April 02, 2012

VP? Nah. Rubio-Bush-Ryan plan: Stop Rick Santorum

Marco Rubio sounds worried. So do Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan.

Their candidate, Mitt Romney, is losing to President Barack Obama. The GOP primary is becoming “counterproductive.”

So when the three Republicans endorsed Romney over the past two weeks, it wasn’t so much about jockeying for a vice-presidential slot on Romney’s ticket. Their underlying goal was more fundamental: Stop the primary.

That means stop Rick Santorum.

The former Pennsylvania senator has little chance of winning the nomination. But his ability to damage Romney and the Republican National Convention in Tampa is real. Nothing says Tea Party like wrecking the establishment’s tea party.

Santorum has pledged to take his candidacy to the convention. So has Newt Gingrich.

"They are saying the only way they can win this race is by having a floor fight in Tampa in August," Senator Rubio said Wednesday of the “recipe for disaster” on Fox News. " I think that’s a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama. And our country — forget about the Republican Party — our country cannot afford that."

Even before Rubio’s endorsement, Gingrich appeared to be softening his attacks on Romney. He looks like he’s preparing for a graceful exit.

Not Santorum. It’s as if Obama’s campaign is writing Santorum’s attack lines about how Romney is virtually indistinguishable from the president.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/01/v-fullstory/2726126/rubio-bush-ryan-plan-stop-rick.html#storylink=cpy

More here

March 28, 2012

Marco Rubio endorsing Mitt Romney (but Jeb's a better choice for VP)

Florida Senator Marco Rubio endorsed Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney -- just a week after his political mentor, Jeb Bush, threw in with the party's frontrunner.

Rubio's endorsement is another sign that Romney is viewed as the party's inevitable nominee and that the GOP establishment is growing more concerned with the protacted primary that has dragged down Romney's poll numbers.

"I don't have a problem with primaries," Rubio told Sean Hannity. "But I think we're at a stage now where at least two of the candidates have openly admitted that the only way they're going to be able to win the nomination is to have a floor fight in Tampa in August. I don't think there's anything good about that. There is no way that anyone can convince me that having a floor fight at the convention in Tampa in August is a recipe for victory in November. On the contrary. I think it's a recipe for disaster. So I just don't think that's a wise route to go."

Asked if he is endorsing Romney, Rubio said "I am going to endorse Mitt Romney.... He offers such a stark contrast to the president's record."

Rubio said he's convinced of two things: "No. 1, Mitt Romney will govern as a conservative. And No. 2 that he will be head and shoulders better than the guy who's in the White House right now."

Continue reading "Marco Rubio endorsing Mitt Romney (but Jeb's a better choice for VP)" »

February 27, 2012

Gaffes, miscalculations toll on Romney after win in FL. MI loss would set off 'panic'

Florida crowned Mitt Romney the unofficial Republican nominee last month. Now he’s on the precipice of losing the race in Michigan, his native state.

What happened?

A better question might be: What didn’t happen?

Romney failed to take his main opponent Rick Santorum seriously this month, giving the upstart room to breathe and time to win three state races in a row. Romney, plagued by gaffes, has failed to sell a consistent a message about why he should be his party’s nominee.

And in a volatile election season, Romney has also had the misfortune of being the victim of what one Republican called “Tea Party roulette,” which has extended the primary race and kept him in the cross-hairs.

“Mitt has had a bulls eye on his back for something like two years now,” said Allan Bense, a former Florida House speaker and co-chair of Romney’s Florida campaign.

“Once the bulls eye is on your back and the mainstream and others examine you and your issues and your history, it isn’t pretty,” Bense said. “Rick Santorum is learning that now. So I think we’ll be okay once voters become educated about the other candidates.”

Bense is among the more confident Romney Florida backers. They’ve watched with dismay as the Sunshine State’s primary failed to be a deal-sealer for Romney in the race.

Last week, the campaign had to postpone a Daytona Beach fundraiser so that Romney could focus on campaigning in Michigan, a state he was expected to win handily. Now he’s essentially tied with Santorum. Polls suggest Romney should win in Arizona. Both states hold their primaries on Tuesday. The two states set up the 10-state Super Tuesday contest on March 6.

“If we don’t win Michigan on Tuesday, we will start to panic,” said one top Romney official, who didn’t want to be on record for talking out of school. “We made a few missteps. We allowed Santorum to win in Colorado, but we only really started campaigning there once it was too late.”

