends — to open up economic opportunity for all.”

The LA Times added:

“Just a lot of reasons to be angry or grumpy and negative and then react to the overreach,” the former Florida governor told a gathering of the nation’s auto dealers in San Francisco after delivering a long and scathing assessment of President Obama’s time in office, both domestically and on the world stage.

But, he went on, “we’re not going to win votes as Republicans unless we can lay out a hopeful, optimistic message that’s based in reality, that’s grounded in a set of policies that are real, that people believe can actually happen. Hope and a positive agenda wins out over anger and reaction every day of the week.”

He was asked at one point about his meeting with Mitt Romney the day before. He replied:

“We talked about the Patriots. We talked a little bit about politics, not as much as you might imagine. We talked about the future of the country. We talked about the need for a more engaged foreign policy..?.?.The awkward side of this, about running and such, we put aside.”

All in all not a bad speech. It is a strong start for a campaign for the Oval Office.


by @ 9:10 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

January 23, 2015

Hot Air Poll

The Conservative blog, HotAir recently polled its members on the nascent 2016 GOP presidential primary race. The results are as follows:

  • Scott Walker 25% (682 votes)
  • Ted Cruz 25% (671 votes)
  • Mitt Romney 20% (542 votes)
  • Ben Carson 8% (209 votes)
  • Rand Paul 5% (146 votes)
  • Rick Perry 5% (132 votes)
  • Bobby Jindal 3% (77 votes)
  • Marco Rubio 2% (52 votes)
  • John Kasich 1% (36 votes)
  • Jeb Bush 1% (35 votes)
  • Mike Pence 1% (28 votes)
  • Mike Huckabee 1% (25 votes)
  • Chris Christie 0% (11 votes)
  • Rick Santorum 0% (4 votes)
  • —-
  • Other 3% (85 votes)

Some observations:

  • These guys eat, drink, sleep, and breath politics so blaming “Name Recognition” for any of the results just doesn’t cut it.
  • Walker and Cruz came in far stronger here than anywhere else. The HotAir crowd really likes these guys.
  • Romney finishes in a very strong third place. He is only five ppts off the leaders. This is rather unexpected given the makeup of the HotAir readership.
  • No one else broke double digits.
  • Jeb Bush, who is supposed to be Romney’s main competition for the nomination, is way down the list barely registering a weak 1%.
  • Chris Christie, the other supposed big competitor in the Establishment wing is so far down in the mud that he registers a mere 0%.
  • Rick Santorum, as he often does in almost any poll, anywhere, shows up dead last. Nobody drags bottom like Rick.


Romney Inner Circle To Meet Today

Things are moving fast. Yesterday Mitt met with Jeb in Salt Lake. Today, Mitt is meeting with his inner circle in Boston. The National Review has the story:

The meeting will include members of the former Massachusetts governor’s inner circle: his son Tagg; top aides Spencer Zwick and Matt Waldrip; longtime confidante Beth Myers; political consultant Eric Fehrnstrom; longtime pal Bob White; and adviser Ron Kaufman.

[M]any of Romney’s famously loyal donors … don’t want a repeat of 2012. … “It’s been incredibly impressive how many of the large contributors remain solidly committed to Mitt and are prepared to support him in the race,” says one top Romney donor. “What they’re looking for is a political strategy that leads to victory in the general election and they’d like to see a strategy that introduces the real Mitt Romney, the Mitt Romney that they know, to the American voters.”

It’s been two weeks since the word went out that Mitt was seriously considering running again. That’s two weeks for the impact of the idea to sink in, two weeks to gauge reaction, and two weeks to identify the key strengths and weaknesses that may affect a potential run.

I’m predicting that this is the last true bail-point, the last chance for Mitt to call off a possible run with little or no damage. If he calls it off today, nobody would hold it against him. But if he doesn’t, the momentum behind the run will be nigh impossible to stop. He will be fully committed.

I suspect it’s fish or cut bait time for Mitt.


by @ 12:52 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Poll Watch: Rest of Rasmussen’s National GOP Presidential Poll

Rasmussen released partial results yesterday for their latest 2016 GOP Presidential Poll. Here are the rest of the results:

Horse Race Fav Unfav Never Heard Not Sure Support Certain Support Uncertain
Romney 24 77 20 1 2 31 27
Bush 13 64 28 3 5 20 14
Carson 12 51 16 26 7 21 11
Walker 11 52 17 23 8 9 15
Christie 7 53 36 6 5 6 6
Paul 7 57 27 7 9 5 10
Perry 5 54 29 10 7 3 7
Rubio 5 58 22 11 8 21 11
Other 4
Not Sure 12

How Certain are you of your vote:

  • Certain: 30%
  • Uncertain: 70%

Some observations:

  • Mitt Romney is currently enjoying a double digit lead over his closest competitor
  • Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, and Scott Walker are battling it out for second place.
  • Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio are down in the noise.
  • With a 30/70 ratio of vote certainty, nobody has this race sewn up.


Romney and Bush Meeting No Big Deal

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Two of the Republican Party’s top presidential talents met privately in Utah on Thursday, raising speculation they may have cut some sort of political deal. But those close to Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush said instead it was simply a cordial, political conversation between friends and potential rivals.

