Romney’s Reality. Make His Move Now or Risk Waiting Till It’s Too Late?

Romney has to keep some players off the field

Bookmark and Share   As indicated by a recent Rasmussen Reports National Republican Primary survey of 1,000 likely primary voters, since making his expected presidential candidacy official last month, Mitt Romney is solidifying his perceived hold on frontrunner status. The poll gives him a 14% lead over the rival who since Monday’s debate, is now his closest rival, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann. The actual results of the poll are as follows; Romney – 33%, Bachmann – 19%, Cain –10%, Gingrich – 9%, Paul – 7%, Pawlenty – 6%, Santorum – 6%, Huntsman – 2%

This is good news for Romney, but at this early stage in the game, voter’s are quite fickle. They have yet to really focus on a decision that some won’t have to make for another 9 months and most won’t have to make for almost a year from now. So many of these people are going with Romney because he is a name that remains well known ever since he first ran for President in 2008. But among activist Republican voters, their familiarity with Romney does not make him a clear frontrunner. The biggest reason for that is his creation of the Massachusetts healthcare plan that President Obama claims was the model for his unpopular national Obamacare plan. This crack in Romney’s shell is the major reason behind why many Republicans are hoping that a knight in shining armor steps into the race and saves the day, or rather the election.

For some that savior is Sarah Palin. For others it’s Rick Perry, Chris Christie, or Rudy Giuliani.

While another Giuliani presidential candidacy ultimately won’t have much impact, the other three names would. Christie, Palin, and Perry have a style, reputation and record that it takes to be popular with the anti-government sentiments of the TEA Party age. Giuliani really doesn’t. Additionally, if he had what it takes, he would be well positioned for the nomination as either the incumbent Governor of New York or United States Senator representing the state..

Ever Since 2000, when Hillary Clinton ran to replace Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Rudy was the premier New York Republican and the first and only name New York Republicans had a chance to win with. Yet since 2000, Rudy was not up to running and as a result, Republicans lost two gubernatorial elections, and twice as many chances to win a U.S. Senate seat. If Rudy was not up to beating names like Elliot Spitzer, Chuck Schumer and the virtually unknown Kirsten Gillibrand in statewide races, he is certainly not up to beating names like Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama on a national level.

However the prospects of a Christie, Palin, or Perry candidacy could go far. And more importantly, they could go a long way in preventing Romney from getting the Republican presidential nomination.

This forces Mitt Romney to confront that reality and requires his campaign to make a critical strategic decision.

Romney already has his hands full with the competition he is getting from the current field of declared candidates. While the candidates were quite civil with one another and focused on what they agree on during the most recent debate, soon they will be focusing on their differences. And the most glaring difference between Romney and the rest of the field is that none of them have created a government-centric healthcare plan that President Obama adopted. No matter how much Mitt tries to frame the issue as a states rights issue that he handled appropriately as a Governor but would never think of handling the same way as a President, for many he will continue to have big-government blood on his hands. Still, among the seven major candidates that he will definitely be running against, Romney has a fighting chance. But if Rick Perry were to join the field, Romney’s fighting chance quickly becomes a major uphill battle.

For that reason, it behooves Romney to solidify his frontrunner status now.

If Romney was able to take what is currently at best, a tenuous hold on the top spot and turn it into a solid hold on the top spot, than Rick Perry and others who have been showing a real or perceived reluctance to run, will be less likely to do so.

Up to now, Romney has been attempting to lay relatively low and avoid the type of national overexposure that could cause people to get tired of him and peak too early in the long nomination process. Right now Romney is content with tirelessly meeting with and talking to relatively small organized, individual groups of influential Republicans and Republican activists and trying to win them over. Such a strategy is a necessity for any candidate. But it will not make Romney seem unbeatable quickly enough to prevent stiff competition from announcing their candidacy and sucking the gas out of Romney tank.

So Mitt needs to decide whether he wants to run a slow and steady campaign that builds momentum gradually or if he is willing to make some moves that risk early overexposure but discourage others who have a good chance at beating Romney from becoming candidates. One of those moves that Mitt might want to think about is renouncing the “Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care” that he enacted in 2006 as Governor. If Romney could come forward and describe Romneycare as a proper attempt by a state to experiment with a solution to a tough problem, and then admit that the experiment failed, he could begin to convince apprehensive, limited government voters that he gets it.

Romney has come close to this. In speech after speech, he has articulated that his state healthcare plan was not perfect and that there are things he would now do differently. But coming close to admitting that Romneycare was a failure is not good enough. What he needs to do is admit that his Massachusetts healthcare plan did not do the job he had hoped it would and then go as far as to say that it once and for all proved to him that government is not the answer.

If Romney were to go this route, he would have the breathing room to explain that he lived up to his responsibilities as a Governor and allowed his state to with its own solution to its own problems. He would then be able to get milegage by explaining that the difference between him and President Obama is that unlike the President, he understands the difference between the role that a Governor plays in their own state and that a President should play in the governance of a state. The key is convincingly making the point that his healthcare experiment as a Governor, will make him a President who is more convinced than ever that government is not the answer.

This argument would fly among limited government and TEA movement voters. Not only would it be plausible, it would begin to unwrap the healthcare albatross from his neck.

But that alone will not be enough to prevent Governors who did not make the same mistake in their states that Romney did in his, from entering the race and challenging Romney. To accomplish this, Romney needs to make an investment in a national  blitz that exploit’s the economic malaise that President Obama is entrenching us in and highlight Romney’s understanding of the economy as well as the private sector and the successes he has had in the private sector. Romney needs to quickly acquire a stronger national image as a master of free market based growth, who knows how to create jobs, and as was the case in the 2002 Winter Olympics, turn things such as our economy, around. This impression must become undeniably obvious and to do so, Romney can not just create this impression in New Hampshire and Iowa. To prevent someone like from Rick Perry from challenging him, they need to see that states which hold primaries and caucuses later in the contest, also have an undeniable positive image of Romney. Romney may even want to think about taking advantage of some sketchy polls that show that Perry is currently behind others Republican presidential hopefuls among Texas  Republican primary voters.

Romney’s private sector background and managerial talent is his strong suit and if he can act quickly to exploit the continuous reports of an economy that is actually getting worse, he can turn that strong suit into the type of armor that will discourage others from challenging him. That will then leave Romney to compete among an existing field of candidates who will have a hard time replacing Romney as the frontrunner.

This strategy is unorthodox. Traditional campaigns for a presidential nomination force candidates to focus on the individual state contests that can keep them in the game till the next state primary or caucus. Usually the strategy is to win enough early state primaries and caucuses to force opponents to drop out of the race and leave the nomination to them. But for Mitt Romney, as it is now, he will have a tough time winning Iowa, the first contest, and South Carolina, the third contest. And if he does not do well in Florida which holds its primary shortly after, then Romney may be in trouble. This scenario makes it enticing for someone like Rick Perry to become a candidate. Unlike Romney, Perry could easily win Iowa and South Carolina. In fact, if Perry were to run, he is the one candidate with the greatest chance to win enough early contests to force others, inluding Romney,  out of the race.

For that reason, Romney may want to make his move now rather than later. Because if Rick Perry runs, later may be too late for Mitt Romney.

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Bookmark and Share Were it not for the existence of his Massachusetts Healthcare plan that was seen as a precursor to Obamacare, Mitt Romney would not only be the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, he would be a candidate with all the enthusiasm and buzz around him. However, the fact that Romney adopted for his state, a healthcare plan that is anathema to conservatives, prohibits Romney from having a clear path to the Republican presidential nomination. But is this fair and can it really seal Romneys fate? Not only can it seal his fate, it could seal the G.O.P.s fate in the 2012 general election.

In the battle for the Republican nomination, opponents of Mitt Romney will use Romneycare against the former Massachusetts Governor like a lethal weapon. They will use it to undermine Romneys credibility on every level. They will use it to raise doubts about his commitment to everything from free markets and small government, to conservative values and his political integrity. Those challenging Romney will pile his creation of a government-centric solution to healthcare in Massachusetts on to his flip-flops and depending on how well they define Romney, most of his campaign will be spent having to defend ground instead of gaining ground.

