Republican National Convention Announces Additions to Leadership Team

Bookmark and Share   The 2012 Republican National Convention today announced that four of the nation’s most   respected political operatives will manage the official program, conduct floor operations and help support communications for the August 27-30 event.

“We’re extremely fortunate to be able to engage this tremendously savvy group of seasoned political veterans,” said Committee on Arrangements Chief Executive Officer William Harris.  “They’ll bring to the convention a formidable set of skills, both individually and collectively.”

The appointments Harris announced today were:

 Todd Cranney, currently deputy political director for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, will be director of delegate outreach.  Before joining the Romney campaign, Cranney was deputy campaign manager and political director for Meg Whitman’s 2010 campaign for governor of California. He was Romney’s 2008 western regional political director and served as field representative for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign in California and Nevada. Cranney began his political career as a staff assistant to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

Tony Feather will serve as director of whip operations. Feather is a Missouri-based political professional and is highly regarded for his decades of experience in grassroots voter contact. A principal in the firm FLS, Feather also served as political director for President George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign.

Jim Dyke will serve as senior advisor and will support convention communications. Dyke is a founder and president of the Washington-based firm JDA Frontline. Dyke has worked on four presidential campaigns, managed a congressional race and served as a senior advisor to President George W. Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Before starting his own business, he served as communications director for the Republican National Committee.

Anne Hathaway will serve as convention program director. Hathaway, a former Republican National Committee chief of staff, is an Indiana-based campaign veteran whose experience ranges from volunteering in local congressional races to working in the White House, where she was an assistant to Vice President Dan Quayle. Hathaway will coordinate convention program activities.

For more news and information on the 2012 Republican National Conventional visit White House 2012’s RNC Convention Page

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A Memorial Day Thank You Salute from Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share “We’re going to keep America strong, and worthy of the great sacrifices of America’s veterans and yhose men and women who put their lives on the line for us, even today”
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Mitt Romney Offers a Video Repsonse to President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Bookmark and Share Mitt Romney offers what he calls “The Real State Of The Union”

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Romney Makes Final Pitch to South Carolinians

Bookmark and Share    As the polls now place Newt Gingrich back ahead of Mitt Romney in South Carolina, Romney is making a final push to help avoid a second place finish that will do nothing but help narrow the election down to what will realistically amount to a two man race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Much of the last minute push consists of a heavy dose of last minute campaigning with the latest big name to endorse him, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and he continues to hit the trail with the Palmetto State’s Governor, Nikki Haley.

Below you will find  Romney’s most recent video pitch to South Carolinians.

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Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Endorses Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share   Early this morning, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who once declared that he would not be endorsing a candidate in the Republican presidential contest has seemingly reversed course and thrown his considerable clout behind Mitt Romney for President.

McDonnell called Romney a “results-oriented conservative” who can appeal to Democrats and independents and he told CNBC that his message is that if you want to win the race in November, vote for Mitt Romney.

On Fox News, Governor McDonnell stated that Romney has a proven record in the public and private sector of getting things done and argued that there are only three issues that will really matter in the election………. one being job creation, another being the need to get rid of “this crushing national debt” and finally, leadership.  And it is on those issues that McDonnell says Romney can win.

While McDonnell’s support has some value, the most interesting aspect of the endorsement is the timing.  It comes one day before what could be a game changing result in the South Carolina Primary.  It is pretty clear that the Romney camp, which has mastered much of the art of political campaigning, has begun to sweat and so they decided now was the time to unleash the endorsement of the popular Southern Governor in the hopes that it will help stem the perceived surge that Newt Gingrich is riding as the race in South Carolina wraps up.

In case you haven’t heard, timing is everything and its not any different in politics.

If you recall, back in December, Newt Gingrich flew to the front of the then crowded G.O.P. field.  The problem was timing.  He peeked too early and in the two weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucuses, he saw that rapid rise to the top erode and ceded ground to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  This time, in South Carolina, thanks to Newt’s ability to catch the crest of his wave at just the right moment, combined with a few well timed breezes at his back which consisted of Sarah Palin’s quasi-endorsement, Rick Perry’s suspension of his own campaign and endorsement of Newt’s, and two well executed debate performances, Gingrich looks like he is peaking just in time to be the first one to ride his wave across the Palmetto State finish line.   All of these conditions which have been beyond Romney’s control have forced him to play some cards that he has been holding close.  In this case, it is obvious that Gingrich’s success has Romney sweating enough to have forced his hand and play the McDonnell card.

How much it will help is questionable.

McDonnell promises to spend the closing hours of the campaign stomping in South Carolina, but Mitt already has the personal and organizational support of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and the insularly access to support from the state Party apparatus that comes with her.  And at the moment it is not stopping Gingrich from pulling ahead in the latest polls.

