January 28, 2012

PPP: Romney up by 8% over Gingrich in Florida

From Public Policy Polling:

PPP finds the same thing in its newest Florida poll that all surveys of the state have found in the last few days: strong movement away from Newt Gingrich and toward Mitt Romney.  Romney now leads with 40% to 32% for Gingrich, 15% for Rick Santorum, and 9% for Ron Paul. Romney has gained 7 points and Gingrich has dropped by 6 since our last poll, which was conducted Sunday and Monday.

It's clear that the negative attacks on Gingrich have been the major difference maker over the last week. His net favorability has declined 13 points from +23 (57/34) to only +10 (50/40) in just five days. Romney has pretty much stayed in place. At the beginning of the week he was at +31 (61/30) and now he's at +33 (64/31).

Santorum is actually the most well liked candidate among Florida voters with 65% seeing him favorably to 24% with a negative opinion.  In Iowa Santorum's persistently high favorability ratings were a precursor to his late surge.  But as popular as he is, he's only gone from 13% to 15% support in the last week.  It seems unlikely that he'll be able to break into the top two.

The backbone of Romney's support in Florida is senior citizens.  He's getting 50% of their voters with Gingrich at only 28%. Romney also appears to have a pretty good sized lead in the bank. Among those who have already voted he's at 45% to 35% for Gingrich.

More here

Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich

Update: Herman Cain endorsed Gingrich.

The conservative Shark Tank blog says Herman Cain could endorse Newt Gingrich tonight in Palm Beach County during a Lincoln Day dinner there. There has been buzz for a month Cain might do it, Gingrich's campaign said to expect a big endorsement tonight and earlier this evening GOP operative Roger Stone suggested Can might be the man.

Whether this makes a difference at all is a good question. Perhaps we should ask Craig Miller. Who's that? He's the guy in single-digits in the Florida Senate race primary polls who was endorsed by Cain recently.

But who knows, to the degree there's an untapped reservoir of tea-party-like supporters who will be swayed by Cain, this could account for a few votes for Gingrich. But will it be enough to overcome Mitt Romney's ever-widening lead in the polls? Probably not.

Here's what a top-notch Republican consultant just sent us as a joke that's nevertheless probably accurate:


Helped by $10m from casino magnate, Gingrich says gambling is a "worry."

Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign has gotten a $10 million boost thanks to cash from Las Vegas Sands gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, but Gingrich says he isn't necessarily buying into gaming. But it's not really clear what his position on gaming is.

"Well, let me say up front, at the risk of offending some of my friends who've been very helpful," Gingrich said, "I worry about the degree to which the poor are the most likely to end up spending a large percentage of their income gambling in the false hope that they can mathematically beat the system."

Gingrich, however, never said whether he supported or opposed casino gaming.

Gingrich was asked about the issue by evangelical activist John Stemberger, a Rick Santorum supporter, at the Orange County Liberty Counsel Forum in Winter Park. The issue is huge in Florida right now as the Legislature considers whether to expand casino-style gaming in Florida. The issue is being pushed by Genting and Adelson's company. Note: Adelson and his wife (not Las Vegas Sands) have contributed the $10 million that has helped Gingrich via the political committee Winning Our Future.

Gingrich, like Romney explaining his relationship with the PAC Restore Our Future, said he only knows about the Adelson money because of press accounts.

“I have read articles," Gingrich said. "I haven’t known anything technically because I’ve not been briefed because it’s illegal. But I’ve read articles and Sheldon Adelson has clearly, according to the articles, been very generous.”

Gingrich said he met Adelson nearly 20 years ago on Capitol Hill, where Adelson is a major player due in large part to his support of pro-Israel policies.

"Sheldon Adelson's passion in life is the survival of Israel. And he and I are in agreement that Iran is a deep and immediate threat, posing the risk of a second Holocaust with three or four nuclear weapons," Gingrich said.

"So Sheldon has said – to offset, by the way, Goldman Sachs, the big banks and everybody who’s been helping my opponent  – he stepped in and said, 'look I really want somebody to be there who understands foreign policy, who understands national security,'" Gingrich said. "I’m happy to tell you my relationship with Sheldon is about a very specific public thing: I believe we should be strong enough to stop the Iranians and that Israel should e allowed to exist and I’m prepared to defend it."

--with Alex Leary

Small crowd with lots of fight greets Newt Gingrich in Orlando

Newt Gingrich  arrived 55 minutes late to a sparsely attended event in Orlando, then dropped a planned town hall format after less than 7 minutes of remarks to mingle and pose for pictures.

“My competitor on Tuesday has money power,” Gingrich said, explaining why he was changing the format of the event.