And this will not come from just any one opponent. It will come from all of them. It may even be used by former Governor and Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, a moderate, as means to make himsel a bit more appealing to conservatives by claiming that he does not believe in big government solutions.

For his part, Romney has tried to preempt the attacks. Even though he has yet to make his candidacy official, Romney has offered up several major speeches to defend the albatross of Romneycare that hangs around his neck and he has used just about every other speaking engagement to raise the issue and defend his position. But these attempts to remove the issue from his opponents weapons cache have failed. Debilitating doubts about Romneys ideological purity continue to build. This weak point in Romneys armor makes him vulnerable to other attempts to assassinate his character. They make it easier topaint Romney as being politically disingenuous and lacking any sincerity.

As was pointed out in the campaign against him in 2008, Mitt has had a change of heart ona number of issuessuch asabortion. Romney once defended Rowe vs. Wade until he became a right-to-life opponent of it. But the list of things he can be accused of changing his mind on seem to grow and grow. On gun rights Romney went from supporting a ban on assault weapons to opposing any bans on the right to bear arms. On campaign financing he once said I would like to have campaign spending limits only to latergo on record saying “The American people should be free to advocate for their candidates and their positions without burdensome limitations.

On their own, some of these positions and statements may not be damning eneough to dash Romney’s presidential hopes, but when combined, they can be used to convincingly paint Mitt Romney as an insincere politician with no commitment to his beliefs. With the backdrop of Romneycare, such attacks have not only a good chance of sticking, they have a good chance of derailing Romneys candidacy.

But what if in between good strategy and a well financed campaign, Romney were to somehow still finagle enough delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination?

I still believe that Presidetn Obama’s liberal-socialist agendahas proven himself to be too ideological extreme and that the single issue of the economy will still make it possible for Mitt Romney to defeat the President. Buteven I, a 2008 supporter of Romney, believe thatthe former Massachuisetts governorhas painted himself so tightly in a corner that despite how vulnerable President Obama is and will be, the Presidents campaignhas a good chance to make mincemeat out of Romney.

Thanks to the window of opportunity to exploit doubt about Romneys ideological purity that was created by Romneycare, Governor Romneys record of both words and deeds is so vulnerable to attack and distortion, that even President Obama can shape a campaign that makes himself look like a man of undisputable principle and character when compared to Romney. Such an impression of Romney is most definetly innaccurate but well orchestrated campaigns can make false impressions seem like facts. Still though, Mitt Romneys vulnerabilities in this area are so exposed, that the Obama campaign has a good opportunity to distract the foucs away from the issues , which happen to be where the campaign could really be won or lost. Instead, with Romney as the Republican nominee, the Obama reelection campaign will have a clear path to creating a campaign that can distract us from his losing suit.the issues, and force us to focus on Romneys character and a perceived lack of trust that we can have in him and his word.

These are basic concepts that, as indicated by the video below, Democrats have already thought of.

Such videos come from one of the major arteries of a good campaign.opposition research. And whether we realize it or not, Democrats have been doing plenty of opposition research for President Obamas reelection campaign ever since he was sworn in to office as President. Unfortunately for Mitt, since his own performance in the 2008 nomination contest, the once , likely chance of his being the 2012 nominee, forced Democrat and Obama operatives to do more opposition research on Romney, than anyone else. That means they probably have more ammunition to use against him than they do on anyone else.

Still, Mitt Romney is determined to win the Republican presidential nomination and the presidency. Unfortunately, that determination is likely to make the Republican presidential contest an extraordinarily negative one. If Romney is to survive past any of the early primaries and caucuses, he will find himself in a position of having to equal the playing field that his opponents are on. So in addition to playing his defensive game, in order for him to gain any yards of his own, he will also have to play a strong offense. That means he will be forced to throw as much dirt as he can against those who would get ahead by the doing the same to him. In the end, such a process will not be helpful for Republicans. It will ultimately weaken the final ticket and undermine the potency of the issues we could use against the President in the general election.

Even thoughthis is all quite possible, there still remains the possibility for Romney to win both the nomination and the White House. As a result of who doesnt run for the Republican presidential nomination, if he can defend himselff romthe attacks against him in a straightforward, dignified, and believable way, Romney could win the nomination by default. Once that happens, his own opposition research may discover ways to severely undermine the character and trust of President Obama as much as the President wil undermine Romneys. Such an equalization of the playing field in the general election would make theelection a choice between the lesser of two evils. Combine that witha convincingly conservative appraoch to the economyand a path to prosperity that is more realistic than President Obamas, may be enough to win. But even that path to victory for Romney is going to be quite difficult to achieve. The sting of Mitt’s Romneycare creation in an election where Obamacare is both an actual and ideologically symbolic centerpiece,can be strong enough to insprirea conservative oriented, Tea Party-like candidateto mount a Thid Party candidacy. That will only benefit President Obama.Bookmark and Share

Romney Hanging Metaphor Gave the Media the Rope to Hang Themselves With

Bookmark and Share At a Friday night Americans for Prosperity event in New Hampshire, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in an attempt to lay blame where blame is due, spoke of hanging the old 1980 misery index around the neck of President Obama in regards to the miserable economy of the past few years. As seen in the video below, he said:

You remember during the Ronald Reagan/Jimmy Carter debates? That Ronald Reagan came up with this great thing about the misery index, and that he hung that around Jimmy Carters neck, and that had a lot to do with Jimmy Carter losing. Well, were going to have to hang the Obama Misery Index around his neck

The Governor went on to say;

And, Ill tell you, the fact that youve got people in this country, really squeezed, with gasoline getting so expensive, with commodities getting so expensive, families are having a hard time making ends meet. So, were going to have to talk about that, and housing foreclosures and bankruptcies and higher taxation.

Then he added; Were going to hang him uh, so to speak, metaphorically with, uh, with, uh you have to be careful these days, Ive learned that, with an Obama Misery Index.”

Since those remarks, the unbiased mainstream media has tried to incite racial tensions as a means to denigrate the tentative frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. With headlines like Mitt Romney Suggests its Time to Hang President Obama and Romneys Comment on Hanging Obama Sparks Controversy,the lamestreammedia has begun to act like bloggers seeking to make a name for themselves by pushing the limits of truth and twisting facts. And the media’s actionswarrant the need to make the point that the only reasonRomney’s remarks became controversial, was because the media intentionally interpreted them to be controversial. The episode raises the question of who is really at guilt here and what are they guilty of?

Is Mitt Romney guilty of suggesting that Americans should hang the President? Is he guilty of suggesting that Caucasians should resort to the horrors of racist lynch mobs that would hang African-Americans from tree limbs? Of course not. The statement was metaphorical, not literal. For his part, it is true that Mitt Romney made a mistake here. But his mistake was not that he made some sort of Freudian slip that revealed some deep-rootedracial sentiments. His mistake was that he gave the lamestream media the opportunity to create that perception? After the words came out, the Governor did realize that they would be taken out of context by the left and he clarified the context in which he used the metaphor.

But that did not prevent a hit man-like media from running with headlines intended to fan the flames of racism in order to put the heat on Mitt Romney and insinuate that he is a bigot. The truth is that if the African-American half of our Presidents racial makeup was an issue or something Mitt Romney had a problem with, he would have been more careful so as to not drop any hints of prejudice. But the fact is, Mitt Romney is not seeing color when it comes to the President. What he is seeing are the problems being exacerbated by our President. And it is those problems which Romney was addressing, not President Obamas color.

It’s clear that Mitt Romney is not the one guilty of anything here. Any existing guilt in this situation must be placed on the media. They are the ones who instead of reporting the news, tried to create the news. They are the ones who intentionally tried to interpret Romney’s words to be racially divisive.

One online news source, The Examiner, writes;

The use of imagery which involves a “misery index” noose being put around President Obama’s neck seems insensitive to say the least, and will surely be called downright offensive by some.