In my own estimation, I have concluded that even though McDonnell is a rising conservative star and a positive name to have your on side, in the case of Mitt Romney, McDonnell’s endorsement will actually benefit Newt Gingrich more than Mitt.  As the perceived “establishment” candidate, getting the endorsement of another elected  “establishment” politician, will help urge still undecided voters from among the large anti-establishment voting bloc, to move more Newt’s way than Mitt’s way.

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Inevitabilty Begins To Doom the Hopes of Romney’s Rivals

Bookmark and Share    A recent Gallup poll would seem to indicate that a perceived sense of  inevitability concerning Mitt Romney’s winning the Republican presidential nomination  is beginning to cast a shadow over the rest of the Republican field of candidates.

The poll shows that Romney is finally breaking out of the mid twenty range of support that he has consistently been mired in, has broken the 30% range and in a field of four other major candidates, is now making a run for the 35% mark. 

Normally, I put little weight in national polls, when the winner is determined on a state by state basis.  However, in a larger sense, this poll would seem to be a sign that Republicans are beginning to resign themselves to a sense of inevitability surrounding the nomination of Mitt Romney.  It is a perception which became unavoidable after Romney won both Iowa and New Hampshire and was only boosted by reports of Romney’s increasing lead in the soon to be hed third nomination contest of South Carolina.

According to Galllup:

“Mitt Romney is now the only candidate that a majority of conservative and moderate/liberal Republicans nationwide see as an acceptable GOP nominee for president. Conservative Republicans are more likely to say this about Romney than about either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.”
 
If that is accurate, it would be a pleasantly surprising sign that if Romney does become the nominee, establishing Party unity behind him may not be quite as difficult as once suspected. 
 
Gallup also finds that while Romney is consolidating support behind him for the nomination, with exception of Ron Paul, Romney’s remaining rivals are losing support.  The candidate trending down worst of al is Newt Gingrich.  Ron Paul is reamining staedy as he ne neither gains or loses support.
 
 
While this is a good sign, it should not be enough to make Mitt feel too comfortable.  There is still a fair chance that the increasing likelihood of a Romney nomination can finally inspire dissatisfied Republicans, fed up conservatives, and ticked off TEA movement activists to unite solidly behind one clear alternative to Mitt Romney in any number of the states leading up to Super Tuesday. 
 
But given the terrain between now and then, and the financial resources required to aggressively contest those states, Romney still holds a significant advantage with a strong and now growing base of support in most all the upcoming contests.  That schedule is as follows.

Saturday, January 21st: – South Carolina 50 25 delegates

Tuesday, January 31st; – Florida99 50 delegates

Saturday, February 4th – Nevada  23 delegates, Maine24 delegates

Tuesday, February 7th; – Colorado – 36 delegates, Minnesota – 40 delegates, Missouri -53 delegates

Tuesday, February 28th;  – Arizona 58 24 delegates, Michigan –  59 30 delegates

Saturday, March 3rd; – Washington – 43 delegates

Tuesday, March 6th;  (Super Tuesday)- Alaska – 27  delegates, Georgia – 75 delegates, Massachusetts – 41 delegates, North Dakota– 28 delegates, Idaho – 24 of 29 delegates, Oklahoma – 43 delegates, Tennessee – 58 delegates, Texas – 152 delegates, Virginia – 49 delegates, Vermont – 17  delegates, Wyoming29 delegates

While the race is certainly not over and Romney can’t take anything for granted, he must now also begin to lay the groundwork for the next stage of this election cycle.  That would incude  uniting the many factions of the Party and to inspire them all.  If this pol as a good indication of how things are realy going, it woiuld seem that Mitt needs to thank President for being the reason why Republicans are seemingy preapared to unite behind Mitt.  But that will still leave Romney with the need to inspire thise whoa re willing to support him over Barack Obama.  It now looks like that may be the toughest challenge ahead for Mitt.

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John Bolton Endorses Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share   Late Thursday evening, during an interview on Fox News with Greta Van Susteren, controversial conservative foreign policy guru John Bolton endorsed Mitt Romney for President [see interview below].

Bolton, the beneficiary of a recess appoint to the post of Ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush, had flirted with the idea of running for President himself.  During the past Summer, he promised to run if he did not believe that the many pressing dangers on the international stage were given proper attention.

Somewhere along the line, in addition to issues like, money and viability, Bolton apparently determined that the important issues were getting a fair hearing and did not need to be served by his own presidential candidacy.  Now he has determined that Mitt Romney is the best person to be our next President.

As heard in his interview, Bolton believes that most of the Republican candidates have very similar foreign policy views but in addition to Romney’s own solid positions on the issue, Bolton’s decision was largely swayed by what he calls Romney’s electability.  According to Bolton, his criteria for endorsement was based upon finding the most electable conservative in the field and for him, that is Mitt Romney.

