Iowa’s Mold Breaker Might Matter

We are discovering the 2012 election cycle dynamic every day.  One thing we have learned already is that things that didn’t matter last week are crucial this week.  The thing we are learning this past week is that money matters, as Mitt Romney surrogates bought waves of negative airtime, Ron Paul bought Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, and Newt suddenly began to realize what a nice thing it would be to have campaign staffs, ground crews, or even counter advertising money.

To Huntsman’s dismay, we may be discovering that Iowa matters.  Let me put it this way.  If Newt Gingrich wins Iowa, it doesn’t really matter.  If Santorum wins Iowa, it will give him some false momentum but Iowa alone won’t matter.  If Bachmann wins Iowa, we will all drop our jaw and then move on with the real race.  If Paul wins Iowa, mainstream Republicans will spend the next few days complaining about how he did his usual ballot stuffing tricks, but then move on.

However, if Mitt Romney wins Iowa, that will be huge.  Iowa has typically stuck to mainstream, evangelical, more conservative than moderate candidates.  Iowa has granted hope to Mike Huckabee in recent years, and Michele Bachmann this year.  Now, with Mitt Romney leading in the polls, it appears that more conservative, evangelical voters are accepting that Romney will win the nomination.  In fact, in this case I wonder what type of dynamic Ron Paul is attributing to Romney’s rise.  Are Iowans viewing Gingrich, Perry and now even Santorum as third party spoilers?

I think with the Iowa dynamic, voters may actually prefer Santorum in the current field.  Instead, it appears that Iowa may end up being about who can beat Barack Obama, or more immediately, who can beat Ron Paul.  At any rate, if Mitt Romney wins, Iowa matters.  As McCain proved in 2008, voting for a candidate primarily because of electability is a tough paradigm to crack once it is set.

One thing is for sure.  If Romney does win in Iowa, Newt is dreaming if he thinks he can turn everything around in New Hampshire.

And the Winner of the Iowa Caucus is……….

Romney and Santorum may surprise all with a first and second place finish, respectively, but South Carolina will be the real winner of the Iowa Caucuses.

Bookmark and Share I am predicting that Mitt Romney will in Iowa and it will go a long way in establishing a sense of inevitability that will help him wrap up the nomination sooner than later.   However; unless Romney racks up a win with 30 or more percent, the results will not matter a great deal and in the end, the real winner will be South Carolina.

Iowa’s caucus history shows that the winners of their nominating contests do not usually go on to become the nominee and President.  More often than not, Iowa caucus voters seem more intent on sending a message to the establishment than sending a nominee to the White House.  This time may be different in the sense that Iowa Republicans may believe that their support for most of the existing candidates will not send any strong message and that Ron Paul, the only candidate for whom a protest vote for would send a clear message, is not in any way a responsible and realistically, viable candidate.   As it is, most Iowa Republicans do not support Ron Paul.  His perceived success in the state so far is due mainly to the Independent and Democrats who are allowed to vote in the caucuses if they change their Party affiliation.

This is something which Paulbots have been planning on taking advantage for a very long time and they are doing a good job at it.

But not good enough.

In the end I believe that between all the back and forth of frontrunner status for one candidate or another, Mitt Romney who has been consistently at the top of the polls in Iowa and who has the strongest organization of all the candidates in the state, will benefit from a social conservative and evangelical vote that is sharply divided between at least four candidates, and from his perceived electability against Barack Obama.  These factors will allow Romney to win the caucus, but unless he wins by an overwhelming amount, it will not do much to help him convince people that he will definitely be the nominee.  That job will be left up to South Carolina, which will actually be the big winner coming out of Iowa.

Everyone knows that Romney will win New Hampshire, so there is little suspense there.  That leaves South Carolina which follows the Live Free or Die State, as the most pivotal of all the early state contests and the greatest beneficiary of the results in Iowa.

It is where Newt Gingrich has been trying to build a firewall and hoping to establish himself as either the frontrunner or the only real viable alternative to Mitt Romney.

South Carolina is also a prelude to the Florida and the momentum provided to the candidate who wins in South Carolina will go a long way in helping that candidate’s chances of winning in the Sunshine State’s primary. 

Even in the unlikely event that Romney blew out all his rivals with a win of  30% or more,  South Carolina will still be an early contest that either solidifies Romney’s lock on the nomination or gives someone else the opportunity to be Romney’s true chief rival as the race moves forward.

These are just simple facts which will not be changed by any result that Iowa produces.  If Senator Rick Santorum happened to pull off a Huckabee-like, 2008, come-from-behind victory, Romney will still dominate in the New Hampshire primary and South Carolina will still host the contest that play a somewhat more decisive role than either New Hampshire or Iowa.