To deny that there is any truth in that statement would be a lie, but at the same time, pushing headlines that try to visualize the hanging metaphor for readers along racial lines is disingenuous. In fact, it is more than that. It is dangerously irresponsible. And at the same time, there is a severe pot calling the kettle black (pun intended.hang me) syndrome going on here. Lest we forget President Obamas hang-ups with race. Did he not describe White Democrats in rural Pennsylvania as follows;

“It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Or how about his direct reference to typical white people when talking about his Caucasion grandmother and said:

She is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, you know, there’s a reaction that’s been bred in our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society.”

And how can we ever forget the great Beer Summit which was a necessary meeting to relieve racial tensions after President Obama stated “The Cambridge police acted stupidly.”, before he knew the circumstances that surrounded the arrest of a black professor.

Then there was President Obamas attempt at humor when he tried to describe his poor bowling game to that of the abilities of handicapped youth in the Special Olympics.

The point is both sides can and do play this game of gotchya. And there will always be occasions when people phrase things less than perfectly, especially people who spend10 to 14 hours a day, constantly in the spotlight, while discussing issues, giving speeches, and answering questions. This does not mean that people should not take responsibility for their words. They must. But it is not the job of the media to twist words. If anything, as a supposed non-partisan entity, they have a responsibility to clarify the meaning of the words spoken by those that they cover, no muddle them.

As for this latest brouhaha, despite some who are trying to hang Mitt Romney with his metaphorical mishap, his campaign will survive. This is not the end to his race for the White House that some sources have tried to suggest. But it is another nail in the coffin of trust that the public has for todays biased news media.

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Romney Salutes the Tea Party. Maybe He Does Know He Needs Them

Bookmark and Share In the following guest column for the Orlando Sentinel, Mitt Romney marks Tax Day by tipping his hat to the TEA Party movement for creating the first true popular, post-WWII movement to cut taxes and limit the size of government.

Up to now, Romney has bewildered many with what seemed to be his keeping the TEA Partyat arm’s length. In a post entitled “Romney’s TEA Problem“, Icriticized him for such bad judgement. But it would seem that he is at least ready to acknowledgethem and credit them for their mission and cause. It’s about time. Now Mitt better prove to them that he gets it and that he is on the same page of them. RomneyCarehas made TEA Partiersquite reluctant to embrace him but if he can continue to echo the message he did in the following column , he just might be able to get some TEA Party people solidly behind him.


“There’s some good news and some bad news as we mark the unhappy occasion of the April 18 tax filing deadline. Let’s start with the good news.

For the first time in the post-World War II era, there is a significant popular movement to scale back government and reduce the tax burden that has been stifling our economy. A lot of this is because members of the Tea Party are making their voices heard.

Almost 21/2 centuries after the original Boston Tea Party of 1773, the idea of limited government that inspired our forebears is very much alive. The growth of government is not some inexorable force. In a democracy, we the people decide. Thanks to the Tea Party, there’s real hope that we can rein in our profligate federal government.

But in order to make progress, we have to first rein in President Obama, whose spending binge is driving our national debt to historic highs. When Obama took office in 2009, the national debt was about 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Over the past two years, our national debt has risen to about 70 percent of the GDP and is expected to be 100 percent of the GDP by 2020.

The Obama administration’s $800 billion stimulus package is one-half of the unfolding disaster. The other half is Obamacare, which will cost more than a trillion dollars unless it can be repealed something the next president must make a priority on Day 1 in office.

These staggering new burdens are made worse by the fact that our system of taxation is killing our nation’s once-strong economic engine. The mind-boggling complexity of our tax system is only part of the problem. As of last year, the U.S. tax code had mushroomed into 71,684 pages that no one human being can fully understand. Along with complexity comes a dizzying array of perverse incentives.

For example, we tax companies that make money overseas if they want to bring the money home, but we don’t tax them if they keep it abroad. The result is that as much as a trillion dollars in private capital is parked offshore. With proper incentives, that money would be infused into our economy and invested in new equipment and factories. Repatriating a trillion dollars could create lots of good, permanent, private-sector jobs.

Then there are the disincentives that flow from the high rates themselves, for entrepreneurs, small business owners and other job-creators. American employers bear the highest tax burden in the world, tied with Japan and above even European countries like Italy and France. But instead of making ourselves more competitive by reducing rates across the board, we’ve created myriad loopholes that are confusing to everyone except the lawyers, accountants and lobbyists who make a living off them.

We have also built a paralyzing uncertainty into our system. In December, Congress and President Obama agreed to temporarily extend the Bush tax cuts. But under the terms of the congressional compromise with the White House, high rates will come back into force in two years unless Congress acts again. Every entrepreneur, every small business owner and every employer knows that the clock is ticking. This uncertainty translates directly into caution about investing and taking on additional workers.

A smart tax system would reward investment, savings and entrepreneurship, while providing job-creators with the predictability and stability they need to grow our economy. But our tax system is not smart; it’s quite the opposite. It needs urgent reform that reduces rates and restores a climate of confidence in our economy. With millions of Americans seeking but not finding work, a transformation of our approach to taxes is both an economic and moral imperative.

But reform requires both understanding and leadership. Unfortunately, when it comes to those qualities, we are facing Washington’s biggest deficit of all.”

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Mitt Romney Makes It Unofficially Official

Bookmark and Share Today Mitt Romney announced that he is forming his 2012 Presidential Exploratory Committee. Although Romney has been planning a run ever since he pulled out of his 2008 candidacyfor the Republican presidential nomination he hasmadeit a point to put off making a 2012 run official for as long as possible. Last time around, Romney essentially began his campaign in January of 2007. This time around, Mittis taking advantage of the name ID that he already establishedand trying to back loadhis campaign as much as he can. The thinking is that voters will quickly become weary of many candidates who are in their face for too long.

ButRomney has decided that now is the time to get the ball rolling with the prerequisite exploratory committee that most all contemporary candidates enter in to.The move also allows him to start raising money directly for hispresidential campaignrather than just his Political Action Committee, Free and Strong America PAC.

In his announcement, which the video of can be found below, Romney states “It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness, with a growing economy, good jobs and fiscal discipline in Washington,”.

Romney is currently a very slight front-runnerfor the GOP presidential nomination. In many ways he is perfect. Having only held office by his own volition for four years as Governor of Massachusetts Romney can not be considered an insider, yet his leadership in executive office does give him experience, a quality that many trust. But at the same time, his great experience comes from the private sector where Mitt has been a successful businessman, who has helped launch other succesful businesses such as Staples.

Were it not forRomneyCare, his Massachusetts healthcareplan which many compare to ObamacareRomney would be the undisputedfrontrunner, butMitt’s government-centric healthcareplan makes many find him a little hard to swallow, especiallyin a presidential campaign that is expected to make running against Obamacare, a central theme.

Still, Mitt Romneyisin the front of the pack.White House 2012’s monthly ranking of the Republican presidential contenders has had Mitt ranked number one for thepast three months in a row, and manymainstream political prognosticators place him there as well. So while it will not be easy, Mitt will be a tough candidate to beat and right now he is “the” candidate to beat.

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Romney on Obamcare; Why Didn’t the President Ask Me?

Bookmark and Share This past weekend, Mitt Romney addressed the Republican JewishCoalition in Las Vegas. His speech, which can be linked to and seen below this post, offered up a potential president who is well versed, competent, personable and passionate. Directly out of central casting, the nearly perfect Mitt Romney, blasted President Obama and his Administration for a litany of bass ackwards foreign, domestic, and economic policies.

From the Presidents decision to demand that Honduras reinstall the Marxist President who was kicked out of office for violating the constitution, to his silence when dissident voices in Iran rose up to demand to freedom, and his throwing away of our missile defense systems in Europe to appease the Russians, Mitt Romney called the President out for keeping our allies at arms length and giving the enemies of freedom a free ride He describedObama’s foreign policy as wandering. On the economy, Governor Romney blamed the President for deepening and lengthening the recession” we are in by seeking a domestic policy that created a level of uncertainty that forced investors and entrepreneurs to hold back and wait to see where the dust settled. Unfortunately though the Administrations pursuit of things like Cap-and-Trade, Obamacare, Card Check and a host of other misguided, left leaning, programs did little to build confidence and has stymied economic growth.

