Does Newt Really Have The Momentum to Keep Winning?

Bookmark and Share  If one were to look at Florida, the answer is yes.

Since his exceptionally strong, first place, landslide victory in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Newt Gingrich has at least temporarily established himself as the only candidate with momentum on his side.

Ron Paul, and his supposed ever growing massive number of supporters doesn’t seem to be quite as massive or as rapidly growing as once thought, since his last place showing in South Carolina, and he has all but conceited the election and admitted that he is just in this thing not win, but to pick up enough delegates to finally become politically relevant.

Rick Santorum, has gone from being the surprise underdog winner of the Iowa Caucus to being the man who many question why he is still running.  And Mitt Romney has seen himself gone from a frontrunner and the inevitable nominee, to being the candidate who many are  beginning to feel that if he hasn’t locked up the nomination yet, he may never do it.

But Newt Gingrich’s recent resurrection, from political death which propelled him to become the winner of the first in the South Primary has clearly set the stage for him to finally hit a stride that will make this a two man race between himself and Mitt Romney.

In less than 24 hours of his winning South Carolina, Newt raised a million dollars and since than he has more than doubled that total. Furthermore; in Florida, Gingrich has opened seven  offices with two more yet to be opened, hired 14 paid staffers and signed up 5,000.  By contrast, Romney’s campaign had just five staffers and three offices in Florida by early this week. And on top of that, when it concerns the polls, Gingrich has gone from 27% last week, to 35% this week, a swing of eight percent which now finds Romney falling two percent and in to second place.  Such dramatic numbers would certainly indicate that Newt has the wind at his back, while Romney and the others are now encountering strong headwinds in Florida.

Normally, even though these are solid signs for Newt, I would not be very confident in his ability to keep this recent turn of events moving in his direction.  In the past Newt’s proclivity for the untraditional has forced him to rely on instincts which motivate him to go with unconventional strategies, strategies which, like his previous attempt to attack Mitt Romney from the left and go off the deep end by distorting Mitt’s record of success in the free market, have hurt him.  However after Monday night’s debate, Newt demonstrated a degree of political maturity which he has not often displayed prior to now.  He carried himself as a humble frontrunner and held back any desire he may have had to respond to Mitt Romney’s own distortions with any exaggerated flare that could have undermined Newt’s credibility.  Instead it was Mitt Romney who appeared to be desperate and stretching to find any fatal flaws in Newt Gingrich’s record.

In addition to that, up to now, Newt has not had the type of financial resources that permitted him to to take proper advantage of media advertising which helps to carry his message beyond the audiences that may sit and watch the debates which he typically excels in.  And at the same time, even though Mitt Romney has already spent upwards of $10.5 million on Florida advertising,  he is losing ground.  This bodes quite well for Newt who with his coffers filling up, and with the aid a $5 million single donation to a Gingrich Super PAC in Florida, can now chip away at the dominance of Romney’s campaign in the Sunshine State.

But that’s not the only reason I remain optimistic for Newt at least in Florida.

In his attempt to stop the newtmentum, Romney seems to be making some of his first strategic stumbles.  In the most recent debate, while hoping to paint Newt as a Washington insider and influence peddler, he brought up the issue of Medicaid Part D and claimed that Newt was paid by health companies that could benefit from a piece of legislation, to lobby Congress Medicaid Part D’s passage.  During Monday’s debate he said to Gingrich;

“If you’re getting paid by health companies, if your  entities are getting paid by, and you then meet with Republican congressmen and  encourage them to support that legislation, you can call it whatever you  like. I call it influence peddling” .

The argument could potentially have legs, but not in Florida, where the nation’s largest population of senior citizens benefitted from the program and where Gingrich successfully dismissed Romney’s claims and accused Mitt of being a serial twister of the truth.   Gingrich countered Mitt’s charge in part by stating

 “I think it’s pretty clear to say that I have never,  ever gone and done any lobbying,”

 He also added that he was  proud of the fact that he publicly, openly advocated the prescription drug program.