When all is said and done, Iowa will serve one chief purpose.  It will help weed out the field of candidates.  It will help to begin sealing the deal for several of the lower tier candidates, especially Rick Perry.  But even in that capacity, Iowa is not likely to end anyone’s candidacy.  Once again, that mission will be accomplished in South Carolina.

That said, in the tradition of making predictions as one year ends and a new one begins, while I hold true to the belief that Iowa will really only matter if Romney comes in anywhere under third pace, or wins with a large plurality, I also believe that the candidates will finish as follows:

  1. Mitt Romney – 26%
  2. Rick Santorum -21%
  3. Ron Paul – 17%
  4. Newt Gingrich -16%
  5. Rick Perry – 11%
  6. Michele Bachmann – 7%
  7. Jon Huntsman – 2%

I am quite uncertain about those totals, but very confident in the order of each candidate’s placement.

These results will produce several storylines coming out of Iowa.  One will be about whether of not Mitt Romney has a lock on the nomination as he is now on a path to becoming the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to sweep both Iowa and New Hampshire?  The other story will be is Rick Santorum, the new Mike Huckabee and can he translate his strong Iowa showing into a victory elsewhere? 

The other stories that will provide the filler for 24 hour cable news programs, will be can Newt comeback “in South Carolina”? What happened to Ron Paul’s surge? And is this the end for Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann?

The answer to all these questions will be determined by the state which I argue will be the ultimate winner in the Iowa Caucuses…..South Carolina.

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Mackinac Straw Poll Shows Michigan is Still Romney Territory

Bookmark and Share    While the big news of this weekend is Herman Cain’s incredibly strong first place showing in the Florida’s Presidency 5 Straw Poll, a straw poll in Michigan announced Mitt Romney its winner.

Out 681 votes cast from among 1,800 attendees gathered at the 29th Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, Romney garnered 346 votes or 51 percent. The candidate who came closest to Romney was Texas Governor Rick Perry who captured 16.8% with 114 votes.

On Saturday, both Perry and Romney had forgone the opportunity to address the P5 Straw Poll in Orlando, Florida and instead opted to address the Mackinac event.

Perry did speak to P5 participants during a Saturday morning breakfast event. And before voting began in that contest, a pre-recorded video message by him was seen by all.

In the case of Mitt Romney, he has made it a policy to not compete in straw polls this year because he would prefer to invest the large amount of resources they require in the actual election rather than contests that have no bearing on the delegate count needed to win the Republican presidential nomination. In 2007, Mitt Romney spent more than $1 million in the Iowa Straw Poll, which he won. But he went on to lose the Iowa Caucuses to Mike Huckabee. Four years later, Romney does not want to divert the time and money from his 2012 campaign to such beauty contests.

Unlike Herman Cain’s win in Florida, Romney was widely expected to win the Michigan event, just as he is expected to win the Michigan Republican presidential primary in 2012. Romney is a native of Michigan and his father was a popular Governor of the state. Romney also won the Michigan primary in the 2008 election cycle.

Since 1953, Michigan Republicans have gathered for the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference every two years at historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.. The event allows Party activists to discuss ideas, learn how to articulate the Republican message, and to interact with fellow Republicans from across the state—and the country. The Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference has become one of the premier Republican events in the Midwest.

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Mitt Romney Wants Sarah Palin to Run for President

Bookmark and Share    In an interview with USA Today’s Susan Page, Mitt Romney states that he hopes Sarah Palin runs for President.

According to Romney;

“I think it would be a good thing if she did. She would make the race that much more exciting, bring more people to watch the debates, and I hope she gets in.”

Romney is totally correct on those points.

Palin’s entry into the race would have an incredibly positive affect for Republicans in the 2012 election. It will especially take a lot of ink away from President Obama.

However Romney does not mention the real reason why he would like Palin to run.

With Sarah Palin in the nomination contest, candidates like Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain, will have their vote totals suppressed by Palin’s candidacy which will absorb much of their support. And while she holds down the vote totals of candidate like Bachmann and Perry, Romney has a good chance to see his establishment conservative vote totals surpass all others and wrap up the nomination earlier rather than later.

Of course, with Palin running, there is also a good chance that Romney will lose…………..to her.

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Romney Picks Up Conservative Support From Congress

Bookmark and Share    Darrell Issa , the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has announced that he endorsing Mitt Romney for President. On the surface, the importance of the endorsement is undeniably significant. Issa is considered by many a leading Republican figure in the G.O.P., particularly among Conservatives. As a candidate in desperate need of conservative credentials, Issa’s support helps. But below the surface are two contradicting factors at play with the Issa endorsement.

While Congressman Issa is appreciated in conservative circles, how convincing his endorsement of Romney will be to many Conservatives is in doubt. What is not doubted though, is that Darrel Issa is viewed as an establishment politician and Mitt Romney is not in dire need of support from the establishment. What he needs is anti-establishment support. Particuarly from the TEA movement, a large, active portion of the electorate that is disenchanted with politicians and politics-as-usual. The Issa endorsement does not help Romney on this front.