One of the most compelling things to reveal themselvesin Romneys address, came during the question and answer period, when he was asked to contrast Obamacare with the healthcare system thathe adopted in Massachusetts when he was Governor. Upon being asked the question, Romney, very tongue-in-cheek, said thank you, thats the first time Ive been asked that question. But after breaking the ice, Romney explained that whether we like it or not, we have socialized medicine. He said that when someone is in a car accident or similarly traumatic event and they are injured, we do not refuse to take them to the hospital and care for them if they dont have insurance. He explained if they don’t have healthcare, we all end up paying for their care. He then went on to say, that in Massachusetts, they found that many people, even those with affordable healthcare plans available to them, refused such plans because they knew that “free” healthcare was available to them.

Romney offered several other contrasts, and admitted that there is much he would change in regards to the Massachusetts healthcare plan, but he insisted that he would never impose a one-size-fits all healthcare policy on all the states and deny them their rights. But the most interesting tidbit turned out to be the strategy that he is using to respond to President Obama on this issue. of healthcare reform.

At late, President Obama has made it pretty clear that he would rather not have to try to run for reelection against Mitt Romney, He would much rather have a Sarah Palin or Haley Barbour as his opponent. And Romney is everything that Obama is not. He has over 25 years of experience in the private sector, governed a state, run an entire Olympics and is as about as squeaky clean a candidate that anyone could find. In addition to that, he is telegenic and an almost perfect candidate. Few other potential opponents can start a camping against the President from a position stronger than Romney.

The Presidents campaign team knows this. That is why he has begun to take aim at Romneys Achilles heal.Romneycare. The Obama Administration’s hope is that they can give Mitt Romney credit forNational helathcareby inventing Romneycare, which the President can claim was a precursor to Obamcare. The President also knows that such credit will help keep Romney from becoming the Republican presidential nominee and result in the nomination of a Republican that the President will have a better chance at beating.

This posturing before the campaign has now forced Mitt Romney to say that he looks forward to a healthcare debate with the President. In fact, he claimed it would be fun. Romney explained;

Of course he [President Obama] does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration for his great plan, Ill say, why didnt you call me? Why didnt you ask what was wrong? Why didnt you ask if this was experiment, what worked and didnt work? And I would have told him what I know.

The response has some merit, but probably not enough to totally satisfy the conservative and TEA movement base which will still hold his government-centric, bureaucracy based, state healthcare program against him and be forever doubtful of Romneys commitment to free enterprise. But in the meantime, even though the primaries have not begun and the national conventions have not yet put forth their presidential candidates both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney are already playing a game of general election strategy. Both men are looking at, and expecting to be running against each other in the general election. And while there are a few if any similarities between the two men, the one thing that they do share in common is the one thing that could blow up in both their faces..Romneycare and Obamacare.

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New Hampshire Straw Poll Puts Candidate Karger in First Place

Bookmark and ShareThis past Thursday evening first time presidential candidate, Fred Karger won the St. Anselm College Republican Straw Poll. College Republican President Brock Weber announced the results to a room full of participants at the famous New Hampshire Institute of Politics after voting ended at 9:00 pm. The straw poll was conducted all week on the campus of this conservative Catholic College located in New Hampshire’s largest city.

Karger was the only presidential candidate or potential presidential candidate to have addressed the gathering but his win was still a surprise and an indication of just how little a lock anyone has on the nomination at this stage in the game. Of course this straw poll is not neccessarily a good indication of the opinion of New Hampshire voters. The pool of voters in this poll were of a specific age group and many students attending the college from other states, are not even eligible to vote in New Hampshire. But a win is a win and in this case it was a pretty significant one for Fred Karger.

The final results were as follows:

  • Fred Karger, 79 Votes
  • Mitt Romney, 74 Votes
  • Donald Trump, 26 Votes
  • Tim Pawlenty, 24 Votes
  • Ron Paul, 24 Votes
  • Rudy Giuliani, 22 Votes
  • Rick Santorum, 20 Votes
  • Sarah Palin, 9 Votes
  • Herman Cain, 8 Votes
  • Gary Johnson, 8 Votes
  • Mike Huckabee, 8 votes
  • Newt Gingrich, 7 Votes
  • Haley Barbour, 3 Votes
  • Mitch Daniels, 2 Votes
  • John Bolton, 1 Vote
  • Rand Paul, 1 Vote
  • Other, 6 Votes

Although all straw polls are little more than beauty contests, a win like this for a virtual unknown can help boost his name ID and increase the viability of Karger’s candidacy as time goes by. It will also help his case when it comes to being included in future Republican presidential debates.

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Florida; The Sunshine State, I mean the Nomination State

Bookmark and Share With ten months to go before Republicans begin holding their binding presidential nomination contests, the field of candidates is still taking shape, the primary and caucus calendar is still being worked out, and a clear choice for the nomination is as far away from the minds of voters as Barack Obama is from reducing the nation’s debt. All the lingering questions that are leaving the G.O.P. blowing in the wind, even as President Obama continues to show weaknesses among voters, are helping to assure us a few things and that is that Sunshine State of tomorrow, is looking more and more and more like the Granite State of yesterday.

Up until 2000, no Republican has ever won the White House without winning the New Hampshire Primary. That year, John McCain, defeated then Governor George Bush. That year, Bush went on to win South Carolina, the state immediately following New Hampshire, and then eventually both the nomination and the Presidency. In 2012, it is likely that New Hampshire will again produce a primary election winner who could easily fail to win the Republican nomination. That person is Mitt Romney.

Romney currently leads most all New Hampshire polls. But that doesn’t say much about Romney’s overall viability as candidate for the G.O.P. nomination. By all rights, Romney should be winning New Hampshire. He was the governor of a neighboring state whos media market dominates it, he has a residence in the state’srecently campaigned among New Hampshire voters little more than three years ago, and has maintained a presence in the state ever since. The fact is that Mitt Romney should be the frontrunner to win, not only the New Hampshire Republican Primary, but the Republican presidential nomination as well. And while for many different reasons he is the frontrunner, his hold on to that tile is tenuous at best.

In a ginned up TEA movement environment that has a pervasive limited government mentality running through the Party like hot water filtering through a tea bag, the “big-government” healthcare plan which Romney created in Massachusetts when he was Governor, is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of Republican voters. It is indeed his biggest weakness, a weakness that causes people to stop and scrutinize Romney’s record even closer. And under that scrutiny, his other flaws begin to take on a new dimension that accentuates his flip-flops on issues like abortion, and a personal wealth so vast that people begin to feel that he is out of touch with the common man.

All of these are themes which a well armed, articulate, opposing campaigning can drive home and use to significantly hurt Mitt Romney, especially outside of the seemingly friendly pro-Romney, environment in New Hampashire.

Which brings us to Florida.

When all the dust settles on the brewing primary and caucus calendar battle, Florida’s nomination contest is more than likely to follow the first four—- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Florida is currently trying to move up the date of their primary to one which would come before these states, but the very real possibility of the RNC penalizing the Sunshine State for such a move by taking away the national convention that is suppose to be held in Tampa, will more than likely resolve the problem. If that is in fact true, while Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, will still be important, especially for Mitt Romney, it is more than likely that these four states will produce mixed results.

Depending of course on who is running, Iowa is likely to choose the most predominantly, high profile social conservative, something which even though Mitt Romney is, the heavily concentrated evangelical vote in Iowa does not believe. Here a Huckabee, Palin, Bachmann-like candidate is more than likely to win, if they run.

Romney is more than likely to win in New Hampshire. He has to if he wants to survive. Romney may also win Nevada, but this is certainly not a foregone conclusion. People like Newt Gingrich and Ambassador and fellow Mormon, Jon Huntsman, will make it harder for Romney to solidify a victory. But even if Mitt did win Nevada, a likely loss for him in the state to follow, South Carolina, will muddle any clear frontrunner status.

That would then leave the G.O.P. field facing Florida.