Individual personal endorsements don’t usually make much of a difference and Bolton’s probably won’t make a big difference either, but it will help create an impression that can only help Romney within conservative circles.  While Bolton is demonized in liberal circles and would stoned by Ron paull fanatics if he attended a Ron Paul rally, on the right, his reasoned hawkishness has  promoted a hardline position on national defense that offers the nation a better safe than sorry stance.  It has also earned Bolton the neo-Con label and for a candidate like Mitt Romney whom many try to portray as a liberal, the neo-Con affiliation isn’t a bad thing in his plight for the Republican presidential nomination.

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New Mitt Romney Ad Reinforces Why He is Still the Likely Nominee

Bookmark and Share   As the center of the political universe moves to New Hampshire, all of Mitt Romney’s rivals are primarily looking to do one thing there on the night of their presidential primary………….not come in last.

For Rick Santorum, the hope is to surge past Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich and maybe land a sizeable second place finish.  At the moment, it is quite possible.

Newt Gingrich is hoping to do the same and for him that is also a very realistic goal.

Ron Paul, well Ron Paul is Ron Paul and all he can really do to matter is to beat Mitt Romney.  If he did that, he will grab the headlines within the  mainstream media who will claim the G.O.P. is in  utter turmoil and run with stories about the predicament that Ron Paul creates for Republicans.  But Paul’s chances at beating Romney in New Hampshire are nill, so that is not a realistic expectation.

Rick Perry simply hopes to finish ahead of Buddy Roemer and Fred Karger so that he does not go in to South Carolina as a totally lost cause.

The wildcard in New Hampshire is Jon Huntsman.

Huntsman has pinned all his hopes and invested all his limited resources in the Granite State in an effort to stun the political world by beating Mitt Romney in his own backyard and becoming the next Santorum as the nomination contest moves forward.  The problem is Jon Huntsman is not stunning and although a second place showing in New Hampshire is not impossible, anything less than a second place finish will disqualify Huntsman when it comes to being competitive in any future primary contests.

And while all the candidates are forced to invest at least some time and money in New Hampshire to achieve theirmost minimal of goals, Mitt Romney is already working South Carolina.

The other candidates are not ignoring South Carolina.  They all know that the Palmetto State will be pivotal and in many cases, their last stand.  However, with the need to set themselves up for South Carolina, they still have to dedicate most of their time and money on the immediate contest in New Hampshire.  Yet Mitt Romney has both a wide enough lead and the financial resources needed to work New Hampshire and South Carolina at the same time.

Hence his latest ad [see ad below this post].

In it,  Mitt Romney talks from a factory floor and changes to a shot of a Boeing  plant, a jet engine and a 787 Dreamliner that Boeing is building in South Carolina and Washington state.  All the while, Romney is heard accusing President Barack Obama of adopting policies that “affect our economy based not upon what’s right for the American worker but, instead, what’s right for their politics” and he charges that the board is stacked with “union stooges.”

The ad demonstrates how well positioned Mitt Romney is to become the Republican presidential nominee.  While all the other candidates are facing do or die conditions, Romney continues to have the advantage of multiple opportunities to sustain frontrunner status. It should also be noted that it was a wise strategic decision by the Romney campaign to run this type of ad in South Carolina.  It does not mention any of his opponents and shapes the race as one that is bewtween him and President Obama, not a fellow Republican.  But the most tellin g about the ad is still how indicative it is of Romney’s place in the catbird seat.

All of this could of course change in a heartbeat.

Conservatives could decide to unite behind either Santorum, Gingrich, or Perry.  Romney could stumble and fall, or both things could happen simultaneously.  But regardless of what “could” happen, there is no denying that Mitt Romney has the best cards in his hands.  His problem is that he is still failing to convince conservatives that he is not bluffing and really is the conservative holding a full house in  his hands.  If he plays his cards right, he will win just enough of them over in South Carolina to create the sense of inevitability that will force his opposition out of the race.

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John McCain to Endorse Mitt Romney in New Hampshire

Bookmark and Share   In an attempt to try to maintain a sense of momentum after a razor thin win in Iowa, the Romney campaign has decided to allow Senator John McCain to go public with his endorsement of Romney for President.

Word of a McCain endorsement of Romney first surfaced two weeks ago, but the announcement was shelved.  Until now.

A Republican official now states that on Wednesday, the 2008 Republican standard bearer with go public with his endorsement of Romney for the G.O.P.’s 2012 nomination.

The timing is most likely based on the need for Romney to start looking more like a clear frontrunner than his near loss in Iowa depicted him as and to help ensure that he can hold on to his wide lead over the rest of the field in the New Hampshire primary.

McCain remains relatively popular among New Hampshire Republicans and in 2008, McCain just so happened to beat Romney in New Hampshire.

