Is Tim Pawlenty Preparing His Website For The Vice Presidential Nomination?

 Bookmark and Share  Most people have little if any reason to visit TimPawlenty.com, but if you are one of the very limited stream of visitors to the official website of the former Minnesota Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, than you have been surprised to find that the long standing platitudes for conservatism, apple pie, coffee, and all things American , have been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read  “Please come back later.”

Whether Pawlenty is just conducting some useful site maintenance on his otherwise useless website, or handing control of the site and its future content to the campaign of Mitt Romney in preparation of Pawlenty’s accepting Romney’s vice presidential nomination is unknown.  Calls from White House 2012 regarding the status of the site that were made to several aides and former staffers of Pawlenty’s presidential campaign and his Nation First PAC have received a range of inconclusive responses that claimed the “Coming Soon Page” is up as the site undergoes some retooling.  However; attempts to determine exactly what it is being retooled for remains undetermined.

At a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, aside from who will the election, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal but in this case, one can’t help but question the timing.  Almost a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw finally decides to retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit, appears at the same time that we all know Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.

Now this could very well be coincidental but my political experience has taught me that in politics coincidences are events which politicians actually put on their schedules.  In politics, coincidence is a convenient excuse which allows the most unlikely set of circumstances to come together and seem like the most natural  string of events.  That stated, even though I have recently indicated that I am of the opinion that Mitt Romney will pick South Dakota Senator John Thune as his running mate, I can’t help but wonder if the coincidental timing of Tim Pawlenty’s “Coming Soon” page and Mitt Romney’s “soon to come” decision on a running mate is a more definitive indication of who that running mate will be than is my personal sense of who it will be?

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The Herd: A Look at the Possibile Picking of Tim Pawlenty as Romney Vice Presidential Running Mate

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Born: November 27, 1960,St. Paul, Minnesota

Spouse(s): Mary Pawlenty

Children :Anna, Mara

Residence :Eagan, Minnesota

Alma mater: University of Minnesota (B.A.), University of Minnesota Law School (J.D.)

Profession:Lawyer

Religion:Baptist

Political Career :

  • Appointed to the the Eagan city’s Planning Commission by then Mayor Vic Ellison
  • Elected to a term on the City Council
  • Campaign advisor for Jon Grunseth’s 1990 losing bid for Minnesota governor
  • 1992; Pawlenty was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and was re-elected to that seat five times
  • 1988; Pawlenty was elected House Majority Leader when the Republicans became the majority party in the State Legislature
  • 2002; Pawlenty campaigned and won on a pledge not to raise taxes to balance the state’s budget deficit, requiring visa expiration dates on driver’s licenses, a 24-hour waiting period on abortions, implementing a conceal-carry gun law, and changing the state’s education requirements. Pawlenty defeated 2 challengers in the GOP primary and eventually his opponents in the general election.
  • 2006; Pawlenty was reelected Governor of a margin of little more than 1%. This victory was despite DFL gains in both the state House and State Senate and a big gains for Democrats nationally.

(Click here to see Pawlenty’s White 2012 Presidential Page)

Pros:

  • Pawlenty could possibly make Minnesota more competetive for Romney than it currently is and without Minnesota in Obama’s column, it could be hard for Democrats to make up for that loss in the electoral college from another state
  • Pawlenty is a competent speaker
  • Pawlenty is a safe choice who has been somewhat vetted
  • His candidacy would not lead to any distractions from the issues or overshadow Mitt Romney

Cons:

  • Pawlenty does not fire up the base which Romney needs to energize

Overall Assessment:

There is no reason why Tim Pawlenty can’t be on the ticket. However; Pawlenty became one of the first people to declare their candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination and he became the first to withdraw from the race for the Republican presidential nomination. And the same reasons which led to his withdrawal from the race may be the same reasons he is not nominated for the vice presidential nomination. Another reason he may not be on the ticket is because he has stated that he is taking himself off the list of candidates for Romney to consider for Vice President, and that he doesn’t even want to consider the position. Still, that doesn’t mean he is not being considered for the job or that he will reconsider his earlier stated thoughts.

Pawlenty campaigned long and hard. His campaign team was top notch and his campaign was initially financed fairly well and he did just about everything right. He had a good message, well done ads, and a good strategy. The only problem seemed to be the messenger. Tim Pawlenty seemed to be the kid in the classroom who always had his hand up while howling “ooh, ooh” but failed to interest anyone in what he had to say. So one day after the Ames Straw poll in Iowa, he dropped out of the race.

Despite those circumstances, Pawlenty is a top quality conservative leader with a great record on social and economic issues and he is an extraordinarily competent executive. Such qualities make Pawlenty a top contender for the vice presidential nomination, at least on paper. He is certainly not the type of running mate that any presidential nominee has to fear being overshadowed by. All this means that Mitt Romney could easily tap Pawlenty for Vice President. He comes from a state that the G.O.P. could use help with and which if they could win, would leave the Obama-Biden ticket in deep trouble. He also appeals to many Midwest voters and lacks much of the luggage that other potential running mates have.

But Romney may want and need a running mate who excites at least one demographic group far more than T-Paw does. Given that fact, even though Pawlenty is a safe choice and Romney likes playing it safe, there are several other potential running mates who are equally as safe as Pawlenty but bring a touch more excitement to the ticket than he does.

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All Ahhhh Board! Tim Pawlenty Endorses Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share    Today Mitt Romney pulled off one of the first surprising twists to the 2012 Republican presidential nomination contest as former Minnesota Governor and the first former 2012 presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty, endorsed Romney for President.   The Governor described Mitt as the most knowledgable and capable candidate in the field.

The original announcement came on Fox News’ Fox and Friends in the late morning hours of Monday……..

Pawlenty had promised not to endorse any candidate or assist any candidate in the nomination process but in what was a bit of a surprise, not only did the man who was once trying to aggressively oppose Romney, endorse him, later in the day Mitt Romney announced that T-Paw would serve as a national Co-Chair of the Romney for President campaign.

