After a 6-month exploratory phase has left Jeb Bush flush with cash but sinking in early state polls, the former Florida governor has reshuffled his political team just one week ahead of his official campaign launch.
Dave Kochel, the top Iowa operative successfully wooed away from Mitt Romney’s camp, moved to Miami to serve as campaign manager. Instead, Danny Diaz, a hard-charging consultant, will take the job, hoping to refocus the flagging Bush effort to establish himself ahead of his rivals. Kochel was informed of the change just one week ago.
The campaign reshuffling comes amid reports that Bush, who long suggested he’d run a “joyful” campaign, is preparing a bare-knuckle negative campaign to tear down his chief rivals. Sally Bradshaw, Bush’s longtime adviser and former Chief-of-Staff, cited the gains of Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio as particularly worrisome.
For their part, the Bush team has denied any internal strife, claiming Diaz and Kochel are both well suited to their respective roles. The campaign also claimed they’ve raised more than $100 million in the first 6 months, a figure they’ve shied away from but are now embracing amid reports of donor angst and staff struggles.
Still, Bush is facing a tougher race than he ever expected, and this last minute change signals both an awareness of the difficulty he faces and a struggle to find a path forward against a group of younger, more exciting opponents than confronted by establishment frontrunners of the past.
Robert Costa has the scoop:
Freshman senator Ted Cruz is considering a presidential run, according to his friends and confidants.
Cruz won’t talk about it publicly, and even privately he’s cagey about revealing too much of his thought process or intentions. But his interest is undeniable.
“If you don’t think this is real, then you’re not paying attention,” says a Republican insider. “Cruz already has grassroots on his side, and in this climate, that’s all he may need.”
“There’s not a lot of hesitation there,” adds a Cruz donor who has known the Texan for decades. “He’s fearless.”
Read the full story here.
There is a rather interesting article in today’s Washington Post by none other than Bob Woodward that details a conversation between General David Petraeus and Fox News contributor Kathleen T. (Troia) McFarland back in 2011. Woodward’s piece also contains a digital audio record of the conversation in which Ms. McFarlan tells Petraeus that the Fox News head, Roger Ailes and uber-boss Rupert Murdoch, wanted him to run for president in 2012 and that they would bank roll and run the campaign. The Woodward revelation is offered here without assessment or comment [other than to say that I had some interaction with Ms. (Troia) McFarland during the Reagan Administration]. Race readers can draw their own conclusions concerning its significance, especially the concept of news organizations attempting to recruit presidential candidates.
According to New York Magazine, The Donald’s “October Surprise” is divorce papers which were drawn up for the Obama’s but never filed:
For a while today, it seemed like Donald Trump’s “big … very big … very big” bombshell revelation about President Obama, which he has promised to unveil on Twitter tomorrow, might be an anonymous rumor that Obama sold cocaine in college, but Trump’s right-hand man, Michael Cohen, has denied it. Trump’s scoop is “substantially more important to the American people,” Cohen told Daily Caller. Or … is it?
Douglas Kass, a Florida-based investor who appears on CNBC’s talkshow ‘Squawkbox’ where Trump is often a commentator, tweeted to his 48,000 followers: ‘High above the Alps my Gnome has heard that Donald Trump will announce that he has unearthed divorce papers between the Prez and his wife.’
There is no mention as to why the Obama’s would have supposedly considered divorce.
Take this with about a truck load of salt, OK…
A lot of Republicans have become alarmed in recent days, and a lot of Democrats elated, by media and poll reports showing Barack Obama with a growing lead in the presidential race. These reports, and their conclusions are based almost entirely on poll results, most of which are plainly (and transparently) overweighted with Democratic voters (weighting based on 2008 turnout). There is no indication whatsoever, even by the most optimistic partisan analysts that the turnout in 2012 will resemble 2008. If anything, it is much more likely to resemble 2010 when the voter intensity was on the Republican side.
There is a double edge to the consequences of these faulty polls. The intended consequence is to demoralize Republicans and conservatives, and to stampede undecided and independent voters to the liberal side. The unintended consequence, however, might well be to make Democratic voters overconfident and to diminish their energy in the remaining days of the campaign.
As I have pointed out many times. pollsters can “play around” with the numbers, either out of bias or ignorance, rather freely when the election is many months or weeks away. Sheer self-interest and survival instincts reduce this tendency, however, as the election itself approaches. No pollster wants to be humiliated by being on the record with a ridiculous poll just before the election.
I am speaking here of media polls, that is, polls that are conducted primarily to be very public news events. There is another kind of polling going on simultaneously by campaigns themselves, usually referred to as “internals,” which are rarely reported, but which serve as guides for candidates and their campaigns about how they are doing. These are much more expensive polls, and are weighted very realistically. No campaign is going to pay a lot of money for an internal poll that gives them a false picture.
There are many more media polls, particularly state and national ones, in 2012 than in previous cycles. The all-important sample number varies widely. The weighting (which is simply adjusting the raw results) of a poll sample by party varies even more erratically. Many pollsters and their polls are paid for a by a political party. It is clear that reporting poll numbers has become part of the “warfare’ of a political campaign. In my opinion, few polls should be taken very seriously because few polls are successfully trying to avoid the bias that comes from bad weighting, inappropriate technological inquiry procedures (such as using only land-line telephones and not cell phones), or from the statistical consequences of repeated sampling to get a response.
One of the few national polls which seems to be trying most fastidiously to reach an accurate result is Rasmussen. Their methodology seems to be the most energetic to avoid a distorted result. While Gallup and other national polls are showing a 4-6 point margin for Obama currently, Rasmussen is showing it be either an exact tie, or depending on the day, a one-point margin for either Romney or Obama. These are simultaneous polls, so someone has it wrong.
Whether or not Mr Romney has fully “sold” his point of view to voters can be debated, as can the impact of his “47%” video remarks, but there has not yet been any real evidence presented that his campaign is “falling behind.” It might be true, on election day, that he will fall short, and that Mr. Obama would be re-elected. Similarly, there is no real evidence yet that the president’s campaign is certain to fail. The presidential debates are ahead, and I suspect that they will be more significant than usual in this campaign cycle. Voters already know Mr Obama, but many do not know Mr. Romney, especially standing next to and confronting his opponent,
Finally, the current poll distortion, if it is that, offers a greater danger to the Democrats than to the Republicans. With less than six weeks to go, a mood of overconfidence, provoked by currently reported poll numbers, could easily be transformed into utter panic for Democrats, if, as election day approaches, the polls are reversed favoring the Republicans. As any experienced political observer will tell you, momentum is a huge force just before and on election day.
Every pollster, good or bad, will say that a poll is only “a snapshot in time.” But there are snapshots, and there are snapshots! That is why good cameras cost more than cheap ones.
No one should think this campaign is over, nor that it is in a final trend, nor that the information they are receiving via polls is accurate. Much more lies ahead, including most importantly, what we will see when the two presidential candidates are in front of us together.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.
A well-placed Republican source tells Townhall that Oscar-winning director and actor Clint Eastwood will travel to Tampa, Florida to attend Mitt Romney’s nominating convention this week.
As the news media scrambles to identify the so-called “mystery speaker” scheduled to address GOP delegates on Thursday evening, some have speculated that the iconic Hollywood figure could fit the bill. Our source — who spoke on the condition of anonymity — could not confirm if Eastwood is, in fact, the intriguing “to-be-announced” speaker, but stated unequivocally that the Dirty Harry star will arrive in Florida late on Wednesday or early on Thursday, and will return to southern California on Friday.
Well, this is certainly interesting…
Visitors to www.timpawlenty.com this week only found a white screen with the message “Please come back later.” Maybe Pawlenty is relaunching his website? Or maybe the Romney camp has taken over and is rebranding it?
In this day and age, reading tea leaves has gone digital. It may be nothing – but then again, why else would Pawlenty completely take down his website and leave the tantalizing “Please come back later” up as a teaser?
Maybe the site goes live on Friday with the big “America’s Comeback Team” branding…?
Just had a 3 minute convo with “The Eagle”….
July 23rd & 24th was seen to be cleared for a roll-out for VP, and for the most part they still are clear, and this was seen by The Eagle’s contacts on July 8th and was reported in The Rumor Mill on July 10th. Now The Eagle is telling me dates of July 19-20-21-22 have also been cleared….even in GOP DC land.
The Eagle told me if these cleared dates are not for a VP roll-out then Matt Rhodes should be replaced. The Eagle says the chatter is very heavy on a early roll-out because of all these cleared dates being so close to Mitt ‘s trip, and the Olympics, that if not used for a VP roll-out than the calendar is not being used to
anywhere near full capacity.
The Eagle says the dates in the campaign July 19-24 do have marks in them…but they are open in the sense that none of the VP candidates have anything scheduled on these dates,.and neither does Mitt,or Ann,or major Fundraisers,or,well,you get the point. There is nothing major that can not be changed or folded into a VP roll-out schedule on these dates.
I was thinking July 23rd and the 24th were too early, now it may be that these two dates are the back dates of the VP roll-out.
I thought “The Eagle” was jumping the gun on his July 23rd and/or 24th proclamation, but now it looks like “The Eagle” only saw part of the puzzle, or was told only part of the puzzle.
Could this be true? A VP roll-out this week? Only time will tell…
-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at email@example.com.
I had dinner with “The Eagle” the other night. We talked about life while we ate some chicken wings and finished off a couple bottles of Coronas. Our conversation was brief because of family duties. But the conversation centered around July 23rd & 24th:
The Eagle: Mark these two dates down on your calendar, July 23rd & 24th.
Greg: Repeat please?
The Eagle: Mark down July 23rd and 24th. Something is going down on one of those two days. It will not happen after the 25th, because, well, it can’t.
Greg: What in the heck is this about? What is going down on the 23rd or 24th of this month?
The Eagle: I got a guy who said those two dates are clear
Greg: I have no idea what that means. Is this something about the VP pick? Is there an announcement planned on the 23rd or 24th of this month?
The Eagle: There is no way I can say anything more, because if I could, I would have told you already. But there will be something going down, something big enough on one of those two days that you know, well, you’ll just know.
Greg: Well it can’t be the VP selection because that is too early. And it doesn’t make sense because they haven’t made their decision on the VP yet. And even if they had they would not know when the roll out would be, or how it would be.
The Eagle: I have not told you that this is about the VP thing, but I can only promise you it’s of importance, and you will be very interested on what goes down on one of those two dates.
Greg: Is there some scandal going to be broken on one of those two days? Are we talking Fast & Furious stuff, like a memo, or an email is going to be produced at a Congressional hearing, or something?
The Eagle: Maybe, but all I can say it’s a planned type of thing. The thing is planned, or is in the process of being planned. Those two dates pop out because they are clear.
That’s it, that’s all I got.
I have no other details on what this July 23rd or July 24th could be all about. For many of you, this Rumor Mill will come up short. I do acknowledge that sentiment and share the same feelings. However, I could not just let this information stop with me and not have it pass on to our readers here at race42012.
Feel free to speculate on what you think The Eagle could have possibly been alluding to when stating, “Mark down July 23rd and 24th. Something is going down on one of those two days”.
But stay tuned and stay close to Race42012. Especially on those two days…
-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles speculating on what is happening in the great Romney VP process are a dime a dozen these days. So what’s one more?
This one is from Real Clear Politics. It paints a fairly decent picture on Mitt’s decision process and tries to use that in figuring out the state of his search for a VP running mate.