On the flipside, Darrell Issa’s endorsement does have a significant numerical, if not ideological benefit.

The 172 delegates that California sends to the national convention make up for a tad over 7% of the entire Republican delegation in the country or over 14% of the number of delegates needed to win the presidential nomination. And with California being a winner-take-all primary, that is a significant accumulation of delegates for the winner. That makes Issa’s influence important in California where he may have sway over a significant number of republican activists and leaders in his California congressional district. This will go a long way in providing volunteers for Romney, and organizing his Get Out the Vote operation.

Ultimately, while Darrell Issa’s endorsement of Romney may not exactly be the catalyst for a surefire Romney win, it will make a difference in California, a delegate rich state that will boost any candidate’s chance at winning the nomination.

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All Ahhhh Board! Tim Pawlenty Endorses Mitt Romney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During another exchange Clinton stated;

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

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

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

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

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

By: Tim Pawlenty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Romney Shows Some Passion in Exchange with Liberal Iowa Hecklers

Bookmark and Share    A group of liberals set out early this morning to stake territory right in front of a makeshift stage where Mitt Romney was going to speak. The group has been identified as think-tank called Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Some reports identified them by the name Scrap the Cap . Whatever you call them, they were nothing but as rude as a bunch of Ron Paul fanatics in the back row of a debate.

In the footage below, Mitt Romney can be seen handling one liberal relic from the group who refused to give Romney the chance to speak and answer the question he was being asked. After a long lasting tirade from the questioner, Romney answered the question which essentially was how he would save Social Security and Medicare without reducing benefits.

Once Romney made sure the liberal heckler was finished he said,

“good, now I will give you my answer and if you don’t like it you can go vote for someone else.”

And what was Romney’s response,

 “You ready for my answer? I’m not going to raise taxes”.

The exchange continued as at least three more members of the liberal think tank asked questions. In the Fox News video put together for you by White House 2012, Karl Rove offers an excellent critique of Romney’s handling of the situation. On balance, I gave him an A+. Romney showed that he was human and can be angered, but still maintain his composure. More importantly, he demonstrated some passion. And it is that passion that voters need to see more of if he wants to remain the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.

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Obama Strategy Is To Paint Romney as Weird and Assassinate His Character

Bookmark and Share   Recent reports from numerous outlets have discussed the claim that President Obama is preparing a campaign strategy that is designed to paint Mitt Romney as being “weird”. This stems from a reported quote from an Obama advisor that stated:

“There’s a weirdness factor with Romney, and it remains to be seen how he wears with the public,”

 That same advisor noted that the contrasts they’d drive between the President and the former Massachusetts governor would be

“based on character to a great extent.”

According to Politico “a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House” said:

“Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,”.

Have to kill Romney”…….so much for that political correctness Democrats preach about and their cries for civility in politics. But those of us who understand the use of metaphoric flare, understand what was meant by that remark. However that still does not make the comment any less inflammatory. It is a direct claim from a member of the Obama camp, that the President does not intend to run on the issues but will instead focus on personality.

At the moment, the Obama strategy is planned to be used against frontrunner Mitt Romney but considering President Obama’s record, the strategy will probably be the same regardless of who the nominee is. Nevertheless, let us look at this strategy in terms of Mitt Romney.

Any attempt for Barack Obama to portray Mitt Romney as weird is about as ridiculous as the claim that Barack Obama had the experience to be a President in the first place. Besides, you think Mitt Romney is weird? Have you looked at our President? How many wealthy Americans have a brother living in poverty on ten dollars a month in Kenya? How many Americans have convicted terrorists like Bill Ayers for a friend? How many Americans have a Pastor who preaches racial hatred and are unaware of it? How many Americans grew up in Hawaii and moved to become the state senator representing the slums of Chicago? If ya wanna talk weird, let’s have at it Barry!

As it pertains to Mitt Romney, the second part of the “killing” of Romney consists of a full-out assault on Romney’s record as a successful businessman. Really? Does President Obama really want to go their? I would love to compare Mitt Romney’s business record to the only comparable record that President Obama has………..his handling and manipulation of the U.S. economy? Bring it on Barry!

Politics is politics and to be fair, if the shoe were on the other foot and a Republican were in Obama’s position, they too would probably have to resort to character assassination as their only means of winning. But part of President Obama’s weirdness angle is undoubtedly a subtle attempt to exploit Mitt Romney’s religion. Romney’s Mormonism is somewhat alien to most Americans. In fact many Americans still equate the official Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints with polygamy. Indeed there are several mainstream TV series that proliferate this view such as HBO’s “Big Love”. But for President Obama, of all people, to try to take advantage of this form of religious bigotry, is beyond despicable and hypocritical.