The endorsement is yet another sign of how succesful Romney is becoming at solidifying establishment support.  It is also a sign that many are beginning to perceive Romney as the person who will ultimately be the winner of the Republican nomination.  Pawlenty’s endorsement signals a “get on board before the train leaves the station” mentality that is building despite the rather big splash that Texas Governor Rick Perry made when he cannonballed into the nomination contest on the day of the Iowa Straw Poll and the day before Pawlenty pulled out of the race.

For his part, Pawlenty is not exactly the most obvious of former rivals to endorse Mitt Romney, especially so early on.  For T-Paw, Romney’s candidacy was one of the biggest hurdles to his own presidential candidacy.  As such, Pawlenty aggressively targeted Romney and his record, particularly Mitt’s Massachusetts healthcare plan which Pawlenty famously called ObamneyCare.  But much worse has been said by former rivals who have later gone on to throw their support behind the winning candidate that they once opposed.  In recent history, the race between President Obama and Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination is a prime example of how politics can make strange bedfelows. 

During the 2008 presidential nomination contest, Clinton oozed derision for Obama.  On one occasion she cracked;

 “Now, I could stand up here and say, ‘Let’s just get everybody together. Let’s get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.'”

The crack was designed to malign the messianic image that many were establishing for then candidate Obama.

During another exchange Clinton stated;

“Sen. Obama’s insistence on repeating attacks that have been demonstrated to be false by independent entities proves once and for all that his speeches about the new politics are just words.”

As for Barack Obama, he took plenty of shots at Clinton.  At one point his campaign even launched a minisite called “Hillary Attacks”. It had the singular purpose of tracking and highlighting Clinton’s negative comments about him.

A year later, candidate Clinton was president Obama’s Secretary of State Clinton.

So there is nothing new with the coming together of former political rivals, but as history shows, the rivals usually ony unite with the winner.  They rarely unite with one another during the election process.  In this case, it is obvious that Pawlenty believes Romney is the winner and he is trying to insure himself a ticket on that gravy train.

Shortly after Pawlenty made his announcement on Fox News, the Romney campaign’s website had posted on it, the following open letter from Pawlenty on their website:

By: Tim Pawlenty

Great crises often produce great leaders. Unfortunately, sometimes the timing isn’t right, and neither is the leader. 

Barack Obama came into office in the midst of a great economic crisis. Although hopes were high, he did not rise to the occasion. Now that the clouds of enthusiasm and excitement have parted, we see he was obviously unsuited for the task at hand.

President Obama has failed to meet America’s economic challenges. 

His three years of spending, regulating and taxing have not restarted the economy. Unemployment remains at a shocking 9.1 percent. Economic growth is hovering on the edge of a renewed recession. 

Abroad, the standing of the United States appears uncertain and adrift under the failed leadership of a president who prefers chastising allies to condemning foes.

Fortunately, America may get a second chance: Mitt Romney is running for president, and I am proud to endorse him. 

Alone among the contenders, he possesses the unique qualifications to confront and master our severe economic predicament. His abiding faith in our country’s exceptional historical position as a beacon of freedom will make him the most important leader in a world that depends upon a strong America to stay at peace.

Having served as Governor of Massachusetts, he turned that state’s budget around from deficit to surplus while simultaneously cutting taxes, but that is not the full measure of what he will bring to the Presidency.  His time in government was a moment of service – a way to give back to our country—following a distinguished career in the private sector, where he launched companies and turned around troubled ones.

When the 2002 Winter Olympics were on the verge of collapse thanks to a bid-rigging scandal, Romney was asked to take over. The attacks of September 11 created a security nightmare. Romney presided over a highly complex security mobilization, addressed the management troubles plaguing the games, and staged one of the most memorable competitions ever seen on American soil.

Romney is running for president because he is deeply committed to our country, troubled by its current condition, and I believe he can turn it around.

He’s formulated an economic plan—a set of alternatives to the government-oriented programs that Barack Obama has put in place—that is unparalleled in the history of American electoral campaigns.  By pressing for fundamental change in the way that Washington taxes and spends, issues regulations, uses energy, interacts with our major trading partners, and deals with our labor force, he fully envisions a way to place America back on the path toward rapid economic growth and full employment.

And at his core, Mitt Romney is a man of great character. He and his wife Ann have been married for more than four decades.  She is the love of his life.  Together, they have five sons and sixteen grandchildren.

But he’s not only a family man, he is a man of principle. He believes in the bedrock conservative ideals of limited government and free enterprise. He will stand up for America’s allies when they are threatened, with fortitude.  And he will face down our adversaries. He is a formidable person, and he will certainly be a formidable president.  Our allies can count on it, and our enemies should expect it. 

Crises indeed produces great leaders.  Sometimes it just takes awhile.

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Palin Disappointed that Pawlenty Dropped Out

Bookmark and Share    Sarah Palin told  NBC’s Alex Moe  that she was disappointed by Pawlenty’s exit from the presidential race.  She adds that Pawlenty is a good man and his staff team is filed with talented people.  In Palin’s statement, while she thinks highly of Pawlenty, she obviously does not think very highly of the Iowa Caucus process and refers to it as “internal political machinery.

According to Plain

“I think we will see more people coming and going” in this campaign cycle. “I hate to see that internal party events would be seen as the barometer for somebody to stay in the race or not. I would love to have seen Pawlenty stay in there and allow the voters to decide not internal political machinery decide who should be in the race and who should not. So I am disappointed that he has dropped out. Pawlenty, he is a good man who worked very hard, had a good record as a governor. He knew how to get along with the boys in the sandbox. He knew when and how to compromise in order to get things done in a blue state – a Republican in a blue state being effective. I have great respect for him and a lot of his staff members too, good guys, good gals. He has a great family. So I really, really hope the best for Gov. Pawlenty; he is a good man, and disappointed that he dropped out.”

Insofar as whether or not Pawlenty’s departure from the race will have an effect on her decision to run or not, Palin stated;

 “No, I think this is more illustration of the comings and goings of a campaign in a very long season of politics. We still have many months to go, and I think we will see more people coming and going.”

In the meantime,  I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that Palin does not run for President but that she eventually comes out and endorses her friend Rick Perry.