Mitt Romney may be tight-lipped about his vice presidential short list, warning that only he and longtime aide Beth Myers know who is on it, but a close examination of the campaign’s activity suggests four contenders have risen through the ranks: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell may be considered wild cards, and Romney has said he’s thoroughly vetting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, though the first-term lawmaker’s status appears unchanged.Final short lists tend to have three names: Barack Obama’s trio included Joe Biden, Tim Kaine and Evan Bayh. John McCain’s final three were Romney, Pawlenty and Joe Lieberman, though Sarah Palin ultimately leapfrogged them all.
In this case, though, the presumptive Republican nominee has a reputation for gathering copious amounts of data to make his decisions, and that’s why a pick out of leftfield, like McCain’s choice of Palin, is unlikely. Romney doesn’t rely on his gut; he deliberates. That was true when he was considering this presidential run and asked his team for game plans and each member of his family for their input.
And for years, insiders have praised his preparation, saying that he plays the role of a devil’s advocate. Those who work for him now after logging time on McCain’s 2008 campaign say he was the smartest, most prepared surrogate for the Arizona senator. Senior House Republican aides say that when he started working with them on several initiatives before the midterm elections, he challenged some of the material they offered to him for preparation. In other words, he was a tough sell who needed more than talking points and wanted to see data. In this way, he and Portman are like-minded, but it shows that each of his potential running mates will undergo a thorough testing on various fronts.
The article goes on to mention three traits that appear to be important to the Romney team:
The article then judges all the potential running-mates using these three attributes. When you do that, Portman and Pawlenty appear to have the inside track. They both have executive experience. They both have appeared with Mitt and Ann, and both have soloed on Mitt’s behalf and done well.
Ryan fails the first test. He is a mere Congressman with little executive experience. His ability to take over if something happens to Mitt is definitely suspect.
Jindal fails the second. He has the executive experience to be sure, and he has soloed on Mitt’s behalf, but he has yet to do a joint Romney/Jindal event. If that doesn’t change in the next few weeks, then cross Bobby off the list.
In our never ending quest to give our readers here at Race42012 “The buzz before the buzz”, I sat down with “The Eagle” to talk about the chatter our source has been hearing in regards to the GOP convention in Tampa this Summer. We also circled back to the GOP Veepstakes to make sure everything was still tracking in the same direction that “The Eagle” told us about a couple of weeks ago in the last edition of the Rumor Mill Veepstakes.
Here’s the transscript of our conversation:
Greg: I have been receiving some emails from you as of late in regards to the GOP Convention. I’m hoping you can just combined all the chatter you all have been hearing in the GOP conference rooms and just give us a good overall rundown.
The Eagle: Ok, well there is a consensus building on what we all think is going to happen and when it’s going to happen, but this is all , well, pretty much of a rough draft. If I had to surmise based upon what some stuff is being talked about, well, let’s just take the four days separately, will that work?
Greg: However you want to go about it, that is fine.
The Eagle: Ok, let’s start with Monday. I believe Rubio is going to be the Keynote Speaker. The man is going to be a huge part of the future of the GOP party. His speech on Monday night is going to be electric. What a way to start the GOP convention, I mean my goodness. I think we will see George P Bush introduce Jeb (Jeb Bush). George P Bush will talk about his outreach programs to the Hispanic community and stuff. George will then introduce his father Jeb. Jeb will then talk about the growing diversity in the GOP party and will end his speech with the introduction to Marco (Marco Rubio). Monday night will be diversity night at the Convention. It will be a play to the middle and to the Latino community. This might be the night as well, but earlier of course, where Rand (Rand Paul) will introduce his father, Ron Paul. This will need to happen at some point at the convention as a nod to the Libertarians and to Ron’s supporters. It just has to happen, but I’m not sure when.
Tuesday will be Women’s night. I do not think Ann (Ann Romney) will do her speech on Tuesday, but it could happen. As of now I’m thinking Ann will introduce Mitt (Mitt Romney) on Thursday night. But if they elect to have Mitt’s sons to do that, well, Ann’s speech will be Tuesday night. I think you will see a mix of current leaders in the GOP, such as Ayotte (Kelly Ayotte,) Rodgers (Cathy McMorris Rodgers) and Suzanne Martinez, along with Woman GOP candidates who are trying to be elected for the first time such as Mia Love & Deb Fischer do earlier speeches. Woman’s night will end with either Rice or Ann, doing a speech. Either way, you will see Rice at the end of the night and she will be the first to talk about Foreign Policy. But before all of that, or least in the middle of all of that, there will be on man speaking on Tuesday night, and it will be Governor Christie. Christie will not be given the Keynote speech and will not speak on the same night as Mitt or Mitt’s VP. Tuesday night is the spot for the Governor, and a good change of pace with what also will be happening come Tuesday night.
Wednesday will be the day to talk about the economy. Of course the economy will be the main issue throughout the Convention, and will be talked about every day. But Wednesday the economy will be wall to wall. Every speech will talk about the suffering of the American people in the last 4 years. Empathy will be on the stage. Mostly Governors will dominate Wednesday night. The night will start out with Scott Walker talking about his reforms, it will move to Kasich of Ohio. I believe Huckabee will be used on Wednesday night. And of course whomever comes in 2nd in the Veepstakes will speak early in the night, which is between Jindal and Pawlenty. The VP will speak last on Wednesday night and the speech will talk about broken promises of the Obama years and will contrast it to the success of Mitt Romney’s life.
Thursday will simply be about introducing the Human side of Mitt Romney to the American people. Again, of course this will have happened throughout the Convention’s 4 days, but it will be brought home on Thursday night. The night will be filled with stories of family life in the Romney household and will be supplemented by stories of Mitt’s generosity outside the family life. I do think the one speech outside of the family talk will be Paul Ryan’s. I think Paul Ryan gets his speech at this spot. The night and the convention will end with Ann or Mitt’s children introducing Mitt Romney. The Convention will finally finish with Mitt Romney’s huge family and the VP’s family up on stage.
This is how many people see the GOP Convention going down in Tampa. Rubio gets the Keynote speech. Christie and Rice dominate Tuesday night, Woman’s night. Wednesday will be the reformers, the Governors of the GOP. Jindal or Pawlenty finishes the night with the Vice Presidential acceptance speech. Thursday will be Mitt Romney’s night.
Greg: I was going to ask you if you have changed your mind on who you think is going to be Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential selection, but it looks like you still believe it will be Tim Pawlenty with Jindal as the other potential pick.
The Eagle: Nothing has changed. Except maybe Jindal’s people are getting more involved. What I mean is that they’re spending time getting to know the people in Boston. I think it’s a great sign for Jindal becoming the selection. Honestly, the people who I have talked with, well let’s put it this way: If you ask Jindal’s people they will tell you they think it’s between Jindal and Pawlenty; if you ask Pawlenty’s people, they will tell you it’s between Jindal and Pawlenty. A whole lot of people would have to be reading this stuff wrong if it’s not between those two guys, you know what I mean? Now I think it’s still going to be Pawlenty because of where the battlefield is taking place. But Jindal is the option that Boston is looking at very closely. It’s going to be Governor & Governor. And these two are the guys, down to these two. The McDonnell thing never was. The Christie thing died 6 weeks ago. Portman died in its infancy. Thune was part of casting a net at the Hill. It’s going to be Pawlenty with Jindal as the option if needed for any reasons.
So Rubio is going to be the Keynote Speaker? Christie is going to share the stage on Tuesday night at the GOP Convention with the woman of the GOP? The chatter still leads to either Vice Presidential nominee Tim Pawlenty or Bobby Jindal. Is still a “Dark Horse” out there? Stay tuned to the Race42012 Rumor Mill.
-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at email@example.com.
I have enjoyed Smack’s “Rumor Mill” posts, but I am reminded as I read them of a little boy trying to figure out what’s in a wrapped Christmas present. He will shake it, heft it, rattle it, squeeze it, turn it over, spin it, smell it, and in short do everything short of running it through an x-ray machine to try to determine what’s in it. Smack’s “Eagle” and other similar speculators are also using second and third hand tricks, trying to figure out through indirect methods whom the choice will be.
It has been entertaining, but if history is any judge, the final selection will be a surprise.
Consider what Scott Conroy is saying: (emphasis added)
Members of Romney’s Boston-based staff often marvel privately at the extent to which the selection process — being led by Myers, his longtime confidante — has been kept secret from almost everyone inside the campaign, never mind those on the outside.
“It’s the one thing that goes on in this building that I know absolutely nothing about,” one Romney aide said. “They have that thing on lockdown.”
And on lockdown it will remain until Romney is ready to make his pick public — unless, of course, a compelling political reason arises to whisper or utter aloud another name like Rubio’s.
So by all means enjoy the speculation. It’s fun, and it is essentially harmless. Just be prepared to be surprised by the winner. It’s the tradition.
As soon as Mitt Romney had clinched the Republican nomination for president several weeks ago, I wrote a column with my own list of prominent persons who might be considered for vice president. I have been observing and writing for presidential politics long enough to know it was no more that. My list included Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Governor Robert McDonnell of Virginia, and Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico. Soon after that, more lists appeared, many of them including other names. The person I have thought to be the most likely choice, Senator Portman, has appeared on virtually every list, and seems to be the first choice of several observers.
Speculation about a vice presidential choice is one of the most inevitable, and least useful, aspects of a presidential campaign. With the exception of 1956 Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson, only the nominee makes the choice after a highly confidential vetting process (a process heightened after 1972 Democratic nominee Geroge McGovern’s initial choice had to resign from the ticket after public disclosures about his health). I say “least useful” because so much that is written and said about who will be chosen before the choice is announced is wrong.
Already, we read published speculations that former Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota is the new frontrunner, if not the certain choice, to be picked by
2012 presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. Senator Portman, these speculations also say, has been eliminated from consideration. Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, it is also said, is the second choice, and Governor McDonnell has also been taken off the list. The basis for most of these speculations is that certain politicians have “bonded” with Mr. Romney, and others have not.
It appears, however, that the vetting process has only begun, and that Mr. Romney is only now becoming better acquainted with the men and women he might choose.
Publications and networks, most of which have been hostile to the Republican cause, are breathlessly reporting “unnamed sources” with inside information about who is in and who is out. A recent such report, allegedly from high sources in the Romney campaign, stated that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and a major Romney ally, was not being vetted. Mr. Romney, on the campaign trail, promptly refuted the report, stating that Mr. Rubio was being fully vetted.
My rule of thumb is that ANY report before the official announcement, no matter how high (always anonymous) the sources from which it came, is to be viewed with considerable skepticism. Ninety-plua per cent of such reports, to be blunt, are false. (And those that are true are lucky guesses.)
Only one person knows who the nominee will be (Mr. Romney) and only one other person (Beth Myers, who he placed in charge of the nomination vetting process) knows fully who is being vetted, who is not, and the status of that process. As the date of the announcement approaches, more facts may be known, but the final choice will be a very tightly kept secret. The whole purpose of drawing out the process, other than the practical efficacy of the vetting, is to create suspense, and maintain news interest in the campaign. It is unlikely the final choice will be announced any time soon.
A lot of folks with various connections to the Romney campaign, to the Republican Party, and even to Mr. Romney personally, will be tempted to
parade their self-importance (hiding behind anonymity) to members of the news media by “leaking inside information.” And virtually everyone (myself included) will indulge in speculation about who the final choice will be.
But only Mitt Romney and Beth Myers will really know the facts, and they won’t be revealing anything until the final choice is made.
