January 23, 2015

Romney and Bush Meeting No Big Deal

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Deseret News reported:

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

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

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

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

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

January 22, 2015

Poll Watch: NH1 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary

A new poll came out yesterday on the 2016 Republican presidential primary for New Hampshire. The polling firm is NH1 News. They polled 827 New Hampshire voters likely to vote in the 2016 GOP primary.  It was conducted Wednesday, January 21, 2015, by an automated dialing system with a MOE of 3.4%.

  • Mitt Romney 29%
  • Jeb Bush 11%
  • Scott Walker 8%
  • Chris Christie 8%
  • Rand Paul 7%
  • Ben Carson 7%
  • Mike Huckabee 5%
  • Ted Cruz 4%
  • Marco Rubio 3%
  • Someone Else 18%

Once more we see where Mitt Romney easily leads all the rest of the field. Of the rest of the field, Jeb Bush is the only one in double figures, and he’s barely there.

There is a huge logjam at 8-7%. The four candidates Walker, Christie, Paul, and Carson are all jumbled together practically on top of one other. Bush is only manages to separate himself from this group by a mere three ppts.

 

2016 GOP Debate Preview This Weekend

We will get a preview of sorts of the forthcoming Republican presidential debates this weekend at a panel sponsored by the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce:

Three of the most talked about potential GOP presidential candidates will appear together this weekend at a panel sponsored by the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, in this year’s first forum of presidential hopefuls.

At the group’s winter meeting Sunday in Palm Springs, California, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will participate in a panel discussion on domestic economic issues, including health care and energy policy. ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl will moderate the discussion.

The Arlington, Virginia-based Freedom Partners is a not-for-profit advocacy group affiliated with Charles and David Koch, two of the country’s best known conservative mega-donors.

The hour-long “American Recovery Policy Forum” featuring the senators is a first of its kind for the organization. It’s an attempt to have the organization play a more active role in shaping the national political dialogue, according to James Davis, a spokesman for Freedom Partners.

The panel discussion will take place Sunday at 8:30 p.m. PT, and an ABCNews.com livestream will feature the event.

Hat-tip: Hot Air

by @ 4:55 pm. Filed under 2016, Marco Rubio, Presidential Debates, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz

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

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

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

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

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

How interesting is that?

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

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

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

Columba Bush, A Portrait of Who May Be Our Next First Lady

The Daily Mail has published a major article detailing the life story of Columba Bush, Jeb Bush’s wife, and our potential next First Lady. It is far too long and detailed for any excerpts to do it justice, but here are the bullet points they used to start of the article:

  • Columba Bush was born and raised in Leon, 250 miles outside Mexico City, where she met Jeb Bush and married him when she was 20
  • Jeb is a Republicans presidential front-runner for 2016; if he wins she would be first Hispanic first lady and only the second born outside the US
  • Daily Mail Online can reveal her father was born to a peasant family and entered America illegally to work
  • He had a stormy marriage to her mother and the couple divorced – but Columba’s account differs from his and his relatives’ in Mexico today
  • Columba was estranged from her father after her marriage and he twice reached out to the Bush family, including her brother-in-law, for contact
  • He went to his grave without meeting his three grandchildren and ‘followed his daughter’s life through newspaper clippings’

It is very thorough and informative. It sheds some much needed light upon the woman who may become our next First Lady.

by @ 11:05 am. Filed under Columba Bush

Romney On Country’s Challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(more…)

by @ 10:26 am. Filed under Mitt Romney

A Possible Bush Scandal?

The Washington Post reports:

One of Jeb Bush’s many new business ventures after he left the Florida governor’s mansion in 2007 was InnoVida, a Miami-based company marketing a composite panel that could be used to quickly assemble temporary housing without the need of cement, steel or wood.

Bush joined the company as $15,000-a-month consultant in late 2007 and then as a board member in 2008. He stayed on until September 2010, when he resigned after another board member expressed suspicion that its chief executive, Claudio Osorio, was mismanaging its funds.

Osorio was later indicted by federal prosecutors on nearly two dozen fraud and money laundering counts. He accepted a plea deal in 2013 and was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison. InnoVida’s chief financial officer, Craig Toll, was convicted at trial and sentenced to four years.