For Romney, the need to create a sense of inevitability about his becoming the nominee is increasingly important.  Such a  perceived inevitability will help Romney to wrap up the nomination early by limiting the momentum that rivals like Santorum might capture.  However; McCain’s endorsement may be more damaging to Romney than helpful.  While McCain may provide Romney with a boost in the Granite State, how well his endorsement plays elsewhere is very questionable.

One of the knocks on Romney is his establishment Republican image.  That image is only reinforced by the signal that McCain’s endorsement sends, which is that the Republican establishment is lining up behind Romney.

In this anti-establishment atmosphere and age of TEA movement sentiments, the establishment label is hardly something that will help a candidate win favor with the electorate.

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Romney’s “Conservative Agenda” and Plight for Subliminal Acceptance

Bookmark and Share  According to the song and tradition, Christmas consists of twelve festive days that begin on Christmas Day and culminates on the evening of January 5th. It is commonly referred to as Christmastide, the part of the Christian liturgical calendar between Christmas and the Epiphany.  But this year, in the world of politics, the combination of Christmastide and an early caucus and primary calendar will provide one lucky presidential candidate with the delivery of a gift from voters that will arrive two days prior to the traditional celebration of the day the three kings delivered their gifts to the baby Jesus.

In the case of Mitt Romney, he is doing his best to hope that the voters of Iowa present him with the gift of a win in their presidential caucus on Tuesday, January 3rd and his latest attempt to make that come to fruition is a new ad.

It’s called “Conservative Agenda” and it incorporates excerpts of a speech given by Romney, which highlight several preeminent goals of conservatives…………..a smaller, limited government, and balanced budgets.

For Romney, ads like this are all a part of a much needed psychological mission designed to create a subliminal connection to himself and all things conservative, in the minds of the Republican base.

Repetition has a way of leaving unrealized impressions that can play a subtle role in acceptance of a candidate, especially among voters who are undecided.  With money being Romney’s last problem, he can afford the luxury of such a psychological campaign.  And if ads like “Conservative Agenda” are repeated enough between now and January 3rd, Romney could do better than expected in the Iowa Caucus.

As heard here, many Iowa voters are undecided and as the Des Moines Register recently reported the number of still undecided or not yet truly committed to the candidate who is currently their first choice and can easily be persuaded to vote for another candidate is as high as 70%.

This makes any subtle edge that Romney can get, imperative, especially if at the last minute, a great many Iowa Republicans decide that beating Obama is the most important objective in their selection of a presidential nominee.  If that because a major determining factor among still undecided voters, and if Romney can somehow convince evangelical and Republican base voters that he is at least a somewhat acceptable conservative, than many of those within the still undecided voting bloc could break for Romney at the last minute.

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The Real Reason Romney is Stuck in Neutral

Bookmark and Share    Mitt Romney went in to this campaign with everything going for him.  While his two major criticisms, flip-flopping and RomneyCare were hurdles, they weren’t and aren’t insurmountable obstacles.  Especially since he had far more going for him than working against him.  He was the next-in-line which the G.O.P. traditionally nominates for President, he had an extensive fundraising operation, high name recognition, experience in elected politics, the private sector, and in campaigning for President, as well as one of the most well organized and most professional campaign operations of all the candidates.  He already had a base of support and network of political operatives and connections in place since 2008, and most of all, Romney has the talent and ability to be a good President.  He is a genuinely talented manager and problem solver, a man who has proven that he can manage crises, a track record of achieving all the goals he sets out to, and offers a reasonable, conservative vision for the nation.   And while he may not be the most passionate speaker presidential politics has ever seen, he is certainly an articulate and above average speaker.

He also had the lead over all his potential rivals going in to this election.

So why is Mitt Romney now having trouble sealing the deal?

You may think it is because the conservative base distrusts this former blue state governor who has changed his positions on four or five issues.  But that is not it.  Such problems did not prevent Joh n McCain from being nominated in 2008.  You may think it’s because someone better came along and proved they are more conservative, more electable, and have a better managed campaign than Romney.  But that’s not it. Newt Gingrich is running a very under-managed campaign and if you listen to many conservatives, Newt is suddenly not a real conservative.  So it would not explain why he is the new frontrunner.

While those factors are a part of Mitt’s problems, none of them are the real reasons why Romney is now in trouble.  The true source of Romney’s problem stems from his unwillingness to take any chances in this campaign and his inability to offer bold new ideas and reforms.

So far, Mitt Romney’s campaign has done nothing to appeal to the electorate’s desire for reform.  Especially reform of the process and the way that Washington, D.C. does business.

Instead, everything that Mitt Romney has proposed, every program he has outlined, and every statement he has made, seems to have been designed to make himself out to be exactly what a vast majority of the electorate is not looking for……..another establishment politician.

In this highly charged TEA movement environment, the establishment is the first thing people want to get to rid of.  They have come to understand that the establishment will never deliver change.  Yet in every way, shape, and form, Mitt Romney has been selling himself as the establishment candidate.  This is one of the major reasons why Romney has found himself, like Ron Paul, stuck at a ceiling of support which he has not been able to break through.

