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With Democrats fleeing the Democrat convention, the DNC has turned to local popular mayors.  Now, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will be providing the keynote address.  Not too long ago, Obama mistook Mayor Castro for a Whitehouse intern.

Along with Senator Claire McCaskill, several other prominent Democrats are skipping out, including nearly every Democrat from West Virginia.

Mayor Alvin Brown, D-Jacksonville, FL

But even among popular Democrat mayors, Obama is struggling to gain traction.  I have noted before how Mayor Alvin Brown of Jacksonville has been notably absent from Obama’s visits to the city.  Jacksonville.com reports that even if Mayor Brown was in town, he wouldn’t have been at the event.  While stopping short of endorsing Romney, Brown has stated that he intends to steer clear of the election and not get involved at all, including offering no endorsement for Obama.

He had no such inhibitions as a staffer for the Clinton Whitehouse.

Then again, Clinton and Obama are two completely different kinds of Democrat.  Clinton was a liberal, but he knew how and when to moderate.  Clinton understood that not only did business owners “build that”, but they were essential to a growing economy.  Brown understands the same thing and has been growing Jacksonville by going out and bringing business to town.  He hasn’t tried to grow the city through wasted stimulus spent on friends and campaign supporters, and in fact he has refused to raise taxes. Instead, he has cut the size of local government to close budget gaps.
If Obama had any illusions of bi-partisanship, support for businesses, or winning Florida, Mayor Brown is the type of person he would want to pursue for things like making key speeches at the convention.  Yes, Castro is more popular in San Antonio.  He got 82% of the votes (totaling about 34,000).  Brown on the other hand, with about 97,000 votes, only barely eked out a victory over his Republican challenger.  Or perhaps Obama believes that Texas is a more attainable prize than Florida.

Obama has already lost the Reagan Democrats, but he may also be in danger of losing the Clinton Democrats.  They won’t vote for Romney, but if they don’t vote for Obama, he’s sunk.

Today should be it

Mitt Romney should easily sweep a handful of blue states today, including New York and Pennsylvania.  If he does, I think the staunchest of conservative holdouts are ready to call it for Romney.  The only thing that will change the trajectory of the primary at this point would be if Romney’s performance is weak in any of these states.

Is that possible?  To a certain extent.  With Romney already the presumptive nominee, media coverage of the April 24th primaries has been minimal.  Additionally, any inhibition towards voting one’s conscience should be gone.   Romney’s refocusing on Obama is certainly not unwarranted confidence, but does signal an end to his scorched earth campaign that ravished his closest rivals.

Will Gingrich show any sort of proof of life in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, or Rhode Island?  Don’t count on it.  To be sure, there is a conservative underground in each of these states, most strongly in Pennsylvania.  But at the same time, they have been so marginalized by the liberal culture that “most conservative who can actually win” is deeply engrained.

My prediction is that Newt doesn’t break 40% in any of these states.  If that is the case, I am ready to call the 2012 primary for Mitt Romney.  However, if Newt can somehow mitigate his losses and mathematically survive today, he has some friendly states coming up in May.  He may still not survive to the convention fight he is counting on, but he would have a chance.  And something he hasn’t tasted in months: momentum.

Bad News for Romney?

Romney declared today to be a good day for his campaign.  The media easily agreed, following their template that Romney is already the nominee.  However, the good news may end up being all for Gingrich.  The long dead in the water conservative finally has what he has needed for a second resurgence: no competition for the social conservative vote.

In fact, Newt made the point today that he would love to get Santorum’s delegates.  Newt is right, he is far closer to what Santorum’s delegates want than Romney.  While Romney is far away ahead of both candidates on their own, together their delegates number more than 400.

Gingrich’s next hope for a good day won’t come until May 8th, and Romney is sure to sweep the blue states that vote on April 24th.  In fact, nearly certain victories in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island could seal the deal.

On the other hand, Gingrich could start a come back in Indiana and could win North Carolina and West Virginia with some hard work.  In fact, May should favor the remaining social conservative, culminating with the 155 delegates in Texas.  May could be enough to provide Gingrich with the convention floor battle he’s been hoping for.

On the other hand, without a strong ground game, and with limited funds and no media recognition that he even still exists, Newt may never have a chance at realizing the potential the Santorum exit has given him.

Santorum Will Remain in the Race Regardless of Where He Finishes In South Carolina

Bookmark and Share  According to officials in the presidential campaign of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum have stated that no matter where Santorum finishes in tonight’s South Carolina Primary, he will not drop out of the nomination contest and promises to campaign aggressively in Florida which holds its primary in 10 days.