“It has absolutely no strategic implications. Period,” said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, a close adviser to Romney. “I think it is two people who know each other, who like each other, who have common interests and who realize they may be in an awkward place soon.”

Bush hopped a Delta flight from Washington, D.C., to Salt Lake City International Airport, where a KUTV reporter talked to him. The former Florida governor said the meeting wouldn’t be uncomfortable.

“Nah, not at all,” Bush said. “I respect him a lot. I admire him a lot. He is a great American. I look forward to seeing him.”

Asked what they would talk about, Bush said: “The future.”

After the meeting at an undisclosed location, possibly one of Romney’s two homes in the state, Bush aides wouldn’t shed any light on what was said.

“Governor Bush enjoyed visiting with Governor Romney and has great respect for him,” offered Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell.

The Deseret News reported:

Thursday’s private meeting in Utah between potential 2016 presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush shouldn’t be seen as any sort of showdown, one of Romney’s top advisers said.

“There’s none of that,” said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who headed the transition team that would have prepared Romney to take over the White House had he defeated President Barack Obama in 2012.

“There are two men who have known each other a long time and like each other, and they want to make sure there’s good communications between the two of them,” Leavitt said. “And absolutely nothing beyond that.”

So much for Allahpundit’s “RINO Yalta”. Both of the parties involved are playing down the importance of the meeting, and nobody appears to be changing the trajectory of their pre-campaign campaign. It is an unusual move to be sure, but it is nice to see two potential competitors being nice to each other. It shows a fair amount of class.

by @ 12:01 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

January 22, 2015

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Bush/Romney Head-to-head

Rasmussen asked 787 Likely Republican Voters on January 18-19, 2015, the following question: If the 2016 Republican presidential primary were held in your state today, … [and] it was a contest between Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, whom would you choose?

Here are the results, bearing in mind that this is a poll of Republicans:

Romney Bush Margin Neither
All 49 32 17 19
Conservatives 51 30 21 19
Moderates 49 31 18 20
Liberals 35 55 20 10

So Mitt easily out polls Bush with all Republican likely voters save liberal Republicans. With them, Jeb is the big favorite. Not only does Bush lead Romney in the raw liberal vote, but the liberals seem more certain of their choice. They want Bush.

How interesting is that?

Romney should temper his elation at this poll, however. Nearly 20% of the Republicans want neither he nor Bush even if they were the only two names on the ballot. That’s hardly an overwhelming vote of confidence.

All the same, this is the sort of result that will make the upcoming Utah meeting between Mitt and Jeb all the more interesting, don’t you think?

by @ 11:53 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Poll Watch

Romney On Country’s Challenges

Mitt Romney spoke to an audience in Salt Lake City last night about the challenges he sees facing America. The Deseret News reports: (Bullet Points added)

“It relates to the conclusion that I have, that the major challenges that this country faces are not being dealt with by leaders in Washington,” Romney said. “Both sides of the aisle, we just haven’t been able to take on and try and make progress on the major issues of our day.”

• Starting with the nation’s $18 trillion debt, Romney used a series of charts and graphs to warn the nation’s financial situation “could get worse” as interest rates rise and the spiraling debt climbs another $750 billion annually.

• He also tackled climate change, describing himself as “one of those Republicans” who believe the world is getting warmer and people contribute to the temperature changes and calling for “real leadership” to deal with coal emissions.

• Poverty and helping the middle class, topics Romney has started talking about since acknowledging to a group of donors recently he was considering getting in the 2016 race for president, were brought up several times.

“Let’s deal with poverty. Have we done it? No,” he said to applause, citing limited changes in the numbers of Americans living in poverty. “It’s just a crime to these poor families who deserve better.”

• The solution, he said, is to remove disincentives to marriage while helping break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by helping people find ways to finish their education and enter the workforce.

What won’t work, Romney said, is taking money from the wealthy to help the poor.

“I’m all for helping people who need help and giving them a lifting hand,” he said, but a better way is encouraging economic opportunity.

• “The rich do just fine,” Romney said later, adding that he believes “free enterprise and the principles of conservatism create more good jobs.”


by @ 10:26 am. Filed under Mitt Romney

Jeb to Meet Mitt in Utah

The New York Times reports:

Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are scheduled to meet privately this week in Utah, raising the possibility that the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns that would split the Republican establishment next year, two prominent party members said Wednesday night.

The meeting was planned before Mr. Romney’s surprise announcement two weeks ago to donors in New York that he was considering a third run for the White House.

Mr. Bush proposed the meeting, according to one of the party members familiar with the planning, who did not want to be quoted by name in discussing a secret meeting.

The original idea was for Mr. Bush, who announced his presidential ambitions in December, to show his respect for Mr. Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee. The meeting stayed on both men’s calendars even as Mr. Romney took steps to test the presidential waters, moves that could make the meeting awkward.