A little anecdote from the 2008 campaign: I was told by VERY HIGH sources the day before Senator John McCain was to make his vice presidential choice known that it would be then Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Living in Minneapolis, I drove over to the governor’s residence in St. Paul that evening to see if the secret service were now protecting the residence, as they would have to do if Mr. Pawlenty had been chosen. No secret service were visible. In fact, they WERE quite visible that night accompanying Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska (who had been chosen.)
Mr. Pawlenty might be chosen this time, or it might be Mr Portman. It might be someone else. But no one knows who it will be now, and until a few hours before the announcement, no one but Mitt Romney will know.
You don’t have to wait for the fat lady to sing, but it will be a good idea to watch for which vice presidential hopeful is suddenly joined by a small horde of figures with little devices in their ears.
-Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved. Please visit Mr. Casselman’s personal site.
Over the course of the last 7 weeks, I have been blessed by the kindness of Kavon to be given the opportunity to bring you the “Buzz before the Buzz” regarding who will be Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential selection. When I wrote my first Rumor Mill article 8 weeks ago, I had no idea how much information I would be able to report to you regarding this process.
I have truly enjoyed the VP parlor game: all the head fakes, all the intrigue, and all the debate regarding who should be selected as VP. I have also really enjoyed my talks with “The Eagle”, and I hope that you all have enjoyed these interviews as well, for it was my intention to provide insight into the thinking of those who comprise the “GOP Establishment” through the eyes and ears of someone in the position to know such as “The Eagle.”
This will be the last Rumor Mill Veepstakes edition because my work is done (although I have many other items which I will discuss in the near future, such as the rumored “Mitt’s Grand Bargain” and some good stuff on the Kaine vs. Allen – Virginia Senate race). At this point The Rumor Mill is going dark on the 2012 GOP Veepstakes. I believe I have established a good track on where this is all going based upon the latest rumor/information given to us by “The Eagle” within the last 48 hours.
You may think it foolish to make a final call on who Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential selection is going to be on June 19th. Perhaps you are correct. But since The Rumor Mill strives to provide the “Buzz before the Buzz”, we can’t just ignore the rumor/information we have been given just based upon a date on the calendar.
I am ready to make the call, so again grab your favorite beverage and take a deep breath and enjoy…
“The Eagle” predicts that Mitt Romney’s selection for Vice President will likely be former Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty.
Here is the transcript of my latest interview with “The Eagle”;
Greg: Now that you have made your final call, tell us what made you make this decision of Pawlenty being the VP selection on June 16th. Did you come across new information that convinced you it’s going to be Pawlenty, or was it by process of elimination, or a bit of both?
The Eagle: I would say it’s about 90/10. 90% of it being new information, tied together with what we already knew. The new information is a bit sensitive, so I’m going to be careful here, gonna be a little soft with the description of it. The thing is, well, how do I say? Let me say this, in this way. There is like two rings around Pawlenty, two rings of people. There is the first ring, the ring that holds his people, truly his people. The guys who have worked for him, and will in the future.
Then there is the 2nd ring of people around Pawlenty, these people are the ones I (redacted). The first ring have not said a word, not here in Minnesota, and not to any “paper guys” (the press). But of course, the 2nd ring of people are gabbing it up. But what do they know, right? Well, they do know what was told to them by the first ring before, well, before this got serious (the vettting process).
Now this it, this is what was told. Tim wasn’t going to go through this again (the VP vettting process) not without some sort of out-card from Boston. What I mean is, Tim did not want to be pushed into the vortex of the process and come up short, and to be seen to come up short. Tim needed an out card, and assurance from Boston that he would be cut with a soft landing. After talking with a couple of people about this, we pretty much have some to the conclusion that Tim was given the out-card and the card would be that Boston would announce a different job for [him] before it got to be seen [that he] was close to being [put] on the short list. Now, it’s too late in the game for all of that man. Now it’s perceived from everyone that Tim could be in the last 3 or 4.
An announcement from Boston that Tim is going to be doing something else won’t work now, it would be considered by me and everyone that Tim came up short again. I thought it was totally possible that Mitt & Tim decided he wouldn’t be vetted when Tim was saying to the Press, “cross me off the list”. But now that can’t be anymore. I’m not saying that Tim has been assured he is the guy, no that’s not it. But I do think Tim knows he is in the final 2 or 3 because he wouldn’t be going through with this. Many people I’ve talked to, and these people are from outside the state, are convinced Tim was talked into the vetting process. My calls that are coming into me from other people are many times more than my calls outbound, you know what I mean? People who I have known for years are calling me saying they think it’s Tim.
Now there is another thing that has been put up by 2nd ring people and this is a bit on the sensitive side. So I’m not going to spend much time on this, going to be careful, alright. Tim is a lot like Rubio when it comes to needing money. Rubio has like student loans up the whazoo and has a house that is under water, or something like that. Tim needs to work so he has been jumping on these Corporate Boards. Now these Boards are easy to get off if need be, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about Mary (Mary Pawlenty).
You see, here is the deal. Everyone (2nd ring) has been watching Mary to see what she is doing. You see Mary can pull down great money, but it would mean she needs to get all up into something that she would struggle getting out of quickly (Mary was a District Judge.) Mary has stayed, well, has kept her ability to move to DC, to put it in a way. This has been a signal to many here (2nd ring-Minnesota) that Tim is being considered seriously, like he has a real shot, more than a real shot. But that’s all I’m going to say on the Mary thing.
Now here is the thing. There is only so many hours that Boston has before election night. They have lots of resources but only so many hours, days before the election, you know what I mean? Look at where and how they are spending their time. Mitt has spent his first swing, tour, whatever you want to call it in PA, NH, IA, MI, OH & WI. Those are Northern states, all of them. But look more closely and you will see that all the counties that Mitt will go to in this swing are blue counties, all of them went to Obama narrowly. Mitt is attacking the slightly blue regions of rural, Northern counties. What does that tell you? Mitt’s internals see beautiful things in Rock County (WI) and the others (Counties). Mitt needs to spend no time in regions of Red (GOP counties). So Mitt’s campaign is all about targeting these Northern democratic counties that are starting to not only walk away from Obama, but to run away. Mitt’s team knows what they are doing. They see their internals, they see great weakness in Obama in these counties. Who helps in these counties?
Christie? Yes, but where was Christie? He wasn’t in PA was he? Yeah, that whole thing went south about 4 weeks ago. Sorry dude, it just did. Who else helps in these counties? Who for sure helps? Ryan? Yep. Portman?.. maybe. But I said earlier, Portman is not a Romney guy. Portman will not be selected. That bubble has been pricked. Does Jindal help in the counties I’m talking about. Yes, I think he does actually. We will get to Jindal later. But he comes 2nd in this process. That is my call. Does Rubio help in Rock County? That is a tougher one. But Tim does help. Tim does not scare off the Suburban voters of the North, and he is well liked by rural voters. Tim is a 2nd term Governor of Minnesota, blue, blue, blue.
OK, now let’s move away from that. How important was it that Tim was put into the bus (the Romney swing state tour)? Was it really that important that Tim spoke for Mitt in NH & PA? No, not really. But what gets to me is how closed lipped Tim’s people are in all of this. Tim had some staff with him. They were with him in both states. That says something right there. Now I know I’m going all over the place with these comments so I’m sorry none of this makes sense. There is another thing that plays right into Tim becoming the VP selection. Tim is not a Governor right now. He does not bring the worries to Boston that a Bobby or Chris (Christie) would give. Christie is in a tight budget battle, and Bobby, well, everything is cool, but you never know. Mitt likes certainty. Tim gives him that.
Ok, here is the thing. Again, there are only so many hours, that is the one resource you can’t increase. Boston is way ahead of schedule on everything when it comes to the VP process. Why? Because they want maximum time with Mitt and whoever, they want maximum time in fundraising for the VP guy. They want the VP to establish himself. They want the VP, well, they want to quickly get through the press vetting. They want to quickly set up a message with their VP that they can sell with Mitt. Boston can’t increase their time on the back end, but they can on the front end. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think they have made their final decision yet, But they only have about 4 names in the hopper. They have 4 names on a digital file on one of their computers with their design team ready to be kicked off to their printer. They have the ink paid for, the ink used for the side of the plane. Boston is moving, moving, moving. They want to spend as much time as possible in destroying the Obama campaign, not spending time on this. I mean, they are spending time on this, but they want maximum time on the back-end. What does that mean? Mitt has less time to get to know these other guys. Boston does not want their VP selection to go through some sort of class in Boston to get in step with Mitt. That takes time, resources. Tim fulfills the plan in all of that. A Tim Pawlenty selection is time not wasted. Up and running from the time of the announcement. Now do you want me to stop, or what?
Greg: What about political and electoral considerations? Even I know that Tim Pawlenty may not help Mitt as much as some others. You give an example about some northern counties, but a Pawlenty selection would cause some backlash among the most fervent part of the base, correct?
The Eagle: I mean, I think that is Tim’s weakness in all of this. I think if that becomes an overriding issue than I think it slides over to Jindal. But I think Boston is not so much thinking about how much a VP helps them outside of messaging. Tim will help in some Northern Blue counties, he won’t hurt. Remember, the Romney internals are very good. They do not need to go into a 2 minute offense with this selection.
Greg: What do you make of not seeing Mitt and Bobby together on the trail as of yet? Was that your biggest issue with making the call that Bobby was not the one?
The Eagle: Bobby is a pro. He knows the issues, and I think he can mesh with what Mitt is doing and saying. But Boston perceives that they have a smooth operation that wants little change put into it at this point. Bobby’s team has not spent time in Boston, and I think that is a big thing for Boston. Maybe I’m wrong, but Bobby is at a big disadvantage vs. Pawlenty in this regards.
Greg: So if you have Jindal has the alternative, is that mean Rubio slid to 3rd?
The Eagle: I think Rubio is only one who will get the nod if it’s not Pawlenty or Jindal. I think what puts Rubio at a disadvantage in Boston vs. Jindal or Pawlenty, and especially Pawlenty, is the vetting process. I have heard over and over that Boston wants to give the press no surprises in this selection. They want to give the press someone who they are familiar with. Remember, they (Boston) want to dismantle Obama, not have a vetting war with the press over the VP selection. Pawlenty is known by all these guys (the press). Jindal is known, but Rubio is going to get hammered. Not fair, I know, but he will get hammered. Now the whole Rodgers think has faded quickly. Cathy is managing the House for Mitt and that is where she will be. A lady with a great future. But she is not getting the nod.
Greg: I have to ask this question, so bear with me. Does the factor that you are from Minnesota play a major part in your final call the Pawlenty will be chosen by Mitt?
The Eagle: I hope it doesn’t, but maybe. Like I said, the amount of incoming calls to me outside this state to talk about this is now much greater than me calling South Dakota about Thune for example. People are trying to figure out now how it might not be Pawlenty, instead of thinking of ways how it might be Tim. Big change, big change. No, the Pawlenty call is based upon everything I have heard. If I’m wrong I will buy you dinner at (Redacted).
Greg: So in your mind was Thune or Ryan ever a strong possibility for VP? Is Portman still totally out?
The Eagle: Yeah, Portman is out. My best guy told me a couple of weeks ago, which I told you. Just not a Romney guy. Now Ryan has been talked to, but nobody thinks he is going to be picked, pretty much a courtesy type of deal. Thune, well, I will be pissed if Thune is picked. My guy (redacted) says there is nothing going on there. I like Thune, and he gives Mitt something the other guys don’t if Boston does not want Pawlenty, and that is a pass with the Evangelical leaders, which I have mentioned before. But yeah, I don’t see it happening for anyone other than Rubio, Pawlenty or Jindal. I think Pawlenty will be the pick. 2 Governors from Blue States who are going to try to expand the map.