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Tim Pawlenty Ends His Presidential Campaign

Bookmark and Share    Before the vote was in on the Iowa Republican Presidential Straw Poll yesterday, White House 2012 put up a poll that asked readers who will drop out of the presidential race due to a poor showing in the poll.  I never expected to get an answer to that question so soon but shortly after former Minnesota Governor Tim Palwenty finished third, he decided to close up shop.  And while I did not expect it, only 11% of those polled by WH12 did anticipate Pawlenty’s withdrawal from the race.

Shortly after disclosing his plans in a private conference call with  ABC’s “This Week” from Iowa  Pawlenty explained “I wish it would have been different. But obviously the pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist so we are going to end the campaign.”

Pawlenty  trailed the straw poll winner, Michele Bachmann, by 2,530 votes or nearly 15%.

In the end, the decision was essentially based upon what he had so far put into the campaign and what he has gotten in return.  Given Pawlenty’s perfectly managed campaign (although his ads were a bit too dramatic) and campaign organization, his aggressive and constant campaigning, the infinitesimal amount of time he dedicated to the campaign, and the money he already spent, it was clear to Pawlenty and his more than competent campaign team, that they just were not getting enough traction.  It was impossible for Pawlenty to do much more than he did, yet he still was registering support only in the single and lower double digits.

In Iowa, alone, Pawlenty invested plenty of money and put together the type of organization that is required to pull out the straw poll voters needed for a win to be possible.  In the end, his third place showing after his first place effort was apparently enough to convince T-Paw that he couldn’t work any harder than he already was working in order to do any better than he did.

Such a decision does not come easy.   After putting as much of yourself into something as much as Tim Pawlenty and his family did, it is hard to let go.  But  it was the fact that Pawlenty did give his all and knew it which allowed him to come to a conclusion earlier  than most candidates do.  Pawlenty’s decision was a sign of man who his a realist and unafraid to deny reality.  Ultimately the former Governor may have garnered some delegates here or there but it was apparent to him that the cost and effort that he would have needed to invest in order to lose with as few as 10 or 20 delegates, was not rational.

This conclusion was probably also due in part to the sixth place showing of Texas Governor Rick Perry in the straw poll. 

Perry who was not even an official candidate at the time that voting began, and has not campaigned a day anywhere, pulled 718 write in votes.  That was only an additional sign that another well-financed and popular candidate in the race was only going to make the mountain Pawlenty was climbing even more difficult.

Pawlenty was a very credible candidate.  In another time he probably would have been considered a frontrunner.  But in this day and of age of polarized politics, the ideological divide is becoming so wide that the most motivated of voters who are seeking change, just did not find Tim Pawlenty extreme enough or as forceful enough as the times require.  He was a victim of populist anger.  No matter what though, it can’t be said that Pawlenty didn’t run a first class campaign.  And it also can’t be said that he didn’t give us the opportunity to take advantage of his leadership.  The same can not be said for others like Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour who were not willing to make the sacrifices that Tim Pawlenty was willing make and already did make.

As for the remaining field, the effect of Pawlenty’s withdrawal will probably benefit Mitt Romney the most, while making to little to no difference to Bachmann, who like Pawlenty is from  Minnesota.

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View Tim Pawlenty’s Iowa Straw Poll Speech in its Entirety

Bookmark and Share    Of all the speeches given before the votes were counted at the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, Tim Palwenty delivered a speech which I can’t find any fault with.  If a speech could be perfect, this one would have been close to it.  In fact there was nothing wrong with.  I found no disagreement with his positions and opinions and found nothing wrong with his excellent message.  I guess the only problem is the messenger.  And I hate to say that, for Tim Pawlenty is a seemingly great guy.  The kind of guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but will do a good job at making sure that no flies got into his tent.
 
But for some reason, even though Pawlenty says the right things, they just don’t resonate as well as they should with him.
 
See the speech for yourself.  I bet you won’t find anything wrong with it, but it still won’t hit you in any significant way.  Maybe his speech was to rehearsed, to the point where it was over-reheased?  Maybe it was too perfect?  I don’t know what it is  but whatever it is, it’s not working for Pawlenty as well as it shoud.

Debate Recap

The commentators in the Iowa debate finally succeeded in getting the Republican candidates to go after one another, and the result was a distinction between the boys, the girl, and the men.  Here is my assessment:

Newt Gingrich

I would name Newt as the winner of this debate.  He presented something the other candidates could not, a clear record on the economy and government with the exact results Americans want today that was left mostly unassailed.  Newt vented his frustration early at Chris Wallace over what came across as unfair questions, but was able to then produce reasonable responses.  Gingrich had a better grasp of history and economics and managed not to contradict himself.  I doubt it will be enough to kickstart his campaign again, but he looked and sounded most like the candidate who could turn our economy around.  Newt said what every American was thinking, the supercommittee part of the debt deal is a stupid idea and Obama should call Congress back to fix it.

Mitt Romney

Romney proved once again how effortless this race has been for him.  When Pawlenty shot across his bow with a jab at how much property he owns, Romney shrugged it off like Michael Jordan would if he wasn’t picked first in a neighborhood game of pickup basketball.  Romney looked and sounded like a professional and did not allow Wallace, Pawlenty or anyone else to shake his demeanor.  In fact, he made almost everyone else look like amateurs, especially Pawlenty and Bachmann.  Romney positioned himself as the successful businessman, accomplished politician, and leader.  In fact, when Cain touted his independent business success, when Pawlenty talked about balancing his budget and cutting spending and taxes, and when Pawlenty and Huntsman talked about leadership, Romney kept coming to mind.  He ignored interparty skirmishes and focused on Obama, which is a key in this race.  His only slip up was trying to discuss the semantics of state versus federal constitutional restrictions.  I think his point was a good one, especially when he asked Wallace what he knew about Massachusetts constitution, but ultimately the point was lost on the other participants.

Ron Paul

Republicans still don’t like Ron Paul, and he is still abrasive.  However, he came in third in this debate because he toned down the abrasiveness and instead mixed in some well earned “told ya so”.  Paul made key points on the Fed, the debt, the debt ceiling deal, the precariousness of our currency, and the costs of war.  These were timely points and made well.  He did not leap into easy traps on military spending that he has fallen into before that come across as disrespect for men and women in uniform.  Paul was also able to better articulate his views on social issues.  In the past he has come across as more liberal than libertarian.  This time he was able to articulate what be actually believes about gay marriage and abortion, stating that our liberties come from our creator, not government.  He may not win over the mainstream religious right, but will win over some more religious libertarians and constitutionalists.

