January 28, 2012

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.


Newt Gingrich announces backing of Miami Hispanic politicians

In the wake of Newt Gingrich's campaign events in Miami Friday, his campaign announced the launch of a "Hispanic Steering Committee" feeaturing several well-known Miami-area politicians.

Among them is U.S. Rep. David Rivera, who has been ushering and introducing Gingrich around South Florida. So is GOP fundraiser Ana Navarro, who had earlier worked for Jon Huntsman. Also on the list: Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez.

See press release after the jump.

Continue reading "Newt Gingrich announces backing of Miami Hispanic politicians" »

January 26, 2012

The populist scraps with the patrician in the River City Rumble

The populist faced off with the patrician.

Newt Gingrich was expected to take it to Mitt Romney, whom he savaged on the campaign trail for Romney’s ties to Goldman Sachs and his bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

But Romney unexpectedly struck first when it came to one of the most treacherous of Florida political issues: Immigration – and Gingrich’s claims in a Spanish-language radio ad that Romney was “anti-immigrant.”

“That's simply unexcusable. That's inexcusable,” Romney, said glaring at Gingrich. “And, actually, Senator Marco Rubio came to my defense and said that ad was inexcusable and inflammatory and inappropriate.”

Gingrich edited the ad after Rubio made those comments Wednesday to The Miami Herald. The following day, the morning of the debate, Rubio praised Gingrich.

But the damage was done.

Continue reading "The populist scraps with the patrician in the River City Rumble" »

Rivera introduces a military-only version of the DREAM Act

Inspired by the discussion about immigration during Monday night's Republican presidential debate, Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, has filed his own bill that would give young people who serve in the military a path to U.S. citizenship.

"If somebody is willing to die for America, then certainly they deserve a chance at life in America," Rivera said of his legislation.

Rivera's plan is called the Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act -- the ARMS Act. It's a variation on the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to some children of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally.

The DREAM Act passed the Democratic-controlled House last year, with the support of only a few Republicans, including Miami Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart. But it failed in the Senate, and the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who took charge last year has said the DREAM Act won't get another hearing on his watch.

Rivera said he'd been quietly working on immigration reform since he came to Congress a year ago. He said he decided to go with the military-only piece because it already had the support of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- the GOP candidate who Rivera is backing in Tuesday's primary. But it also got a nod from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during Monday's presidential debate in Florida.

Continue reading "Rivera introduces a military-only version of the DREAM Act " »