There is no evidence that Bush had any knowledge of the fraud. Spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said that “as soon as concerns regarding the company were brought to Governor Bush’s attention, he took action to address them immediately.”

It could well be that Jeb truly didn’t know anything about the fraud. However, the man was a member of the company’s board for two whole years and yet never once took a serious look at the company’s operations?

I’m not impressed.

 

by @ 9:49 am. Filed under Jeb Bush

Jeb to Meet Mitt in Utah

The New York Times reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POWER RANKINGS: January *UPDATED*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Chance: Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump

Dropped Out: Rob Portman, Paul Ryan

January 21, 2015

Huckabee Does Daily Show

Mike Huckabee went on “The Daily Show” to discuss his new book, “God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy”. He also remarked that he is “very likely” going to run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Huckabee took the opportunity to double down on his criticism of watching Beyonce.

“Young girls want to be like her. Do you know any parent who has a daughter who says, ‘Honey, if you make really good grades, someday, when you’re 12 or 13, we’ll get you your own stripper pole.’ I mean, come on, Jon, we don’t do that in our culture.”

Jon replied that that was outrageous and played a clip of Huckabee playing bass with Ted Nugent.

by @ 6:05 pm. Filed under Mike Huckabee

Christie Will Not Be Squeezed Out, Says Supporter

The Washington Times reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then there is his liberal record…

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

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

Bush Reaches Out To Iowa’s GOP Chairman

The Des Moines Register reports:

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

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

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

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

 

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

Bush Uses Facebook To Critique SOTU

NBCNews reports:

Likely presidential contender Jeb Bush used Facebook Tuesday night to register his critique of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. On Wednesday morning, his medium of choice was an Instagram video.

Repeating much of his Tuesday night message, Bush appeared in the brief video to blast Obama’s tax proposals “really sad” and divisive.

“This nation needs to create economic opportunity for all Americans,” he said in the video shot near the Capitol in Washington D.C. “It’s really sad that President Obama wants to use the tax code once again to divide us. What we need is broad based reforms so that all people can rise up.”

by @ 5:30 pm. Filed under Jeb Bush

Romney To Speak At Florida College Commencement

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

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

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

by @ 5:27 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Romney Speaks To High Schoolers and Their Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

by @ 5:19 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Is Joe Biden Starting To Get Serious About 2016?

He is starting to make noises about 2016. The Daily Mail Reports:

Less than 12 hours after his boss captured the nation’s attention with an energetic State of the Union address, Vice President Joe Biden grabbed the spotlight Wednesday morning to promote his chances to grab the top job in 2016.

Despite near-universal recognition that the Democratic presidential nomination is Hillary Clinton’s to lose, Biden told ABC News host George Stephanopolous that the race is ‘wide open.’

And he might challenge her, he said on ‘Good Morning America.’

‘Yes,’ the vice president chuckled, ‘there’s a chance, but I haven’t made my mind up about that.’

If Mr. Biden decides to throw his hat into the ring, he will have an incredible amount of ground to make up. Hillary has been consistently polling north of 60% Democratic support recently. It’s almost inconceivable that someone could successfully challenge her at this stage of the game, but stranger things have happened.

by @ 4:38 pm. Filed under Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden

Poll Watch: CBS News Asks Who Should Run?

CBS News ran a recent poll that did not ask whom you would vote for. Instead, it asked whom would you like to see run for President. Here are the results:

Republicans Independents
Yes No Diff Yes No Diff
Mitt Romney 59 26 33 33 49 -16
Jeb Bush 50 27 23 30 42 -12
Mike Huckabee 40 29 11 20 40 -20
Sarah Palin 30 59 -29 15 69 -54
Chris Christie 29 24 5 22 40 -18
Rand Paul 27 34 -7 26 32 -6
Marco Rubio 26 19 7 19 30 -11
Scott Walker 22 12 10 13 19 -6
Ben Carson 21 17 4 12 15 -3
Ted Cruz 21 25 -4 17 32 -15
Rick Perry 21 32 -11 17 41 -24
Rick Santorum 19 29 -10 13 36 -23
Bobby Jindal 14 20 -6 12 24 -12
Democrats Independents
Yes No Diff Yes No Diff
Hillary Clinton 85 11 74 51 37 14
Elizabeth Warren 23 20 3 18 27 -9
Andrew Cuomo 16 18 -2 13 30 -17
Bernie Sanders 12 16 -4 11 20 -9
Jim Webb 6 14 -8 10 15 -5
Martin O’Malley 3 13 -10 6 14 -8