Rick Santorum

Yes, believe it or not, Rick Santorum is fourth on my list.  His performance will most likely not change anything, but as a second tier candidate he exceeded expectations.  He was well prepared, made logical answers to the questions asked, and avoided harmful entanglements with other candidates.  He continues to represent George Bush neo-conservatism and will continue to bring useful balance to the debate.  He still has no chance of winning.

Herman Cain

Cain came across as the most unknowledgeable of the candidates.  He presents a good story of a businessman outsider seeking to change Washington’s business side.  However, Cain does not present a well rounded candidate that voters would trust on issues of foreign policy or domestic social issues.  Until he can get past soundbites to real plans and strategies he will not garner the needed support.   He was the only candidate to drive home the growth aspect of turning our economy around in a real and tangible way.

Jon Huntsman

Who?  His late entry, semi-liberal credentials, and lack of energetic or unique performance make Huntsman an afterthought.  He was like an off-brand candidate.  Aside from cyberwar with China, nothing he said really stood out.  If Huntsman was not at the next debate, I doubt most viewers would even realize it.  For example, remember that candidate from New Mexico, the Ron Paul wannabe?  What was his name again?

Tim Pawlenty

Chris Wallace was able to get under the candidates skin and even inspire direct confrontations between candidates.  Mostly though, the culprit ended up being Tim Pawlenty.  In a role usually occupied by the perennial anti-GOP establishment candidate Ron Paul, Pawlenty went after Bachmann, Romney, and whoever else got in his way.  He came across as a third place candidate trying to remind people why he is in this race, or at least that he is in this race.  I did not enjoy listening to him.  When he wasn’t on the attack, he was apologizing for cigarette taxes or highlighting things he did as governor that both Romney and Huntsman have on their resume.  In a race where the focus needs to be on Barack Obama, Pawlenty allowed himself to fall into the hands of the commentators and make for some great controversial TV.  Personally, I think this primary would come to a much better result without Pawlenty.

Michelle Bachmann

The loser of last night’s debate was Michelle Bachmann.  When Pawlenty attacked her, she fought back and lost.  Pawlenty managed to paint her as more of an ideologue than a successful conservative champion.  Pawlenty highlighted her lack of results, and she let that stick.  I believe she did receive some of the more unfair questions, including the one about submitting to her husband, but instead of recognizing those questions for what they were, she showed why she is not the caliber of Newt or Mitt and engaged the questions as though they were credible concerns.

Honestly though, what earned Bachmann the F was when she failed to return to her podium on time after the commercial break.  She is trying to overcome this idea that she is an unprofessional activist, not a serious contender.  However, her tardiness, fumbling over major points such as combining pro-life and taxes in bills, and engaging Pawlenty in unscripted arguments show why Bachmann’s runner up status has been purely on the substance of her popular TEA party beliefs, not because she is a polished candidate.  Conservatives may like her in the polls, but when they go to vote I think we will see them be more likely to send a quarterback than the mascot in to play.

New Pawlenty Ad Can Win An Oscar But I’m Not Sure it Will Win Any Votes

Bookmark and Share    Tim Pawlenty’s latest ad picks up on what has become a trend of late…….using President Barack Obama’s own words against him. Clearly, the G.O.P. is now comfortable with trying to make this election a referendum on President Obama and his record. And why not.  It speaks for itself. 

Pawlenty’s new ad essentially mimics one that Mitt Romney  put out last week. It uses the same Obama line about his presidency being a one term proposition of he fails to get the economy back on track. But this ad also splices together multiple quotes from various news reports pertaining to the poor economy and puts it to a melodramatic, operatic musical background that is more fitting for an intense action scene dramatic from some goth-like  motion picture than ad discussing the economy.

The message is strong. We said so when Romney presented the same one last week,  but the production value takes away from the message.

Pawlenty’s ads seem to get carried away with a production value that is reminiscent of trailers for a high budget, blockbuster movie, with an all-star cast. They are designed to catch the attention of a society that has become accustomed to the badda-bing, badda-boom, flash driven, imagery that dominates commercial television. But it is getting to a point where the production of Pawlenty’s ads are surpassing his message. And while the message that President Obama has so far failed as President is a potent one, the drama elicited in Palwnety’s ads is so overdramatic that it begins to make one wonder if it is a serious political ad or a comedic parody.

Now if you really want to see a memorable video check out, ‘Na na na na, Hey  Hey Hey Goodbye Democrats’

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Romney Inspires Open Wallets

The April-June quarter numbers are in for the Romney, Huntsman, Cain and Pawlenty camps, and if donation figures are any indication, it is clear why Romney is still the front runner.  Romney has raised nearly twice as much as the other three combined.

Romney fundraising solidifies his front runner status

Romney has raised about $18 million.  Huntsman and Pawlenty have each raised about $4 million and Cain comes in with $2.5 million.  Romney is also conserving his funds, having more left in the bank at the end of the quarter than the other three have raised at about $12 million.  Things are looking good for the Romney camp.

Huntsman joined the campaign late, but AP speculates that half the money he has raised came from his own funds.

Bachmann, who has not released her figures yet, saw a big spike in May.  Her April-June contributions may confirm her current runner up status.

 

Update: Ron Paul beat out Pawlenty and Huntsman by raising $4.5 million in the second quarter, while Newt Gingrich raised a measly $2 million and is reportedly deep in debt.  Bachmann and Obama have yet to release their numbers.

No Guts….No Glory (A Tribute To Dennis Miller)

Bookmark and ShareWith all due respect to Congresswoman Bachmann – Does anyone in the current GOP Presidential field have a pair?

