Howard Kurtz: “In politics, the flip-flopper label is deemed deadly, the fingering of a candidate with no fixed principles. But I suspect that, with swing voters at least, it helps Romney. If voters believe he was just throwing red meat to voracious primary voters — and that the real Mitt would govern as a sensible man of the center-right — the damage of the last few months could be mitigated.”
Paul Begala notes the speculation that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will run for president in four years has only intensified in the months since she declared she wouldn’t run.
It helps that she’s required to stay out of electoral politics.
“Hillary benefits from the fact that the job is designed to be above the political fray; she hasn’t had to comment on, say, gay marriage or the Trayvon Martin case. It’s a paradox Hillary must understand: the less political you are, the more popular a politician you become; the less you yearn for the presidency, the more the country yearns for you.”
President Obama’s top political advisers “have held serious discussions with leading Democrats about the upsides and downsides of coming out for gay marriage before the fall election,” Greg Sargent reports.
“This does not mean that it will happen, and there are plenty of reasons to assume it won’t. Indeed, it would be political malpractice if Obama’s top advisers didn’t discuss every permutation and possibility, no matter how far fetched. However, the fact that it has been discussed seriously at high levels means it’s not out of the question. Those advisers are convinced that Obama will make this call based on his gut, and ultimately without regard to the fine-grained political analysis of the situation, the source says.”
Ross Douthat: “Either Romney will clear the 1,144 delegate threshold in May or early June, or else he’ll fall 50-100 delegates short and need to play a little inside baseball to win some of the uncommitted delegates. In either scenario, Santorum is not going to be the party’s standard-bearer, and neither is Jeb Bush or Chris Christie or Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee or anyone else besides the man who is actually winning, however slowly and grindingly and unexcitingly, the Republican nomination for president.”
Howard Kurtz says the while Rush Limbaugh “dutifully recited the words, there was no music. He never called Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student he had assailed as a ‘slut’ and ‘prostitute’ over her advocacy of contraceptive coverage. He kept slamming her for three days before issuing his statement of regret–which came as advertisers were starting to bail on his radio program, giving the exercise an air of damage control. He flunked the contrition test, retracting only his word choice and larding the statement with attacks on the left.”
“The apology failed for another reason: the mainstream media, much mocked by Limbaugh, has it in for him.”
Meanwhile, Radio Info reports that not only are paying advertisers still pulling their support but sponsors of unpaid public service announcements are also asking not to run on Limbaugh’s show.
Thanks to reader suggestions, the political trivia site now has quizzes of varying difficulty levels.
A new Democracy Corps (D) survey finds the Republican brand “is in a state of collapse — over 50 percent of voters give the Republican Party a cool, negative rating. The presidential race and the congressional battles are interacting with each other to drive down their lead candidate, the party, and perceptions of the congressional Republicans.”
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney “may be on the edge of political death. The shift against him is one of the biggest in the polls and he now competes with Republicans in Congress for unpopularity. In the summer of 1996, Bob Dole essentially was disqualified in voters’ eyes and never really recovered his footing.”
Most interesting: Voters who gave Democrats their victories in 2006 and 2008 “have returned in a big way” led by “a resurgence and re-engagement of unmarried women.”
Coming soon: A new companion site to Political Wire.
Rick Stengel: “Campaigning, by its very nature, places a premium on an extroverted persona. Candidates are meant to clap people on the back, bound onstage and then deliver a passionate stump speech. No one wants to see a shy candidate on the podium who looks as if he’d rather be in a room by himself. But campaigning is not governing, a task for which a more introverted style might have advantages. Research suggests that extroverted leaders are more likely to make quick and sometimes rash decisions, while introverted leaders tend to gather more evidence and are slower to judgment.”
“We discovered last night that Mitt Romney has picked up Charlie Crist’s campaign manager. I thought that told you everything you need to know about this primary.”
— Newt Gingrich, quoted by Politico, playing the Charlie Crist card, “the simplest, most direct and deadliest weapon available to him” to win over Florida conservatives.
Said Gingrich: “I fully expect the Romney campaign to be unendingly dirty and dishonest for the next four days because they’re desperate. They thought they could buy this. They’re discovering they can’t buy this.”
He added: “I think they have internal polls that show them losing.”
The Des Moines Register Iowa Poll is out at 8 pm ET.
Four years ago, as recounted by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe in The Audacity to Win: “Back at the office, our press staff kept refreshing the Register website. The Register poll never, ever leaks — which is very rare with polls — nor does the paper’s staff send it out to the campaigns a few minutes before they post it on their site. Everyone gets the results at the same time. I was told later that throughout the evening hundreds of thousands of people across the country were frantically hitting refresh on their browsers to update the Des Moines Register website.”
Meanwhile, Yahoo News interviews Ann Selzer, the woman behind the poll, and notes “the outsize attention paid to the paper’s poll findings is in direct
proportion to the accuracy it has had in foreshadowing the actual caucus
results in elections past.”
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Enjoy your friends and family today.
From the political dictionary: “turkey farm”
The Daily Beast reports Newsweek‘s Michele Bachmann cover has become a Halloween costume.
While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christe (R) has been getting an
enormous amount of national attention around his will-he-won’t-he-run
presidential prospects, a new Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey
shows Christie’s approval numbers bouncing back in his home
state. Christie has a 54% approval and 36% disapproval among registered
voters in New Jersey, a significant improvement over his numbers in May,
when the fierce spring budget fight brought his numbers as low as 44%
approving and the same percentage disapproving.
“The new poll, ironically, counters one of the main arguments for
Christie to enter the White House race: If he’s not going to win
reelection in 2013, why not take a shot nationally in 2012, the argument
goes. But if the boost in his numbers is a lasting one, and Christie is
seriously interested in reelection, there is less incentive to opt for
higher office this early in his tenure.”