One of President Obama’s first major initiatives in the Oval Office was to reach out to the Muslim community at home and abroad in a mission to promote religious tolerance. And President Obama has himself  been the victim of wild innuendo and religious-based bigotry that has tried to claim that he is a Muslim and sympathetic to the cause of Isamic terrorists. As such, for President Obama to even subtly try to exploit Romney‘s Mormonism is utterly disgraceful.

So far that has not begun, but it seems as though the seed is their within the campaign strategists that President Obama is surrounding himself by and building his reelection effort on. Hopefully, the President will think twice about such a strategy and veto the architects of his presidential reelection effort. If not, President Obama will go down in history as the first President to see our credit rating downgraded and the biggest hypocrit to ever sit in the Oval Office since Bill Clinton .   Oh wait, I take that back.  He already is both of those things.

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Mitt Romney’s Multiple Choice Positions: How Damaging Can They Be?

Bookmark and Share    In politics there is no rest for a frontrunner. And there shouldn’t be. If you close to getting the job that you’re running for, it is best that every angle of the candidate is tested before they get the job. In the case of Mitt Romney, he is the undisputed frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But he is seen as weak one. His healthcare plan in Massachusetts and a history of what he calls changes of heart but others call flip-flops continue to weigh Romney down. They also help keep the door open for another candidate to enter the Republican presidential race.

Recently Mitt Romney’s 2005 pro-life conversion again became the focus of attention as Salon.com  delved into the details of Romney’s change of heart on the issue. In his 1994 Massachusetts U.S. Senate debate against Ted Kennedy, Romney stood solidly behind Roe-v-Wade. The reason for this was due to the death of a family relative who had an abortion. Since then, the story was widely repeated but never widely explored by the media. Salon.com did explore it though and they discovered that the event dates back to 1963 and  involved a Detroit woman named Ann Keenan. Keenan was the sister of Romney’s brother-in-law and after an illegal abotion, she died from an infection . At the time, Romney’s father, George was the Governor of Michigan and the Keenan family wanted to keep the matter quiet.

Essentially what Salon discovered is that there is nothing new or political salacious about Romney’s claim.

But the issue still nags Romney, especially since he changed his mind on the topic and after using such a poignant story to support his original position. The issue of flip-flops will continue to weigh heavily on Romney’s campaign. The more he remains in the front of the Republican field, the more his position changes on the issues will be discussed. The fact that he now opposes for the nation, much of the Massachusetts healthcare plan that he help create and signed in to state law, only makes matters worse.

In the video clip below, talk show host David Pakman harps on this point.

Pakman is a young and fast rising radio/television talk show star. He is kind of the Doogie Howser of talk shows. He describes himself as “very liberal on social issues, center-left on financial issues”. In other words he is a left winger. But that does not negate his point and if Romney is going to be our nominee, we will have to hope that Barack Obama can’t exploit the issue as well as David Pakman does.

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Ted Kennedy Haunts Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share    Politico recently unearthed an unaired television commercial from the 1994 Senate race that pitted Mitt Romney against Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts (see the ad below this post). The ad offers a glimpse of just how devastating an effect good opposition research can be in the hands of a well run campaign. The campaign ad claims that upon taking over Bain Capital, Romney laid off thousands and saved the firm only by taking federal bailout money.

At the time the Kennedy campaign deemed it unnecessary to air the commercial because of their strong lead in the polls. But according to Politico a former Kennedy advisor now decided to reveal the spot.  And therein lies what is most interesting here. Why would a Democrat release a damaging ad against Mitt Romney 27 years later? Why was it not released by this Kennedy advisor in 2008 when Romney made his first run for the presidency?

In the world of politics, one of the most accurate axioms is “the friend of my enemy is my friend“. That being said, not only was Romney not as big a threat in ’08 as he is now, the Kennedy ally who disclosed this attack ad, could have been prompted to do so by one of the Republicans challenging Romney for the presidential nomination. But at the same time, any Ted Kennedy advisor is likely to be a devout liberal who hardly wants to see President Obama defeated in 2012. So the two sides, one of Romney’s Republican opponents, and the unnamed Kennedy ally, probably joined forces.

If so, the opposition research team of the challenger who prompted the revelation of this attack piece, without getting blamed for it, was brilliant.

If  it was not prompted by one of Romney’s Republican opponents, than it becomes obvious that Democrats are quite threatened by the prospect of a Romney presidential campaign.

Either way, it is quite obvious that Romney’s opponents on both sides of the aisle do fear that the public perception of Romney having a superior economic credibility is a strength that could marginalize all of them when it comes time to vote, including in the general election.