For a second it appeared as if former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty did. That was until the debate in New Hampshire where T-Paw turned into T-Aww as he failed to follow up on the opening he himself created with his coining of the term “Obamaney Care” just the day prior to the debate. He looked as if he were the guy that was talking about how bad he would beat up the schoolyard bully and then realized the bully was standing behind him the entire time as he was asked if he would like to follow up on his term while the former MA Governor was standing there. Was the question intended to bait Pawlenty into a battle with Romney? Sure it was but if you don’t want a door open don’t put your foot in it. As I watched the remainder of the debate the question I wanted asked was “Do any of you actually WANT to win?”.

Before you are allowed to run against President Obama you have to defeat each other.

The field stood in unison against President Obama and the Democrats. They all gave safe answers and didn’t have much to say about each other as they attacked the President’s policies. In my eyes..they all said the same thing on almost every issue except for Ron Paul who seemed to ignore some of the questioning all together in an attempt to show his Libertarian views. Even as he tried to differentiate himself, Paul failed to make a move to point out the short falls of his opponents. It was like watching a family reunion where everyone was waiting for the drunk uncle to start a fight over who gets the last Pabst Blue Ribbon but never does.

This is a primary fight people. Grow a pair!

If I wanted to see my candidates make love not war and sing kumbaya I would go sit outside the Democrat National Convention in a drum circle with the peace, love and hippie crowd. Mitt Romney’s campaign team must have had Joker perma-grin for 2 days afterwards. He went in as the polling favorite with very little effort on his part to that point and came out unscathed even on the eve of ‘T-Paw’ tying him up to Obama like Sean Connery to Harrison Ford in the fire scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Obama is a former constitutional law professor. Although he obviously doesn’t know much about that he does know how to run a campaign. Maybe he can help the Republican’s by telling them that they are running against each other and not him……yet.

So far Michelle Bachmann is the only woman running. But she is not the only candidate without a pair of cajones. On that issue she has much company.

If you are afraid to campaign against each other, how do you plan on beating one of the most well oiled campaign machines in modern history? Driving in the Partridge Family bus isn’t going to cut it. Unless Danny Bonaduce starts running your campaigns.

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Seven Versus One

The debate is over and there is a clear loser.  Whether by pact or we just got candidates this good, Obama was the only one with a target on his back last night.  Even Pawlenty wouldn’t take the obvious bait to attack front runner Mitt Romney.  The result was a debate of seven on one, and the One wasn’t there to defend himself.

The other loser in last night’s debate was CNN’s John King who amidst annoying grunts failed to turn the candidates on one another.  Even when he tossed Palin’s name out as an easy target for Republicans seeking to moderate, the response came from Tim Pawlenty and it was perfect.  Joe Biden has failed in every aspect as a Vice President, his views on Iraq were completely wrong, and Sarah Palin would be a better president than Biden or Obama.

Can Bachmann break through media created stereotypes?

The candidates handled tough hot button issues amazingly well also.  The shining example here was Michelle Bachmann who deflected an easy gotcha by making it clear that the role of the President and the role of the states in determining the fate of gay marriage is not equal.  She provided a balanced states rights view, while promising to protect the states from the courts if it came to that.  The other good answers on gay marriage were Ron Paul, leave it to the church and get government out, and actually Rick Santorum who explained that a constitutional amendment would require the approval of 75% of the states, something opponents rarely mention.  Cain appeared to struggle the most on the muslim staff question.

While there were no clear winners, I believe this debate showed two classes of candidates.  Michelle Bachmann led her class of fired up TEA Party approved candidates fighting for principled social and fiscal conservatism with unmeasured attacks against Obama and willingness to take heat for their views if deemed controversial.  Cain is included with this group, although he appears now more as a TEA Party candidate who jumped in feet first and now is searching for substance beyond catchphrases and buzz words.  He did not find that moment last night.  Ron Paul’s anti-establishment libertarianism may catch up to him this year when all the Revolution liberals realize that he does not support any federal entitlement programs.  Santorum failed to set himself apart as anything but a sacrificial lamb for 1st term George W. Bush style conservatism.  While they all performed well, Bachmann outshined this group.  Given the TEA Party’s success in 2010 and their conservative appeal, I would not write this group off.

The other group becoming apparent are the “intellectual”, restrained conservatives in Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty.  Their answers would not pass a soundbite test, but they were clear, well thought out, and flawless.  At the same time, these three touted socially conservative views and credentials which should make each one palatable for any Republican voter.  Newt was in a tough place and would need to be the only shining candidate last night to pull his campaign out of the rubble.  His performance was near flawless and enough to start the rebuilding process, but not good enough to bring him in from the dog house.  And while he may be right about ensuring that America is on board with the Paul Ryan plan, he is sure to take more heat for some of his comments last night.

Tim Pawlenty was perhaps the closest thing to a winner last night.  He made a great case for his pro-life record, perhaps settled some social conservatives with his call for his stance on homosexuality, connected with union and blue collar America, and magnanimously skipped a golden opportunity to play John King’s game and trash the front runner.  While the left-wing media rakes Pawlenty over the coals for his choice, conservatives should take a much closer look at a candidate who knows the enemy.

Mitt Romney will remain the front runner after last night.  The campaign has been nearly effortless for him sofar, and he made no mistakes that would cause him to lose his front runner status last night.  But he shouldn’t get too comfortable.  With Huntsman entering the race and with Rick Perry and Rudy Guiliani mulling Presidential runs of their own, the space Romney and Pawlenty occupy could get real crowded real quick.

In the end, the field last night did what they had to do.  They stayed focused on the economy and Obama.  They did not bite on questions obviously designed to turn them against each other and other Republicans.  They agreed with one another publicly and showed that any one of them is better than and can beat Barack Obama in 2012.

Pawlenty Pummels Romney With “Obamneycare” in Republican Debate Preview

Bookmark and Share    As previously pointed out in detail by WH12, Mitt Romney is the biggest target that will be on the stage in tonight’s Republican presidential debate. The most recent evidence of that fact comes from former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who is so eager to hit the bull’s-eye that he has already begun taking some early practice shots at Governor Romney.

As seen in the video below, during an interview on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace, Pawlenty launched what is for Romney, a MOAB (Mother of All Bombs), a memorable hit on Romney’s Achilles heal……Romneycare. In describing Governor Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare plan as the model for President Obama’s national healthcare plan, commonly referred to as  Obamacare, Pawlenty called it Obamneycare. Pawlenty’s ability to coin a one word phrase that negatively links Mitt Romney to President Obama in such a memorable way, is a stroke of political genius that will prove to be a particularly potent strategic weapon as the Republican race for President moves forward.