As someone who supported and worked for Mitt Romney in 2008, I looked for every reason I could find for supporting him again in 2012.  I like to be consistent and I pride myself on having one thing that is very rare in politics…………….loyalty.  However, in the end, while I found many good reasons to support Romney and many reasons to believe in him, I found that my loyalty to the strength of our nation and the preservation of our American values through the political process, was stronger than my loyalty to any one politician.  And I am of the opinion that what this nation needs is not only someone with a conservative vision that is based on the conservatives principles that are at the heart of the G.O.P. and our nation’s founding, but someone who is bold enough to stand up to the status quo and say that if democracy is going to continue to preserve freedom in the 21st century, we need to modernize our democratic processes and practices.  Practices and processes that preserve freedom by adopting ways to allow our economy to grow at a decent rate.  practices and processes that will allow America to compete int the burgeoning Asian markets and improve the quality of education in our nation so that future generations can compete in the the future world economy.  I know that if we intend to preserve our founding principles, we need a leader who will stand up to the political class and remind them that it is the people who tell them what to do, not the other way around.

Such bold new leadership has not yet been offered by Mitt Romney.  Instead his campaign shows nothing other than the very same establishment qualities that people are tired of.  At the same time, Newt Gingrich, despite once being the ultimate political insider, is showing his willingness to oppose the establishment.  Newt Gingrich has bold news ideas.  He has a record of reforming not just government, but the rules governing the politicians.  When Newt became Speaker of the House, part of his Contract With America forced members of Congress to live by the same rules they make for others.  And a long the way, he made enemies in Congress.  But that is not necessarily a bad thing.  With approval ratings at around 9%, many voters might view those who members of Congress of consider to be their enemies, in a very positive light.  The more the establishment dislikes Newt, the more the anti-establishment electorate likes them.

Yet while Newt is being criticized by many of his fellow colleagues from within the political establishment, Mitt Romney is getting more and more endorsement from the establishment. While certain names like South Dakota Senator John  Thune may help Romney in certain states like Iowa,  on a national scale, the long list of Members of Congress endorsing Mitt is merely confirming that Romney is the establishment candidate.  And for now, that hurts Romney, more than it helps him.

For me, the tipping point which led me away from Mitt Romney and towards Newt Gingrich, was the day when Romney released his 59 point economic recovery plan.

The plan is a solid pro-growth, conservative proposal that would create jobs, free up the free market, and help us get the American economy back on track.  But the Romney plan did little more than tinker with traditional conservative economic ideas and tweak some regulations .  This for me was not enough.  We need a leader who is willing to do more than tinker and tweak things like our arcane tax code.  And we need leaders who are not going to put forth a typical bureaucratic program of 59 bureaucratic measures that are designed to do one thing………stregnthen our economy.   But Mitt did not show himself to be such a leader.  So I looked elsewhere and like many others, I liked what I saw when I looked at Newt.

Had Mitt Romney indicated the slightest anti-establishment sentiment, I may have stuck with him. But he hasn’t.  Which is why, when Herman Cain dropped out of the race, Newt Gingrich, not Mitt Romney picked up his supporters.   It is why the TEA movement has not rallied behind Romney, and it is why Mitt Romney is in trouble.

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An Interview with Mitt Romney

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In an ongoing series by the Nashua Telegraph, Mitt Romney addresses the major issues of the day as he faces some tough questions in an indepth editorial board interview.

From ObamaCare and RomneyCare to Iran and Afghanistan, Mitt Romney aggressively defends his record, attacks President Obama’s, and articulates his conservative vision for the nation.

This interview provides a much more comprhensive look at where Mitt Romney stands on the issues, than have the many debates which essentially are designed more souindbites than detailed discussion.  It is a an interview well worth watching.

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Is Romney Signaling that He Will Tap Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for Vice President?

 Bookmark and Share   Praise for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell by Mitt Romney during a Wednesday campaign stop in Virginia, has many speculating that if nominated President, he will tap McDonnell as his Vice presidential running mate.

Speaking at Virginia’s  Fairfax County Republican headquarters, Romney called McDonnell one of the “great leaders of the Republican Party.” He added, “He’s a terrific governor doing a great job here in Virginia.” and stated “I say nice things about Governor McDonnell every time I have a chance”.

The remarks do not necessarily indicate that Romney is ready to pick McDonnell if he wins the G.O.P. presidential nomination.  What it does mean is that Romney is smart enough to appeal to Virginians by agreeing with them.  Governor McDonnell receives extraordinarily high approval from Virginia voters and to do anything other align himself with McDonnell would quite frankly, be a sign of severe brain damage.