With 99 delegates to the convention, it will be the biggest number of delegates awarded in any contest up to that point and a win here could provide critical momentum to one of the candidates as they head into a Super Tuesday event that will contests in anywhere from 9 to 11 states spread out in the South, West and Mid-Atlantic. Among these states are California with 172 delegates and New York with 95 delegates.

While these Super Tuesday primaries involve multiple influencing factors such as differing regional and ideological bends, the desire to find a clear frontrunner will allow Florida to provide significant numerical and psychological momentum to the campaign of the candidate who wins its primary. Florida could either solidify frontrunner status for someone like Romney, or provide a candidate like Haley Barbour with a big boost of confidence, especially if Barbour wins South Carolina as he heads into Florida. If she were to run, Florida could make or break the campaign of Sarah Palin and it can do the same for Tim Pawlenty

Florida is the real wildcard here. It will have the ability to confirm a candidates frontrunner status, take it away from them, or produce a new frontrunner right before a large chunk of delegates make up their minds. People like Haley Barbour certainly see the importance of Florida. That is why along with an aggressive, under-the-radar presence in South Carolina, his potential campaign has been aggressively courting and cultivating Florida. In addition to keynoting a state Republican dinner he is calling legislators and key Party leaders, seeking their endorsements and if they don’t, he is dissuading them from giving any money to other candidates until he has made a decision.

In the final analysis, Florida is shaping up to be far more important than New Hampshire use to be and while it is not going to speak definitively for the entire Republican Party, it will have a far bigger voice than most other states.

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Romney Attacks Obamacare and Defends Romney-care in New Hampshire

Bookmark and Share Obamacare is bad law, bad policy, and it is bad for Americas families.

Those were the words spoken by former Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney at the Carroll County Republican Committees annual Lincoln Day dinner in New Hampshire. The event was the first appearance of Governor Romney in New Hampshire so far this year and he used it to discuss the need to repeal and replace President Obama in 2012.

Romneys words in regards to Obamacare, the Democrat healthcare reform bill that placed healthcare under the control of the federal bureaucracy, were crucial ones. The healthcare plan that he enacted when he was Governor of the Bay State, is largely viewed as a model for, and precursor of Obamacare. As such Romneys Massachusetts healthcare plan has become Mitts largest hurdle to winning the Republican presidential nomination and the presidency itself. The issue is so dominant a problem that it has literally become synonymous with his name. Which is why Romney tries not to dance around the issue. Instead he addresses it head on and tries to turn it around by making it into a states rights issue that is more to his advantage.

Romney explained;

Our experiment wasnt perfect some things worked, some didnt and some things Id change,

He continued by stating;

One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover.

Romney added;

The federal government isnt the answer for running health care any more than its the answer for running Amtrak or the post office.

Romneys words are not as much spin as they true. Romney never proposed Romney-care for the nation and he is not a newcomer to the advocacy of states rights. But the fact that as Governor, he created a government program that mandated everyone to participate in it to one extent or another does not make his claim quite as palatable as it should be among an electorate that is revved up in their opposition to big government. Nevertheless, Mitt Romney is left with little more to do than argue that while he thought big government worked for Massachusetts, he doesnt think it works for the nation.

In another line of attack against the President, Romney steered the discussion to areas where his greatest strengths liethe economy.

According to the former Governor;

“It’s going to take more than new rhetoric to put Americans back to work. It’s going to take a new president of the United States,”

In describing what he often calls Obamas Misery Index, Romney made clear that he believes President Obama has learned nothing about the economy despite campaigning in New Hampshire and seeing row after row of empty textile mill buildings.

Early polls in New Hampshire have Romney leading all his possible Republican rivals and many also have him beating President Obama in the state. President Obama won New Hampshire in 2008.

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White House 2012 Monthy Ranking of Republican Presidential Contenders

Bookmark and Share The White House 2012 ranking of possibe Republican presidential contenders for March is out and while there is much movement around from last month, most of the top tier contneders remain the same as they were in February and the staff of White House 2012 still has Mitt Romney leading in first place.

The White House 2012 ranking is established through a system that takes an average from the placement that the writers at WH2012 put the candidates in. Their placements are acombination of the ground game contenders are playing, their fundraising abilities, name ID, and a mix of individual expectations and prediction.

While theses standings do not reflect the desire of any one White House 2012 writer it is a measure of whereall the variables pace thesepossible candidates among the general Republican electorate at this point in time.

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Romney Runs Strong Against Huntsman Among Mormons and In Utah

Bookmark and Share With the possible entry of Jon Huntsman into the Republican presidential contest, Mitt Romney is encountering one of the first of what will probably be many twists for him to come. Huntsman is the former, popular Governor of Utah. He left the job to accept President Obamas appointment of him to become Ambassador China, less than 1 year into his second term. Now Huntsman resigned from that job in what is widely seen as a possible run for President.

Such a run would force Mitt Romney to do something which he has not had to do in his previous run for the G.O.P. presidential nomination ..compete for the votes of fellow Mormons. Both Huntsman and Romney are Mormons and in 2008, the large populations of LDS members helped boost Romneys fortunes primarily in Western states such as Utah and Nevada. If Huntsman were to run, he would risk splitting the Mormon vote between himself and Romney. But a new The Deseret News/KSL poll gives Romney some reason to be encouraged. It finds that 56 percent of Utahns would vote for Romney, while only 26 percent would choose Huntsman. Another 9 percent said they would vote for neither candidate, and nine more percent were undecided.

While those numbers are good, among Republican voters, the poll finds that 72 percent would support Romney while only 15 percent would vote for the once popular former Governor.

These results are probably due in large part to the fact that before he left office as Governor, Huntsman made remarks in support of several gay rights issues, including same-sex marriage. These pronouncements stunned many Mormons and much of the predominantly conservative electorate of Utah. The poll shows that these voters have apparently not forgotten Huntsmans remarks.

The most interesting thing to come from thispoll is to find that Huntsman has lost much of the shine that he once had among his supporters. That does not bode at all well for Huntsman. Ifhe cant compete with Romney in his own state, it is not likely that he would be more appealing than Mitt in other states, and if Huntsman cant beat Romney in Utah, he is not likely to beat him anywhere else.

At the moment Huntsman is perceived as a moderate and asa potential candidateto compete more directly with aRudy Giuliani than a Mitt Romney. But Jon Huntsman has the potential to shape a very attractive candidacy through a well run and well crafted campaign that could make inroads into the base of the Party and successfully pitch him as one of the most electable Republicans to run against President Obama in the general election.

The road to the White House is a long one. Just ask Mitt Romney. He has been running now since 2006. So while it is too early to say how far Huntsman will get. For now the map looks a bit better for Mitt than it does for Jon.

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CPAC 2011: Mitt Romney’s Speech at CPAC from White House 212

Bookmark and Share After a poignant introduction by his wife of 42 years, Ann Romney introduced her husband witha closing that said, “I am proud to introduce you to the man who I would like to lead our nation, Mitt Romney.

A confident Mitt than strode to the podium to deliver a solid speech that contained dozens of memorable one liners and a solidconservative message that focused on jobs, the economy, President Obama, moral values, American exceptionalism, foreign threats andthe need to unleash freedom in American in orderfor success to be unleashed in America.

Romney’s speech was smooth, animated, rousing and in tune with the conservatives he addressed in the audience as well as the majority of the rest of the G.O.P.. And while his speech was also convincing, the question remains to be, can he shape an entire campaign that can be equally as convincing in Iowa and South Carolina? It my hope that he can.

Below is a transcript of the Romney speech.

“Ive been in Anns shadow ever since our first date in high school. Over our years together, shes waged some pretty impressive battles. Among her many accomplishments, none is more important or rewardingto us and to our countrythan her accomplishment as a successful mother of 5 and grandmother of 16.

Thank you, Ann.

The other night, from opposite coasts of the country, Ann and I watched President Obamas State of the Union address. Ann figured out pretty fast what was going on. She sent me an email saying that it sounded like he was reading my CPAC speech from last year.

What we were hearing was not just a new and improved Barack Obama; it was an entirely different Barack Obama.