“There’s no question he can raise more money from Wall Street than I can. And he has big institutions pouring money in here. What I want to do is have people power. So I want to chat with each one of you personally.and ask each of you to go out on Facebook and on You tube and on Twitter and email, even by telephone and talk to people face to face.”

Gingrich had billed the event as an Hispanic town hall at the Centro de la Familia Cristiana – Christian Family Center - in Orlando. But only about 60 people showed up, and about 420 of the roughly 480 seats went empty. Hosts twice asked people to move to the front rows and center seats to fill in the hall, as they waited for Gingrich.

He mentioned his call for a “Cuban spring,” and his call to repeal the Dodd-Frank bill.

He mentioned Romney twice – once in the opening about Romney’s campaign money and once to say that Romneycare is the same as Obamacare.

“We have a very big decision in a very short time. I want to ask you to talk to all of ytour friends and neighbors. I have a very simple case. We nominated a moderate in 1996 and we lost. We nominated a moderate in 2008 and we lost. I believe only a solid conservative can debate Barack Obama and win.”

 James Baumann, an accountant from Groveland, supports Gingrich: “If anybody knows how Congress works, knows how the system works, it’s Newt.”

He said that’s important because he wants the next president to be able to repeal the Obama health care law and shrink government.

“He is an intellect, and an independent one,” Baumann said. "He can be tenacious. In the debates. He has proven that tenacity is quality people want. In the early debates, he would say we all get along. That didn’t work.”

Baumann disliked the fact that “Romney reflects the political establishment. He is party line.” He also thinks the fact that Romney's a businessman is no plus.

“I’m a businessman, but I’m not sure that you should run government like a business. Government is not a business,” he said.

-- Steve Thomma

NBC: Mitt Romney, tear down this ad. Yet NBC keeps running it, getting paid

NBC doesn't like the fact that Mitt Romney's campaign is using some of its footage in the latest Newt Gingrich-basher. Will Romney pull it?

From NBC: "The NBC Legal Department has written a letter to the campaign asking for the removal of all NBC News material from their campaign ads. Similar requests have gone out to other campaigns that have inappropriately used Nightly News, Meet the Press, Today and MSNBC material."

Statement from Tom Brokaw: Speaking for himself, Brokaw said: "I am extremely uncomfortable with the extended use of my personal image in this political ad. I do no want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign."

**UPDATE But perhaps NBC should send the letter to its own South Florida affiliate as well. Shortly after this post, Fort Lauderdale real estate agent Tweeted this observation: "@TomBrokaw Against your express wishes, NBC Miami is running your Romney ad right now. Demand that NBC stop running it if you are serious."

So NBC is in high-dudgeon about the use of its material. But it'll keep airing ads like this because money talks louder than self-important puffery about TV journalistic standards

Dispatch from the Hispanic-vote war in the Republican presidential race

After bashing each other in the final debate before the crucial Florida primary, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich traveled south to Miami on Friday to woo Hispanic power brokers.

But before either candidate could utter a word, they were upstaged.

Sen. Marco Rubio gave sweeping remarks on immigration — the kind of personal, stirring speech Gingrich and Romney could only wish they had delivered.

Neither Gingrich, his Florida momentum stalled after his commanding South Carolina victory last week, nor Romney, riding a wave after his strong performance in a Jacksonville debate Thursday, could match the reception Rubio received in the Doral Golf Resort & Spa at a conference of the Hispanic Leadership Network, former Gov. Jeb Bush’s organization.

Of the two GOP primary frontrunners, the crowd of several hundred — almost all of them Hispanic — clearly preferred Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. He was introduced by his wife, Ann, and the youngest of his five sons, Craig, who lived in Chile and speaks some Spanish.

Loose, confident and not wearing a tie, Romney received enthusiastic applause and whistles when he declared, “We are not anti-immigrant.”

“We are not anti-immigration,” he added, a reference to a controversial attack ad Gingrich aired against him earlier this week before the campaign pulled it following scathing criticism from Rubio and other prominent Florida Hispanics.

More here

War Room poll: Mitt Romney blowing Newt Gingrich away 40-30 in FL. Mack commands Senate race

War Room Logisitics, the Republican polling and consulting firm in Gainesville, reported conducting another large robo-poll sample*** (1,632) in Florida on Jan. 27 (a day after the debate) that shows Mitt Romney is in a commanding lead in the Republican presidential race. Connie Mack is doing even better in the Republican Senate race. And a majority of Republicans support casino-style gaming.