Not only does the word help to move Romney’s thinking closer to President Obama’s thinking in the eyes of voters, it also provides Pawlenty with a perfect short and snappy soundbite that requires no explanation and continues to put Mitt Romney on the defensive and in the awkward position of having to spend valuable time trying to explain away. While Pawlenty need only to say the word “Obamneycare” to make his point, Romney has to exhaust time and spend money on using many words to defend himself against Obamneycare. While Tim Pawlenty’s campaign could now make money selling anti-Romney shirts emblazoned with the word “ObamneyCare” on them, Mitt Romney has to spend money on ads and mailings to explain Obamneycare away.

During the rest of the interview, host Chris Wallace afforded Pawlenty many opportunities to take more shots at Mitt Romney on an array of issues. But Governor Pawlenty resisted and instead maintained his focus on Obamneycare, adding,

“President Obama said that he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare… What I don’t understand is that they both continue to defend it.”

The one thing I do find questionable here though is Tim Pawlenty’s strategic decision to release his useful verbal weapon a day before tonight’s CNN/WMUR-TV/ Manchester Union Leader debate in New Hampshire. The newly created word was certainly laid on the desks of Mitt Romney’s talented team of experienced strategists, consultants, media mavens, and assorted opinion makers. This gives them more than 24 hours to come up with a creative response to any use of Pawlenty’s new verbal assault weapon during the debate. The question is, is Romney and his team talented and creative enough to come up with a rebuttal to “Obamneycare” that takes 15 seconds or less to articulate and sting Pawlenty with to boot?

No matter how Romney prepares to address Pawlenty’s new tool in an old line of attack against Romney, the seat that Mitt is in is only going to get hotter when the five other candidates on the stage tonight, follow Pawlenty’s lead and go for Romney’s jugular.

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Pawlenty Up, Romney Down. Monthly Ranking of Republican Presidential Field Finds New Frontrunner

Bookmark and Share    After a month that saw some of the hottest potential Republican presidential candidates officially decline to get in to the race, White House 2012’s newest monthly ranking produced a few surprises. To begin with, the narrowing down of the potential presidential field prompted WH12 to cut its ranking half and go from a list of the top twenty, to the top ten. This forced many lower tier names that were often found in the ranking, left out. But the smaller list made the ranking competitive that even some big names surprisingly did not make it. Most notably missing is Michele Bachmann.

While Bachmann almost made the cut, in addition to the possibility for several other big names to still jump in to the race, and a the smaller number of slots available in the ranking forced a much harsher analysis of the field. As a result, even though Bachmann has the ability to upset her rivals in Iowa and South Carolina, a lack of electability outside of those two states was more than likely what prevented her from placement in the top ten. Last month, Bachmann was ranked twelfth. This month, a top twenty ranking would have put Bachmann in eleventh place. So even though she did not make the list in June, she still improved her standing in May.

The biggest surprise of all though came in in the number slot. Since WH12 began ranking the candidates several months ago, Mitt Romney was consistently ranked number one. In June, for the very first time, Romney slipped to second place and was replaced by former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

This change was again most likely due to the increasingly competitiveness of a smaller ranking and indicates that Pawlenty benefits the most from Mitch Daniels‘, Mike Huckabee’s, and Donald Trump’s decision not to run. With these, and others out, Pawlenty becomes a fall back candidate for many. But more importantly, as people look closer at a field of fewer and fewer candidates, RomneyCare is probably the one thing most responsible for preventing them from flocking to Mitt Romney and cause them to be more willing to side with other candidates like Tim Pawlenty instead.   RomneyCare continues to be the primary reason why Romney does not have a lock on the nomination.

Another surprise is the third place showing of Herman Cain.

Cain’s outsider status, combined with his fiery articulation of the issues, makes him increasingly viable in an electorate that has fewer hopefuls to back in the ginned up TEA Party movement atmosphere that currently exists. Although it is not likely that Herman Cain will actually get the nomination, if he can raise enough money to compete with people like Pawlenty, he can make a serious run for the nomination. And that is reflected in this month’s ranking.

Behind Cain is Jon Huntsman, followed by Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rick Sanotrum, Ron Paul, Texas Governor Rick Perry and in tenth place is former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani.  Palin and Paul hold the same position in June that they held in May.

While Gingrich, Santorum, and Ron Paul have made their candidacies official, and Jon Huntsman is assumed to make his campaign official soon, it is still not known what Palin, Perry, and Giuliani are doing.  Still, between the likelihood of their running and the impact they could have if they did, the consensus among the staff of WH12 finds Palin in fifth place, Perry in ninth, and Rudy in tenth. If they were to make their candidacies official, their placement would probably be higher.

White House 2012’s monthly ranking is based on an average calculated from the individual rankings of each of the site’s staff writers. The overall ranking reflects where the combined opinion of the staff writers place the candidates or potential candidates, if the election were held today. It does not reflect who WH12 wants to be, or thinks will actually be the nominee. It is only a current snapshot of where the candidates stand today, that is based upon current circumstances and factors and the potential that each candidate is so far showing.

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Pawlenty Proposes Obama Go to “Econmic Rehab” and Lays Out His Own Recovery Plan

Bookmark and Share   In a perfectly timed speech, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty capitalized on the irrefutable evidence and increasingly undeniable sentiment that President Obama is mishandling the American economy.

Appearing at The University of Chicago’s Harris School, a location that’s just a few steps away from the University that President Obama and his soon to depart chief economic adviser Austan Goolsbee taught at, Pawlenty became the first candidate in the 2012 Republican presidential field to actually act like a candidate for President as he laid out his plans to revive the U.S. economy. He began his almost 45 minute appearance which included questions and answers, by slamming the President and claiming that President Obama needs to enter “economic rehab”.

