Mark Halperin: “Core, core, core message: I’m a businessman who will cut spending. Uses footage from recent New Hampshire events with some subtle semiotic nods. Using the debate footage reminds people of Romney’s strong performances there — and, in fact, the debate answer the ad makers use was particularly strong (which is of course why they chose it!).”
“This is like watching Walton or Kroc develop Walmart and McDonald’s.”
— Newt Gingrich, in an interview for the new e-book, The Right Fights Back by Mike Allen and Evan Thomas, on the resurrection of his presidential campaign.
First Read: “What does Cain have to gain by getting out of the GOP presidential race? A future political career? A vice-presidential nomination? You could make the case that by staying in the race – and having some positive debate performances down the stretch – Cain could return to the candidate he was back in August (that is, someone who’s on the stage, who can deliver some memorable lines and is likeable, but who isn’t a threat to win in Iowa or anywhere else).”
In an interview with the Hillsdale Collegian, Cain sounded like he was staying in the race:
“There’s another option. Modify the strategy, modify the campaign. Stay in, but with a modified strategy given everything that’s going on. We have had an early state strategy and a national strategy going on simultaneously. But because of all the controversy, we are reconsidering. Do we do both? That’s the reassessment that we are doing — reassessing the strategy.”
Update: Cain says he’s staying in the presidential race, according to the New York Times.
Los Angeles Times: “Herman Cain’s latest presidential campaign implosion has put some of the Republican Party’s most active voters in a distinctly uncomfortable position: deciding whether to abandon an accused adulterer to side with an admitted adulterer.”
Hounded by reporters after an event in Florida yesterday, ABC News reports Mitt Romney refused to engage, telling reporters, “Guys, we have press avails or press conferences almost every day and that’s when I answer the questions.”
“Not quite. Romney’s last press conference was nearly a week ago, on November 23 in Des Moines, Iowa, where he took just four questions before an aide yelled ‘last question!’ The one before that? November 19 in New Hampshire. And a full week before that Romney held a press conference in Mauldin, S.C, on November 11. And in October, he held just three press availabilities total.”
A new Insider Advantage poll in Florida shows Newt Gingrich way ahead of the Republican presidential field with 41%, followed by Mitt Romney at 17%, Herman Cain at 13%, Rick Perry at 7%, Ron Paul at 4%, Michele Bachmann at 3% and
Rick Santorum at 1%.
Caveat: Insider Advantage founder Matt Towery ran Gingrich’s political operation in the 1990s.
In a Boston Globe interview, Jon Hunstman wouldn’t rule out the idea of running for president as an independent.
Asked if it was a possibility, Huntsman said, “I don’t think so.”
Told that anything but a flat denial could perpetuate speculation about the possibility, Huntsman again wouldn’t rule it out.
The Fix: “Now, none of this is to say he will do it or is actually thinking about it. But he was given two chances to rule it out completely, and he didn’t.”
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are maintaining broad popularity in the Republican Party, both far outstripping their GOP rivals.
Gingrich’s favorability is at 60% while Romney’s is at 56%. The difference between Gingrich and Romney in favorability is not statistically significant — but slightly more Republicans see Gingrich “strongly” favorably, 22%, than do Romney, 15%.
Lawmakers “attempted to pack hundreds of special spending provisions into at least 10 bills in the summer and fall, less than a year after congressional leaders declared a moratorium on earmarks,” the Washington Post reports.
“The moratorium, announced last November in the House and in February in the Senate, is a verbal commitment by the Republican leadership to prohibit lawmakers from directing federal funds to handpicked projects and groups in their districts. Lawmakers have tried to get around the moratorium by promising to allow other groups to compete for the funds. But the legislative language is so narrowly tailored that critics consider the practice to be earmarking by another name.”
Politico notes Herman Cain is in the midst of “reassessing” whether to continue his 2012 bid, “but its legacy is already settled: His campaign will go down as one of the most hapless and bumbling operations in modern presidential politics, setting a new standard for how to turn damaging press coverage into something far worse.”