Aides to Mr. Romney and Mr. Bush did not reply to requests for comment.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in that meeting!

by @ 8:49 am. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney


1. Mitt Romney  former Governor of Massachusetts
Third time’s the charm? That old cliche will be alive and well among the throngs of donors, activists, staffers, and volunteers who have been asking Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 standard bearer, to run again in 2016. After many denials, the former nominee has let it be known that he is seriously considering another bid. Romney’s name recognition, fundraising machine, political operation, and decade of recent campaign experience send him back to the top of the ladder. While Romney’s flaws are well known, and his 2012 failure is sure to be used against, he has cultivated much goodwill among GOP office holders and activists across the country. He is also primed for a major “I told you so” victory lap regarding many of President Obama’s second term failures. In the crowded 2016 lineup, a third Romney run is no more outlandish than a third Bush family campaign. As of now, it is the son of George Romney, not George Bush, in the best position to win.

2. Jeb Bush  former Governor of Florida
The scion of the Bush dynasty has all but declared his candidacy, launching a surprisingly early bid into the 2016 fray. Bush announced on Facebook that he would explore a bid for president, but the release of emails from his time as Governor of Florida and his resignation from many corporate boards signals he’s far past the exploratory phase and is already running. The early jump by Bush gives him both a head start on consolidating establishment support and puts pressure on his main establishment rivals, former nominee Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to get in sooner than he may have wanted. Still, family connections and money can only take Bush so far, and he will have to shake off the rust and prove himself a modern candidate if he is to prevail in 2016.

3. Rand Paul  U.S. Senator from Kentucky
The libertarian-leaning senator remains a top contender due to his his strong grassroots organization in Iowa and New Hampshire. Paul has successfully capitalized on his father’s prior campaigns to gain a foothold in the early states. Still, Paul’s unconventional positions, such as his isolationist foreign policy and his ideas for policing and social justice, put the senator out of step with the establishment he has tried hard to win over. Paul’s chances rest more on attracting a new coalition of younger, more diverse conservative voters than by winning over the GOP elite, who will have centrist heavyweights to rally around.

4. Scott Walker  Governor of Wisconsin
The governor of Wisconsin’s third election in four years in a state carried twice by President Obama and in the face of unprecedented liberal opposition has made him a party favorite. On paper, Walker could be a top contender and his battle-tested tenure has given him a huge donor base and the most diverse group of admirers in the field, from business leasers to grassroots activists. He could be positioned as the best compromise candidate, uniting both the Bush/Christie wing and the Cruz/Paul wing of the party.

5. Marco Rubio  U.S. Senator from Florida
Sen. Rubio was an early frontrunner for the 2016 nomination, but the combination of his troubles with immigration reform and the entry of Jeb Bush into the field have complicated the young senator’s path. Rubio’s team says they will not be pushed out of the race by Bush, but the competition for staff and donors in their shared Florida base will likely favor the former governor. Still, Rubio has proven in the past that he can cut an establishment favorite down to size and may be able to do it again. The son of Cuban immigrants is may be the most talented Republican communicator in the country, and should not be underestimated.

6. Chris Christie  Governor of New Jersey
With unexpected victories in the 2014 midterms tied to his tenure at the RGA, his own landslide reelection in a blue state, and the flop of the Democratic-led investigation into Bridgegate, Gov. Chris Christie is now ready to rally the national support and favors his accumulated these last several years. Once the unmistakeable establishment favorite, Christie’s 2014 hardships have opened the door for Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, and if both establishment heavyweights enter the field, Christie’s path will narrow dramatically. With top contenders and Democrat investigators both smelling blood, Christie will need to show a new level of resolve to regain his footing.

7. Mike Huckabee  former Governor of Arkansas
Gov. Huckabee is once again considering a presidential bid, and once again his strengths and weaknesses are clear. The author and former Fox News host retains positive favorable numbers and a deep connection to the party’s evangelical Christian wing while struggling with the donor class. Despite strong name recognition, Huckabee hasn’t been able to build a viable fundraising network outside of the evangelical grassroots. He will need a serious national effort to win over the party establishment if he is to overcome his 2008 pitfalls.

8. Ted Cruz  U.S. Senator from Texas
The Tea Party firebrand will be the favorite of many hardcore activists and religious conservatives. But Cruz has burned a lot of bridges with the establishment, and will likely struggle to build a significant national operation with both his senate colleagues and the business wing of the party working against him. With both Jeb Bush and Rick Perry likely to run, Cruz may also struggle to rally support in his own backyard. The conservative darling will need to rely on a strong grassroots effort, his network of evangelical leaders, and his debating and media savvy to break through against the support aligning against him.

9. Bobby Jindal  Governor of Louisiana
Bobby Jindal has been one of the more active potential candidates, leaving little doubt that the term-limited governor will launch a 2016 bid. Jindal’s campaign will be centered around his record as a conservative reformer with real achievements in education and tax policy. He has worked hard to win over the evangelical and activist base of the party without burning bridges to the establishment. The Louisiana governor will have to over come doubts about his stage presence and slipping numbers in his home state if he is to climb into the top tier.

10. Mike Pence  Governor of Indiana
The conservative governor of Indiana is a rare find in GOP politics; he is someone both well liked by the establishment and grassroots. The former congressman has a strong fiscal conservative record to match his staunch but friendly social conservatism. Pence is a gifted communicator with a background as a talk radio show host prior to entering politics. Despite a solid resume of experience, he will likely be criticized for a lack of accomplishments as a governor with a strong GOP majority in the legislature. Still, if the establishment and grassroots are looking for a compromise candidate, Pence could be their man.