Bear in mind that the reasons for wanting to see someone run runs the gamut from, “I really want to see this person win”, to, “I can’t wait to see this person totally humiliated”. So these results need to be taken with a grain of salt. Still, it is an interesting data point all the same.

A few observations:

  1. In common with nearly all other polls, Romney leads this one with Bush close behind.
  2. Clinton leads the Democrats by overwhelming margins.
  3. Only one person, Republican and/or Democrat, has a positive margin with the Independents. That person is Hillary Clinton.
  4. Mike Huckabee did fairly well. He came in a respectable third place among Republicans, and he has a double digit positive margin to boot.
  5. Sarah Palin may have placed fourth among Republicans, but nobody has a greater negative margin than her. Independent, Republican, or Democrat, her deficit surpasses all others.
  6. 2012’s runner-up, Rick Santorum continues to rank at or near the bottom.
by @ 12:00 am. Filed under Poll Watch

January 20, 2015

Free To Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hillary is running away with the Democrat vote.

*Updated:

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

 

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

Ted Cruz Has Been Busy

Ted Cruz is doing the pre-campaign dance. The Washington Examiner reports:

Ted Cruz builds his White House team

Team Ted Cruz is taking shape, and the Senate first-termer’s presidential campaign could start before this spring.

The Republican senator from Texas tentatively plans to fill senior campaign positions with the triumvirate he signed last summer to expand his political operation. At the top is Jeff Roe, whose organizational title is undefined but who would be the campaign’s chief strategic and logistics decision-maker. Jason Miller would shape and oversee campaign messaging; Lauren Lofstrom would direct fundraising.

Cruz is in the process of “feeling out” additional campaign hires and prospective donors in preparation to join the field of 2016 candidates. If the senator decides to run for president, he wants to hit the ground at full speed, a senior Cruz advisor confirmed Monday.

We could easily end up with two Texans running for the GOP nomination.

 

by @ 9:03 am. Filed under Ted Cruz

January 19, 2015

Lindsey Graham 2016?

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is seriously considering a run for President in 2016, the Senator announced on Sunday. Here’s more from the New York Times:

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday that he was considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, becoming the latest potential contender in an increasingly crowded field.

Mr. Graham, who was easily re-elected to a third term in November, said he had filed with the I.R.S. to create “a testing-the-waters committee.”

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who serves with Mr. Graham on the Senate Armed Services Committee, foreshadowed his colleague’s announcement last Tuesday. Asked about Mitt Romney’s recent comments that he was considering a third campaign for president, Mr. McCain told reporters that he had “strongly” encouraged Mr. Graham to run.

Personally, I am not sure as to what kind of void he fills in the primary. As a Republican Senator in the vein of John McCain, where would he fit in a post-Tea Party GOP primary?

by @ 9:24 am. Filed under 2016, 2016 Headlines, Lindsey Graham

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

Democracy Corps (D) 2016 National Presidential Poll

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

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

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

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

Poll Watch: YouGov/Economist 2016 National Democratic Primary

YouGov/Economist 2016 National Democratic Primary

  • Hillary Clinton 61%
  • Elizabeth Warren 17%
  • Joe Biden 7%
  • Bernie Sanders 3%
  • Jim Webb 2%
  • Brian Schweitzer 1%
  • Martin O’Malley 0%
  • Other 0%
  • Undecided 9%

Asked of 353 Democratic registered voters 1/10-1/12.

by @ 4:00 am. Filed under Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Poll Watch

January 18, 2015

Poll Watch: YouGov/Economist 2016 National GOP Primary

YouGov/Economist 2016 National GOP Primary

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

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

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

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Generic Congressional Ballot Survey

Rasmussen Generic Congressional Ballot Survey

  • Republicans 38% 40% 39% 40% 40% 39% 41% 43%
  • Democrats 38% 38% 39% 39% 37% 40% 40% 39%

The national telephone survey of 2,800 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports from December 29-30, 2014 and January 2-4, 2015. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

by @ 1:50 pm. Filed under 2016, Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Survey

Rasmussen President Obama Job Approval Poll 

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as president?