“The botched responses to allegations of marital infidelity, sexual impropriety and his own gaffes — not to mention the puzzling strategic decisions — have, in the eyes of many veteran strategists, reached record levels of ineptitude. It’s an operation that has repeatedly contradicted its own candidate, leveled baseless charges, and put Cain in difficult political spots with little apparent forethought.”
“I was the only guy in the room who didn’t know I was dead.”
— Newt Gingrich, in an interview for the just-released e-book, The Right Fights Back by Mike Allen and Evan Thomas, on his unlikely comeback.
In a must-see Fox News interview with Bret Baier last night, Mitt Romney showed why he doesn’t do too many interviews.
Miami Herald: “At times during the interview, Romney was icily peevish. He laughed mirthlessly, or denied video evidence showed him shifting his positions or suggested he was espousing clear positions — which nevertheless required clarification. When pushed, he told Baier at one point that people should read his book.”
“Just what everyone wants: A candidate whose positions require homework, if not a concordance.”
First Read: “If you want to understand why Mitt Romney is the favorite to win the
GOP presidential race but is not the front-runner, just watch the
New York Times: “Newt Gingrich is adamant that he is not a lobbyist, but rather a visionary who traffics in ideas, not influence. But in the eight years since he started his health care consultancy, he has made millions of dollars while helping companies promote their services and gain access to state and federal officials.”
“Mr. Gingrich and his aides have repeatedly emphasized that he is not a registered lobbyist, an important distinction in their effort to position him as an outsider who will transform the ways of Washington. They say that he has never taken a position for money and that corporations have signed on with him because of the strength of his ideas… Yet if Mr. Gingrich has managed to steer clear of legal tripwires, a review of his activities shows how he put his influence to work on behalf of clients with a considerable stake in government policy. Even if he does not appear to have been negotiating legislative language, he and his staff did many of the same things that registered lobbyists do.”
Washington Whispers: “President Obama’s slow ride down Gallup’s daily presidential job approval index has finally passed below Jimmy Carter, earning Obama the worst job approval rating of any president at this stage of his term in modern political history.”
Of course, there is little significance to approval numbers and re-election this far out, so the comparison is interesting but meaningless.
When asked about reports that campaign manager Rob Johnson and senior adviser Dave Carney had been demoted, Rick Perry called the rumors “just scuttlebutt,” according to NBC News.
Said Perry: “News to me, I’ve talked to both of them within as a matter of fact the last 24 hours. So if they have, news to me. So I would suggest to you that’s just scuttlebutt, highly technical Aggie term for ‘not correct.'”
As Newt Gingrich looks to sustain his rise to the top of the Republican presidential field, the Atlantic Wire
looks at some of the lessons Gingrich learned from watching other
candidates’ who briefly enjoyed the status of front runner only to crash
Lessons from Michele Bachmann: “Don’t be
anti-science: Gingrich knows he can’t say he agrees with the majority of
scientists who say global warming is real and win the Republican
nomination. But he’s smart enough not to flat-out say it isn’t
real… Don’t forget about the church crowd: Just because we’ve spent
the last few years talking about the Tea Party and it’s lack of interest
in social issues doesn’t mean the culture war went away. Gingrich has
been working hard to win over evangelicals.”
from Rick Perry: “Don’t be bad at debates: Obviously. Gingrich is
already trash talking President Obama’s debate skills. Don’t be too
mean: The top word associated with Perry in an Ohio focus group was ‘bully.’ Gingrich has worked hard to avoid criticizing his fellow
Republicans on stage during debates.”
Herman Cain: “Deal with the woman situation: In fairness, Gingrich
probably didn’t learn this from Cain, but from his old foe Bill Clinton.
Gingrich got out in front of his woman problem a long time ago… Know
things about foreign policy.”
Rick Perry apparently doesn’t know the legal voting age is 18, NBC News reports.
Speaking to college students in New Hampshire, he said, “Those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote. Those of you who won’t be, just work hard.”
Of course, the age mistake wasn’t the only one he made: the general election is on November 6, 2012, not November 12.