Honorable Mention: Ben Carson, John Kasich, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina

No Chance: Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump

Dropped Out: Rob Portman, Paul Ryan

January 21, 2015

Christie Will Not Be Squeezed Out, Says Supporter

The Washington Times reports:

Republican donors say Chris Christie won’t be squeezed out of the Republican presidential race even if Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush dive in because there is plenty of money to go around among the three men viewed as the establishment’s candidates and the New Jersey governor has advantages the other two don’t have.

Some analysts are wondering whether Mr. Christie, who has been eyeing a run for years but hasn’t been as forthcoming as Mr. Bush or Mr. Romney, could be left out of the race.

Chris Vincze, a Republican donor from Boston and Romney backer in 2012, said it is far too early to write off Mr. Christie, whom he plans to support if he runs.

“The notion that he is going to be squeezed out is so premature and invalid from my perspective,” Mr. Vincze said.

He added that the donor community in the Northeast is “very open” to all three candidates.

If Christie chooses to run, I am confident he will have plenty of money. Having said that, I have a hard time believing he has much chance of succeeding. While his loud, bellicose personality might be a hit in New Jersey, I have a hard time seeing it succeed elsewhere, especially when you consider his record.

And how many Republicans will forget his embrace of Obama the week before the 2012 election? Even if they have, his competitors and their supporters surely won’t. And they will take every opportunity to remind people of it.

And then there is his liberal record…

Good luck, Mr. Christie. You’re going to need it.

by @ 5:49 pm. Filed under Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

Bush Reaches Out To Iowa’s GOP Chairman

The Des Moines Register reports:

Jeb Bush buoyed Iowa Republican leaders hopes today that he won’t spurn Iowa if he runs for president in 2016.

During a telephone call with Iowa’s Republican party chairman, Bush repeatedly said he’s not a candidate, he’s just exploring a bid for the presidency.

“But there was a resolve in his voice,” Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told The Des Moines Register this afternoon. “What I heard is a man that’s ready to come out and tackle the Hawkeye state.”

Kaufmann said he thinks Bush lined up the telephone conversation because he’d commented recently in the media that only two major candidates from the GOP potential 2016 lineup had yet to contact him: Bush, a former governor of Florida, and Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee.


by @ 5:35 pm. Filed under Iowa Watch, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

Romney To Speak At Florida College Commencement

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Jacksonville, Fla. • As he decides whether to run for president a third time, Republican Mitt Romney has accepted an invitation to speak at Jacksonville University’s spring graduation in the key presidential battleground of Florida.

Romney also will receive an honorary degree on April 25, the private school announced.

by @ 5:27 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Romney Speaks To High Schoolers and Their Parents

Mitt Romney spoke at an Indian Wells, California, high school. The Desert Sun reports:

In an Indian Wells appearance that had the makings of a presidential campaign stump speech, Mitt Romney said poverty, education and climate change are among the major issues the next U.S. president must play a leading role in solving, but he stopped short of definitively declaring he would make another run for the White House.

“For me this comes down to whether I think I’m in a position to do what the country needs or whether someone else would do better,” said the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Monday night. “And that’s a decision which is obviously very personal.”

He launched Indian Wells’ Desert Town Hall 2015 speaker series Monday night, which included a 30-minute address that touched on economic and social concerns followed by a Q-and-A session, in which he was asked if he would run for president again.

Romney, though, kept his focus on the issues. He said that while he hopes the skeptics about global climate change are right, he believes it’s real and a major problem.

He said countries with the best teachers are recruiting their best college students to go into teaching. And he criticized teachers unions for being loyal

On Monday, Romney said one do-over he’d like to have from the 2012 campaign was doing a better job of explaining how his policy ideas would help Americans rise up out of poverty.

“The reason I’m a Republican is because I believe that the principles of conservatism are the best to help people get out of poverty and the best to help people have opportunity and rising wages,” he said.

The line brought huge applause from the crowd inside a ballroom at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa.

Romney also spoke to about 150 area high school students during a separate talk before the lecture. When one young woman asked what he wanted to do differently should he decide to run again, Romney quickly responded, “I hope win,” before going on to say he would do more to reach young and minority voters.

Global Warming is definitely one area Mitt and I do not agree upon. While the earth has undoubtedly warmed over the past 100 years, the jury is still out on whether (a) it’s still warming, and (b) it’s caused by human activity.


by @ 5:19 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

January 20, 2015

Free To Run

This is the time of presidential trial balloons. With a new president certain to be elected in 2016, hopefuls and aspirants in both major parties are testing the waters, rounding up staff members, and appealing to major donors. It is an old ritual with contemporary procedures and techniques. It is big-time American politics on a grand scale.

The establishments of both parties have a tendency to try to control this process. In the case of the Democrats, they have a frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, who is way out in front, with no one yet in sight who can wrest the nomination from her. She leads in all polls, not only against potential Democratic rivals, but also against every Republican opponent. The Democratic establishment therefore would like to end this contest early, and prepare for the general election. When Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren began making competitive waves from Mrs. Clinton’s left, the liberal establishment got nervous, and started trying to warn Mrs. Warren off the contest. Their nervousness was increased by the fact that Mrs. Clinton’s initial campaign roll-out has been notably less than successful. There are several other Democratic wannabes, including Vice President Joe Biden, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, former Virginia Senator James Webb and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Should Mrs. Clinton falter or pull out, other big names in the party could enter, including notably New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

On the Republican side, there is no true frontrunner, but there is an establishment favorite, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Another major candidate would be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Also potentially serious candidates include Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Less serious, there are a number of hopefuls who might take a crack at the nomination. (Abraham Lincoln was at the bottom of the list of nine GOP candidates as late as February, 1860, and look what happened only six months later when he won his nomination.)