Governor McDonnell is doing a fine job in Virginia and a look at his near perfect conservative record would make one believe that he might be a better Republican presidential candidate than those now running.  However, even though Barack Obama won Virginia in 2008, that is unlikely to be repeated.  Virginia is normally a reliably Republican state when it comes to presidential politics, and is likely to be that way in 2012 regardless of who the G.O.P. nominee is.   So for electoral purposes, McDonnell is not going to be needed to deliver Virginia’s electoral college vote to the Republican presidential ticket.

For the purpose of having an edge in the electoral college, Republicans may want to look at more truly competitive swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada or even, to a lesser extent, Florida, where the obvious choice is Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

No matter what though, Governor McDonnell will be and deserves to be on everyone’s short list.  Which is why there should not be too much read into Romney’s remarks in Virginia about their popular Governor.  The only remarks about McDonnell that should raise eyebrows would be negative ones.  Had Romney stood in the headquarters of one of Virginia’s county Republican headquarters and said of their popular Governor something like “Bob McDonnell is okay, but I can take him or leave him”, that would deserve attention.

Meanwhile, I remain reluctant to discuss vice presidential contenders until we know for sure who the Republican presidential nominee will be.  However I will say that my initial instincts tell me that if Romney is the nominee, Bob McDonnell is not his most likely choice.  As I previously pointed out, Virginia should easily go Republican in the presidential election no matter who the G.O.P. nominee is.  Add to that the imagery of Romney and McDonnell together and what you have is a ticket that looks almost too perfect.  Kind of like the cake topper of gay wedding cake.

Personally I believe that when it comes to Romney, he is going to have to go with a conservative but unconventional running mate.

So far Romney is tied too closely to the establishment and his reluctance to be bold in his policy choices leaves the selection of a running mate to be one of the few opportunities to step out of the establishment mold.  All things considered, I can see Romney picking someone like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley or even more likely than her, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.  Like Marco Rubio, she is conservative, strongly appreciated in the TEA movement, from an important swing state and offers the opportunity to make inroads into the increasingly important and influential Hispanic vote.

Another bold choice could be Herman Cain.  His strong TEA movement appeal and anti-career politician profile will make him attractive on an ticket, and helps Romney shore up his conservative credentials.

Then there is a real wildcard choice for Romney……… former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee may have very well cost Romney the nomination in 2008 and there is undoubtedly still some bad blood between the two men.  But they have seemingly warmed up to one another since 2008.  Huckabee even had Mitt Romney on his weekly Fox News program.

Picking Huckabee could be a way for Romney to inject new blood and new life in to what will be a news weary electorate by the time the Republican National Convention is held in late August of next year.  Adding Huckabee to the ticket will also appeal to the evangelicals that Romney really needs to appeal to and overcome their prejudices toward his Mormon faith.  As an ordained Southern Baptist minister, Huckabee could go a long way in helping Romney among the evangelical flocks that will be important to a Republican victory.  Mike Huckabee does have some luggage of his own, but when it comes to Mitt, Huckabee would be more compensation than burden.

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Is it Coming Down To Romney, Cain, South Carolina, and Florida?

 Bookmark and Share    While there is a great deal of focus on the view that the bickering during the recent CNN  G.O.P. debate in Nevada hurt Republicans and helped President Obama,the truth of the matter is that the bickering of today, is the meaningless and forgotten history of tomorrow.  Just ask George. H. W. Bush who called Ronald Reagan’s economic policy, voodoo economics and then went on to serve two terms as Reagan’s Vice President.

The only truly relevant factors concerning the success or failure of any of the Republican presidential candidates at this point concern three key elements………, their organization and its effectiveness, their fundraising capabilities, and their individual standings within the first four nominating contests, especially the last two of those four…..South Carolina and Florida.

While national trends have a role, it is important to remember that nominees are chosen through individual state contests and at different times.  So while the entire nation participates in the process, it is far from being accurately described as a national election.

For those reasons, I am less concerned with what Rick Perry said about an illegal immigrant cutting Mitt Romney’s lawn, in an attempt to defend his own pitiful position on  illegal immigration.  More important than any of that is the current snapshot taken by two new NBC News-Marist polls.

To get a real sense of how things are going, one needs to remain focussed on what really matters.  And with just a few months to go before voting in the Republican nomination contests begins, that focus needs to be less on any overall national impression of the current field and more on where the individual candidates stand in individual states. Although polls are merely a snapshot of a fleeting moment, the cumulative effect of each of these moments offer an indication of the way things are going and at the moment newly energized Herman Cain narrowly leads Mitt Romney in South Carolina’s Republican primary, and is running neck and neck with Romney in Florida.