As for the attack itself, there is a possible disconnect. It is more than likely that the layoffs and federal bailout spoken of in the ad were set in motion prior to Romney’s taking the helm at Bain. Nevertheless, Romney will have to spend time explaining away the charges and controlling the damage that the charges create on his strongest suit…..….jobs and the economy. In addition to his need for perpetual damage control on RomneyCare, even though none of the current declared Republican presidential candidates have been able to unseat Mitt as the frontrunner, the combination of these to issues could allow a yet unannounced candidate to easily run the ball right through the middle.

The only thing really on Romney’s side right now is time.

The decision to reveal this powerful ad now was not really good strategy. To release an ad as potent as this one, this early in race and in the middle of the lazy days of summer when most people are not focused on the presidential election, gives Romney more time to do the damage control that is required.

But can he do enough of it and how long can he continue to defend ground without gaining ground?

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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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Pawlenty Pummels Romney With “Obamneycare” in Republican Debate Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Generic Romney Video Proves That Mitt Can Talk, But That’s About It

Bookmark and Share    Four days after making his campaign for President official, Mitt Romney has emailed supported a new video. 

It is 1 and half minute feel good video, which uses quotes from his announcement speech in Stratham, New Hampshire, in an attempt attempts to convey Romney’s passion for the belief in the American dream.

In truth, the video is quite generic and innocuous, and does little to persuade anyone to vote for him.  It  can only be considered a tool to use to offer a favorable first impression of Romney to anyone who has never heard of him before.  While it certainly shows that Romney can speak, it does little more than that.

Below is the actual email and video sent by the Romney campaign

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MREmailBlue

Dear Friend,

We wanted to give you the opportunity to be one of the first to see our latest campaign video “In America:  Anything Is Possible.”   As Americans, even though we all come from very different walks of life, our belief in America is centered on the same core principles. We hope you enjoy the video and share it with your friends and family. We hope you enjoy the video and share it with your friends and family.

Thank you for your continued support.

Best,
Gail Gitcho
Communications Director

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Santorum Bases His Candidacy on a Fight for America’s Freedom, Against President Obama

Bookmark and Share While New York liberal, Anthony Weiner captured Monday’s headlines with his admission that he is a member of Congress who is a liar that denied his penchant for the proliferation of porn on the internet that featured his own member, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a candidate known for his conviction to values and moral decency, was citing the real promise that our nation was founded on, as the foundation for which he based his decision to officially run for President.
 
In his speech delivered in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, Santorum hammered President Obama on everything from his unwillingness to wisely use our nation’s resources, to amassing a debt that will cost future generations 40 cents on every dollar.  “Who are you, Mr. President, to say that you, and your Administration should take 40 cents out of every dollar, and borrow it from future generations to prop you up” said Santorum. 
 
But what the former Senator used to really pummel the President with was Obamacare.  For him Obamacare is the primary example of what is wrong with the thinking of the current Administration and it was used as the basis for his theme……..keeping Americans free. 
 
Santorum made the case that our nation was founded by people who did not want to live  where their rights were granted to them by Kings, but instead to live in a nation where they were free to exercise the unalienable rights granted  by God.  He argued that the purpose of America is to be free yet under the current Administration, that freedom is at stake.  He added;
 
“We are facing a time when we have a group of people led by President Obama who believes that America’s greatness is in government , not its people . And there is one singular act that is the lynchpin and that is Obamacare”
 
According to Santorum, Obamacare is designed to take power away from the people and make them dependent by hooking them up to government with an IV.
 
“They want to hook you. They do not want to free you. They do not want to give the opportunities. They believe in themselves, the smart people, the planners” , said Santorum
 
In a reference to Margaret Thatcher, Santorum made the case that Obamacare, was the greatest example of the type of
legislative threat to our freedom and prosperity that we must make a priority in turning back and repeated the words of Lady Thatcher who after doing an assessment of her time in office, compared to Ronald Reagan’s time in office and stated;
 
“I was never able to accomplish in England, what Reagan accomplished in America, and it was one thing that stood in my way….the British national healthcare system.”
 
Senator Santorum wrapped up his remarks  by describing how in 2008 Americans wanted a President they could believe in, but President Obama took that faith that the American public gave him, and “wrecked our economy, centralized government, and robbed people of their freedom” and concluded by saying;
 
” I believe now that Americans are not looking for someone that they can believe in.  They’re looking for a President Who believes in them.   Fellow Americans, it is our watch, it is our time…it is our time for all of us  to step up and do what America requires us to do.  I’m ready to lead.  I’m ready to do what has to be done for the next generation.  with the courage to fight for freedom, the courage to fight for America.  That’s why I am running for the President of the united States.  Join the fight!”
 