Then there is Mitt Romney. In 2008, he was runner-up to John McCain in the GOP nominating contest, and in 2012, he was the Republican presidential nominee. He lost to Barack Obama that year by a relatively small margin, but as it turns out, most of what he said on the campaign turned out be right, or rather more right, than what Mr. Obama said. Nevertheless, the GOP establishment does not want Mitt Romney to run in 2016, and are saying so out loud.

It so happens I agree with those who say Mitt Romney is not likely to be the best Republican nominee in 2016, but I do disagree that he should be told not to run. I don’t agree with much that Elizabeth Warren has been saying, but I also don’t think she should be told not to run.

After all, it’s a free country, isn’t it?

Some folks in both parties fear open contests with many candidates. Republicans particularly point to the large field and numerous debates in 2012 as having hurt their ticket in November. I disagree with that strongly. There were perhaps too many debates (27), but the process, in my opinion, made Mr. Romney a better and stronger candidate. Newt Gingrich, for example, was by far the best debater in 2012; Mr. Romney held his own in the debates, but he had to face someone who was formidable early in the process. Romney did not lose because of the number of GOP rivals he had or the debates. He lost because of the successful (and unanswered) personal attacks on him made by the Democrats early and often, and because the Democrats had a much superior get-out-the-vote effort. (That the GOP did not have a better one, truth be told, was Mr. Romney’s responsibility.)

The nation and its political process is best served, as I see it, by open and competitive nomination contests. The number of candidates does not really matter because the process is designed to weed out those who cannot win very early.

So I say to Elizabeth Warren, Mitt Romney, and anyone else who thinks they should and can be president: Be free to run!

Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

Poll Watch: NBC/WSJ 2016 Presidential Poll — *Updated

NBC News and the Wall Street Journal recently released a poll on the 2016 Presidential Race. The full poll has not be released yet, but here are the numbers that we know so far:

Romney Bush Clinton
Fav Unf Fav Unf Fav Unf
Americans 27 40 19 32 45 37
Republicans 52 15 37 12
Conservatives 45 30
Tea Party 52 29
Democrats 75 7

Americans as a whole do not like either Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush, but they don’t seem to mind Hillary Clinton.

A majority of Republicans and Tea Party members approve of Mitt, but they don’t seem to be all that keen about Jeb.

Hillary is running away with the Democrat vote.


CraigS pointed out in the comments that 40% of Americans viewed Romney unfavorably. I originally had 49% disapproving of him. I regret the error, and thank CraigS for catching it.


by @ 11:43 am. Filed under Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Poll Watch

January 19, 2015

Poll Watch: Democracy Corps (D) 2016 National Presidential Survey

Democracy Corps (D) 2016 National Presidential Poll

  • Hillary Clinton (D) 49%
  • Mitt Romney (R) 43%
  • Hillary Clinton (D) 52%
  • Jeb Bush (R) 40%

National survey of 950 likely voters was conducted January 7-11, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:00 am. Filed under 2016, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Poll Watch

January 18, 2015

Poll Watch: YouGov/Economist 2016 National GOP Primary

YouGov/Economist 2016 National GOP Primary

  • Mitt Romney 28%
  • Jeb Bush 12%
  • Ben Carson 10%
  • Ted Cruz 9%
  • Mike Huckabee 8%
  • Rand Paul 8%
  • Scott Walker 6%
  • Chris Christie 3%
  • Paul Ryan 3%
  • Rick Perry 2%
  • Marco Rubio 2%
  • Lindsey Graham 0%
  • Other 3%
  • Undecided 6%

Asked of 212 Republican registered voters 1/10-1/12.

by @ 11:19 pm. Filed under 2016, Mitt Romney, Poll Watch, Republican Party

January 16, 2015

A Question

As more and more of the “Establishment” declares their opposition to Mitt Romney running, how long can it be said that he is an “Establishment” candidate?

Just something to think and ponder. It’s sort of like the question, Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?


by @ 3:53 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Poll Watch: The Economist/YouGov 2016 Presidential

Here’s an interesting poll. It is one of those polls where people volunteer to be polled. Zogby became infamous for them. So take the results with a grain of salt.

The numbers below are for registered Republican voters.

If you had to choose one, which of these individuals would you want to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016?

Mitt Romney 28
Jeb Bush 12
Ben Carson 10
Ted Cruz 9
Rand Paul 8
Mike Huckabee 8
Scott Walker 6
Chris Christie 3
Paul Ryan 3
Marco Rubio 2
Rick Perry 2
Lindsey Graham 0
Other 3
None 6

If the choice was between Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, which one would you want to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016?

Mitt Romney 60
Jeb Bush 29
No Preference 11

Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the following people?