“President Obama is satisfied with a second-rate American economy, produced by his third-rate policies. I’m not” said Pawlenty

From there Pawlenty presented a Reagan-like, limited government approach to our economic woes that included proposals to eliminate the U.S. Postal Service, Amtrak, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The former two term Governor’s plan also calls for what he called a “simpler, fairer and flatter tax code” that would eliminate capital gains, estate, and dividends taxes, and include only two tax rates. One of 10% and the other of 25%. Individuals earning up to $50,000 or a joint income up to $100,000, would pay 10% while those with incomes above that would be taxed at 25%. Under Pawlenty’s plan, those who currently do not pay any income tax, will continue to not pay any.

Other aspects of Pawlenty’s economic reforms were actually quite bold for a politician seeking support from voters. He proposed expanding presidential powers. That is a move that many limited government, TEA movement activists may initially view as a power grab that is antithetical to their cause. But Pawlenty’s proposed expansion of presidential power is a request to have Congress give the executive branch emergency powers only to freeze spending.  According to Pawlenty, “If they won’t do it [freeze spending] — I will,”. The Governor also declared his supports for the creation of a Medicaid block grant program that would cap the amount of money states receive for the health benefits for the elderly, and much to his credit, he courageously endorsed raising the retirement age of Social Security recipients.

That last point is something which few politicians who want to win an election are brave enough to propose, but for many people, the fact that he did endorse such a move, demonstrated that maybe Tim Pawlenty is one of those few political leaders who will actually say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. Isn’t that part of the reason why many are still clamoring for Chris Christie to jump in to the Republican presidential contest? The consideration of raising the age of SSI recipients is always a controversial one. However, it is nonetheless an unmistakably necessary move in light of the need to keep that program solvent, the need to get entitlements under control, and the increasing life expectancy rate of society.

The scheduling of Pawlenty’s speech, be it through good strategic instinct and timing or just plain luck, was impeccable. It came on a day when the news of President Obama’s mishandling of the economy was unavoidable. Facts, figures and polls all presented themselves today in a way that even the lamestream media could not avoid turning in to headlines. A new Washington Post/ABC news poll that found that by a margin of 59 to 40 percent, Americans disapprove of the President’s handling of the economy, the President’s Chief economic adviser announced he is resigning, and if the news wasn’t grim enough, a new study of businesses found that once Obamacare kicks in, 1 in 3 businesses will stop offering health benefits. So much for the President’s promise that under Obamacare, you will be permitted…. “permitted”….. to keep your current health insurance plan. The perfect timing of Pawlenty’s speech came at an optimum moment to exploit all these findings.

The speech Pawlenty gave and proposal he offered were in many different ways promising. While it could have easily gone much further with such proposals as a total flat tax that would offer one rate for one nation, and for other measures such as a balanced budget amendment, the plan was solid and a total reversal from the failed Keynesian path the President has put us on. It had much to offer not just for the fiscal conservative base of the Party that Pawlenty desperately needs to win over, but for the important limited government independent voters as well.  As for the delivery of the speech, it proved that Pawlenty can articulate his vision for the nation, and that he is capable of taking the bull by the horn and leading. So far, on the issue of the economy, he is the first 2012 candidate to provide such leadership.

All in all, today was a good day for Tim Pawlenty. Unlike the announcement of Rick Santorum’s presidential candidacy from the day before, Pawlenty had the fortune of not being stepped on by the breaking news of a scandal, like Weinergate and the conditions were right for his message to resonate. Most of all, today Pawlenty took his first real step towards going from being the candidate to support if your first choice doesn’t run, to being someone who could be considered a first choice in his own right. He was poised, presidential, confident, and seemed to have a command of the issue. And on another positive note, Pawlenty managed to weave into his presentation, an important theme that continues to point out the sense that President Obama is out of touch with both the American people and the purpose of government In America.

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Tim Pawlenty: ” I Would Sign Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan”

Bookmark and ShareOn ABC’s “This Week” former Minnesota Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty addressed his stance on the budget changes to privatize Medicare proposed by the House of Representatives and backed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

“If the only choices were doing nothing like President Obama is doing and Paul Ryan’s plan, I’d sign it,” Pawlenty stated. Without going into specifics the former Minnesota Governor also said he would do some things differently from Ryan’s plan such as ” address Social Security”. During a stop in Iowa on Monday the GOP presidential hopeful told a group at Point of Grace Church Waukee that another change he would make to Ryan’s plan would be to change the way providers are paid by including ‘performance pay’ into the plan.

With the field slowly taking shape, a couple of major players deciding against a 2012 bid and others not yet making a decision at all, Pawlenty could stand to make gains if he connects with the electorate on the big issues. Advocating Ryan’s plan while adding some issues of his own may be what he needs to grab some support from a GOP voting base who has yet to find a candidate to get behind. It may also help Pawlenty cozy up to the TEA party voters who advocate budget and entitlement cuts. Although some in TEA party voters don’t feel Ryan’s proposal goes far enough, adding a few extra’s such as performance based pay and Social Security reform could be what Pawlenty needs to show he is willing to expand on those issues.

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Tim Pawlenty Could Stand To Gain While The Big Names Sit On The Sidelines

Bookmark and ShareThe 1st GOP Presidential debate is in the books. There are those who feel it lacked the “Wow” factor that it would have had if the top polling candidates had taken part. With Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin all declining to attend, the field was filled with candidates whose names are not well known on a national scale. Texas congressman Ron Paul is probably the exception to that statement but his public persona and Libertarian views have never played well to most in the GOP.

Of the remainder of the field that included former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and conservative talk show host Herman Cain, Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, it may have been Pawlenty that came out with the most to gain from the absence of the big name candidates.

Most of those polled said that they came away with a better opinion of Herman Cain than any other candidate. I agree. Cain came away as the non-politician’s politician but he is an unknown to most voters and will need much more than this debate to get the recognition he will need to mount a serious run. Santorum is known to a certain degree through his work on Fox News but has established himself as the social issues candidate so far in a time where the economy will likely reign supreme. Gary Johnson is the poor man’s Ron Paul and did little to move up the ladder in the debate and at points looked uncomfortable on the stage. Ron Paul is simply Ron Paul. Most Republican’s tend to agree with his economic stances and most independents with his social stances but he has difficulty communicating them in a manner that helps him in a conservative GOP primary.