More here


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/27/2664233/mitt-romney-struggles-to-win-over.html#storylink=cpy

February 24, 2012

Jeb finds “fear” mongering by GOP candidates “a little troubling.” Paging Rick Santorum?

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has watched the 20 Republican debates. And he doesn’t like what he sees. Unlike the candidates and some in the conservative cognescenti, Bush doesn’t seem to be on a blame-the-media jihad. He thinks the candidates have problems in and of themselves.

 “I used to be a conservative and I watch these debates and I’m wondering, I don’t think I’ve changed, but it’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that’s kind of where we are,” former Florida governor Jeb Bush said after a Thursday Dallas speech, according to Fox News reported. “I think it changes when we get to the general election. I hope.”

Bush didn’t give specifics, though his concern about the GOP’s tone over the immigration debate is longstanding. Bush also didn’t single out any candidates, but his comments tellingly follow the last debate where former Penn. Sen. Rick Santorum essentially dissed Bush’s brother’s singular education reform plan: No Child Left Behind.

More broadly, as the Washington Post points out, Santorum sounded anything but optimistic when he said: “We hear this all time -- so you cut spending, limit the government, everything will be fine. No, everything’s not going to be fine.”

Santorum, who did poorly in the debate, blamed his performance on what he said was a pro-Romney crowd. Earlier in the week, the pro-Romney Drudge Report dredged up a 2008 speech at Catholic Ave Maria University where Santorum said Satan was targeting the United States.

Right now, national polls indicate President Obama would beat any Republican candidate by a slim margin, but Romney matches up best against him. Still, as the primary drags on, Romney’s favorability ratings are slipping.

Continue reading "Jeb finds “fear” mongering by GOP candidates “a little troubling.” Paging Rick Santorum?" »

February 21, 2012

Casino boss Adelson: I might give $100m to Newt, other Republican

Forbes:

Sheldon Adelson plays as stubbornly in politics as he does in business. So the criticisms that he’s trying to personally buy the presidential election for Newt Gingrich are met with a roll of the eyes. “Those people are either jealous or professional critics,” Adelson tells me during his first interview since he and his wife began funneling $11 million, with another $10 million injection widely expected, into the former speaker’s super PAC, Winning Our Future. “They like to trash other people. It’s unfair that I’ve been treated unfair—but it doesn’t stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich.”

Adelson, 78,  certainly can afford to: With a net worth of roughly $25 billion, that $11 million, which jolted Gingrich’s flatlining presidential bid back to life, equates to 0.044% of his fortune. For someone with a $1 million net worth, the equivalent would be $440, or a two-night stay at Adelson’s Venetian casino. Adelson could personally fund an entire presidential campaign—say, $1 billion or so—and not even notice.

Full story here

February 08, 2012

Team Obama: Man, this GOP primary is great!

From an Obama For America press release/memo:

TO: Interested Parties
FR: Joel Benenson, OFA Pollster
RE: Republicans Increasingly Dispirited and Discouraged about Their Candidates

Tuesday’s results in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota confirm a trend that has been evident in each of the Republican nominating contests this year:

Republican voters are dissatisfied with their candidates – resulting in low turnouts,

Republican voters are increasingly dissatisfied with the frontrunner, Mitt Romney,

Romney’s effort to woo conservative voters is hurting him with independents.

Republican voters are dissatisfied with their candidates – resulting in low turnouts

Republicans’ consistently low turnout shows that they are voting with their feet and staying home, rather than participating in Republican primaries.

Full memo here  Download ObamaMemo

 

February 06, 2012

Newt Gingrich flubs turnout facts for Florida counties he won

Right after his Nevada loss, Newt Gingrich gave an extra-ordinary press conference where he effortlessly hopped from topic to topic and vowed to stay in the race. He also echoed his longstanding complaint about how Mitt Romney and his allies have buried him with negative ads.

Gingrich then blamed a relatively low Republican voter turnout (compared to 2008) on Romney's negativity.

"Over time I don't believe the American people will approve of a campaign that actually suprresses turnout," Gingrich said. "I think it's amazing. If you go look at Florida, every county I carried in Florida had an increased turnout. Every county Romney carried in Florida had a decreased turnout."

So, we took him up on the challenge, and here's what we found: in terms of raw numbers (comparing total votes cast in 2008 to 2012), 21 Gingrich counties cast more ballots -- not all 34 counties that voted for Gingrich. These are mainly small counties, so the margins weren't big. Liberty County, for instance cast 7 more votes in the GOP presidential primary last Tuesday than it did four years ago. Washington County had the biggest increase: 1,088. But overall, there were 11,112 fewer 2012 votes cast in Gingrich counties compared to 2008.