Fav Unf D/K
Mitt Romney 82 12 6
Paul Ryan 75 14 11
Mike Huckabee 72 15 14
Rand Paul 70 15 15
Rick Perry 65 13 21
Marco Rubio 62 15 23
Jeb Bush 61 24 15
Ted Cruz 56 26 18
Ben Carson 54 10 36
Chris Christie 54 32 15
Scott Walker 49 16 34
Lindsey Graham 44 18 38

The full poll is found here.

January 15, 2015

Is There Enough Oxygen Left For Christie?

With both Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney stating they are seriously looking into running for President, the path ahead for Chris Christie is getting a lot tougher. Politico reports:

As Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush engage in an increasingly bitter fight over big donors and fundraisers, another Republican eyeing the presidency could get squeezed out: Christopher James Christie.

A quick editorial aside: “Bitter”? I haven’t noticed the current Bush/Romney maneuvering being all that bitter — not yet, at any rate. It’s heating up to be sure, but if the polite scrimmaging that is going on right now is what they call “bitter”, what word do they use to describe knock-down, drag-out, eye-gouging fights? Anyway, back to the article.

Many … on Wall Street … may like and admire Christie, and might even support him in a scenario without Romney and Bush, but they now don’t see a path for the New Jersey governor.

“I think Christie is the odd man out right now. He’s in serious trouble,” said one senior Wall Street executive. … Another executive said of Christie: “I like him, and under other circumstances, I could support him. But not with Mitt and Jeb in the race. And Christie has so many other issues.”

So, what do you guys think? With both Bush and Romney in the race, is there a reasonably viable path to the nomination for Christie?

by @ 12:49 pm. Filed under Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

January 14, 2015

The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Think Much Of Romney Getting In

This editorial was just published in the Wall Street Journal:

If Mitt Romney is the answer, what is the question? We can think of a few worthy possibilities, though one that doesn’t come immediately to mind is who would be the best Republican presidential nominee in 2016.

Mr. Romney is a man of admirable personal character, but his political profile is, well, protean. He made the cardinal mistake of pandering to conservatives rather than offering a vision that would attract them. He claimed to be “severely conservative” and embraced “self-deportation” for illegal immigrants, a political killer. But he refused to break from his RomneyCare record in Massachusetts even though it undermined his criticism of ObamaCare. A third campaign would resurrect all of that political baggage—and videotape.

The businessman also failed on his own self-professed terms as a superior manager. His convention was the worst since George H.W. Bush ’s in 1992, focusing more on his biography than a message. This left him open to President Obama ’s barrage against his record at Bain Capital, which Mr. Romney failed to defend because that would have meant playing on Democratic turf, as his strategists liked to put it. The unanswered charges suppressed GOP turnout in key states like Ohio.

Mr. Romney’s campaign team was notable for its mediocrities, led by a strategist whose theory of the race was that voters had already rejected Mr. Obama so the challenger merely needed to seem like a safe alternative. He thus never laid out an economic narrative to counter Mr. Obama’s claim that he had saved the country from a GOP Depression and needed more time for his solutions to work.

Read the whole thing.

I’ve got to say, I agree with most of their assessment of what went wrong last time. Mitt ran a very poor campaign in 2012. He made a large number of mistakes. However, if there is anybody who has proven that he learns from his mistakes, it’s Willard Mitt Romney.

If he truly is in it for real this time, he’s got exactly 12 months, 4 days (as of right now, the Iowa Caucus is penciled in at Jan 18, 2016) to convince us he has addressed and corrected his 2012 errors. If he can’t do that, then Mitt, please don’t even bother. Just stay home.

by @ 11:23 am. Filed under Mitt Romney

January 13, 2015

An Interesting Take on Romney’s Latest Moves

Jamelle Bouie over at Slate sees Romney’s latest maneuverings in an interesting light. First, he says that Romney would make a very strong candidate in 2016, then he ends with this:

I’m not sure if Romney is actually running for president, or if he’s playing a different game. In a story for BuzzFeed, McKay Coppins talks to Romney advisers who give this take on the former nominee’s thinking:

“Look, Jeb’s a good guy. I think the governor likes Jeb,” the adviser said. “But Jeb is Common Core, Jeb is immigration, Jeb has been talking about raising taxes recently. Can you imagine Jeb trying to get through a Republican primary? Can you imagine what Ted Cruz is going to do to Jeb Bush? I mean, that’s going to be ugly.”

Romney thinks Bush can win a general election, but he’s much more skeptical about the primary and worries that Bush could lose, elevating a candidate who might fail in a fight against Hillary Clinton or Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But instead of criticizing Bush and bringing these questions into the open, he is making a more subtle move. By announcing interest in the Republican nomination, Romney is freezing his donors in place and blocking a rush to the Bush camp. In essence, he’s asking the moneymen of the GOP to wait and see before they join the Bush bandwagon.

And if Team Bush isn’t as strong as it looks? Then, maybe, Romney will give the game one more try.

Chris Cillizza over at the Washington Post made a similar observation:

By making very clear that he’s on the fence about another race, Romney freezes some not-insignificant portion of the Republican major donor base — especially in New York and New Jersey. Rather than signing on with Jeb in the next weeks or months, many of those money men and women will wait to see what Romney does before doing anything.

So, Romney is really buying himself — and, whether intentionally or not, the rest of the potential field — some time. He’s taking the Bush pot off of boil and turning it down to simmer.