That last statement was essentially the punch that ended and won that round for Newt.  It successfully appealed to the very large senior citizen voting bloc in Florida, the voters who when it’s time to cast their ballots, happen to turn out in the largest numbers .

Additionally, Romney seems to be counting on tieing Newt Gingrich to the tide of foreclosures in Florida.

Florida took a hit second only to Nevada in the housing crisis and by claiming Newt made money from Freddie Mac which essentially oversaw the creation and bursting of the housing bubble, he is hoping that Floridians who lost their homes will see Newt Gingrich as the villain who profited from their losses.  The problem is that Republicans are not buying what Mitt is trying to sell in that area of political campaigning.  And another thing to note is that those individuals who lost their homes because they provided mortgages that they were not qualified for in the first place, are not voting for either Newt or Mitt.  So clearly, Mitt Romney is throwing a wildly wrong  pitch and throwing it to the wrong people.

Then there is something else working against Mitt in Florida.

Unlike the previous three contests, Florida is a closed primary.

In a closed primary or caucus, only registered members of a Party may vote in that Party’s primary and Independents, those not registered with either major Party, are not permitted to vote in either major Party’s primary. Democrats who may like Mitt Romney’s moderate image, will not be able to influence who Republicans nominate as their Party’s candidate.  This is the way I believe it should be.  It is also one of the reasons why Ron Paul has written Florida off.  Since his hero worshippers from outside of the G.O.P. and within the sphere of liberal-tarian lunacy, can not sabotage the Republican process, they are picking up their toys and not playing in the Sunshine State.  All of this is good news for Newt, who if he keeps it together, just might be able to extend his good fortune into the forseeable future.

But even if he does hold it together in Florida, he will still forced to confront some very rough seas.

Following Florida will be two contests that Mitt Romney so far looks unbetable in….Nevada and Michigan.  This will provide at least a psychological sense of momentum that swings back towards Mitt  and away from Newt.  When that time comes, Newt will have to confront his challenge, a challenge that will force him to prove he has the staying power to comeback, and put Romney back on the ropes.  So far Newt has proven that he has considerable political stamina, but if he wins Florida, he will have to turn that stamina in to a knockout punch that he can land sometime after Nevada and Michigan.  If he can’t land such a punch, Republicans could very easily end up seeing this race last longer than the 2008 Democrat nomination between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or worse…….maybe even the first brokered convention since 1976 when President Gerald Ford was almost dumped by the Party in exchange for future President Ronald Reagan.

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Gingrich Drops a Knockout Punch Money Bomb, Santorum Goes on the Attack, and Romney Tries to Stay Intact

Bookmark and Share   The three major candidates that will be moving on to compete in the Florida primary on January 31st, are all trying to set a tone that will allow them to come leave South Carolina with the type of momentum and enthusiasm that they will need to do as best as they can in the Sunshine State.

Following his third place showing in South Carolina, Rick Santorum, sent an email out to his supporters that tried to stress how this nomination is anyone’s to win.

According to Santorum’s email;

“For the first time, three different candidates have won the first three contests of the Republican nomination contest.  It’s a clear signal from voters that this race is still wide open. And that’s why we must keep the pressure on.”

Santorum goes a step further and tries to motivate his supporters by getting them angry at Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich while also taking swipes at their electability.  In the case of Mitt Romney, he writes;

“The Romney campaign is now nervous. Just a few weeks ago they were talking about a “clean sweep” in the first three primary states. Now it looks like they are one for three — just like our campaign and Newt’s.

That’s why the former frontrunner’s Boston-based consultants launched a series of misleading robocalls against me in South Carolina. I guess they think that’s the way to win elections.

I’ve got news for them. You can’t fool voters, and when you try, they turn on you. That’s why Romney’s campaign is on the ropes and, frankly, acting desperate.”

In regards to Newt Gingrich, Santorum states;

“Newt, on the other hand, thinks if he puts his ego on display, voters will like it. There’s no doubt Newt talks the talk. Problem is, when you look at his record, he doesn’t walk the walk. Leading Republicans have said nominating Newt would be “a disaster” for the Party. When I point that out, Newt starts attacking my “electability”. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Santorum adds;

Our campaign won’t stand for attacks like these. At the same time, we won’t sink to their level. I intend to continue pushing my positive, values-based campaign without taking cheap shots at my opponents. Voters who hear our message like what we have to say — and I will continue to draw a sharp contrast between our vision for America and that of President Obama’s.