-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Veepstakes are now down to the FINAL 4!
In last week’ Rumor Mill, I sat down with “The Eagle” to ask him questions about the Veepstakes as he currently saw it. Since I received such a large amount of positive feedback regarding the interview style format, I try to continue to post in this manner if it works out for “The Eagle”, and if the style/format works out in what we are trying to accomplish at that particular time.
The same rules as last time apply going forward, as there may be some parts of the interview that may need to be redacted in order for us to be able to keep harvesting the rumors/information we get from this particular source. Please keep in mind that although I’m not able to disclose who “The Eagle” is, I can assure you that he is a real person whose “perch” enables him to see and hear things that we cannot.
Because I want to protect “The Eagle”, I will redact information from time to time. When speaking, “The Eagle” does not hold back and often does not take personal protection into account. He simplly loves the game of politics… His sources love talking to him, and he loves talking to me. And I intend to keep it this way.
Now if you all remember last week, a day before the Wisconsin recall election, “The Eagle” declared that Scott Walker would get “no less than 53% of the total vote” and that turnout would reach “70%%-75% in some of the Reddest parts of the state.” As you can see, “The Eagle” nailed his predictions. In the process of congratulating him at the start of this week’s interview for he stopped me and said “yes, but I sure blew it on my prediction for the Final 3″.
“What?!?!” I said.
“The prediction I made was based upon my theory of “the inner circle” regarding who was going to be the last 3 standing on Mitt’s list”, “The Eagle” responded.
“You mean the final three of Pawlenty, Portman and Jindal?” I asked.
“Yeah, that is not right, just not happening that way. Chatter is flying and not in that direction for Portman. It’s not happening man,” “The Eagle” answered with a grimace.
…And that is how it started.
Get your favorite beverage and sit down for The Buzz before the Buzz”.
Based upon my sources, The Rumor Mill is about to offically narrow down the list of the “Original 7″ of:
…… down to the Final 4!!!
Greg: Ok, what did you get wrong? Are you way off, not close? What happened?
The Eagle: Portman is not getting there. His name will always be there, be he is not getting there. Portman not going to be the guy. Everything is good about him, everything being said is cool, it’s good, but it aint going to be him. He is not a Romney guy. You are going to be hearing me say that a lot. It’s all about who is a Romney guy or woman, that’s it. I mean that’s not all it, but you have to be his guy or girl, and if your not, your not. I’m not sure what it is about Portman, but I know the guy in (blank) and he says Portman is not going to get it. They dont’ work, Mitt and Portman. Didn’t happen. What can you say. I think a Romney guy is a CEO who works in a CEO manner, not like a Prosecutor, or a guy on the Hill. Mitt wants a guy or gal who is a decision maker like a CEO. Mitt never works with people who are not. Well I shouldn’t say that, but to be VP you need to be a leader who ran something in which you had to make everyday decisions. I like Portman, you know I like Portman. Everybody likes Portman, but he is not a Romney guy. You will hear some stuff I think real soon on them not clicking. I believe it, I believe it because of who I heard it from. It’s not going to be Portman. I still think, and will always think, that is important to have some foreces in the innner cirlce vouching for you everyday to make it as the VP pick, without it you don’t get it, you know what I mean? But Portman is not the guy and I’m condfident of this now.
Greg: So if not Portman, than who is your Final 4?
The Eagle: Jinadl, Pawlenty, Rodgers and Rubio.
Greg: Before we get to the Final 4 and why you think it’s down to those four candidates, I want to first ask you why its not some of the other candidates .
Why not Christie? Because he has no advocacy in Boston as you have mentioned before?
The Eagle: Yeah, he has no one mentioning his name in Boston. Maybe Bob (Bob Smith) but nothing that is solid. What has happened Greg, in the last week, and this baby (chatter) is everywhere, is that you have to be a Romney guy. a Romney guy is a lot of things. I think in part its a guy who has not ran in other circles, like a Jeb (Jeb Bush). But what everybody is now agreeing on, it’s what everyone is hearing, is a Romney guy is not a guy who thinks and makes decisions like a Prosecutor. I think Mitt and Chris get along good, and I think Chris is a man of great political skill, but its not happening. Chris is not a CEO type of Governor. Maybe were all wrong, and I will buy you a drink if I’am, but Chris is not getting the shot. The chatter is going South on this.
Greg: Why not Kelly Ayotte?
The Eagle: I do have something interesting to say about the Kelly thing, but I’m not at liberty to point it out just yet. It’s not a scandal or anything, it’s just something happened that did not help her. I think her staff did not help her out man. But I’m not going to talk about it now, just remind me. She is not going to get it, and maybe she never was, but she has only faded. It may not be directly her fault, but it doesn’t matter. She got no help. Will talk later about this, there is a good reason why I can’t say anything about this situation right now.
Greg: Why not John Thune?
The Eagle: It could be Thune, but not a word been spoken. I think it makes a lot of sense. Won’t fire up the base, just like Pawlenty, but is a Evangelical just like Pawlenty who would get the nod of approval form Evangelical leadership. Yah, maybe Thune, but I have not heard a word, and I got (Blank) in South Dakota who would punch me up if there was word on it.
Greg: Why not Jeb Bush?
The Eagle: It’s just not going to be him. Come on. Mitt would never shake a stick toward Jeb for the VP. But chatter is heavy on Jeb being a surrogate for Mitt on working the “Grand Bargain.”–(The remaining part of this answer has been redacted and will be opened up in a different Rumor Mill after Veepstakes have been completed)
Greg: Why not Bob McDonnell?
The Eagle: Early chatter had him rubbed out. I have no idea why. But again, not a Romney guy. He seems like a Prosecutor – Governor and not a CEO type. I could be wrong, but he has never been in the game.
Greg: Ok, lets get to the Final 4. Explain why its down to Pawlenty, Jindal, Rodgers and Rubio. Start with Rodgers. I thought she was eliminated due to the fact Team Romney put here down as a liason between the White House and the House of Representaives?
The Eagle: Rodgers is a “Romney Gal.” They loved her from the start. They talked with her more than anybody else except for Pawlenty. The chatter is way, way the (bleep). Rodgers was interviewed by Myers right after Memorial Day Weekend. They started with her. Now maybe they talked with her only about the liason thing, but come on man. There is a real possibility she’s it man. She has such respect, it has been noticed in Boston. She makes presentations like a CEO leader man. She has great talk behind her, great chatter. Heavy. People around her think it’s going to happen so that can’t be ingnored. I’m not sure who is pushing for her in the inner circle, don’t know about that. She will be up there until the end, and I don’t care that she is not on the radar of people who don’t know what the hell is going on. She could be the one, hard to ignore but not the favorite.
The CO-FAVORITES right now are Rubio and Pawlenty. Rubio has become a Romney guy. He has momentum. he is working hard for this VP slot. His speeches are making a difference. He is not a CEO guy, but he has become trusted. I keep getting reminded by (redacted) about how many Rubio people are now working for Mitt. maybe not at the highest level, but they are there, scattered about. Gillespie is all about getting traction in the Hispanic community and if he has some stroke it could get interesting. I have always thought of Gillespie as not quite an insider in Boston, but I being told differently. Rubio could be the guy and at this point is co-favorite.
Now the Pawlenty chatter is heavy dude. The Walker victory has only helped Pawlenty. They can package Pawlenty as a Walker very easily. But the chatter is a heavy. The man is living in Boston. He is living in Boston man, and is seating at every table. Everybody knows it man. The press knows it. Pawlenty is a Romney guy. There is no more to add to it. He will give Mitt a quick pass with Evangelical leaders. Its not that important, I don’t want to say it all the time, but for all the things that is going right for Mitt the one thing he has not sealed up yet is the nod of approval from the Evangelical leadership in the South. Pawlenty and Thune can give him that, while Jindal may fall short. Now Jindal speaks Romney speak. Christie does not, McDonnell does not, not even close. Jindal is moving up man. He is becoming a Romney guy and don’t think he is not. I’m getting a lot of chatter from Jindal and Rodgers people. If you remember when I told you about who was getting vetted? Well it was Rodgers and Jindal together that (redacted) told me. They are both getting a hard look that others will not get. Now maybe the people I’m talking to are a bit off, but I’m not going to deny the information because of where it’s coming from. I would be happy with any of these 4:
Greg: There are rumors that Team Romney may announce their VP selection earlier than expected. What have you heard on this rumor?
The Eagle: I can’t add anything to the rumor.
Greg: I expect a final call from you on who you think will be Mitt’s Romney’s Vice Presidential selection before the selection is made. When do you think you can give us the “Final 1″?
The Eagle: Well, I think I can do that pretty quickly. There is momentum to all of this. Teams that work on the selection,along with the nominee like Mitt, will not be adding to this procees. Now its time to narrow, and they are so far ahead of schedule on everyhing, and it has been serving them well up to this point. Yeah, I will give you my final call real soon, no problem. It will be based on everythng that I hear. And what I hear it’s not Portman. I like Portman, it’s too bad. I will let you know.
So there we have it, the “Final 4″ according to “The Eagle”:
Governor of Minnesota – Tim Pawlenty
House of Representative of Washington State – Cathy McMorris Rodgers Governor of Louisiana – Bobby Jindal
Senator of Florida – Marco Rubio
Do you agree with this list of the Final 4? Are “The Eagles” sources giving him bad information?
And what happened to Rob Portman? Is it true Portman is not a “Romney guy”? And just what the hell is a “Romney guy” again anyway?
And what is this talk about a “Grand Bargain”, using Jeb Bush as the surrogate in this endeavor?!
To find out you must stay tune, stay alert, and stay close to Race42012.
-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at email@example.com.
The following is a written transcript of interview conducted by me while having dinner with “The Eagle” in an undisclosed location somewhere in the heart of Minneapolis.
Several conditions were imposed by “The Eagle” for this special dinner/interview to occur. Among them are that the interview was be recorded on his own recording device, that the transcription would be subject to his approval, and that any portion which could reveal the “perch” on which “The Eagle” rests be redacted.
The following transcript has been approved by “The Eagle”. All words in Parenthesis ( ) are additions to the actual transcript made by me to aid the readers in understanding the context.
Greg: Thanks for doing this “Eagle.” I want to hit upon quite a few different areas of what your perception is of what is happening in the world of politics and what you are hearing and seeing. I would like to end with Vice Presidential talk, but first I want to get your impressions of Wisconsin and the recall vote, how you think the campaigns are going for Obama and Romney, and if you have any local tidbits you could give us here on what is happening to the GOP party in Minnesota.
First, tell us what you think is going to happen in Wisconsin and how the results could effect the race in November.
The Eagle: There are actual 6 races to watch in Wisconsin. The Governor’s race, the race for Lt. Governor, and the 4 state senate races. Three of the state senate races will stay in GOP hands and the only one that could fall away from the Republican is the race that sits in Racine, Wisconsin. I honestly do not know much about the any of the candidates but what I hear is 3 of the seats are safe. The governor’s race will be won by Walker. Walker will get no less than 53% of the total vote. What many people do not understand is how many school districts in outstate Wisconsin now have a surplus in their budgets, and how the turnout for Walker is going to be earth shattering, especially among Western Wisconsin voters. We are talking about 70-75% in some of the Reddest parts of the state. I’m not joking. The race has been over for a long time. The only disappointing thing about this whole affair from the Republican Party standpoint is how unimpressive the Lt. Governor (Rebecca Kleefisch) has been. Your other question, or part of it was how does this effect Obama & Romney in Wisconsin?