While this speech was not enough to propel Santorum to the head of the pack, no one speech could have.  But this one did demonstrate that he understands the conservative ideology that, if articulated right, can defeat President Obama.  And while many discount the Senator as a one issue candidate, it is clear to me that if his opponents believe that, they can easily be blindsided by an underdog who has been known to come from behind in the past.    So while expectations for him in the G.O.P. field may not be high, he should not be underestimated.  If he can raise a sufficient enough war chest to stay in the race, he will at the very least raise some eyebrows.  And based upon what is a proven conservative record and his ability to convey the sense that he truly understands what lies at the heart of conservatism, if given a chance by voters, Santorum will be one of those candidates who makes the Republican nomination contest a real horse race.    
 
 
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Mitt Romney’s Presidential Run ……a Mix of Promise and Doubt

Bookmark and Share   On Thursday, Mitt Romney made his much anticipated campaign for President official in a speech delivered in Stratham, New Hampshire. (See below this post for a complete transcript of Romney’s speech)

In the days since the kickoff of his campaign, Romney has shaped his message in a way which helps make him seem as though he is already the Republican presidential nominee and is already running directly against President Obama. While all the Republican presidential opponents are running against President Obama’s record, for his part, Romney has been able to articulate his case in a way that makes the race a more personal one between him and President Obama.

The strategy is one that is meant to build upon Romney’s tentative hold on to frontrunner status and elevate him from being just one of the Republicans vying for the nomination, to being President Obama’s natural opponent. Following his announcement, in interview after interview, Romney’s aggressive verbal attacks upon the President are designed to convey a sense of his differences between the President as being not just political, but personal. On the surface, in an atmosphere where the focus is on going out of one’s way to insure that discoursed is civil, Romney’s strategy may seem counterproductive. However; in his quest to wrest the nomination away from his Republican opponents, this approach works.

Among activist Republican voters, the base of the Party, the 2012 election is personal.

Over the last three years, President Obama’s policies have been so extreme that they have offended Republican senses. As such, Romney’s personalization of his opposition to the President pays off. Through the natural effect of media coverage, not only does this approach help to create the impression that Romney is President Obama’s opponent is a foregone conclusion, it also helps Romney connect to average Republican voters on an emotional level. That type of connection is something which Romney lacks and sorely needs.

In his 2,363 word announcement, the former Massachusetts Governor painted himself as the perfect anti-Obama. Despite his creation of RomneyCare in the Bay State, Mitt described himself as a limited government Conservative who, unlike President Obama who has grown government and debt, he has consolidated agencies, cut programs, sold state property and cut taxes nineteen times. On RomneyCare, Romney continued to describe his program as a “state solution to a state problem”, insinuating that it was never intended to be a prototype to be used by the federal government to take power away from the states.

Romney used his speech to hit President Obama on everything from being “determined to undermine our longtime friend and ally”, Israel, to suppressing the entrepreneurial spirit that lies at the heart of America, with increased taxes, “record-breaking mounds of regulation and bureaucracy”, and by giving more power to union bosses. But most of all, Romney crafted a message that created an image of a President who does not understand America and does not have the ability to take America in the right direction. On the flipside, Romney made a case for his being the strongest choice for the United States on the most pressing matter facing the nation ——– the economy.

Mitt stated a litany of personal experience with business creation and superior managerial skill that ranged from helping innovative startups to large companies, to his saving of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic games. As for government experience, Romney spoke of his ability to face a nearly $3 billion budget hole with a state legislature that was over 85% Democrat and after vetoing them 800 times, never raised taxes and balanced every budget, restored a $2 billion dollar rainy day fund, and kept Massachusetts schools first among all 50 states. In general, Governor Romney made clear that ultimately, he intends to makes this campaign all about the economy, the issue President Obama is most vulnerable to.

Overall, Mitt Romney made a compelling case against President Obama and for himself.

But will it be enough?

I believe Mitt Romney has a long way to go to prove to some that he truly believes in the positions that he takes. For Right-to-Life voters, he must prove that he truly believes in defending the sanctity of life. To Tea Party activists and conservative base voters, he must prove that his implementation of RomneyCare was not an example of a government-centric mentality indicative of a man who does not believe that government is more a problem than a solution. But perhaps the greatest challenge facing Romney will be his need to compete in a very anti-establishment environment.

In the end, the Republican nomination contest will come down to two or three candidates who each represent, the establishment or the anti-establishment, TEA movement candidate. Will Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, or Michelle Bachmann end up being the anti-establishment candidate? And who will be the establishment candidate? Could that person be the former Ambassador to China and Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Senator Rick Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney?

Right now, with others like Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Jeb Bush, Mike Pence, and John Thune, out of the running, Romney is the establishment’s frontrunner. But barely. This makes Romney’s challenge twofold. Not only will he have to win the primary within the primary to be the establishment candidate while Gingrich, Santorum, Huntsman and others hammer at him hard, if he can win that competition, he must then compete against the anti-establishment, TEA movement candidate.