For his part, moments after he delivered his remarks following the release of the Palmetto State primary election results, the now again, former frontrunner for the nomination, Mitt Romney, tried to convey a sense of urgency to his own supporters by trying to make them aware of how important Florida is to his campaign and letting them know this nomination contest is a real fight.  He stated;

“This is a hard fight because there is so much worth fighting for.  Tomorrow we take our fight to Florida — a state that knows too well the failures of President Obama.  A lot is at stake in Florida in 10 days. But we cannot stop there. The road to the White House this November will go through Florida.”

Right before he took to the stage in South Carolina to declare his first primary election victory, Newt’s campaign emailed supporters a message that was intended to insure that they remain motivated by their almost inherent disgust for the mainstream and Washington establishment.

Newt wrote;

“Our success in yesterday’s South Carolina primary is a result of one thing: a national movement of conservative patriots who want to see bold solutions enacted to rebuild the America we love. The political establishment in Washington and their allies in the liberal media have written our campaign off as dead – not once, but twice! But here’s something they couldn’t account for: the American people know that we need a Reagan conservative to debate Obama, to draw stark contrasts with Obama, and to make sure we defeat Obama!”

And in an attempt to undermine Rick Santorum, Newt also tried to establish himself as the one viable conservative alternative to Mitt Romney and uses Sarah Palin and Rick Perry as evidence of the type conservatives who are behind him.  He writes;

“Over the last few days, we’ve seen conservatives in South Carolina – and across the country – unify behind our bold campaign of ideas. With support from great conservatives like Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Michael Reagan, 100 Tea Party leaders, and millions of proud Americans it doesn’t matter how despicable the attacks from the media get, together we will continue to persevere. This election is about fundamentally changing the direction of our nation, and I am honored to represent the ideas of freedom and prosperity for the conservative movement.”

The Gingrich campaign then makes a pitch for some of the much needed money that they will have to raise if they intend to compete effectively against Romney in Florida.  They launch a money bomb called the “Knockout Punch” and Gingrich adds;

“If you want to watch us run circles around Barack Obama in the debates with bold conservative ideas, then please make a donation today as part of our two-day “knockout punch” money bomb! Help us solidify the conservative momentum, join our campaign today!

 Clearly, South Carolina has put the pressure on each of the three most serious   candidates remaining in the race.
Romney must finally try to convince conservatives that he really is one of them.  Rick Santorum must try to remain relevant by avoiding another third place showing.  And Newt Gingrich must try to prove that his landslide victory in South Carolina was not a fluke and that he really is capable of going all the way.
And with each of these three men having won one statewide nomination contest apiece, each of them wants to desperately break that tie.  Right now the money is on Romney in Florida, but if you recall, less than ten days prior to the South Carolina primary, the money was on Romney to win there too and look how that turned out for him.
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A Close Look at Newt Gingrich’s Landlside Victory in South Carolina

Bookmark and Share   Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina was nothing less than astonishing and while it marked Newt’s second return to life during this election cycle, it hardly makes the race for the Republican presidential nomination any clearer than it was after the two previous state contests.  What it did do though was make clear that Mitt Romney has some big problems.  So does Gingrich, but Newt’s problem seems to be more with the general electorate than the Republican electorate.

Final Results for the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary

According to a breakdown of the votes which produced an impressive 12% lead over Mitt Romney, the rival to come closest to him, in addition to so far winning 23 of the 25 delegates from the state, Newt won almost every single Republican demographic in the state.  He defeated all the other candidates among just about every voting bloc.  He took a majority of the vote among women, men, urban voters, suburban voters, voters with high school level educations and college educations, voters of all income brackets, and he even won a majority of votes among those who describe themselves not just as conservative Republicans, but even among those who describe themselves liberal Republicans.  However; Romney did beat Gingrich among self described moderates with 36% of them for Mitt,  to 31% for Newt.