Greg: Yes, does a Walker victory of some 7 points help Romney in Wisconsin?
The Eagle: Yeah, it hurts Obama because there is going to be some hard feelings between the Wisconsin Democrats and their local unions and the Obama camp. President Obama is going to be in Wisconsin sometime in August or September and he will be asking for support at rally’s in Wisconsin and some Democrats, and especially union members, are going to ask “where the hell were you Barack in June”? Yeah, Obama is going to have problems in there, in that place (Wisconsin).
Greg: You mentioned a couple of weeks ago that some members in the GOP party in Minnesota are going to be asking Jeff Johnson, a MN County Commissioner, to run against Governor Dayton in 2014, how is that going? And before you answer that question do you have names for us on who you think is going to run against MN Senator Al Franken in 2014?
The Eagle: Chip (Rep. Chip Cravaack CD-8) will have the first shot against Franken in 2014. I have not heard anything about how the Jeff thing is going. Franken is going to be very difficult to defeat, people do not know what they are talking about when they say he is easily beatable. Of course he is beatable, but it’s not going to go down the way people are expecting. Franken is going to be looked at as the “Union Savior” in the Midwest by 2014. Money is not going to be a problem for Franken, not in 2014.
Greg: How do you think the race is going between Obama and Romney? What has surprised you about the race, if anything.
The Eagle: When I saw the video in Iowa, the video that Romeny’s team did in Iowa, with all the snow. You know what I mean? the video that they did and kept it for the race against Obama and didn’t play it until the Spring. When I saw that video it was like, well, a very good sign. Romney’s team has the whole race story booked out. Do you know what I mean? It’s like they have things planned, not just events, but a strategy planned for every week, every month. They were planning the general when they were in the primary’s. Now they are planning how they are going to govern. They are like 3 steps ahead of where they currently are, if you know what I mean. It’s crazy. So far it’s good. We hear talk of how they (Romney’s team) are going to spend money here (Minnesota), there are local TV stations praying for it. I think the race is opening up for Romney and I’m not sure what can happen to stop it. Obama is frustrated. Axelrod is being shown to be just an average, average player. (Political Strategist).
Greg: Before I start asking you VP questions, is there any more light you can give us on what you have been hearing about possible cabinet positions in a Romney White House?
The Eagle: Ed Gillespie or Beth (Beth Myers) for Chief of Staff. I really do think it’s going to be Beth. The only other thing I have heard is a possible McDonnell (Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia) or for U.S. Attorney General.
Greg: So what is the newest rumors you can give us on the Vice Presidential parlor game that is now being played in Boston? According to what you have told me so far it looks like we are down to 7? Is that still true?
The Eagle: We do know that there were at least 7 of them (VP candidates) that were contacted by Beth and were given, well, like an action item to give back to Beth. There may be another name or so, but the 7 names I have given you are the players. I think the list will get down to about 3-4 before not too long. Here is the deal on this stuff. There is a great myth out there on how this is all done. Everyone thinks it is only the nominee that makes the choice. But that is really not the case, well it is and it isn’t. The inner circle around the nominee has a strong vote in the choice.
You may think I’m crazy, but I’m not. If you go back in time you will see how the inner circle plays a huge role in the VP choice. In 1988, Dukakis had an inner circle that wanted Bentsen, not Glenn. Teeter had the majority hand in the Bush inner circle, and the majority wanted Qualye, not Danforth. So Bush went with Qualye. In 1996, Dole didn’t want your guy Kemp, but his inner circle kept speaking in the man’s ear – Kemp,Kemp,Kemp! Kerry was not all pleased with Edwards, but his inner circle kept saying, North Carolina, North Carolina, North Carolina! When Barack sat down with his inner circle they all vetoed Evan Bayh, all of them. There is politics in the inner circle, and to know who is in the inner circle, and who they want, is the key on what you called the parlor game.
Now, there are some exceptions, the choice of Cheney for one. But for every exception there is another 5 examples that says inner circle holds the cards. Gore picked Lieberman because of inner circle. Reagan picked Bush because of inner circle. Jim Baker played every card to get Bush on the ticket after the Ford fiasco at the Convention. So you have to ask yourself what VP candidate has an inner circle going to bat for them every day in Boston. I think it has become quite clear of who the inner circle wants and that is a “Final 3″ of Pawlenty, Portman & Jindal.
Portman has people in the inner circle supporting him everyday. There are people who have worked for Portman in the past who now work for Romney, deep inside Romney’s team. We know Pawlenty has people deep in there. I don’t need to go into that, we all know people are pulling for a VP Pawlenty in Boston. And Jindal has some love as well. And let me say one more thing, the inner circle does not want to give a name to Romney that could blow up. You go up, or down, on the inner circle pecking order depending on the advice you give to the top. Jindal & Pawlenty were 2nd & 3rd choice of McCain. That gives the inner circle some cover for vouching for those two picks. Let me be clear, I have not heard any rumors that the number has been cut, but if you ask me, well, I think it’s between the 3 guys. Portman has such talent. The man can be a force on the trail. The man speaks fluent Spanish for (bleep) sake!. Jindal can speak Romney speak. He can talk about fixing things. He has been vetted before. Pawlenty is so well liked and has nothing to give fear to Mitt. I could be wrong, but history and the make-up of what is going on makes those three (Jindal-Pawlenty- Portman) the last three.
Greg: What about Rubio or Christie? Have those two fallen in your eyes?
The Eagle: Well, it is true Gillespie is a big Rubio guy. I do have to say that. Rubio would have to be the 4th guy on the list. But Christie, Rodgers & Ayotte have nobody in the trenches in Boston being surrogates for them, as much as I can gather. As you know Greg, without saying too much, I have gotten to know some of Christie’s guys over the last year, and you know why I have gotten to know them. I think we can almost eliminate Christie from the list. We are not quite there, but he has no advocate in Boston.
Greg: Before we end this interview I want to give you some names in politics and have you try to answer in less than 10 words your personal impression of this man or woman.
The Eagle: Mitt Romney – Smart man. Likes to read. I like leaders who like to read
Barack Obama – I think he is surprised and disappointed in his team and is truly starting to blame them more than Bush.
Paul Ryan – Courageous. Needs to learn how to perform a speech.
Marco Rubio – Great story. Young. When I see him I think of how young he looks.
Kelly Ayotte – Furture U.S Attorney General or Vice President, or both.
Rob Portman – Great talent. Vice President or blocking back for Romney in the Senate.
Joe Biden – Good man. Not gifted, but good man.
Bobby Jindal – Dominating intelligence. Creative. Beautiful Wife.
Tim Pawlenty – Vice President or Senior Advisor in Romney White House. Mary Pawlenty would be a great 2nd Lady of the United States.
Chris Christie – Love him, but dangerous. If any man can win the Presidency someday from outside the 2 major party’s, it’s this man.
Mike Huckabee – The establishment does not trust him. Will not be VP.
Scott Walker – Not a good debator. Stays on message. Not gifted. Courageous, but not gifted.
In the next installment of The Rumor Mill, we will discuss what we learned from “The Eagle” in regards to the ongoing VP interview process.
Stay close, and stay tuned to Race42012…
The number stays at 7 and the door is now shut.
The Rumor Mill has heard, according to information we have received from our sources, that there will be no more additions to “The List.” Gov. Romney’s selection for Vice President will be one of the following candidates:
I understand that many of you here, including me, believed that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan must be on Mitt Romney’s short list. And many of you may take me to task for his omission. That is fine, as I detest the boredom of “Echo Discussions” and I look forward to your comments in challenging the make-up of The Final 7. But before we take part in one of our epic discussions here at R4’12, let me explain why I believe that Paul Ryan will not be under consideration by Team Romney.
First, I want to say I’m a big supporter of Paul Ryan and I would have no problem in supporting his selection as Vice President. I do believe his selection would secure the election, because it would result in discussions centering around the issues of the budget, the economy, and jobs. The selection of Paul Ryan would take this election away from the silliness of issues such as Rev. Wright, bullying in high school 45 years ago, Donald Trump, personal drug use 30 years ago, and so on.
According to “The Eagle”, the rumor on ” The Hill” is consistent in regards to Paul Ryan’s future: Paul Ryan will be the “Quarterback” for the Romney Administration up on “The Hill.” It is being said that Paul Ryan & Mitt Romney have already had more discussions between the both of them on how they should hit the ground running after the election than President Obama has had discussions with anyone of the Democratic side of capital hill in 3 1/2 years. According to the rumors, discussions have gone into such detail as to how Ryan will present his reform package once Romney has taken the oath of office. Ryan has been effective in getting some traction with some Democrats, such as Senator Wyden of Oregon, and that progress maybe at risk if the reform push comes the Vice Presidential office, instead of someone in Congress itself.
Do I believe Ryan is on the VP list right now? Yes. But it does not seem likely that Ryan will become the Vice Presidential pick.
Another name has surfaced as being vetted by Beth Myers for Team Romney, and it’s none other than Senator from Arizona, Jon Kyl. But the rumor is that the contact between Senator Kyl and Team Romney has been made more out of a courtesy to Senator Kyl than anything else. The rumor is that Team Romney wants Kyl on the list just in case this election suddenly turns into one where foreign policy takes center stage. For example, if Israel takes military action against Iran. However, I have received no information that Team Romney has asked for any information from Kyl, or that he has given any documents or information to Team Romney.
I do believe, based upon the information I have been given, that there is a clear distinction between “The Final 7″ listed above and any other candidates which may be mentioned as possibilities in the media.
Do you agree with the decision to exclude Ryan?
Do you think Kyl is truly being vetted seriously?
For the record, The Rumor Mill has now officially closed its doors to the possibly of making any additions to “The Final 7″ list. Why is that you might ask?
Because, believe it or not, the 2nd Stage of the VP Vetting Process is beginning right now!!!!!
To learn more, stay tuned to Race42012…
And now there are 7 on the VP List!!!
Are your hands sweaty? Is your heart pumping? Do you find yourself needing to check Race42012.com more than ever to catch the latest VP buzz? If you answered to the affirmative on all those questions consider yourself officially a political junkie. You also can consider yourself a wise political junkie for staying close to R4’12 because I will continue to give you the “buzz before the buzz.”
On Wednesday, The Rumor Mill ended the column with these very carefully chosen words…
“I will be forwarding you all a very special rumor that is currently making the rounds about a certain southern Governor whose political future might have him taking trips to Boston in the months of August, September, October and November.
Who is the Governor?
Why would he need to take the trips to Boston?
Stay alert, and stay close to Race42012…”
Since Wednesday, there has been lots of buzz about “that certain southern Governor.” Who was “that certain Southern Governor” that I was alluding to?….. Of course, the answer is non other than the current Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal!
On Thursday, Matthew E. Miller wrote a piece titled “More Jindal Movement”, which included recent columns written by Grover Norquist & Phillip Klein which declared Bobby Jindal the best candidate for Vice President among all other possible candidates.
Now today, The Rumor Mill can officially announce that Bobby Jindal has been contacted by Beth Myers and has been notified that there is interest Gov. Mitt Romney in Gov. Jindal joining the ticket. According to “The Eagle”, Jindal being was contacted by Beth Myers in late April. However, Jindal has reportedly not been given the “Information Packet” which was given to other Veep prospects such as Portman, Christie, and Ayotte. In the case of Gov. Jindal (and one of the two other new VP candidates who I will get to later in this article) the term “Biographical Information” was used instead. Team Romney asked for “Biographical Information” from Jindal and has already received the information back, which could very well could be the origin of this rumor being leaked. However, there is a possibility that the “Biographical Information” requested is the same information as the “Information Packets”. It may just be the case of different terms being used to describe the same documents due to different sources of information/leaks “The Eagle” has spoken to in the last month. I can only report the exact words whispered to “The Eagle.” For those who have been wishing for this day to happen, the day that you knew Jindal could be in the running for the Vice Presidential nod, you can be sure your day has finally arrived. Congrats to all the “Bobby for VP12” supporters out there. Stay tuned…more is coming.