Cilizza goes on to say that apart from personal ambition, Mitt isn’t sure that Jeb Bush is up to becoming the nominee and then going on to win the election — a scenario that Romney is all to familiar with, I might add. So a little breathing time is in order.

It’s an interesting idea. I do like the idea that Mitt might be slowing Bush’s train down without coming out and publicly criticizing him as Santorum has been doing recently to his fellow Republicans. What do you guys think?

by @ 8:27 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

Poll Watch: Townhall/Gravis Marketing (R) Iowa 2016 Republican Caucuses Survey

Gravis Marketing (R) Iowa 2016 Republican Caucuses Survey

  • Mitt Romney 21%
  • Jeb Bush 14%
  • Scott Walker 10%
  • Mike Huckabee 9%
  • Rand Paul 8%
  • Ted Cruz 7%
  • Paul Ryan 5%
  • Chris Christie 5%
  • Marco Rubio 4%
  • Uncertain 18%

The Townhall/Gravis Marketing poll was conducted Jan. 5-7 among 404 registered Republican voters The poll carries an error rate of 3 percent.

by @ 11:36 am. Filed under 2016, Iowa Caucuses, Mitt Romney, Poll Watch

Sorry Mitt, Your Time’s Up

So Romney 2016 is apparently for real.

One question: Would Mitt the turnaround artist hire a CEO with the business equivalent of Mitt the politician’s political record?

Hell no.

As a two-time Romney supporter, it pains me to say this: It is extremely unlikely that he will ever be president no matter what he does now.

Mitt is 67 years old and we know all about him: He’s a great husband, father and grandfather.  He’s an upstanding religious man and philanthropist. He’s a superb businessman and executive who would make a great president.

But he’s a lousy politician. That will never change.

Mitt Romney looks a politician out of Central Casting and has a lot going for him – not the least of which is lots of cash for campaigns. Yet history is filled with him falling well short of political expectations.

In his 1994 Senate race, he went from being tied in the polls with Ted Kennedy in September to losing in November by 17%. During the most powerful GOP wave in memory.

In 2008, Romney could not beat John McCain, an aging figure the GOP electorate really did not want as its presidential nominee.

In the 2012 primaries, Romney barely edged out a selection of hapless, underfunded rivals to win the nomination. In the general election, he could not pluck any states off the Obama 2008 landslide map, save North Carolina and Indiana. This despite the fact that the dynamics were much less favorable to Obama than they were in 2008.

The list of Romney 2012’s self-inflicted political wounds is painfully long: self-deportation; I’m not concerned about the very poor; I like being able to fire people; “47%”; tax return and Swiss account fiascos; lack of a coherent Bain Capital strategy; flubbing Benghazi; etc. Even once the election was over, Romney’s tone deafness gave the GOP another mess to clean up.

Of what is now over twenty years of trying to win elections, Romney has one real electoral achievement, and one only: winning the 2002 gubernatorial election as a Republican in deep blue Massachusetts.

This doesn’t even remotely compensate for his cycle of shortcomings. Bear in mind that Massachusetts elected a Republican in all but two gubernatorial elections since 1990. Add to that the fact that Romney would most certainly have lost in 2006 if he would’ve run for reelection. His approval rating that November was 34%.

I have no doubt that Romney learned from many of his 2012 mistakes and would be a somewhat better candidate this time around. He was a better candidate in 2012 than in 2008 too. It wasn’t enough.

Politics isn’t religion. We choose candidates based on record, not faith.

For all their shortcomings, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and John Kasich – among other potential 2016 GOPers  – have political track records that are much more successful than Romney’s. They are simply better politicians than him.

If the GOP loses the presidency in 2016, the party will have won the presidential popular vote only once in at least 28 years. The consequences of this cannot be overstated.

Pundits can spend all the time in the world debating what exactly it is that hampered Mitt Romney’s many political dreams. It’s frankly irrelevant at this point.

The bottom line is clear.


Simon Blum is a freelance writer and journalist specializing in political analysis and communication. You can follow Simon on Twitter @sbpundit.

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under 2016, Mitt Romney, Opinion

January 12, 2015

Romney Has a Shot, Says Rove

Newmax reports:

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “has a shot” at winning the White House in 2016, and could follow in the footsteps of former Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan who failed to win the nation’s highest office on their first attempt, said GOP strategist Karl Rove.

What Romney will have to do is to show he’s serious and wasn’t merely “teasing people” when he recently told donors he was interested in running again, Rove said. He would also need to convince voters and donors he was committed to changing the mistakes that caused him to lose the presidential race three years ago.

“He certainly has a shot. He was the Republican nominee in 2012, so he’s got a lot of advocates and followers,” Rove told Fox News’ “Happening Now” on Monday. “He’s going to have to say, ‘Look. I get why I lost last time around, and I’m making changes that will make you feel that I’m going to be a better candidate.'”

The process of winning the presidency took Nixon eight years, Rove said, because he had to “prove that he was different and had changed,” adding Reagan did the same when he ran for president.

“Ronald Reagan had to do it between 1976 and 1980. In 1976, his campaign was focused on knocking down [former Secretary of State] Henry Kissinger and his foreign policy. By 1980, it was the optimistic sunny Reagan talking about Kemp-Roth tax cuts,” he said.