  • Strongly approve 24%
  • Somewhat approve 25%
  • Somewhat disapprove 11%
  • Strongly disapprove 39%

President Obama Job Approval

  • Approve 49%
  • Disapprove 50%

Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

by @ 1:48 pm. Filed under Barack Obama, Poll Watch

January 17, 2015

Jeb-Pac: The Right to Rise

Say what you will about Jeb Bush, but the tone and messaging being utilized by his PAC seem to adequately capture the zeitgeist of our times. The fear of middle class stagnation and pessimism in perpetuity seem to be the backdrop against which the next election will be fought, and Mr. Bush seems to “get” this, making the right of all Americans to rise the theme of this precursor to his presidential campaign.

On the Left, Hillary Clinton, while still the likely Democratic nominee, will probably be wounded during the primaries by populist candidates Elizabeth Warren and Jim Webb, both of whom will address the lack of a middle class rise, just in different ways, with Warren focusing on young people and minorities and Webb touting the struggles of working class whites. Each of these candidates will seem far more in touch with the concerns of the middle class than Hillary, who is the embodiment of the well-connected and the establishment. As such, it may benefit Republicans to field a nominee who seems more in touch with middle class concerns than Hillary, especially if she is savaged for being out of touch during the primaries. It’s hard to imagine someone named Bush running as a middle class hero, but half the battle in politics is knowing where the battle lines are actually drawn, and Jeb is at least giving off the impression that he understands that the country hungers for optimism and opportunity.

by @ 12:00 am. Filed under Jeb Bush

January 16, 2015

It Looks Like the GOP is Finally Wising Up

For Presidential Cycle after Presidential Cycle, the Republican Presidential candidates have had to participate in debate after debate hosted and moderated by liberal media figures. This brought about some strange moments such as the Jan 7, 2011 debate where the moderator George Stephanopoulos repeatedly asked the candidates if contraception should be outlawed. It was a very odd question since none of the candidates on the stage had ever remotely suggested that it should. Then barely a week later the Obama Administration issued their infamous regulations that required all insurance plans to cover contraception. The “coincidence” was just too cute by half.

Well, it looks like they are finally getting wise to the situation. The RNC has just released their tentative 2016 debate schedule. There are only twelve listed, quite a change from the gauntlet from last time. No state has more than one debate, and the first one is slated to be held on Fox News. In fact, Fox is down for three, with a fourth one possible.

CNN is second with two and a possible third. The rest are spread out among CNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC/Telemundo. They all get one apiece.

One debate of interest is a possible debate hosted by “Conservative Media”. I wonder how that will work.

Here is the tentative schedule, courtesy of Politco:

1. Fox News, August 2015, Ohio

2. CNN, September 2015, California, at the Ronald Reagan presidential library

3. CNBC, October 2015, Colorado

4. Fox Business, November 2015, Wisconsin

5. CNN, December 2015, Nevada

6. Fox News, January 2016, Iowa

7. ABC News, February 2016, New Hampshire

8. CBS News, February 2016, South Carolina

9. NBC/Telemundo, February 2016, Florida

Three more are pending:

10. Fox News, March 2016, location TBD

11. CNN, March 2016, location TBD

12. Conservative Media Debate, date TBD, locations TBD

Remember, nothing is set in stone so use pencil to mark your calendars.

 

by @ 5:12 pm. Filed under 2016

A Question

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

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

 

by @ 3:53 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

Poll Watch: The Economist/YouGov 2016 Presidential

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

The numbers below are for registered Republican voters.

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

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

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

Mitt Romney 60
Jeb Bush 29
No Preference 11

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

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

The full poll is found here.

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