« In Hialeah, Mitt Romney plays up family and love of country, and helps carve Cuban pork | Main | Romney stumps in Pompano Beach late Sunday night »

Before polls open Tuesday, FL early vote hits 534,000 (44% more than NH, Iowa combined)

More than half a million Florida Republicans (534,476) have voted at early-vote precincts and by absentee ballots. The polls officially open Jan. 31.

How many more will show up? Up to 2 million.

If it's less than 2 million, expect Democrats to give Republicans a hard time for not being enthused because 2 million voted in the 2008 early Florida primary. Expect Republicans to respond by noting that there was a property-tax cut on the ballot, so that drove out non-traditional opponents. Expect Democrats to say something about that, and so forth.

The early vote by the GOP does indicate some enthusiasm, however. At this point relative to the 2008 elections, Florida Republicans have cast more total ballots.

Regardless, it's a lot.

In New Hampshire, 248,000 people voted in the primary. In Iowa, about 122,000 voted in the caucuses. Add them together and they're about 163,000 less than Florida Republicans before the official Election Day. It's about a 44 percent difference. South Carolina's total primary vote exceeds Florida's early ballots by about 67,000.

Here are the bottom-line stats from Republican Party of Florida's spokesman Brian Hughes:

534,476 total votes cast so far before Election Day. About 46,000 more than the total early ballots cast for the comparable period prior to Election Day ‘08

Expected turnout: 1.5 million to 2 million

502,944 absentees requested, almost 200,000 more than ‘08

294,751 absentee ballots voted so far, about 50,000 more than in ’08. This number should increase before polls close

239,725 voted early, slightly less than ‘08


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Details unfold about
Gingrich’s Freddie Mac Role
Alana Goodman 1.24.2012
New details are trickling out about Newt Gingrich’s role at Freddie Mac, and the latest reports
continue to contradict his claim that he objected to the mortgage giant’s business model
while serving as an advisor.
Last November, Gingrich’s campaign said that "on numerous occasions in meetings with
Freddie Mac, Speaker Gingrich advised that a business model that involved lending money
to people with bad credit and no money down was unsustainable and a bubble, and that
it was dangerous to buy securities made up of these mortgages."
But according to Politico, his activities weren’t just confined to advising and lobbying
on behalf of Freddie Mac. He also rallied an audience of Freddie Mac political action
committee donors in 2007:
New details from Newt Gingrich’s $35,000-a-year [ month ] contract with Freddie Mac
show that the Republican hopeful wasn’t just a boardroom consultant, but served as a
high-profile booster for the beleaguered organization.
He even gave a rallying speech to dozens of the group’s political action committee donors
in the spring of 2007.
Shortly after the "rah, rah" speech, as one source described it, Gingrich gave an interview
for the Freddie Mac website, where he supported the group’s model at length.
The interview is no longer on Freddie’s site.
If Gingich was supposedly the internal critic of Freddie Mac,
what was he doing giving speeches to the group’s PAC donors?
The story doesn’t add up. Of course it’s possible that Gingrich brought up
his concerns at some meetings, but he gave no public indication that
he was trying to reform the group at the time. Everything that’s been released
has shown the opposite – him praising Freddie Mac’s business model and
trying to boost the group’s reputation.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported more details about the lobbying expert who
Gingrich says advised him back in 2000:
"He hired me to give him advice on state and federal lobbying requirements,"
[lobbying expert] Thomas Susman said.
"The subject matter," he added, "was simply to advise him and his associates in his business
what the lobbying laws were because he did not want to have to cross the line
to register as a lobbyist in any of those jurisdictions."
Which sounds like confirmation that
Gingrich hired an expert to avoid crossing the 20 percent threshold
that would require him to officially register as a lobbyist.
The drip-drip-drip will likely keep this issue in the news for awhile,
but it remains to be seen if Romney can make the controversy stick to Gingrich.

Details unfold about
Gingrich’s Freddie Mac Role

Alana Goodman 1.24.2012



Gingrich hired an expert to avoid crossing
the 20 percent threshold that would require
him to officially register as a lobbyist.




COUP attempt against Gingrich

Newt did not take the REBELLION lying down.

Gingrich’s precipitous fall from power


I first met Newt Gingrich 17 years ago at a Destin, Fla., fundraiser held in my honor ....

If, as Shakespeare wrote, what’s past is prologue — and it often is —

then Gingrich’s political history is particularly relevant now.

It’s a history I know well because I was there.....

Three years into his speakership, the man who helped
draft the Contract With America began trying to undo
some of that document’s key provisions. ...

In April 1997, Gingrich ... was ready to be a kinder and gentler Republican
by negotiating away the very tax cuts that he had once called
“the crown jewels of the contract.”

Soon, conservatives were being pressured to vote for big spending appropriations bills.

In his final speech from the floor of Congress,
Newt Gingrich lashed out wildly at the same freshmen
who had made him speaker — mocking us as cannibals ...

It was the last time Newt would attack
the most conservative members of his caucus
from the lofty perch as speaker.

In 1997, ten of my fellow classmates had
led a coup attempt against Gingrich,
shutting down the House over the speaker’s efforts
to violate the Contract with America ....

Conservative stalwarts like Steve Largent, Tom Coburn
and Matt Salmon joined me and seven others
to demand a cut in spending and a promise to hold firm on tax cuts.

Newt did not take the rebellion lying down.
He immediately summoned the sergeant of arms
to drag the 11 rebels down to a Republican caucus meeting ...

where Newt lined us up in front of a packed room of seething House members ...
Gingrich then began screaming and demanded that the 11 of us account for our behavior.