Right now, the anti-establishment vote is divided by fewer candidates than the establishment class of candidates. In fact, if people like Palin, Bachmann, and now even Michigan Congressman Thad McCotter ultimately decide not to run, this vote is left all to the charismatic Herman Cain.

Combined with Mitt Romney’s very weak frontrunner status, all these factors make the 2012 Republican presidential nomination a very untraditional one and can easily leave Romney behind and produce a more untraditional Republican presidential nominee.

Transcript of Romney’s Speech

Thank you for coming. And I want to thank Doug and Stella Scamman for hosting us on their beautiful farm.

You know, everyone here today can tell a different story. We have different backgrounds and we wake up in the morning and go to different jobs … or, look for different jobs. We go to different churches or maybe don’t go to church so much. I bet some of you have families who go back 200 years or more in New Hampshire. And there must be some who just snuck in across the border, from Massachusetts. I hear the taxes are better over here.

But here we are on a beautiful June day coming together to begin a process that we often, quite naturally, take for granted. But it is really one of the great achievements in the history of the world. For all of our country’s wealth and influence, those are not the source of our greatness. The true strength of America is self-rule, and a government that answers to a free and independent people.

We live in the most powerful nation that ever existed. And it all goes back to a few men and women who had the courage to stand – and even die – for their belief in liberty and equality. Because of their vision, the United States of America is not ruled by a monarchy or controlled by an aristocracy. Though sometimes folks in Washington might act otherwise, we don’t have a House of Lords with inherited power. And as the Red Sox like to remind the New York Yankees, there are no dynasties in America.

Who rules this great nation?

You do. Every four years you decide who will give that State of the Union address, who will set the course of the country, who will be Commander in Chief.

What’s true right here in this New Hampshire farm has always been true in America. Though each of us is different, though each of us will choose to walk a different path in life, we are united by one great, overwhelming passion: We love America. We believe in America.

Today we are united not only by our faith in America. We are united also by our concern for America.

This country we love is in peril. And that, my friends, is why we are here today.

A few years ago, Americans did something that was, actually, very much the sort of thing Americans like to do: We gave someone new a chance to lead; someone we hadn’t known for very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place.

At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a President he would make. It was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to office, we wished him well and hoped for the best.

Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by.

Barack Obama has failed America.

When he took office, the economy was in recession. He made it worse. And he made it last longer.

Three years later, over 16 million Americans are out of work or have just quit looking. Millions more are underemployed.

Three years later, unemployment is still above 8%, a figure he said his stimulus would keep from happening.

Three years later, foreclosures are still at record levels.

Three years later the prices of homes continue to fall.

Three years later, our national debt has grown nearly as large as our entire economy.

Families are buried under higher prices for food and higher prices for gasoline.

It breaks my heart to see what’s happening in this country.

These failing hopes make up President Obama’s own misery index. It’s never been higher. And what’s his answer? He says this: “I’m just getting started.”

No, Mr. President, you’ve had your chance. We, the people on this farm, and citizens across the country are the ones who are just getting started.

I visited with a family, Kathy and Dave Tyler, who live in a suburb north of Las Vegas, Nevada. You probably know families just like them. They’re in their early forties, a couple who had worked hard, sacrificed to buy a home in a good neighborhood, the sort of place they wanted their daughter Allie to grow up. But now that neighborhood is being crushed by this Obama economy. First their neighbors started losing their jobs … and then their homes. And all around them now are abandoned houses … and abandoned dreams.

When the Tylers wake up in the morning and get Allie off to school and then go to work and do everything they can to make it to the end of the month and hold their lives together, it doesn’t matter if they are Republican or Democrat, Independent or … Libertarian. They’re just Americans. An American family.

And across the richest, greatest country on earth, there are millions of American families like the Tylers. Folks who grew up believing that if they played by the rules, worked hard, that they would have the chance to build a good life, with steady work and always that possibility to work a little harder and get ahead.

And in that America, you don’t wonder if your children will have a better life. You know they will. You know it the same way we know that tomorrow morning the sun is going to come up in the East right over this field.

That confidence in a better tomorrow defines us as Americans.

When generations of immigrants looked up and saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time, they surely had many questions and doubts about the life before them, but one thing they knew without a doubt is that they were coming to a place where anything was possible — that in America, their children would have a better life.

I believe in that America. I know you believe in that America. It is an America of freedom and opportunity. A nation where innovation and hard work propel the most powerful economy in the world. A land that is secured by the greatest military the world has ever seen, and by friends and allies across the globe.

President Obama sees a different America and has taken us in a different direction.

A few months into office, he traveled around the globe to apologize for America.

At a time of historic change and great opportunity in the Arab world, he is hesitant and uncertain. He hesitated to speak out for the dissidents in Iran, but his Administration boasts that he is “leading from behind” in Libya.