Saul Alinskywas out; Jeffrey Immelt was in.

The President went from Change you can believe in to Can you believe this change?

He sounded like he was going to dig up the First Ladys organic garden to put in a Bobs Big Boy.

But as the speech went on, it was clear that this was just the appearance of change: His answer for Americans out of work was more government spending and $50 billion for high-speed rail.

He replaced his Chicago politician chief of staff with a fresh face from Chicago, named Daley.

Make no mistake: What we are watching is not Brave New World; what were watching is Groundhog Day!

Two years ago, this new President faced an economic crisis and an increasingly uncertain world.

An uncertain world has been made more dangerous by the lack of clear direction from a weak President. The President who touted his personal experience as giving him special insight into foreign affairs was caught unprepared when Iranian citizens rose up against oppression. His proposed policy of engagement with Iran and North Korea won him the Nobel Peace Prize. Hows that worked out? Iran armed Hezbollah and Hamas and is rushing toward nuclear weapons. North Korea fired missiles, tested nukes, sunk a South Korean ship and shelled a South Korean island. And his reset program with Russia? That consisted of our President abandoning our missile defense in Poland and signing a one-sided nuclear treaty. The cause of liberty cannot endure much more of his they get, we give diplomacy!

The world and our valiant troops watched in confusion as the President announced that he intended to win the war in long as it didnt go much beyond August of 2011. And while the Taliban may not have an air force or sophisticated drones, its safe to say they do have calendars.

I surely hope that at some point in the near future, the President will finally be able to construct a foreign policy, any foreign policy.

Here at home, the Presidents response to the economic crisis was the most expensive failed social experiment in modern history.

He guaranteed that unemployment wouldnt go beyond 8%. As he watched millions and millions of Americans lose their jobs, lose their homes and lose their hope, his response was this: It could be worse.

It could be worse? This is the leader of the Free Worlds answer to the greatest job loss since the Great Depression? Whats next? Let them eat cake?

Oh, excuse me. Organic cake.

Its often said that the Presidency of the United States is the toughest job in the world. Fair enough. Undoubtedly true.

But how difficult is it to take office in the middle of a raging economic crisis and understand that the economy should be your number one priority?

The President who took office on January 20th, 2009 should have had one central mission put Americans back to work! Fight for every job! Because every job is a paycheck and paychecks fuel Americans dreams.

Without a paycheck, you cant take care of your family. Without a paycheck you cant buy school books for your kids, keep a car on the road or help an aging parent make ends meet.

President Barack Obama has stood watch over the greatest job loss in modern American history. And that, my friends, is one inconvenient truth that will haunt this President throughout history.

Today there are more men and women out of work in America than there are people working in Canada. And in the month of January, Canada created more new jobs than we did.

When Ronald Reagan ran for President, he hung the Misery Index around Jimmy Carters neck. Todays misery is real unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcies. This is the Obama Misery Indexand its at a record high. Its going to take more than new rhetoric to put Americans back to workits going to take a new president.

Let me make this very clear. If I decide to run for President, it wont take me two years to wake up to the job crisis threatening America. And I wont be asking Tim Geithner how the economy worksor Larry Summers how to start a business.

Fifteen million Americans are out of work. And millions and millions more cant find the good paying jobs they long for and deserve. Youve seen the heartbreaking photos and videos of the jobs fairs around the country, where thousands show up to stand in line all day just to have a chance to compete for a few job openings that probably arent as good as the job they held two years ago. These job fairs and unemployment lines are President Obamas Hoovervilles.

Make no mistake. This is a moral tragedya moral tragedy of epic proportion. Unemployment is not just a statistic. Fifteen million unemployed is not just a number. Unemployment means kids cant go to college; that marriages break up under the financial strain; that young people cant find work and start their lives; and men and women in their 50s, in the prime of their lives, fear they will never find a job again. Liberals should be ashamed that they and their policies have failed these good and decent Americans!

The President is trying to show that he finally gets itthat he really isnt a liberal after all. But his idea of conservative economic policy is to invite some corporate CEOs to the White House for an evening of table-talk.

Im sorry Mr. President, but thats not a policy, its a dinner party.

Weve seen the failure of liberal answers before. Liberal welfare policies condemned generations to dependency and poverty. Liberal education policies fail our children today, because they put pensions and privilege for union bosses above the reading scores of our kids. Liberal social policies have failed to protect the unborn. And now, the hollow promises of liberal economic policies have failed to provide millions of Americans with the dignity of work.

Under the pressure of a crisis, people turn to what they really believe. With our economy in crisis, the President and his fellow liberals turned to Europe for their answers. Like the Europeans, they grew the government, they racked up bigger deficits, they took over healthcare, they pushed cap-and-trade, they stalled production of our oil and gas and coal, they fought to impose unions on Americas workers, and they created over a hundred new agencies and commissions and hundreds of thousands of pages of new regulations. Theirs is a European-style solution to an American problem. It does not work there and it will never work here!

The right answer is not to believe in European solutions. The right answer is to believe in Americato believe in free enterprise, capitalism, limited government, federalismand to believe in the constitution, as it was written and intended by the founders.

My father never graduated from college. He apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter, and he was darn good at it. He learned how to put a handful of nails in his mouth and spit them out, point forward. On his honeymoon, he and Mom drove across the country. Dad sold aluminum paint along the way, to pay for gas and hotels.

Dad always believed in America; and in that America, a lath and plaster man could work his way up to running a little car company called American Motors and end up Governor of a state where he had once sold aluminum paint.

For my Dad, America was the land of opportunity, where free enterprise, small business and entrepreneurs were encouraged and respected. The spirit of enterprise propelled Americas economy and our standard of living past every other nation on earth.

I refuse to believe that America is just another place on the map with a flag. I believe that America is an exceptional nation, of freedom and opportunity and hope.

The America I believe in has goodness and a greatness that creates a unique American genius. That genius has blessed the world, led the world and yes, even saved the world from unimaginable darkness.

We didnt originate the concept of liberty but our Founding Fathers redefined it and shared it with the world. From the brilliant sands of Omaha beach to the dark valleys of the Hindu Kush, we have fought with an unmatched courage and determination, not to conquer territory, but to give others the chance to experience the liberty that is humanitys destiny.

Given all that America has done to lift others from poverty, given the millions of afflicted we have helped to heal and comfort, and given the hundreds of thousands of lives of Americas sons and daughters that have been, and are today, sacrificed to defend freedom, I will not apologize for America!

I dont apologize for America because I believe in America!

We believe in freedom, in opportunity. We believe in free enterprise and capitalism. We believe in the American dream. And we believe that the principles that made America the leader of the world today are the very principles that will keep America the leader of the world tomorrow.

These last two years have not been the best of times. But while weve lost a couple of years, we have not lost our way.

This is fundamentally what conservatism is all about. We sing for God to bless America. He already has, he does now and thanks to the greatness of the American people and the principles that guide us, he will do so for generations to come.

Believe in America. Freedom depends on it.”

Thank you.

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Romney Not Ready to Write Off Iowa

Bookmark and Share Recent word was that Mitt Romney was going to skip the Iowa caucuses, the first presidential nominating contest in the nation, and focus on insuring a win in New Hampshire and then move on to South Carolina and Nevada. Now in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Romney has made it clear that if is to run, he and his campaign will be in Iowa and every other state. Romney tells Hewitt “I decide to run, I’ll be planning on running nationwide, and certainly the early states will be places where we concentrate most of our attention,”.
As pointed out in detail in a previous WH2012 post, in 2008, Romney exhausted much time and treasure in Iowa. In fact he began devoting his resources into the Iowa caucus in the early part of 2007. When all totaled, he spent $10 million but in the end he came in second to Mike Huckabee.

Romney aides had been indicating that after that experience, they are not sure how much more they could do or spend in Iowa to insure a win 2012. Another factor to consider is the fact that even though Huckabee won in Iowa, John McCain’s showing in the Iowa Caucus, which waswell behindRomney, did not prohibit him from going on to win the Republican presidential nomination.