I have the name of two more VP candidates that Beth Myers has reportedly contacted. But before I get to those other two names, I just wanted to draw our attention to an article that “The Hill” has posted this week, “Romney begins vetting veep picks.” Please take special note of this part of the article:
The team for Beth Myers, the Romney adviser leading the search for the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, has already contacted potential running mates, according to a source close to the Romney campaign.
By beginning the process early, the Romney camp hopes to avoid the mistake of John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, when that campaign found itself unprepared for the onslaught of public attention that greeted Sarah Palin.
If you’ll recall, The Rumor Mill informed it’s readers a month ago that the VP Search was officially underway and way ahead of Team McCain’s 2008 schedule.
On April 23rd, we had already told our readers some of the candidates that had been contacted by Beth Myers (per information given to us by “The Eagle”). There were some readers who did not believe this could possibly be true, just looking at the calendar… Also, there were no other sources/sites that were publishing this information at the time. I am quite confident that the first VP candidates were contacted by Beth Myers’ office during the week of April 14th – April 19th. I believe history will be quite kind to us when it is written just when, who, and how these VP candidates were contacted. This particular “Hill” article is just the first “brick being laid” in this regard…
But enough with my “tooting my own Purple Viking horns.” We have 2 more VP candidates that we will be officially added to the Rumor Mill VP list today who are being vetted by Beth Myers. The next name is a shocker, but it’s happening, according to the rumor given to me by “The Eagle”. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State has been contacted by Beth Myers and, again, “Biographical Information” was asked for and received from Rep. McMorris Rodgers. The source who gave “The Eagle” the information regarding Bobby Jindal included the name of Cathy McMorris Rodgers. This addition the list is quite a shocker for me personally because I have come to the belief Team Romney wanted only “Day 1 Ready” candidates on their list. It may be that Team Romney does see Cathy McMorris Rodgers as ready, however, and I’m not giving her potential VP candidacy the respect it deserves. I’m very interested to see the reaction from R4’12 readers on this. But because Rodgers name was given by the same source that divulged Jindal’s addition, there is no way that I can dismiss it.
Now we save the best for last. Last night in a phone call from “the Eagle”, he gave me no notice of what he was about to say… He just spoke these words: ”Pawlenty is in play!”
WHAT????……I asked, not believing what I had just heard.
“Pawlenty is in play”, “The Eagle” repeated back to me.
I then asked how and when did you come up with this info?
“The Eagle” answered, “I will not answer, and you should not ask”.
Why “The Eagle” chose to answer my question in the manner that he did is a subject for another discussion. For now I am too excited over the news to look at the future implications for my favorite Governor.
Well, now I more fully understand this exchange between Andrea Mitchell & Tim Pawlenty on MSNBC.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Have you heard from Boston, from Beth Myers or anyone in the campaign asking you for your background information?
TIM PAWLENTY: The Romney campaign has a policy, and I’m a national co-chair of the campaign, that we don’t talk about the vice presidential policy in terms of timing whether it relates to me or anyone else or the aspects of that, so that’s something that we’re going to leave for another day and time. Not because I’m trying to be coy with you Andrea, that’s just the campaign policy. We don’t discuss the details of that process.
So where are we at this point in the VP search?
I am confident that, according to my sources, the following candidates have been contacted by Beth Myers for inclusion in the Veep selection process:
Has Team Romney casted their VP nets wider than these 7?
Could any of these 7 make it on to the shorter VP list as it narrows?
Stay alert… And say tuned for my next installment…
-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reading this week’s edition of the Rumor Mill is more like a taking a big bite into a slice of deep dish pizza with extra toppings than opening up a box of chocolates. We have lots of rumors/information we need to discuss. So get your bib on, grab your beverage of choice, and let’s feast!
First, we need to nibble on the toppings for a second and veer off into Minnesota Republican politics before we delve into Vice Presidential Speculation. “The Eagle” wanted to make sure he told me, in his weekly phone call to R4’12’s Rumor Mill desk, that a huge band of MN GOP Insiders are going to be calling on Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson to run for the MN Governorship in 2014 against current Governor Mark Dayton. According to my conversation with “The Eagle”, Jeff Johnson at this very moment is not even aware of the coming request by the GOP Establishment. It does make me wonder, personally, if The Rumor Mill is being used for “Cloak and Dagger” in regards to this rumor, but I did feel the need to post this information so it can be part of the record here at R4’12 Rumor Mill. Remember the name Jeff Johnson of Minnesota, because once again at the Rumor Mill you were told the Buzz before the Buzz.
Now let’s talk about Vice Presidential speculation and rumors that are running rampant in the halls the GOP establishment. As many of the readers here at Race42012 know I’m a big Tim Pawlenty supporter and was hoping and wishing upon the Northern Star that he would become our GOP nominee in 2012. That dream died on the night of the GOP debate in New Hampshire when Pawlenty considerably underperformed his skill and talent, the details in which I will not spell out at this time for it breaks my heart just to think about it. Ever since Pawlenty withdrew from the GOP presidential race after the Ames Straw Poll I have been talking up his potential as being picked by Governor Mitt Romney for Vice President for the following stated reasons:
#1. Romney has a close personal/working relationship with Pawlenty.
#2. Pawlenty will be considered by the MSM as a “Ready Day 1” choice.
#3. Pawlenty vetting process by the press and Team Obama will go pretty smoothly compared to the other possible VP choices.
#4. Pawlenty will not have to go through a learning curve on national issues, which have often plagued governors in the past when picked for VP (Example: Palin).
#5. Pawlenty is Northern Evangelical, a fact that would help Romney with the Evangelical community.
#6. Pawlenty is a two-term Governor of a politically “Blue State” that can help Romney cement the political brand of “Team of Outsiders” in the race against Obama/Biden and Washington.
#7. By summer, the “conventional wisdom” will hold Romney as the slight favorite over President Barack Obama and the safe boring choice of Tim Pawlenty will become the wise one. So there will be no need for a “Hail Mary” play.
So why do I bring up the name Tim Pawlenty in todays Rumor Mill? Is it because I have heard he received the initial information packets from Team Romney, as was the case with Senator’s Ayotte, Rubio, Portman and Governor Christie? Do I have some breaking news/rumor to break in regards to Tim Palwenty? At this time, I have not received any rumors about Team Romney looking into Tim Pawlenty as a possible Vice Presidential selection. I have been told it’s simply because there would be no one around that would be able to leak the info about Palwenty, if there was any action going on, because he has no office, no staff, unlike the other possible VP selections. Pawlenty has become the right hand man for Mitt Romney and is doing a lot of heavy lifting for Team Romney at all the different GOP state conventions across the country. Pawlenty gave a speech on Monday at the University of Minnesota and I’ve been told it’s the first time anyone who works for the Minnesota GOP has seen him since he starting working for Mitt Romney’s Campaign months ago. So I guess you all need to decide if Tim Pawlenty, absent any and all rumors for VP, should be knocked a bit on your own personal VP Power Rankings. For me, I’m just too stubborn to have the dream die. It makes too much sense – Romney/Pawlenty 2012 – just too much sense for it not to happen. If I do hear anything on TPAW it will be posted here at Race42012 before anywhere else. So stay close.
I’m going to end this week’s Rumor Mill with a rumor that is gaining so much steam on “The Hill” that I’m surprised it has not been reported at this time, anywhere. Beth Myers has become the leading contender for the Chief of Staff position in a Mitt Romney White House. House GOP’ers have been treating Beth Myers and her office as if they believe she will ultimately become Mitt’s Chief of Staff in the West Wing. Beth Myers, as being rumored, has not only been given the task of running the VP Search, but has been given the role of communication liaison between Mitt Romney, himself, and any elected Republican on Capitol Hill. “The Eagle” described this period of time for Beth Myers as her time to be groomed for the position. Myers is now establishing relationships with all essential parties on “The Hill” and is also setting expectations in how communication will flow and be coordinated between the White House and Capitol Hill. “The Eagle” expects this nugget of information to be widely floated and spread around after the Vice President nominee has been selected by Mitt Romney.
In the next Rumor Mill, I will be forwarding you all a very special rumor that is currently making the rounds about a certain southern Governor whose political future might have him taking trips to Boston in the months of August, September, October and November.
Who is the Governor?
Why would he need to take the trips to Boston?
Stay alert, and stay close to Race42012…
-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at email@example.com.
In the 1st edition of the Rumor Mill we recapped what we learned recently from “The Eagle” in regards to whom among the possible VP candidates had received the information packets from Beth Myers, who is leading the VP Search Team for Team Romney. The 3 possible Vice Presidential candidates who have been contact by Team Romney, who’ve been told they are indeed on the initial VP list, and who’ve been given the Information Packets according to the Rumor Mill, are the following:
The Rumor Mill at R4’12 is happy to announce it’s ready to add a 4th name on to the list, and the name will come of no surprise to the knowledgeable readers of this leading Conservative site. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio has been contacted by Beth Myers office and has begun the first steps of the Vice Presidential vetting process set up by Team Romney, according to the “Inside the Beltway” rumor that came across Smack’s Rumor Mill Race42012 desk.
Rob Portman being contacted by Team Romney is not a shocker in the least. The national political punditry has been discussing a possible Portman nomination for weeks now, if not months.
Here are a some examples of what some of the MSM have been saying about a Portman VP selection:
Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer says picking Portman would not make sense, at least politically. ”The Portman thing puzzles me,” Krauthammer said Wednesday during the online segment of “Special Report.”
“If your problem is that you’re stiff, you’re not exciting, you’ve got green eyeshades and you’re great otherwise, but not exactly a charismatic character — why would you double down on that with a Portman?
“Everything I know about Rob Portman, everything I know about Mitt Romney and the way he makes decisions tells me it’s going to be Rob Portman because it emphasizes the central message of the campaign… he’s not exciting, but he’s well vetted,” said Major Garrett, reporter at National Journal.
“And I think the essence of Mitt Romney’s message is, I’m an acceptable, credible alternative and Rob Portman fills the bill,” Garrett added.
Stay alert… Stay close to Race42012…. The next Rumor Mill is soon to be delivered.
Note: The original version of this piece was submitted for posting on Saturday. However, an injury to a family member over the weekend prevented me from performing many of my normal duties, including my duties as editor of this site. Greg’s original piece included a snippet that Bob McDonnell is not under consideration by Team Romney for the veep slot and that the national medial would be reporting this tidbit soon. Sure enough, this story broke in the national media on Tuesday. So Greg would have scooped this story by three full days. I would like to apologize to Greg for my delay in this regard, as it is completely my fault that he did not break this rumor.–KWN
-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Due to the popularity of regular Page 2 commenter Smack1968’s posts, I have decided to give him an opportunity to post on various political rumors here on the front page. Please send me your feedback at email@example.com – KWN.
Welcome to the 1st edition of Smack’s (aka Gregory J. Flugaur) Political Rumor Mill, a column where political rumors will be brought out from the smoke filled rooms of the “Establishment” to be placed under the hot lights of the R4’12 community. In this column, I will not only discuss current rumors that are making the rounds throughout the conservative blogosphere, but I will also break rumors and provide R4’12’s readers with “the buzz before the buzz.”