Gingrich not only won a plurality of evangelical Christians, he won Catholics and Protestants, as well as both married and single voters.

The only demographics that Newt did lose were those between the ages of 18 and 29, and  those who said that a candidates religion either mattered very little in their choice of candidate, or not at all.

Ron Paul won the 18 to 29 year old age group with 32% of their vote, to 27% of their vote for Gingrich.  As seen in the table below, that 5% margin between Newt and Ron Paul tightens up in the older half of that age bracket, where 25 to 29 year olds gave Ron Paul 31% of the vote and Newt Gingrich 29% of their vote.

As for those who find little or no importance in a candidate’s sharing similar religious beliefs with them, Mitt Romney beats Gingrich by anywhere from 3 to 10%, as seen below;

The only real significance that can be found within those numbers have less to do with Romney and Gingrich, and more to do with Rick Santorum.

Last week, 150 national evangelical leaders gathered in Texas and decided to endorse Rick Santorum.  Their hope was to essentially unite the evangelical vote behind one of Mitt’s Romney’s rivals in an attempt to deny Romney the ability to win the nomination.  As I predicted at the time, the move did not work.  Clearly, evangelical voters said those 150 religious leaders can do what they want, because they were going to do their own thing.  In this case, they went for Newt, not Santorum.  As I stated at the time, those evangelical leaders did more harm to their cause than good. In addition to looking unorganized, they now look powerless and have diminished the amount of clout that their future endorsements may carry.

Meanwhile, while Ron Paul narrowly defeated Gingrich among the younest voters, who accounted for 9% of the total vote in South Carolina, he quite surprisingly lost two groups that he desperatley needed for a strong showing.

One of those groups were Independents.

South Carolina’s open primary system allows Independents to vote in the Republican primary.  This was the case in  Iowa and New Hampshire too, and in both those states, Independent voters were in fact the main reason Ron Paul did as well as he did in those states.  I have often stated, if left up to Republicans, Ron Paul is nothing but a second tier candidate and exit polls in South Carolina supported that conclusion.  But in addition to receiving the least support from Republicans, Ron Paul also lost the Independent vote. And not just to Newt Gingrich, but to Mitt Romney as well.

Among Independents, Gingrich beat Paul by 7%, and Mitt Romney beat Paul by 1%.

Another big defeat for Ron Paul was his loss of the military vote.

Ron Paul prides himself on a statistic which he uses to claim that he receives more support from our military service members, than any other candidate.  Paul likes to make this claim because he believes that his statistic regarding fundraising from servicemen and women, provides him cover for his reckless and dangerous isolationist foreign and national defense policies.  The suggestion is that if the military supports him more than any other candidate, they must like his defense and foreign policies and therefore, they are good policies.

If such were really the case though, South Carolina would be extremely fertile territory for Ron Paul to pull off an electoral coup in.  With several substantial military installations in the state, South Carolina has one of the largest active duty and veteran populations in the nation.  Between that and the state’s open primary system which allows Independents and even Democrats to vote in the Republican primary, if Ron Paul could win any state, South Carolina is that one.  But in addition to losing the Independent vote, Ron Paul also lost the military vote.  And not just by a little and not just to Newt Gingrich.  He lost to Rick Santorum by 4%, Mitt Romney by 20%, and Newt Gingrich by a whopping 27%.

In general, while the results were incredibly good for Newt in South Carolina, they were actually very embarrassing for Ron Paul.

All in all, these numbers help to establish that Newt Gingrich is most certainly a serious threat to Mitt Romney.

While South Carolina is not a the most accurate example of national consensus, it is a relatively good representative picture of national Republican sentiments and an even better predictor of Republican presidential nominees.  But if nothing else, it is a an excellent indicator of how tough it may be for Romney to survive the Southern primaries.

Florida will be the real test for both Romney and Gingrich though.

If there is any Southern state which Romney has an excellent chance of winning, it is Florida.