As I noted in in the same post that I referred to earlier, this surrender strategy may have some mileage but from my perspective, it doesn’t have legs. If Romney can’t win in Iowa, than he has little chance of winning South Carolina. And if Romney can’t win or at least be extremely close to winning in South Carolina, than he is essentially writing off much off the delegate rich South. For his part Mitt told Hewitt “If I get in this, I’m not going to be doing so much of a political calculus as I am a calculus of what message needs to be heard by the American people and how I can deliver it best,”. He added, “And that surely will take me to Iowa as well as the other early states.”

That statement is encouraging. In translation it means that Mitt is confident that his campaign is confident that they have established a strategy that will overcome his perceived weaknesses while also having a superior approach to delivering the right message to the right people. It also means that his campaign is confident in its ability to do a Tanya Harding on his opponents and make them limp behind him in the race.

Romney still left himself some room on just how aggressively he will run in Iowa. While he stated that he will concentrate on the early, he avoided drawing the type of upbeat language you usually hear from politicians. Instead of using the usual lingo which would be, “if I run I intend to run hard and win big in the early states”, he used language a little more ambiguous. This would lead me to believe that a lot of what the Romney camp will do, is based upon whether or not Huckabee and Palin will enter the race. If that happens Romney could still allow himself to have a presence in Iowa, but one small enough to indicate that a poor showing in Iowa was in part due to the fact that he did not campaign hard there.

That strategy would be one that focuses on building on the momentum from a win in New Hampshire as a means to have an upper hand in South Carolina and then Nevada. Of course winning all 4 of the first nomination contests would be the possible result. Which is why Romney carefully parses his words. The real “if” he talks about here is not “if” he runs. He and the rest of us know he is. But what Mitt really means when he says “if” is “”if Huckabee runs. If Huckabee runs, Romney’s campaign strategy switches to one that may go light in Iowa or concentrate” more on the type of opposition research that takes Huckabee down a few pegs with a few body blows on the issue of taxes and a lethal use of the Horton Strategy……..the use of the multiple clemencies that Huckabee issued which resulted in multiple deaths of innocent people, including four police officers.

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Romney’s Iowa Strategy; Surrender or Fight?

Bookmark and Share Reports have it that Mitt Romney is mulling over the possibility of skipping the Iowa Caucuses in 2012 and having his campaign launch in New Hampshire, the state with the second nominating contest in the nation.
In 2008, Romney ran an aggressive and expensive campaign in Iowa. In fact, Romneys Iowa journey began in 2007 when he was the first to start airing campaign ads. Just in preparation for the Ames. straw poll, an important summertime precursor to the Winter caucus Mitt Romney had hired a legion of 60 statewide, so-called super-volunteers, that were paid between $500 and $1,000 per month to campaign for him; over $2.4 million in television ads, a top notch direct-mailing campaign that along with other non-TV campaign materials cost another $2.5 million in , and a consultant who managed Mitts straw poll campaign for $200,000. None of the other Republican contenders came close to either Romneys organization skills or size, or the financial investment he dumped into the state. And that was just up until the time of the straw poll which was held in August of 2007. When the straw poll results were in , Romney won with 32%, which consisted of 4,516 votes. Translating in to financial costs, that meant Romney spent approximately $1,107 per vote for a total of about $5 million.

By the time the actual Iowa Caucus rolled around , five months later in 2008, Romney more than doubled the $5 million he had spent up till the straw poll. But in the end, he lost the Iowa Caucus to Mike Huckabee by 9.18%. Huckabee spent a fraction of what Romney spent and he received 40,841 votes or 34.41% and Romney garnered 29,949 with 25.23%. Interestingly, John McCain, the man who ultimately went on to win the Republican nomination, he came in fourth place with 15,559, 13.11% of the vote. So was Romneys investment in Iowa worth the bang for his buck? In retrospect, it sure wasnt. Having saved his money in Iowa didnt hurt John McCain. But McCain went on to win in New Hampshire, a state that by nature of demographics, Romney should have won. This time, it looks like Romney is realizing that.

Despite the rash of recent reports about Romney skipping Iowa are not new. The thought of bypassing Iowa in 2012 has been in play by the Romney camp for quite a while now. In an October 20, 2009 article for the Iowa Republican by Craig Robinson, Robinson pointed out that Mitt had over $400,000 in his Iowa state PAC, when his presidential campaign ended in early February of 2008 and since the fall of 2008, he had been draining the funds from that PAC.

Robinson also pointed that in June of 2009, Romneys Iowa PAC was down to $203,380.91 and instead of making contributions to county party organizations and legislative candidates, Robinson writes he was using the state PAC to subsidize the salaries of aides, like his former campaign manager, Beth Myers, and Eric Fehrnstrom, his former communications director. They were expenditures that had nothing to do with supporting Iowa candidates or building an organization for his leadership PAC.

All things considered it is easy to see that that the notion of ignoring Iowa has been in the back of Romneys mind for a while and it is also easy to understand why.

After the all out effort that Romney put into Iowa in 2008 and recent polls which show Iowa Caucus voters preferring Mike Huckabee to him, Mitt has to consider the possibilities of not only Huckabee running again, but of the possible candidacies of people like Sarah Palin, Mike Pence, John Thune and possibly even Rick Santorum. If all of these candidates were to run in Iowa, they could sharply divide the large evangelical vote that Romney is not fairing well with, thereby giving him the chance of consolidating the rest of the vote into a win. But if from that group, only one or two of them run, such as Huckabee or Palin, than Romney risks coming in second or even worse. That result would probably grab the headlines more than the winner would. This would make Romney vulnerable, not so much in New Hampshire but especially in South Carolina, an increasingly important lead in state to the delegate rich Southern contests.

The question becomes this. If Romney cant win in Iowa, can he win in South Carolina, a state that has an evangelical vote of similar influence to that of Iowas? And if Mitt cant win South Carolina, can he seriously compete in the significant string of Southern states that follow?

Mitts thinking could easily be to focus on insuring that he wins the New Hampshire primary that should be in his pocket but lost to McCain last time, and then build up at least the impression of momentum with a win in Nevada followed by even the smallest of wins in South Carolina. Perhaps by taking the money and time that he would have placed into Iowa, and invest it in South Carolina instead, will help provide his campaign with the type of long term strategy that he needs to keep him alive in places like Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and other high delegate count states.

As for Iowa, Mitts strengths exist in the Northeastern and Western border counties of the state. These are some ofIowas most highly populated counties. If Mitt was able to target these approximately 18 counties and increase his pluralities in them, he could have a shot at reversing the results of 2008. And if Huckabee is his major opponent in Iowa, it is worth noting that Huckabee has a rather large Achilles heal that all his rivals could easily exploit. The issue of the multiple clemencies that Huckabee gave as Governor of Arkansas, and subsequently resulted in additional crimes, including the death of 4 police officers in Washington state, will take some of the shine off Huckabee. It is also an issue which could be a decisive factor in Huckabees decision to run or not to run.

But Mitt has to make a decision regarding Iowa soon. If he does plan on competing in Iowa, he cant wait too long to snap his organization back together. But Romney has made sure that a final decision has not yet been made on Iowa. Since Craig Robinson’s, 2009 piece in the Iowa Republican, reported more than $100,000 in expenditures from his Iowa political action committees in the final fundraising report of 2010. His Iowa PAC also contributed $10,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of Terry Branstad, $1,000 to Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and State Auditor David Vaudt, as well as a $2,500 contribution to Senate candidate Joni Ernst and $1,500 to Iowa Senate candidate Andrew Naeve All totaled, Romneys Free and Strong – Iowa PAC ended the year with more than $108,000 in cash on hand.

So Romney has not closed the door on Iowa just yet. That decision will likely come when he knows who he will be running against.
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Romney Speaks To Sean Hannity About President Obama & 2012

Bookmark and Share In an interview with Sean Hannity, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney offered a scathing review of President Obama that took on his deeds more than his State of the Union words. (catch a clip from the interview, below)

As to how he thinks the President has done over the past two years. Romney says; Well, he is trying awfully hard, the problem is he just doesnt know what to do, uh, he has misguided almost everything he has done has been the opposite of what he has hoped to have accomplished.