The results:

Mitt Romney: 40%

Newt Gingrich: 30%

Rick Santorum: 15%

Ron Paul    6%

UND: 8%

Is it over for Gingrich? War Room's consultant, Alex Patton, says it sure looks like it. But things aren't always as they appear. His statement:

Continue reading "War Room poll: Mitt Romney blowing Newt Gingrich away 40-30 in FL. Mack commands Senate race" »

Gingrich's oldest daughter runs campaign from Key Biscayne

Kathy G. Lubbers says it hasn’t been difficult finding her place in the world — a world in which everyone points her out as the daughter of Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker now fighting it out for the Republican presidential nomination.

“It hasn’t been so difficult as some might think,” Lubbers, 48, says. “It would have been much more difficult if I was a son. … I don’t have to walk in his footsteps like, maybe, a son might think he would need to. I don’t have to compete with my father. I don’t have to live up to what he’s done.”

She has come to be an indispensable piece in her father’s political and promotional machinery. Gingrich’s elder daughter, Lubbers is also the senior adviser of her father’s presidential campaign. Story here.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/27/2612458/gingrich-daughter-runs-campaign.html#storylink=cpy

January 27, 2012

Newt Gingrich talks Puerto Rico, 'self-deportation' to Hispanic Republicans

Newt Gingrich may not have been at the Hispanic Leadership Network's Doral conference to listen to Sen. Marco Rubio, but it was clear to the audience here that Gingrich had a tough act to follow, after Rubio gave a sweeping immigration speech.

Gingrich, fresh off a breakfast with the Latin Builders Association and an impromptu press event to officially announce the backing from Hispanics including U.S. Rep. David Rivera, spoke for about 25 minutes, his wife, Callista, by his side.

He repeated many of the U.S. foreign policy themes he laid out Tuesday in a speech at Florida International University but also touched on Puerto Rico, which came up at Thursday night's debate in Jacksonville. At one point, a Puerto Rican woman from the audience interrupted Gingrich to try to get him to say whether he supports statehood for the island.

"I believe the people of Puerto Rico should make that decision," Gingrich said, receiving the most enthusiastic applause of his remarks when he told the woman, "If you don't like it, I disagree."

When he turned to immigration, Gingrich noted the failures of previous Republican and Democratic administrations. "I don't believe you can pass a comprehensive bill," he said, adding that it would face "too many enemies."

That's when he mentioned primary rival Mitt Romney -- 18 minutes into Gingrich's speech.

"This is where I have a big disagreement with Gov. Romney," Gingrich said regarding what to do with the about 11 million people who are in the United States illegally.

Gingrich, who had mocked Romney's mention of "self-deportation" at a Tampa debate Monday, said "a very significant number" of "young, unattached" undocumented immigrants would go back to their countries and apply for a guest-worker program under Gingrich's porposal. "Self-deportation in fact works for those groups," he admitted.

But not for everyone: "The idea that a grandmother is not going to be supported, the idea that she's going to self-deport...this is not a solution."

Gingrich ended with what he called "a very brief commercial."

"I am running for president," he said, sounding somewhat subdued. "We have a primary here on Tuesday. I'd love to have your support, your endorsement. I'd love you to go on YouTube, Facebook...even talk to people face-to-face.

"I will try to lead all Americans into a dramatically better future."

With Latin Builders in Miami, Newt Gingrich steers clear of mentioning Mitt Romney

The morning after another combative Republican primary debate, Newt Gingrich emphasized his pro-business, anti-regulation platform -– and his connections to Ronald Reagan as a young congressman -– in a speech before a Hispanic business group in downtown Miami on Friday.

Unmentioned in Gingrich’s 30-minute speech: Republican rival Mitt Romney.

Speaking at a candidate forum organized by the influential Latin Builders Association, Gingrich emphasized his years as Speaker of the House of Representatives, years when Congress passed welfare reform legislation and balanced the federal budget. And he also cast himself as an early champion of Reagan’s supply-side economics in the early 1980s.

Gingrich promised to go back to the supply-side “playbook” again if elected president, lowering taxes on corporations and gutting the federal bureaucracy. Among his proposals: Erasing the Environmental Protection Agency -– what he called a “dictatorial job-killing agency” -- and recasting it as the “Environmental Solutions Agency.”

Gingrich said his top priority as president will be to reduce unemployment.

“In the long run, the answer to the housing crisis is getting people to work,” Gingrich told the association, which includes many large homebuilders.

Gingrich opened his address by endorsing a new bill proposed by Miami congressman David Rivera that would provide citizenship to young immigrants who serve in the U.S. military.

Gingrich’s campaign also announced the creation of a Hispanic “steering committee” to generate support among Hispanic voters. The committee includes Rivera, Miami City Commissioner Francis Suarez, Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez, and Otto Reich, a former ambassador and State Department official.

Romney, Gingrich’s chief rival in the polls, was not scheduled to appear before the builders association, though he was invited to the forum. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is scheduled to speak to the builders group later Friday.