Florida, may be very Republican, and very conservative, but it has a significant Jewish population. The largest Jewish population in all the South.  That voting bloc tends to be more moderate and liberal, and therefore perfect prospective supporters of Mitt Romney, the man Newt describes as a “Massachusetts moderate”.   In the general election, this Jewish vote in Florida will be critical to winning the state and the presidency, and if recent history is any indication, they may easily be persuaded to vote Republicans, or at least against President Obama.

Several months ago, in a special election to replace disgraced New York liberal Congressman Anthony Weiner, a Republican won that heavily heavily Jewish congressional seat which crosses New York City’s counties of Brooklyn and Queens.  It is a district which has been in Democrat hands for practically a hundred years, yet thanks to a Jewish vote that is very unhappy with President Obama and his policies with Israel and his horrible treatment of Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, Jewish voters elected a relatively conservative, Republican to replace Anthony Weiner.

This all means that the Jewish vote will be quite important and in Florida, it could make the difference between winning and losing in the primary between Mitt and Newt, and winning and losing in the general election between President Obama and whoever the eventual Republican presidential nominee is.

If Newt were smart, he would be headed for Florida right now and direct his campaign operatives to focus in on the Jewish vote and accentuate what is Newt’s very real, very pro-Israel policy record.  As Speaker of the House, Newt accumulated an extremely powerful and very lengthy, positive record on Israel, and that record could provide the margin of victory for Newt over Mitt in Florida.

If Newt can prevent Mitt Romney from winning Florida, he will have a better than 50-50 chance at becoming the Republican nominee. The numbers behind the numbers  in South Carolina, support that.  But in order for Newt to reach those odds, he will have to undermine Romney’s strengths in the Sunshine State.  One of them is money.  Another is organization, and the other is the moderate and liberal element of the Republican Party.  Newt will have the support of conservatives and evangelicals, so long as he does not start attacking from the left again.  All he needs is to win over enough of the moderates to prevent Mitt from getting another Santorum-like 34 vote victory and his uphill battle for the big prize will get a lot less steeper.

For a more comprehensive look at the numbers behind the final election numbers you can visit here .

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Real Time South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Results

Final Election results of the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary

Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina and Becomes the Undisputed Alternative to Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share  In what can only be seen as a setback for Mitt Romney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich upended the political world with a significant victory in the first in South Republican Presidential Primary.

Despite bad weather in the interior sections of the state which contained some of the most favorable territory for Gingrich, the Georgia Republican overcame a massive, well financed, campaign effort for Mitt Romney that was led by South Carolina’s own Governor, Nikki Haley and upset the perceived frontrunner for the nomination and has gone a long way in establishing himself as the long sought after, undisputed conservative to Mitt Romney.

Early exit polls indicate that Gingrich did surprises well among most all demographics, including women, an important and significant voting bloc which many felt would be problematic for Newt because of  two divorces and a history of marital indefinite.  This problem was compounded by a recent ABC Nightline News interview with Gingrich’s second wife Marianne Gingrich

One factor that cannot be ignored here is that these results were influenced not just by Republicans.  South Carolina has an open primary, which means that Independents can vote in the Republican nomination contest.  By all rights, such open primaries benefit Ron Paul’s more than any of the others.  Those Independent voters were largely responsible for the numbers that helped Ron Paul a third place finish in Iowa and a second place showing in New Hampshire.

Clearly, they did not boost Ron Paul’s fortunes in South Carolina but if they went to Newt and helped form his winning coalition in the palmetto State, it could be a sign that Newt may be a much better general election candidate than some have suggested to this point.

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The Complete ABC News Interview With Marianne Gingrich. Just What Newt Needed

 Bookmark and Share   Thursday night’s ABC News hit piece on former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has proven to be a blessing in disguise for his presidential ambitions [see the complete interview below this post]. While it may have stirred the pot, the truth is that if you disliked Newt Gingrich before you saw the interview, you will continue to find reason to dislike him.  And if you liked Newt or were at least open to his leadership direction prior to the interview with his ex-wife, you still like him and are still open to the prospect of his becoming President of the United States.