As longtime readers know, I have been doling out “inside baseball” chatter here at R4’12 for some time this cycle from a source in which I have, with much respect, nicknamed “The Eagle.” Some of the rumors have turned out to be true, (Sarah Huckabee is signing up with Team Pawlenty) and some of the rumors have fallen short (Christie is a yes to run for President!).
But enough with discussing the misfires…err……I mean the past. Bring on the present and the future. In this column, I will be speculating on rumors that are making the rounds in the political sphere or that are in hiding, which yours truly will be working his sources to uncover.
In the movie Forrest Gump, we all remember the famous line, “Momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. That is exactly how you should look at the RUMOR MILL – like a box of chocolates waiting to be opened. There may be some nuggets that are just chewy caramel rumors that may taste great at first bite, but will just lead to having to brush your teeth. Or the nugget you may open up could be a sugary minted rumor, here one second, but gone the next as it melts in your mouth as quickly as it entered. But once in awhile you may end up finding a nugget which will lead you on journey of complete political satisfaction – the rumor that will simply not go away and eventually comes to pass.
Now let’s recap the political rumor that I broke here at Race42012 early…
The Eagle” gave me a call where we mostly talked about the Vikings Stadium Bill and if it was ever going to pass through the MN House and MN Senate. “The Eagle” and I talked about if the MN GOP Party was ever going to get out of debt and how the Ron Paul supporters have taken over the MN GOP Party. Then out of nowhere “The Eagle” dropped a VP Rumor bombshell into my lap, which of course I was happy to drop it here at Race42012. The VP rumor which was disocvered by “The Eagle” is that both Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire have been both given information packets from Beth Myers’ office, the person who is the person selected by Mitt Romney to head the vice-presidential search team. The information packets direct both Senators as to what information and documents Myers needs to have to start the VP search and vetting process. Later in the week, “The Eagle” said another potential VP pick received an information packet from Beth Myers, that being Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.
So did anything happen in the world of politics that could be seen as circumstantial evidence that these VP rumors could be true? Well let’s take a look shall we…
1. Last week, Marco Rubio spends a day campaigning with Mitt Romney outside of his home state of Florida
2. Marco Rubio changes his answer to the MSM’s often asked question regarding the possibility of becoming Mitt Romney’s Vice President selection from, “Not going to happen” to “We must respect the process.”
3. Marco Rubio does a major Foreign Policy speech two days later on April 25th.
4. On April 25th Steve Schmidt, who ran the 2008 John McCain Vice Presidential search team, mentions on MSNBC that he believes Marco Rubio has started the process of accumulating documents at the behest of Team Romney based on the evidence of how Senator Rubio has dramatically changed his approach to answering VP questions from the press.
5. Larry Kudlow tweets on April 24th that there is suddenly lots of buzz about Kelly Ayotte as VP for Mitt Romney.
So what do you all think? What type of chocolate did we just bite into?
Did Ayotte, Rubio & Christie indeed receive information packets from Beth Myers? Did the MSM get their collective hands on the same rumor which drove some of their coverage of the aforementioned candidates? Did any other possible VP candidates get as much buzz as Rubio & Ayotte in the past 10 days? To me, it does not appear so.
Take this speculation as you will and make up your own mind. But while you all do that, I am about to confirm a 4th name on the list according to the latest information I have received.
So what you need to do is:
Stay close to Race42012…
The next box of chocolates is about to be delivered!
-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Gov. Mitt Romney now the presumptive nominee of our party, we can jump fully into the veepstakes. Here are the latest rankings:
1. Paul Ryan, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin
The Wisconsin congressman has become a hero to the conservative intelligentsia and his reform proposals have become the center of much of the political debate in Washington. With the debt and entitlement crisis hanging over the election, Ryan’s plans will likely become a focus of the campaign at some point with or without him on the ticket. In that case it may be better to have the best spokesman for his ideas, Ryan himself, on the ticket alongside our nominee. Still, some worry that Ryan’s plans, however bold, are a sure political loser in 2012 and think his presence on the ticket could distract from the focus on jobs the GOP wants to campaign on. However, given both Gov. Romney’s and Rep. Ryan’s economic and budgetary expertise, their potential ticket could put the President on the defensive on the economy and the debt throughout the election. Many conservatives remember Ryan’s dressing down of Obamacare in front of the President himself and the Democrat leadership and believe such performances would only bolster a GOP ticket. With a longer resume than Sen. Rubio or Gov. Christie, Rep. Ryan could be the candidate that melds excitement with experience for the Romney campaign.
2. Rob Portman, U.S. Senator from Ohio
The junior senator from Ohio is a proven vote getter in perhaps the nation’s most important swing state. Democrats in Ohio have become energized in the state due to the unpopular reforms of Gov. John Kasich, and the more popular Portman may be needed to hold down the Ohio fort. Aside from the importance of his state, Sen. Portman is an incredibly accomplished man in his own right. Elected to seven consecutive terms in the U.S. House, Portman would go on to serve as both U.S. Trade Representative and OMB Director under President George W. Bush before becoming a senator. His extensive knowledge of policy and government and his popularity in his home state make the Ohio senator a solid, safe choice for the Romney campaign. Given Gov. Romney’s desires to choose someone prepared to be president over making a “big splash” selection, one would have to consider Portman at the top of the prepared-on-day-one list.
3. Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator from Florida
This choice seems to be the most obvious on paper. Sen. Rubio is uniquely both the darling of the Tea Party and a rising star in the GOP establishment. Groomed for years as the protégé of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Rubio became a Tea Party sensation in 2010 with his defeat of moderate Gov. Charlie Crist in both the GOP primary and general election. Rubio has gone on to meticulously manage his national image in much the same way Sen. Hillary Clinton did prior to launching her presidential bid. Rubio’s youth, Cuban heritage, popularity with the base, and home state are all seen as adding significantly to the GOP ticket’s potential. However, his lack of experience, similar to Sen. Barack Obama’s back in 2008, could be the liability that keeps him off the road to the Vice Presidency. Despite his public protestations to the VP job, the junior senator has been prepping for the job, funding research on himself, moving up the publishing of his memoirs, and tacking to the center on immigration.
4. Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey
The brash New Jersey governor has become one of Mitt Romney’s most trusted and powerful surrogates. In some cases, he seems to make a better case for Romney than Romney has himself. Christie’s attitude and tough talk have earned him rave reviews among both establishment republicans and conservatives. However, in many corners of the conservative movement, Christie is viewed as a moderate, and pairing him with Romney could turn off these voters. But a Romney-Christie ticket could potentially realign the map, putting into play states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey that have not gone to the GOP since 1988. Christie’s greatest strength, his tough talking personality, is also possibly his greatest weakness. Will his brashness wear well on the national level? Will his personality acclimate well the role of number two? Or will he overshadow the nominee and become a distraction? Time will tell if Christie’s positives prove too tempting to resist for the Romney campaign. What is clear is that the governor is preparing just in case he gets the call, as his recent trip to Israel was viewed as bolstering his foreign policy credentials.
5. Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia
The Virginia governor is currently one of the most popular politicians in the country, hailing from one of the key general election states, and carrying with him a solid record on jobs and the economy. A strong social conservative with the ability to attract independent voters and Reagan Democrats, McDonnell has positioned himself strongly for the VP nomination. Along with his statewide experience in the legislature, the attorney general’s office, and now as governor, McDonnell also brings 21 years of military service, which would make him the only veteran on either ticket. The major roadblock to the governor’s potential selection would be the concern over his college thesis about women in the workplace. With the Democrat Party launching the dishonest “War on Women” campaign against the GOP, it could negatively impact Gov. McDonnell’s chances. But given his success in overcoming similar dishonest attacks during his gubernatorial run, McDonnell could still make a solid running mate.
6. Kelly Ayotte, U.S. Senator from New Hampshire
The junior U.S. Senator from New Hampshire just might become the top female choice for Vice President should Gov. Romney decide to select a woman as a running mate. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is both highly accomplished and a close ally of the former Massachusetts governor. The Senator is also the most experienced of the fresh-faced crop of potential female candidates. After earning undergraduate and law degrees from Penn State and Villanova respectively, Sen. Ayotte began a successful career as an associate at a Manchester law firm. From there she joined the Attorney General’s office as a prosecutor and eventually became Deputy Attorney General. In 2004, Ayotte was appointed Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire. After a successful tenure, Ayotte ran for and won the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Judd Gregg in 2010. Her academic, legal, and public service credentials are very similar to other popular VP contenders, like Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, both elected in 2009. Should Romney value adding a woman to the ticket, this mother of two would certainly have both the stature and experience to fit the bill.
7. Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana
The young Louisiana governor has been a rising star in the GOP for a few years now, despite his fumbled State of the Union response speech. Jindal, at just 40, has amassed an amazing resume of varying experience; governor, congressmen, state secretary of health and hospitals, and president of the Louisiana University System. He has reformed and revitalized one of the most corrupt states in the country and has impressed many in both the establishment and the conservative movement with his brilliant grasp of policy. And he has proven a capable leader in times of crisis, handling natural disasters in his state with all of the competence that his predecessors lacked during Hurricane Katrina. As the nation’s first Indian American governor, Jindal would also bring diversity to a republican party in great need of appealing beyond it’s white, southern base. An early supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, it has yet to be seen if Romney world is willing to look outside of their more loyal supporters for a running mate. If they do, Jindal would have to be at the top of the list.
8. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, U.S. Representative from Washington
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has been building significant clout and buzz behind the scenes on Capitol Hill. As vice chairman of the Republican Conference, Rep. McMorris Rodgers is the highest-ranking Republican woman in Washington D.C. The 2008 campaign showed that a Republican woman could add a boost to the ticket. Gov. Sarah Palin’s early surge began to lag when it was discovered she lacked gravitas and policy knowledge, qualities Rep. McMorris Rodgers has in large supply. With the GOP under assault over contraception and middle-class economic issues, having a woman who grew up on an Oregon farm, with a degree in business, and is 1 of only 8 women to ever give birth while in office couldn’t hurt. Married to retired Naval Commander Brian Rodgers, Rep. McMorris Rodgers brings a unique blend of life experiences and governing experiences that could add a lot to a national ticket.
9. Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico
As the first female governor of New Mexico and the first Latina governor in the United States, it is obvious why Gov. Susana Martinez’s name has received a lot of buzz in GOP circles these days. The first-term governor and former District Attorney is a rising Republican superstar, and some believe her time in the spotlight may come sooner rather than later. Martinez was elected governor after running on a platform focused around her tough crime fighting resume, centering on her history of fighting corruption and child abuse cases. However, as a first-term female governor largely unknown around the country, Martinez would likely be negatively compared to former Gov. Sarah Palin, and her lack of experience would be highly criticized. Martinez herself has also denied interest in the VP job, citing her family obligation to her developmentally disabled sister and to her father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.
10. John Thune, U. S. Senator from South Dakota
Sen. Thune, the GOP’s 3rd ranking member in the Senate leadership, is the favorite of a lot of establishment conservatives as a solid, safe, do-no-harm candidate. Thune checks all of the conventional boxes for a republican contender on social, economic, and military issues. Though largely undistinguished in the senate on policy grounds, Thune would bring experience to the ticket, helping connect the messaging of the Washington GOP to the Romney campaign. However, Thune hails from a safe GOP state and lacks the other regional advantages some of his establishment rivals bring to the ticket.