Click Here for Complete October 19, 2011 South Carolina NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete October 19, 2011 South Carolina NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

More so than Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida will have a profound effect on establishing the future trajectories of all the candidate.  The only real way for Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two contests, to have as much as an impact as Florida and South carolina is if Mitt Romney can win both of those states, or if someone is able to defeat Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.  If Romney wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, he will establish an almost unstoppable momentum that will lift his chances for victory in all the state contests that immediately follow them.  If someone like Jon Huntsman or Herman Cain pulls off an stunning upset victory over Romney in New Hampshire, they will be in the catbird seat as they go in to the Palmetto and Sunshine state contests.

No matter what though, South Carolina and Florida will really set the tone for all the following contests, especially in the delegate rich South which Mitt Romney faces his stiffest competition in as he vies for votes among the region’s uber-conservative, evangelical base, and must also contend with evangelical Christian bigotry towards Romney’s Mormon faith.

The fact that Romney is still maintaining a strong position in both Florida and South Carolina is a testament to both the effectiveness of his campaign organization and the viability of his candidacy.  But this does not insure a Romney win  in either state.  Herman Cain’s current ability to tie and even surpass Romney in early polls in South Carolina and Florida, is a sign that Romney is still quite vulnerable.  Herman Cain does not have a campaign that is organized in a way that is comparable to Romney’s.   Yet despite that lack of organization, Cain  is holding his own.  If Herman Cain hopes to insure his own victory in South Carolina and Florida, he must build an organization that can establish a strong ground game.  Mitt Romney will have a top notch ground game in both of those states.  If Herman Cain’s operation is inferior to Romney’s, the results in Florida and South Carolina could be close, but the winner will ultimately be Mitt Romney.

But if Romney finds himself facing off against a well organized competitor who within striking distance, Romney can definitely go down.

This made quite evident in the current NBC-Marist Poll which shows that in South Carolina, Cain has the support of 30% of likely GOP primary voters, to  Romney’s gets 26%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 9%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 6% and Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul at 5%, with 15% of likely primary voters remaining undecided.  According to a broader pool of Republicans in South Carolina, Cain is at 28 % and Romney is at 27%.

In Florida, Cain is at 32% among likely voters, Romney at 31%, Perry at 8%and Paul and Gingrich are at 6%, and  11% say they are undecided.

South Carolina and Florida have both played pivotal roles in past Republican presidential nominating contests.   Since 1980, the winner of South Carolina’s GOP primary has gone on to win the party’s nomination, and in 2008, John  McCain’s win of Florida’s primary  essentially handed the nomination to him.  Both states are likely to play the same role in 2012.

What is particularly troubling for Romney within those numbers is a breakdown which shows that while Romney may be toward the top of the field with Herman Cain, the enthusiasm for Romney is much lower than it is for Cain. In South Carolina, 45% of Cain’s supporters in South Carolina strongly back him, while only 37% of Romney’s supporters describe themselves as strongly committed to Romney. In Florida, 52% of Cain’s supporters strongly back him, compared to 41% who strongly back Romney.

That means that the Republican electorate is quite unsettled and if there is still time for a third candidate to rise to the top.  I believe that that candidate could be Newt Gingrich.

If Gingrich holds his powder in Iowa and New Hampshire, a split decision  in those two states could allow Newt to make his move and startle everyone with either a win in South Carolina and Florida, or at least a stronger than expected showing.  That is unlikely but it is quite possible.  However, much like Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich does not have a campaign that is organized enough compete with Mitt Romney’s.  Unless and until someone can match Mitt Romney’s ground games in several early states, Romney is headed towards the Republican National Convention in Orlando, Florida as the inevitable Republican presidential nominee.

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“You’ve Got Mail”. Chris Christie Fundraising Email For Romney Hits

Bookmark and Share    Hours after winning one of the more coveted endorsements that a Republican candidate for President can get, the campaign of Mitt Romney has fired oof persoanalized emails to an extensive list of supporters and potential supporters [see the email below this post].

The email makes a direct appeal for voters to support the Romney campaign with a financial donation. 

In his message, Chrsitie focusses on the economy and credits Mitt Romney as the presidential candiate who can fundamentally change the economy and reverse the past three years of the Obama policies that have failed us.

Support Mitt Romney

Anthony,

This is the most important election in generations. Whether we are able to fix our economy and
get our country on the right track will have ramifications for decades. We cannot afford to continue on our current path.

Mitt Romney has a life history of coming into struggling organizations and turning them around. Right
now, we need someone like him in the White House to fundamentally change our economy and reverse three years of failed policies. Unlike our current President, Mitt Romney understands the economy from the inside out.

Chris Christie stands with Mitt

Fixing the economy will not be easy, but Mitt has shown throughout his life that he has the leadership ability and expertise to lead our country toward a recovery.  Republicans should recognize the importance of this election and realize that if they are serious about regaining the White House, Mitt Romney is the only candidate to back.