According to Romney Hes really put in to place, over the last two years, the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs regiment weve seen, probably in the last couple of decades.

As for his plans regarding a run for President in 2012, the Governor claims that there has been no decision yet but when asked about the current polls which according to Sean Hannity, have him along with Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin as the names most currently favored, Romney responded with what will be an obvious theme of still undeclared, but certain candidacy. He said;

I dont know who else is going to get in the race but I do believe it will be helpful if at least one of the people whos running in the Republican field, had extensive experience in the private sector, in small business, in big business, working with the economy, because frankly, not just solving the near term problems of unemployment, people not getting any checks, is going to require someone with that experience, but also long term. Weve got to have a strong economic foundation to make sure that we can stay ahead of the challenges we face, like a growing China and a militarily aggressive China. Were going to have to stay so far ahead that no one anyone ever questions the capacity of America to stand by the forces of freedom in the world.

I wonder who can fit that description?

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2012 Presidential Polling: Romney and Huckabee Tied in New Jersey

Bookmark and Share Public Policy Polling, a largely Democrat operation, has released New Jersey poll numbers for the evolving field of Republican presidential candidates. The survey of 400 usual Republican primary voters unites the results of several previous independent polls of Iowa and New Hampshire Republican voters which give Huckabee the lead in Iowa and Romney the lead in the Granite State. PPPs New Jersey survey has Huckabee and Romney tied at 18% each. Not too far behind them are Newt Gingrich with 15% and Sarah Palin with 14%.

The poll proves that the early energy and buzz is behind the former Massachusetts governor and former Arkansas governor but it also demonstrates that neither have a firm hold on that energy as many voters are still interested in other prospects.

A further breakdown of the poll provides Mitt Romney with additional evidence of his biggest reason for not being the clear frontrunner for the 2012 Republican nomination is his inability to consolidate the trust and support of conservatives, the G.O.P.s base. Among those New Jersey Republicans polled who consider themselves conservative, Romney finds himself with a 64% favorable to 19% unfavorable rating, a net positive of 45%. But Mike Huckabee has a net positive favorable of 58 with 70% having a favorable opinion of him and only 12% having an unfavorable opinion. Adding to the bad news for Romney among the base of the Party is the fact that both former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Republican Vice Presidential nominee and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin also have better favorable ratings among conservatives than Romney.

Romneys favorable ratings as they relate to Huckabee, Gingrich and Palin, come from New Jersey Republicans who describe themselves as moderates.

These results come on the heels of a dinner meeting that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had with Mitt Romney on Monday evening at Drumthwacket, the New Jersey Governors Mansion which Chris Chritie has chosen not to live in, but is used by the Governor for offical events.

New Jerseys Republican presidential primary will take place in March and it is a winner-take-all contest that sends 50 delegates to the Republican National Convention.

See the complete results and breakdown below:

  1. Mike Huckabee / Mitt Romney 18%
  2. Newt Gingrich 15%
  3. Sarah Palin 14%
  4. Ron Paul 8%
  5. Tim Pawlenty 4%
  6. Mitch Daniels 3%
  7. John Thune 2%
  8. Someone else/Undecided 19%

Among Conservatives

  • Mike Huckabee 21%
  • Newt Gingrich 17%
  • Sarah Palin 16%
  • Mitt Romney 14%
  • Ron Paul 5%
  • Tim Pawlenty 5%
  • Mitch Daniels 4%
  • John Thune 2%
  • Someone else/Undecided 16%

Among Moderates

  • Mitt Romney 24%
  • Mike Huckabee 13%
  • Ron Paul 12%
  • Sarah Palin 11%
  • Newt Gingrich 10%
  • Mitch Daniels 2%
  • John Thune 2%
  • Tim Pawlenty 2%
  • Someone else/Undecided 24%

Among Men

  • Mike Huckabee 20%
  • Sarah Palin 18%
  • Mitt Romney 15%
  • Newt Gingrich 14%
  • Ron Paul 9%
  • Tim Pawlenty 4%
  • Mitch Daniels 3%
  • John Thune 2%
  • Someone else/Undecided 16%

Among Women

  • Mitt Romney 23%
  • Newt Gingrich 16%
  • Mike Huckabee 16%
  • Sarah Palin 9%
  • Ron Paul 6%
  • Mitch Daniels 3%
  • Tim Pawlenty 3%
  • John Thune 2%
  • Someone else/Undecided 22%

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Mike Huckabee 61% / 17% {+44%}
  • Mitt Romney 60% / 20% {+40%}
  • Newt Gingrich 54% / 25% {+29%}
  • Sarah Palin 58% / 33% {+25%}

Among Conservatives

  • Mike Huckabee 70% / 12% {+58%}
  • Newt Gingrich 68% / 15% {+53%}
  • Sarah Palin 72% / 21% {+51%}
  • Mitt Romney 64% / 19% {+45%}
Among Moderates
  • Mitt Romney 53% / 21% {+32%}
  • Mike Huckabee 47% / 24% {+23%}
  • Newt Gingrich 34% / 37% {-3%}
  • Sarah Palin 38% / 48% {-10%}
Among Men
  • Mike Huckabee 61% / 22% {+39%}
  • Mitt Romney 60% / 25% {+35%}
  • Sarah Palin 62% / 29% {+33%}
  • Newt Gingrich 58% / 25% {+33%}
Among Women
  • Mike Huckabee 61% / 12% {+49%}
  • Mitt Romney 61% / 14% {+47%}
  • Newt Gingrich 49% / 24% {+25%}
  • Sarah Palin 53% / 37% {+16%}

Survey of 400 usual Republican primary voters was conducted January 6-9, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 4.9 percentage points. Political ideology: 60% Conservative; 38% Moderate; 2% Liberal.

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Is Chris Christie Preparing to Endorse Mitt Romney for President?

Bookmark and Share New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hosted a Monday evening dinner meeting with a mix of advisers and GOP state Party leaders and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

A spokesman for Governor Christie would not comment on the gathering and Romney aides have not elaborated on it either. Several different sources reportedly deny that any specifics regarding an endorsement in New Jerseys Republican presidential primary were discussed.

But Romney has viewed New Jersey as fertile territory. In 2008 presidential campaign, the former Governor paid a decent amount of attention to the state as he made several trips to the Garden State and worked Republican grass root activists aggressively. At the time, his state campaign chairman was Monmouth County State Senator Joe Kyrillos, a former state Party chairman. Kyrillos most recently served as Governor Chris Christies state campaign chairman.

Over the past few years, Romney has been devoting a great deal of time and making an equally great amount of financial contributions to the campaign efforts of many high level and targeted Republicans. In 2009 he took sides in Chris Christies gubernatorial primary and endorsed the then U.S. District Attorney over his opponent Steve Lonegan.

Now, it looks like Romney is beginning to try to collect on his generous devotion of time and money by seeking the endorsements of those he supported since he ended his pursuit of the 2008 presidential nomination. That year, John McCain received the bulk of New Jerseys Republican establishments support, including that of the State GOP Chairman. The states Governor at the time was Democrat Jon Corzine and he was busy backing Barack Obama. Obama wound up winning New Jerseys Democrat Primary and on the Republican side McCain won with 55% of the vote with Romney coming in a distant second with 28% of the vote.

This time around, Chris Christie reigns supreme and with his high national profile and popularity, the Christie endorsement is one which any candidate for President would relish and not just for the delegate count that he could bring to them from Jersey. For Romney, having Chris Christie return the favor of an endorsement will be a prominent conservative feather to stick in his hat, a feather that Romney is going to a need lot of he wants to make past New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, in the South, Newt Gingrich received an endorsement of his own.

Georgia Governor and Gingrich friend, Nathan Deal respond to reporters questions about Gingrich by saying that if Newt ran for the Republican for the Republican presidential nomination, he would endorse him.

With 29 states now controlled by Republican governors, they will all play pivotal roles in the Republican presidential nominating process. Some like Christie though may play a bigger role than others.

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