Honorable Mention: Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Pat Toomey, Nikki Haley, Rick Santorum
Maeve Reston @MaeveReston
You heard it here 1st RT @SalenaZitoTrib: Best guess is that Romney & Santorum will do an event in Pittsburgh…nxt week & Rick will endorse
Let the healing begin.
(By the way, if you don’t follow Maeve Reston on Twitter, do so now.)
I call your attention to today’s installment of what has begun to seem like daily brokered convention/white knight rumors:
Most reporters still think Romney “will find a way to win Michigan.” Nevertheless, some of the nation’s most powerful Republicans are poring over filing deadlines and pondering worst-case scenarios.
Our friend handed us a printout of FEC deadlines for ballot access, with five of them circled and starred: California (March 23), Montana (March 12), New Jersey (April 2), New Mexico (March 16) and South Dakota (March 27). The point: Even after Feb. 28, it might be possible to assemble a Hail Mary candidacy that could garner enough delegates to force a CONTESTED convention (a different nuance than BROKERED, which implies that someone is in charge).
Under RNC rules, the delegate count builds slowly: just 15% before Super Tuesday, March 6; 19% through Super Tuesday (brings you to 34%); 17% in the rest of March (brings you to 51%); with 48% in April, May and June (21%, 12%, 15%).
Our friend said: “If somebody came on the scene that week after Super Tuesday with, ‘I’m coming in. I’m taking a look at this,’ there are enough delegates. He would suck all the oxygen out of the race.
At this point, the unfolding of this race has so often taken me by surprise that I no longer place much stock in predictions even by me. But, for what it’s worth, I’ll opt against categorically ruling out a brokered (or contested, as the cited article suggests) convention.
Of course, the conversation then turns to who (or is it “whom”?) would benefit from the unrest in the party and become the white knight. For my money (keep in mind how poorly I’ve fared with foreseeing the proceedings of this race), I can’t see the GOP rallying behind Jeb Bush, with his toxic last name and the treasure trove of campaign material it would bring. Mitch Daniels doesn’t seem to have the personality to clear the “intensity” hurdle the base clearly seeks in a potential nominee. Nor does Bobby Jindal. Chris Christie doesn’t seem to want it. Neither does Marco Rubio (nor does he likely feel ready). Mike Huckabee appears too comfortable in his media role. Sarah Palin generates too much uneasiness among much of the party faithful. And for the nostalgic, Rudy Giuliani would have a difficult time convincing voters of his relevance.
Thus, for my money, I’ll have to agree with my esteemed colleague Matthew Miller and argue that Paul Ryan seems like the most logical and realistic choice. As Matthew frequently notes, Ryan still has one of the highest profiles of anyone in the party, especially when budget season rolls around. And both the grassroots and upper levels of the party hold him in high regard. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?
Rumors are flying about a major announcement from the Santorum campaign scheduled for 2 pm this afternoon.
The Hill suspects that it involves a Romney supporter jumping ship, and joining the Santorum campaign.
From the Atlantic:
Original: Rick Santorum’s flogging a “major campaign announcement” at 2 p.m. Friday in Columbus, Ohio, which apparently involves some high-profile new campaign supporter. But who? Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray got a Santorum source to say a “top Ohio supporter” of Romney would switch sides and back Santorum, and she zeroed in on Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm or deny the rumor, nor would she say what DeWine had planned at 2 p.m. But ABC reporter Shushannah Walshe tweets that it may be someone even bigger (if you assume the governor is “bigger” than the AG): “Santorum campaign says today’s announcement is ‘major.’ I asked if it was OH gov John Kasich + they responded, ‘It’s bigger than Kasich.’ ” Meanwhile, The Hill‘s Daniel Strauss tweets that a Santorum spokesperson narrowed the field a little by confirming that the new backer wasn’t an Ohio legislator. Which of course, the attorney general and governor aren’t.
Update (12:25 p.m. EST): Washington Post reporter Dan Balz supports the DeWine theory with some new background info from a GOP source. He tweets: “Knowledgeable GOP strategist confirms that Ohio AG Mike DeWine, previously with Romney, will endorse Santorum today.”
Because they have arguably the most difficult ballot access laws in the country, all eyes are on the state of Virginia today. The filing deadline for the March 6 primary is the end of business today, and to get on the ballot candidates must have secured over 10,000 voter signatures (including at least 400 from each of the 11 congressional districts across the state).
Yesterday, Gingrich abruptly left Iowa to travel to Virginia in order to launch a massive signature collection effort. Derided for his lack of organization, his campaign scrambled at the last minute — offering staffers $1 for every signature they collected and doing huge numbers of robocalls across the state (many for events that were already in progress or already over). In the end, however, the efforts worked and Gingrich turned in petitions with 12,000 signatures today. (For comparison sake, Romney turned in petitions with over 16,000 signatures earlier in the week.)
Gingrich still may or may not make it on the ballot — at least 10,000 of those signatures have to be proven valid, and there has to be at least 400 from each district — but he appears safe for the moment.
Other candidates may not be as lucky, though… rumors are swirling that at least three other candidates are not going to get the 10,000 signatures by the end of the day: Huntsman, Bachmann, and Santorum.
Of course, the effect this has on the race is debatable — it would be surprising if any of those three candidates are still in the race come March 6. What it does show, however, is the importance of campaign organization. Mistakes such as this led to more negative press for Gingrich at a time he could hardly afford it, and now today the negative stories about Huntsman, Bachmann, and Santorum will stunt any momentum they may have had heading into the Christmas season as well (not to mention the cost to the campaigns of ignoring Iowa while they focus on Virginia this late in the game).
The whispers are that Ron Paul will be shown tied with Newt Gingrich for first place in Iowa in a poll (with a very large sample size) to be released tomorrow by veteran 18-year pollster TeleResearch. The whispers are also that the survey was commissioned by a PAC friendly to Dr. Paul. Still, a scientific poll is a scientific poll, and Paul’s surge in Iowa as of late is by no means imaginary. How far will Paul go in Iowa, and will a lot of average voters quickly warm up to him if a splintered evangelical vote allows him to snag first place in the first caucus state?
This morning, the rumor mill began working in overdrive when this listing appeared on FoxNews.com:
The wording at the end of that tease — “Palin reveals her 2012 pick On The Record” — led many to believe Palin will be endorsing a GOP candidate tonight. Others said that she was merely answering the other question in the tease: which Republican candidate has the best chance of beating Barack Obama? And still others said the answer to the two questions were one and the same.
Then this afternoon, Greta Van Susteren revealed on her own website that Donald Trump would also be a guest on tonight’s program — and she teased the show with just one simple question: “Who does Donald support for President?”
So tonight, on On The Record at 10:00 eastern, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump may or may not be endorsing somebody for the GOP nomination. My guess? Since we hadn’t heard anything about this until today, there will not end up being any endorsements offered. Plus, I can’t see either one of these celebrities announcing as big a decision as this during a 10pm time slot. This is most likely just a great way for FOX to get some publicity and get some more viewers tonight. But, I could be wrong. In this wacky primary season, crazier things have happened.
Who do they endorse tonight, if anyone? And the next question, then, is this: what are Palin and Trump’s endorsements worth?
Via Hot Air. The rumor was floated by Lee Davis during his appearance on Dr. Gina Loudon’s talk radio program today. Most of the juiciest information can be found in the second of the three audio files from Loudon’s show. In sum, the sentiment inside Palin World is that Mitt Romney is going to sail to the nomination, similar to Richard Nixon in 1968. The collapse of Perry and now Cain has left Palin World believing that the former Alaska governor could leap into the race and consolidate the RomNot vote just in time for the voting to begin in January. As such, says Davis, Palin’s inner circle has begun trying to determine whether a run is still possible given that the filing deadlines for many of the most important primary states have already passed.
Whether or not there is a single shred of truth behind this rumor I do not know. What I do suspect, though, is that we’re going to continue to hear rumors like this one throughout the next 8 or 9 months, as even when the GOP nomination is all sewn up, the spectre of a third party candidate, such as Donald Trump, will continue to loom over the Republican field. What rumors like this result from is widespread dissatisfaction with the nation’s choices for president, and the popular sentiment that especially unsettling times like these require a larger-than-life figure to emerge to lead the nation.
Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry have all had their opportunities to make themselves a consistent front-runner. Bachmann, perhaps the best alternative to Huckabee for many social conservatives, has failed to catch fire in the polls after she won the Ames Iowa Straw Poll. It may be unfair that her supposed gaffes have been misconstrued. It may also be unfair that a woman is held to a higher standard and is more likely to be called flaky or ditzy. But it is what it is.
Former Senator Rick Santorum certainly carries all the conservative credentials needed to satisfy the Christian right. But his poll numbers just don’t seem to budge, in spite of great debate performances.
On the other hand, Rick Perry has disappointed some with his debate performances and could possibly end up being the “FredThompson” of 2011. He comes up short for most pro-lifers, and for others his views of immigration are non-starters. In the summer of 2007, Thompson was the darling of some hopefuls, but shortly after his lackluster entrance in September his own poll numbers dropped, and he never fully recovered from the perception that his heart was not in the race.
Herman Cain, a tea party favorite is obviously still a factor, having won a major Florida straw poll. His lack of experience in governing may be seen as a plus to some, and a negative to others. He is very likely solid enough for social conservatives.
Mitt Romney, despite good debate performances hasn’t caught on either. Perhaps his early decision to ignore the Iowa caucuses was a mistake, or his failure to be asked serious questions about Romneycare is leaving some voters with questions. He also downplays social issues, which many in the center think is his only hope, because he failed to convince his nay-sayers in the 2008 cycle.
Ron Paul may be reaching his ceiling as well, especially until he can reconcile his 10th Amendment views with his right-to-life claims, and convince us that Iran ought to have nuclear weapons if it wants to. Paul is generally very principled, but that comes at a great cost, politically speaking, if his principles are counter to his party’s.
Governor Huckabee was leading in most of the polls in Iowa, the Midwest and South back in the spring. True, he may not play well in New York and California, and perhaps even in a few Rocky Mountain states, but these states will have little impact during the Republican primary season.
Unlike Bachmann, Governor Huckabee has weathered a few gaffes and troubled spots in his record, coming out rather unscathed. Just like bringing out supposed Romney flip-flops was a dud for Rick Perry, bringing up old arguments against Huckabee won’t likely play well, either.
Unlike Sarah Palin, Huckabee is well-liked in virtually all segments of the GOP and the general public, even among those who have differences with him on religion or policy. He has the most-watched weekend television news show on all of cable, and his willingness to interact with the public and the press would be of great benefit in the general election. Also, when Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race after the Iowa Straw Poll, Sarah Sanders (Huckabee’s daughter) was freed up to possibly work again with Huckabee, as well.
Overall, the Republican electorate appears unable to make up its collective mind.
Of course, a change of Huckabee’s own mind would be required before this speculation could be changed into reality. No one knows that better than the Governor himself. If Huckabee is counting on a social conservative to win, he must put most of his eggs right now in the Herman Cain basket. Even if Huckabee would be willing to endorse Cain, he might be asking himself whether the Cain Train can continue on up to the nomination. Filing deadlines for candidates to viably enter the race might be in the next couple of weeks.
Although the people begging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to get in the race will ignore the fact that he earlier said he was not running and give him room to change his mind, the same folks might not give Huckabee the same leeway. He should ignore that worry.
 Only shortly before the South Carolina primary did Thompson show any fire in his belly. He turned that fire against Huckabee and perhaps cost Huckabee a win in the Southern state that seems to always pick the GOP nominee.