I hope you’ll join me and stand with Mitt today http://mittromney.com/donate

Best,
Chris Christie

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View Chris Christie Announcing His Endorsement of Mitt Romney for President

Bookmark and Share   In advance of tonight’s Washington Post-Bloomberg TV Republican presidential debate on economic issues, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie traveled to New Hampshire to appear with Governor Romney and announce that he was endorsing Romney for President. [See video and transcript below]

“I’m here in New Hampshire today for one simple reason: America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney is the man we need to lead American, and we need him now. So that’s why I’m here.

If you look at Governor Romney’s experience — his experience in the private sector, running businesses, turning them around, going in there and telling the people the truth about what needed to be done, and then coming up with a plan to get it done, and you look at his experience as an elected official, we know that he brings the best of both to what we need for America right now.

He brings that great, private sector experience and he brings the experience of governor of Massachusetts, knowing how government works. Not a legislator, trying to figure out how to use executive power, but an executive who’s used executive power and will use it to make Americans’ lives better.

That’s why I’m endorsing Mitt Romney for president of the United States.”

Click here for an analysis of what was behind Christie’s endorsement and what it will mean in the presidential election.

Meanwhile, less than hour after the endorsement was passed on to the public, Romney’s campaign organization did not miss beat as they promptly posted the following page on the Romney for President website;

Click on the image to see a larger version of it

It is a whopping request to join Chris Christie in supporting Mitt by making a donation to his campaign.  Clearly, as was indicated by WH12 in a previous post, Christie’s endorsement does more than just help firm up Romney’s frontrunner status, it is worth a ton of money too.

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Martinez, Gregg, and Grimm Endorsements Giving Romney an Edge

  Bookmark and Share  Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney received two high profile endorsements today.  One each in the two key early primary states of New Hampshire and Florida.  He also received a third endorsement from a less visible but equally as important freshman Congressman.

In New Hampshire, Judd Gregg, a popular former Governor and three term Senator from the Granite State announced his support
of Romney, and in Florida, former Senator and RNC Chairman Mel Martinez did the same.

Also today, Romney picked up the endorsement of freshman Congressman Michael Grimm.

His endorsement may not attract as much news as Gregg’s and Martinez’s public support but as a former Republican operative in Grimm’s congressional districts which spans Staten Island and Brooklyn, I can tell you, that Grimm’s support is just as important.

Grimm took back the seat formerly held by disgraced Republican Congressman Vito Fossella.   In 2008, the seat went to a Democrat, but in 2010, Michael Grimm won it back for the G.O.P.   The district encompasses the most heavily Republican section of New York City ……all of Staten Island, and the Southwest portion of Brooklyn, which send one of the City’s only Republicans to the New York State Senate.   Beyond that, the political machine that Grimm represents and is controlled by former Congressman Guy Molinari, is an extremely heavy handed, Republican regime with a great deal of influence in the New York G.O.P.  This means that freshman Congressman Mike Grimm’s endorsement of Romney is an early signal of widespread organizational support.  In other words, Romney is locking New York up for himself.

This will help to dissuade others from forcing Romney to spend money on the New York presidential primary, a contest that because of its placement amid very expensive media markets, could be quite expensive.

New York could be important in the nomination process.  It offers 95 delegates, one of the largest in the nation. That’s only four less than Florida,
and because the Sunshine State has violated RNC rules by setting an earlier than allowed date for their primary, they could see their delegate count cut in half.

Unfortunately for Romney though, the New York presidential primary is not held until April 24th.  However; if the early primary contests do not
produce a clear frontrunner thereby allowing us to have a presumptive nominee, New York could be decisive.  In fact mark April 24th on your calendars.  On that day, New York will not be alone in holding its presidential primary.  For the first time, we the 2012 nomination contest will be experiencing a sort of Northeast version of the South’s Super Tuesday.  Call it a Northeast Mega Primary.  On that day 231 delegates will be up for grabs form among  5 Northeastern states:

  • Connecticut – 28 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • Delaware – 17 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • New York – 95 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • Pennsylvania– 72 – PrimaryLoophole Primary – Closed
  • Rhode Island – 19 – Primary/Proportional – Modified

If one of the candidates has not practically wrapped up the nomination by then, Romney could be the one to do it on that day. All 5 of those
states are largely fertile for a Romney.

So while Congressman Grimm’s endorsement may not grab the headlines that Gregg’s and Martinez’s endorsements will, it is as , or even more important.  In the case of Judd Gregg, while he is popular in New Hampshire, his electoral influence is debatable.  In 2000, Judd Gregg, then a sitting U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, endorsed Texas Governor George W. Bush for President and Senator John McCain wound up winning that primary.

Mel Martinez is a different story though.  While how much sway he still has among Florida’s voters is iffy, he does have the potential to influence important parts of the electorate there.  Particularly the higher than average  Cuban-American population. This can only help Romney in a state         where he will need all the help he can to fend off Herman Cain and Rick Perry.

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