That leaves Pawlenty, who did little to “Wow” the audience but came across as a solid candidate when put next to the CEO with little experience, the Libertarian’s with little communication skills and the evangelical social issue guy, as a possible challenger to the big name candidates who themselves have issues that will be exploited if and when they decide to enter the race. Romney has to answer for his health care program he implemented while Governor of MA. Gingrich has had marriage issues that have haunted him for years. Huckabee has issues regarding his stances on crime while Governor of Arkansas and Palin, well she has always incurred the wrath of the media and I expect if she decides to run in 2012 it will be no different.

So although he may have not brought the “wow” factor with him to South Carolina last Thursday night, it could be Tim Pawlenty who very well takes away the most from the debate. Although Herman Cain may have hit the “wow” factor it was Pawlenty who by reason of recognition stands to gain the most from the decision of the big names to sit this one out. If he stays on message and the more recognizable names continue to sit dormant, Tim Pawlenty has one up on the other candidates.

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Airtime for the backups

Aside from Tim Pawlenty, going into last night’s debate I think most pundits considered these to be second tier candidates. After last night, I will admit that the perception that most of these candidates don’t have a viable shot probably hasn’t changed. However, there were clear winners and clear losers. Here is my take on the debate, which at times will be blunt and harshly honest:

Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty demonstrated why he is a top tier candidate. He was professional, studied, and Presidential. He took clean shots at Obama and did not make missteps. However, his answer to Cap and Trade may come across to the base as a weak answer. Cap and Trade is already widely unpopular with the TEA party and conservative right. It is almost as unpopular as humbling yourself before the media and admitting a mistake. I think it was the best answer Pawlenty could give, but it highlighted that unfortunate decision to initially support Cap and Trade. Pawlenty’s other disadvantage coming into last night was that everyone expected a polished performance. He will be judged at a higher standard. I was pleased to see Pawlenty show some charisma and get the crowd motivated. However, when it came to charisma, Pawlenty was not the candidate who stole the show.

Herman Cain

Cain provided the night with a dose of Donald Trump charisma mixed with Sean Hannity conservatism. Cain was unequivocal and commanded the stage. He was a crowd pleaser who handled each question without a gaffe or misstep. I think Cain’s performance brought many conservatives to believe that he could be the conservative answer to the straightforward, no nonsense approach that Trump had become so popular for. My prediction is that we will begin to see Trump wane in popularity now that the birther issue has run its course and Cain stands to benefit. We will see if Cain can capitalize on his performance.

If Cain’s popularity does grow, he will need to find answers to a lot of questions on issues that have not seen the light of the mainstream media yet. For example, Cain defended his support of the Fairtax by mentioning the concept of a “prebate” paid to every family at the beginning of the month for essentials. But is Cain prepared to face scrutiny on the prebate idea? The IRS paid out billions in fraudulent stimulus checks as a one time deal. Kiplinger says that the IRS estimates that 25% of earned income credit payouts were incorrect and fraudulent. Can the government cut a check to every family in America at the beginning of every month without an Internal Revenue Service, individual tax returns, and massive fraud? Also, getting rid of the IRS sounds nice, but who is going to make sure businesses remit the fairtax and prebates are paid out without a revenue department in the government? Perhaps we will see in the course of this primary if Cain is running on answers or populism.

Rick Santorum

Santorum did a good job as a whole, and will appeal to the same conservatives that Bush appealed to. The question is if Santorum can position himself as more likely to win than Obama. Santorum’s message resonates with social conservatives, and he made it clear last night that his message hasn’t changed. Will conservatives vote for Santorum? While presenting himself as a solid candidate, he did not say anything last night that distinguished himself or rocketed him into the top tier. Santorum’s win for the night was the fact that he showed up, while Gingrich, Huckabee and others did not. But he is still overshadowed by other conservative heavyweights, including Gingrich, Bachmann, Huckabee, and now Cain.

Ron Paul

Paul hasn’t changed since 2008. While he says many things that make sense to conservative constitutionalists and libertarian Republicans, Paul still comes across as the enemy of all things Democrat and Republican. This is great for wooing independents and libertarians, but will not win Paul the Republican primary. For most of the night, I felt myself agreeing with and cheering Paul, but he will once again be the martyr of the protectionist, states rights conservatives. They understand what Paul is saying, they just can’t figure out why non-Paul Republicans don’t. Here’s a hint, Ron Paul still comes across as abrasive, obnoxious, and anti-Republican. This man could be President if he could figure out how to sell himself and explain why what he believes would actually work. I spent a good part of the evening asking myself why Republicans don’t support Ron Paul, but the answer is the same as last time he ran. He is an uncompromising and radical philosopher campaigning in a world of soundbites, and soundbites are not kind to Ron Paul.

Gary Johnson

Picture a more abrasive and whiny version of Ron Paul, but without the name recognition. With Ron Paul in the race, who needs Gary Johnson? He did not distinguish himself, except to come down on the traditionally liberal side of Iraq, Afghanistan (supported it before he was against it), and drugs. His “cost/benefit” approach to drug legalization portrayed a dollars above principles approach to policy. Whether his views on the cost benefit of the war on drugs are right or wrong, such a calloused approach to a moral question will not win him a conservative majority. Johnson only made matters worse by dismissing the conservative majority in the Republican party as unnecessary in the primary and guaranteed to be loyal in the general election. He should ask John McCain if Republicans need social conservatives to defeat Obama.

Johnson’s moment of charisma showed itself in the form of scolding the moderators for not asking him enough questions, a move that screams “I am unpolished, second tier, and everyone knows it but me”. He will find his frustrations at not being taken seriously will continue to grow, mainly because he is not a serious candidate.

Summary

After last night, I think Herman Cain moved up, Santorum, Paul and Pawlenty remained unchanged, and Johnson moved down. Gingrich was probably hurt the most by not showing up, Romney was hurt the least. Gingrich could have used the exposure and chance to showcase his debate skills. Romney sofar has seemed to transcend any primary activity in early polls as an assumed front runner by most whether he shows up or not. Mitch Daniels was probably the most unfairly represented absentee at the debate itself. In the end, the only lasting effects of this debate will be a bump for Herman Cain.

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