In other words, the interview that Marianne Gingrich and ABC News conducted in what Marianne admitted was an attempt to derail Newt’s campaign, did nothing to affect people’s opinion of him.  Recent polls would seem to bear that out.  But in another sense, the blatant malicious intent behind Marianne Gingrich and the unethical assault on Newt by ABC News did provide Newt with an opportunity.  An opportunity to successfully rally conservatives together in another widespread denunciation of the liberal media and their obvious liberal biases.  And few candidates have been able to do that better or more often than Newt Gingrich has.  Throughout the nearly 20 debates that the G.O.P. presidential candidates have particpated in, at least a third of all his extraordinary success in those debates is directly related to his ability to prove the media elites to be partisan hacks for the liberal establishment and essentially corporate satellites for the D.N.C.

Between the the timing of the ABC interview and the fact that everything Marianne stated was literally old news that she repeated in the same script she read to Esquire Magazine 10 years ago, not only was this Nightline interview not news, it was also totally unbalanced.

In a court of law, the testimony provided Marianne in her exchange with Brian Ross would have been considered tainted and the unreliable word of a hostile witness.  However; the court of public opinion is far less fair than a court of laws where ethics and rules are followed.  In the court of public opinion, the domain of ABC News, Newt Gingrich did not have an opportunity to cross-examine the witness.  In ABC News’ circus-like, court of public opinion Marianne Gingrich was not pressed to prove her accusations.  She was not asked to show evidence that proved she was telling the truth that she allegedly knew Newt would call her at night while lying with Callista, his eventual wife-to-be,  in the  bed of the Washington, D.C. apartment that Marianne and Newt called home.  But what does the truth have to do with news and journalism?

Ultimately, more people are realizing that not only is Marianne Gingrich an unrelaible character witness, more and more they seeing that the mainstream media is an unreliable source of actual facts and news.  They are seeing that networks like ABC are not even pretending to be non-partisan anymore and that when it comes to double standards regarding liberals and conservatives, the mainstream media is overloaded.  They see how while the deathbed cheating on Elizabeth Edwards by former Al Gore running mate and liberal North Carolina Senator John Edwards, was an  indisputable scandal because it involved a misuse of campaign funds that broke the law, there was not nearly as much attention paid to that breech of conduct and public trust as there is to what is nothing but a personal matter between Gingrich and his ex-wife.

Of course though, the left will accuse the right of having the double standard.

As ABC News reported in the Marianne Gingrich piece, the affair that Newt was having with Callista occurred at the same time Newt was leading the impeachment charge against President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewisnky affair.  The problem is that when you compare apples to oranges, all you have are two different items.  In this case, you have two different issues.  The Clinton impeachment had little to do with B.J. Clinton’s extramarital affair with a White House intern.  Liberals would like you to believe that, but the fact is that issue was not his semen stains on an interns blue dress, it was the fact that the Commander-in-Chief lied under oath to a grand jury.  The semen stains were merely evidence that proved the President was guilty of committing perjury.  That is a little something called a crime.  And according to the Constitution of the United States, certain crimes are impeachable.  Did anyone ever hear of Richard Nixon?

The whole Lewinsky impeachment debate  had little to do with what President Clinton lied about and everything to do with the fact that he lied and broke the oath he swore when giving his testimony involving the Whitewater investigation, and his presidential oath of office…….you know, the oaths in which you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, and swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Newt Gingrich was not on trial for breaking any laws and Marianne Gingrich was not sworn to tell the truth when she took ABC News up on the opportunity to exact revenge on her ex-husband.

Personally, for me, the whole episode did nothing but confirm thatof the mainstream media is sleazy and lacks integrity.

But it did also force me to question one thing about Newt Gingrich.  After seeing the frumpy, shrew-like, vindictive Marianne Gingrich in action, I couldn’t help but wonder what poor taste Newt had in the past.  What he saw in Marianne Gingrich, I will never know, but after listening to her, I can only  thank the good Lord that Newt came to his senses and gave that bitter Biddy what she deserved.

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Romney Makes Final Pitch to South Carolinians

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

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

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

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