He speaks with firmness and clarity, however, when it comes to Israel. He seems firmly and clearly determined to undermine our longtime friend and ally. He’s treating Israel the same way so many European countries have: with suspicion, distrust and an assumption that Israel is at fault.

To his credit, the President ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. In Afghanistan, the surge was right, announcing a withdrawal date was wrong. The Taliban may not have watches, but they do have calendars.

Here at home, the President seems to take his inspiration not from the small towns and villages of New Hampshire but from the capitals of Europe.

With the economy in crisis, his answer is to borrow money we can’t afford and throw it at Washington bureaucrats and politicians. Just like Europe.

Instead of encouraging entrepreneurs and employers, he raises their taxes, piles on record-breaking mounds of regulation and bureaucracy and gives more power to union bosses.

Instead of recognizing the states rightful authority to solve problems, he seizes power from them and rams through a disastrous national health care plan.

This President’s first answer to every problem is to take power from you, your local government and your state so that so-called “experts” in Washington can make those choices for you. And with each of these decisions, we lose more of our freedom.

You and I understand this. We look at our country, and we know in our hearts that things aren’t right, and they’re not getting better.

President Obama’s European answers are not the right solution to America’s challenges.

In the campaign to come, the American ideals of economic freedom and opportunity need a clear and unapologetic defense, and I intend to make it — because I have lived it.

Twenty-seven years ago, I left a steady job to join with some friends to start a business. Like many of you, it had been a dream of mine to try and build a business from the ground up. We started in a small office a couple of hours from here and over the years, we were able to grow from ten employees to hundreds.

My work led me to become deeply involved in helping other businesses, from innovative startups to large companies going through tough times. Sometimes I was successful and helped create jobs, other times I was not. I learned how America competes with companies in other countries, what works in the real world and what doesn’t.

I left my business in 1999 to help put the Salt Lake City Olympics back on track. And when the Games were over, I came home to Massachusetts and served as governor.

I’d never held office before but I went at it like I ran businesses and the Olympics: ask tough questions and take on the toughest problems first, because they’ll only get worse.

When I took office, I faced a nearly $3 billion budget hole. My legislature was over 85% Democrat. The expectation was that we’d have to raise taxes but I refused. I ordered a review of all state spending, made tough choices and balanced the budget without raising taxes. That sent a message that business as usual was over.

Over the next four years, we consolidated agencies, cut programs, sold state property and cut taxes nineteen times. The state was giving away over a billion dollars in free health care, much of it to people who could have paid something but were gaming the system. You won’t be surprised that a lot of Democrats thought we should be giving away even more.

I took it on and hammered out a solution that took a bad situation and made it better. Not perfect but it was a state solution for a state problem. At the end of four years, it took over 800 vetoes but we balanced every budget, restored a $2 billion dollar rainy day fund and kept our schools first among all 50 states.

All of these experiences — starting and running businesses for 25 years, turning around the Olympics, governing a state — have helped shape who I am and how I lead. Of course, if I ran through a list of all my mistakes, Ann would find it hilarious, and we’d be here all night. But I’ve learned a lot.

Turning around a crisis takes experienced leadership and bold action. For millions of Americans, the economy is in crisis today, and unless we change course, it will be in crisis for all of us tomorrow.

Government under President Obama has grown to consume almost 40% of our economy. We are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy. I will cap federal spending at 20% or less of the GDP and finally, finally balance the budget.

My generation will pass the torch to the next generation, not a bill.

I will insist that Washington learns to respect the Constitution, including the 10th Amendment. We will return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs – and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare.

From my first day in office my number one job will be to see that America once again is number one in job creation. You know, if you want to create jobs, it helps to have had a job. I will make business taxes competitive with other nations, modernize regulations and bureaucracy and finally promote America’s trade interests. It’s time for a president who cares more about America’s workers than he does about America’s union bosses.

Over the last thirty years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a situation is hopeless. But I’ve never been very good at listening to those people and I’ve always enjoyed proving them wrong.

It’s one of the lessons I learned from my Dad.

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 their honeymoon, he and Mom drove across the country. Dad sold aluminum paint along the way, to pay for gas and hotels.

There were a lot reasons my father could have given up or set his sights lower. But 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 the circumstances of birth are no barrier to achieving one’s dreams. Small business and entrepreneurs were encouraged, and respected, and a good worker could almost always find a good job.

The spirit of enterprise, innovation, pioneering and can-do propelled our standard of living and economy past every other nation on earth.

I refuse to believe that America is just another place on the map with a flag. We stand for freedom and opportunity and hope.

These last two years have not been the best of times. But while we’ve lost a couple of years, we have not lost our way. The principles that made us a great nation and leader of the world have not lost their meaning. They never will.

We know we can bring this country back.

I’m Mitt Romney. I believe in America.

And I’m running for President of the United States.

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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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