As Steve Largent grabbed the microphone, ...
Steve spoke softly about how he signed a contract with the Seattle Seahawks ....
A few years later, the NFL Players Association went on strike. But Largent told the mob, who were now transfixed, that he crossed those picket lines because he signed a contract and gave his word. ....
For Steve, it was a matter of principle.

Turning to the Speaker, ... Largent said, “Newt, you were the one
who drafted the contract and then told us to sign it.
Now, you’re the one pressuring us to break it.

But Newt, if I wasn’t intimidated by the thought of 250 pound linebackers
who wanted to kill me every time I crossed the field,
why would I be intimidated by you?”

And with that, the speakership of Newt Gingrich was over.

A year later, he would be driven from power
and sent into a political wilderness
from which he emerged 14 years later on a Saturday night in South Carolina.

Gingrich’s precipitous fall from power was the result of arrogance, ...
a fatal tendency to flit from issue to issue — and even from core conviction
to core conviction — in the seeming belief that if ....


The Newt I know

By: Joe Scarborough 1-27-2012 POLITICO





Romney unloads on Newt
over debates, Freddie work

Mitt Romney slammed Newt Gingrich for his role working for federal housing agency Freddie Mac [ .... ]

"You know, [ Speaker Gingrich ] is now finding excuses everywhere he can. He’s on TV this morning going from station to station complaining about what he thinks are the reasons he had difficulty here in Florida. But you know we’ve got a president who has a lot of excuses, and the excuses are over, it’s time to produce."
[ .... ]

"... I know how bad housing is here, how tough its been. You know that one quarter of all the foreclosures in America are in Florida? And you know how much home values have gone down.

And one of the greatest contributors to the collapse of housing here and across the country was government, and the intrusion of government into the housing market and the fact that you have Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae guaranteeing mortgages in some cases to people who couldn’t possibly pay them back, that contributed to the kind of crisis you’ve seen here.

And at the time some people were standing up and saying we need to reform the system, Speaker Gingrich was being paid $1.6 million to stand up and do what he did, which is to say these programs should continue the way they are. These institutions are fine.

The people of Florida have had enough of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and government interference and its time to get back to free market principles."

"So Mr. Speaker, ... Your problem in Florida is that you worked for Freddie Mac at a time that Freddie Mac was not doing the right thing for the American people. And that you were selling influence in Washington at a time when we needed people to stand up for the truth in Washington."


Romney unloads on 'excuse-making' Newt
over debates, Freddie work

By MAGGIE HABERMAN 1/29/12 Politico.com
POLITICO's Reid Epstein reports:




Gingrich’s D.C. record: His Achilles’ heel?

By Jennifer Rubin 01/24/2012

Just before the debate, Newt Gingrich released one contract with Freddie Mac for one of his years as an “historian,” as he likes to put it. But the contract reflects that he reported to the head lobbyist, in fact a registered lobbyist, Craig Thomas. Moreover, the contract is remarkably vague as to what he actually did for Freddie. ( The contract specifies that he was supposed to invoice Freddie with a description of services, but we haven’t seen any of those. They would be illuminating.) The contract says that he should provide services of the quality of other firms providing comparable service in Washington, D.C. (Since there are no “historian” firms, one can imagine the reference is to other K Street influence peddlers.)

What is most telling is what is not provided — contracts for other years of service, invoices or other documents that would reflect what he really did, and any support for the tale that his value was as an “historian.”

No wonder Mitt Romney pounced both in the debate and in a new ad. In the debate he repeatedly made the point that Gingrich got paid for singing Freddie’s tune while Floridians and other Americans got pummeled in the housing crisis. His ad piles on with references to his speakership as well:

Notice the quick segment at the end in which Gingrich refers to future plans with Marianne. That would be the wife on whom he was cheating with his current wife, Callista.

In the debate last night, Gingrich tried out a few excuses. He attempted to make his departure from the speakership seem voluntary. But Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) had him dead to rites last night; he was sanctioned for ethics violations and his colleagues did show him the door. He then tried exaggerating his own achievements during his four years as speaker, claiming credit for creating 11 million jobs. (He has not attempted to explain the government shutdown fiasco, for which he was directly responsible.)

On Freddie he again trotted out the excuse that Freddie and Fannie Mae are like “telephone cooperatives, rural electric cooperatives, federal credit unions.” This is poppycock, as Politifact points out:

We find no support for that and do find major differences in how they are created and operate compared with GSEs. Congress created Freddie Mac, as it does every GSE, by passing a specific law to bring it into being. Freddie Mac has stockholders and a direct line of credit with the U.S. Treasury. The term, Government Sponsored Enterprise, applies only to a handful of financial entities listed in the federal budget.

None of those characteristics apply to credit unions and electric cooperatives. Once again, we rate Gingrich’s statement Pants On Fire.

It remains to be seen how successfully both Romney and Rick Santorum will be in painting Gingrich as an ethically challenged creature of Washington. They certainly have a lot of material to work with. Moreover, when Gingrich tries to wiggle out of his own record he shows his worst qualities — self-aggrandizing ( he created 11 million jobs) delusional (a “historian” for Freddie) and dishonest (Freddie’s just like a credit union!). Rather than running ads with the accusations, perhaps Gingrich’s opponents should run ones with his excuses; they are as revealing and damning as anything others have said about him.


By Jennifer Rubin


Sara Palin

Romney and Obama have the same likes. Maybe if Romney gets elected he will keep Obama as his VP?!?! Romney for forced healthcare - abortion - gun control. He is a liberal in Republicans clothing...


simple fact that romney is continually bashing newt in vitriolic statements (many lies and misrepresentations of historical facts) and most of the established repubs are voting for romney, he (romney) is part of the problem.

All established politicians are the issue with this country...Time for a change from the norm.

I wish Herman was still running, but in light, I'm voting (in FL) for the one both sides despise (Newt).

The comments to this entry are closed.