Karl Rove does have a point. Both Nixon and Reagan ran for President and lost before they finally won. And when they did run, they corrected the mistakes they had made the first time around. So if Mitt manages to correct his mistakes from 2012, he just might have a chance.

I certainly hope so. As for the skills and talents required to be a good president, I think Romney far exceeds any other candidate currently in the field, but in order to become president, you have to win an election, and as a candidate in a general presidential election? Oy vey! 

There is one thing in his favor, however. Mitt Romney seldom, if ever makes the same mistake twice. However, there is no guarantee that in avoiding that same mistake, he doesn’t commit an entirely different one in its place. And that is what I’m afraid of.


by @ 11:06 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Thoughts on Mitt Running

I have made no secret of the fact that I think Mitt should not run. As I said five weeks ago:

Mitt, as a former card-carrying Romney supporter, I’ve got to say this, “Please don’t run!” You had your shot. You muffed it. You went up against a very beatable opponent and lost by more than just a few percentage points. You had him against the ropes after the first debate, but you let him slip through your fingers in the second. Yes, the moderator put her thumb on the scale, but that was only one answer to one question. One shot and you folded like a cheap tent. Your campaign went downhill from there.

You never gave us a reason for America to vote for you except you weren’t Obama. If your opponent is Mrs Clinton, are you only going to run on, “Vote for me, I’m not Hillary”? Sorry, Mitt, we need somebody who isn’t afraid to push their opponent to the ropes, and keep him there, if not finish him. Sadly you do not appear to be it.

I still feel that way. I would love to see him in the White House, but unless he really shows some fire in the General Election, he might as well stay home because 2016 would only be a repeat of 2012. He has to give us a reason to vote FOR him, not AGAINST his opponent. He did that just fine in the primaries going up against fellow Republicans, but for some unknown reason he just collapsed like a deflated balloon after the first debate with Obama. The country simply cannot afford a repeat of that in 2016. So, Mitt, either go for it, or stay home. Fish or cut bait. One or the other.

With that out of the way, I have to say that I am looking forward to the primary contest between Jeb and Mitt — the two so-called “Establishment” guys. What is going to happen when there is no one clear “Establishment” candidate. Who will come out on top, I wonder. Old, established dynasty resting on their laurels versus up-and-coming earned-his-own-money nouveau riche. It should be quite the show. Bring popcorn. :)

Oh, and allow me a bit of a “I told you so” gloat. Exactly one month ago I said the following:

That is why I am saying that the window of opportunity for Mitt is essentially the end of the year. After that, the movers, shakers, and big money people will have started inexorably to coalesce behind Jeb Bush.

I missed the “end of the year” prediction by less than two weeks. It was, however, right around the first of the year that Mitt began going out of his way to let potential backers know to keep their powder dry, that he was earnestly examining the possibility of running again.

On that note, Let the games begin!  :)

by @ 5:32 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney

Scratch Paul Ryan (Updated)

Politico is reporting that Paul Ryan is ruling out a try for the Presidency this cycle:

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, told NBC News in an interview Monday that he will not seek the presidency in 2016.

“I have decided that I am not going to run for president in 2016,” Ryan said in a phone interview, noting that he is “at peace” with the decision he made “weeks ago” to forgo a bid for the White House.

“It is amazing the amount of encouragement I have gotten from people – from friends and supporters – but I feel like I am in a position to make a big difference where I am and I want to do that,” he said.

The nine-term congressman believes he can make that “big difference” in his new role as chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee rather than as a presidential contender.

I wonder if Romney called and told him he had decided to go for it. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did.

*** Update

It turns out that I was right. According to the Washington Post:

Over the past few days, Romney has been in touch with an array of key allies to discuss his potential 2016 campaign, according to people with knowledge of the calls. They include Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), his former vice presidential running mate


by @ 4:21 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan

Mitt’s In…

Via WaPo:

Mitt Romney is moving quickly to reassemble his national political network, spending the weekend and Monday calling former aides, donors and other supporters — as well as onetime foes such as Newt Gingrich.

Romney’s message was that he is serious about making a 2016 presidential bid. He told one senior Republican he “almost certainly will” run in what would be his third campaign for the White House, this person said.

His aggressive outreach over the past three days indicates that Romney’s declaration of interest to a group of donors in New York Friday was more than the release of a trial balloon but rather was the start of a concerted push by the 2012 nominee to be an active participant in the 2016 campaign.

Over the past few days, Romney has been in touch with an array of key allies to discuss his potential 2016 campaign, according to people with knowledge of the calls. They include Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), his former vice presidential running mate; former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R); Hewlett-Packard chief executive Meg Whitman; former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown; former Missouri senator Jim Talent; and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

In the conversations, Romney has said he is intent on running to the right of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who also is working aggressively to court donors and other party establishment figures for a 2016 bid. Romney has signaled to conservatives that, should he enter the race, he shares their views on immigration and on taxes — and that he will not run from party orthodoxy.

 photo CC_zps23649681.jpg

by @ 3:59 pm. Filed under 2016, Mitt Romney, Republican Party

January 11, 2015


by @ 12:44 am. Filed under 2016, Mitt Romney

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