Usually, the word "turnout" is used to mean the proportion of ballots cast to registered voters. If that's the measuring stick, voter turnout was down in EVERY Florida county compared to 2008. Gingrich counties were marginally better.

In Gingrich counties, turnout was down an average of 5.8%

In Romney counties, turnout was down an average of 9.6%.

Continue reading "Newt Gingrich flubs turnout facts for Florida counties he won" »

February 02, 2012

Donald Trump might endorse Newt Gingrich. Does it matter?

Reports that Donald Trump will run for president with his hair as running mate are untrue. But he (Trump, not his hair) might endorse Newt Gingrich. If it's anything like the Herman Cain endorsement, which preceded Gingrich's 14-point drubbing in Florida (a state where Cain was a frontrunner until sex-scandals rendered his campaign impotent), Gingrich probably won't receive much benefit. After all, it's tough to bash "elites" and get the endorsement of a man who trademarks elitism.

The Hill:

Reality show host Donald Trump is set to endorse Newt Gingrich Thursday in Las Vegas, according to a report by the Associated Press....

Gingrich was coy when asked about the possibility Wednesday, saying he had  “no idea what the Donald is going to do.”

He is always interesting,” Gingrich said of Trump. “And I don’t know of anybody who does a better job of getting attention by announcing that he will presently announce something.”

 

February 01, 2012

Newt Gingrich might challenge Florida's delegates after all

When we first reported last week that Republicans tied to losing Florida campaigns might challenge the state's presidential primary delegate system, Newt Gingrich's campaign looked like it wouldn't bother because the candidate was doing so well.

Then Tuesday happened. Gingrich was crushed by 14 percentage points. Viola, FOX reports:

The Newt Gingrich campaign is gearing up to challenge the results of the Florida Republican presidential primary based on the Republican National Committee's own rules which state that no contest can be winner-take-all prior to April 1, 2012. (See RNC memo.)

It was assumed that Mitt Romney, who won Tuesday's contest, would gain all 50 of the state's delegates. But the Gingrich campaign plans to challenge Florida's allocation and demand the delegates be divvied up proportionally. (See Gingrich memo.)

Fox News has learned exclusively that on Thursday, a Florida Gingrich campaign official will begin the process of trying to have the RNC rules enforced so that the Sunshine State delegates are distributed based on the percentage of the vote each candidate got.

Politico has an RNC memo the suggests Florida has received its maximum penalty:

"With regard to proportionality, the RNC does not have the authority to intervene in a state’s primary plans beyond the imposition of the Rule 16 penalties.  A contest procedure exists for challenges to a state’s delegation or delegates.  The RNC cannot consider any issue regarding Florida’s delegation unless and until a proper contest is brought.  If a contest is properly and timely filed, the Committee on Contests and the RNC will have the opportunity to hear the contest and determine if there are any further steps to be taken beyond the penalties that have already been imposed."

 **Update: RNC Chair Reince Priebus suggested on Greta Van Susteren's show that Gingrich's challenge won't pass muster.

Newt-ered

To say Mitt Romney had a big win Tuesday night was an understatement. Exit polls show he carried every major demographic category: women, Hispanics and seniors. Among evangelicals, conservatives and tea party voters he essentially tied Gingrich, who won among those who considered themselves most conservative.

The dark spot for Romney: Deep South voters of North Florida (plus the cracker counties of Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee counties) sided with Gingrich, albeit narrowly

A few bullet points, which exclude Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, who didn’t win any counties:

Percentage split: 46% Romney, 32% Gingrich

Total Romney votes: 774,942 (73,181 more than McCain in ’08)**

Total Gingrich votes: 533,038

Romney’s lead: 241,904

Total Romney counties: 33

Total Gingrich counties: 34

Biggest Gingrich county: Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa’s stats: Gingrich by 1,780 votes, 41%-33% over Romney

Biggest Romney county: Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade’s stats: Romney by 39,259 votes, 61%-27% over Gingrich.

Significance of Miami-Dade: More than double Gingrich’s entire victory margin in 34 counties.
Counties where Romney carried a majority: Palm Beach, Collier, Sumter, Indian River, Sarasota, and Martin.

Continue reading "Newt-ered" »