Before polls even closed in the Palmetto State, it was already established that Rick Santorum is locked in a race for third place with Texas libertarian Congressman Ron Paul.

Whether he comes in third or fourth, a loss to both Romney and Gingrich who are locked in their own tight race for first place, would essentially put an end to any momentum that Santorum had after his surprise showing in Iowa several weeks ago.

Despite being endorsed by 150 evangelical leaders, pressure will begin to mount on Santorum to step aside, especially since while Gingrich is doing better the long race goes, Santorum is doing worse the longer the race goes on.

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These Debates Could Be Game Changers

Come on.  We’ve heard these candidates in just over one million debates so far this year.  Another one?  Another two actually, this weekend leading up to the New Hampshire debates.  And these two debates could definitely wreak havoc on the standings going into New Hampshire.

Mitt Romney is the undisputed front runner.  Ron Paul and Rick Santorum fans at this point are dreaming if they think their candidates are on a solid trajectory to win.  Not winning Iowa should be a clear sign to heavily religious social conservatives like Bachmann, Perry, Santorum and Newt that getting past Romney is going to be nearly impossible with a crowded field.  Bachmann got the hint, and Perry almost did.  As for Ron Paul, maybe if he runs two more times he can win enough support to break out of his traditional 5-10% polling finish.  Look, he’s already doing better this year than last time, and last time he did better than the time before.  That was Ross Perot’s and Ralph Nader’s problems.  They quit trying too soon.

Back to Mitt Romney.  You know he is back on the punching bag hook tonight, a place he hasn’t been since the very first debates.  Santorum wants a piece of him, Newt wants a piece of him, Jon Huntsman finally qualified for another debate and you know he wants to take Romney down a peg.  I think Perry will try to just get through the night and might take a few shots at Santorum.  As far as the #1 conservative attack dog of other conservatives, Michele Bachmann will not be there tonight to claim that Perry is in bed with pharmaceutical companies,  Newt Gingrich is pro-partial birth abortion and the number one Freddie Mac adviser responsible for the economic collapse, and whatever she might cook up about Rick Santorum while mostly leaving Paul and Romney alone.  So I think Romney will be taking the hits and the other candidates can relax their guard a little bit.

Now, on to the x factor in debates.  Newt Gingrich was finished this summer after his campaign collapsed and he proved he was in the top 1% by buying his wife jewelry.  I mean how out of touch can you get.  But, he has climbed back into contention through powerful and commanding debate performances.  Just two weeks ago, Gingrich was the front runner.  The difference between Gingrich’s fall and other candidates falls is that their demises can be tied directly to debate performance.  Bachmann with her claims about HPV and other wild attacks on the candidates, Perry with his glaring gaffe, Cain who offered 999 and 999, oh yeah and 999.  It wasn’t enough substance to save him when scandal gave nervous supporters a reason to doubt.  Huntsman affirmed his global warming stance.

Gingrich hurt himself with his illegal immigration stance, but his downfall can be attributed to the harsh attacks he faced over the last two weeks from Romney’s friends, paid allies, and former foes.  Ron Paul also attacked Newt, not Romney, with harsh ads in Iowa.  Paul has probably done the same math I have, but mistakenly thinks he has a shot with Newt’s base over Romney’s.

The debates are ad free.  They are also friend free.  The only way Romney can attack another candidate tonight without attacking that candidate directly is to pay off the moderator or a fellow candidate.  On that stage, it is going to be Santorum’s “what smells” debate face versus Perry’s memory versus Huntsman’s out of touch moderate stances versus Paul’s old shaky finger wagging versus Romney’s slick hair and nice demeanor versus Newt’s heavy hitting and quick wit and ideas.

If these debates garner an audience, this is all upside for Newt, and downside for front runner Mitt Romney and social conservative front runner Rick Santorum.  In an instance of incredible luck for the candidates in this New Hampshire debate, the New England Patriots get this weekend of playoff action off.

Be Careful Who You Pick As Friends

Ron Paul never had a chance.  It was part him and his abrasiveness,  part his foreign policy that he failed to connect with voters on.  For me, it was also his pro-choice in the states stance on innocent human life.  But one of the reasons Paul never connected with mainstream Republican voters who would normally be drawn to his small government message was his annoying, in your face, loud, obnoxious, and sometimes downright mean supporters.

In fact, much of Paul’s candidacy has seemed like a mean spirited romp that he frankly has had little control over.  A perfect example is the racist, black helicopter newsletter that he either edited, or in some cases signed, but claims to have never read.

One thing is clear, the friends of Ron Paul have not helped Ron Paul in this election.

Take note, Mitt Romney, your friends are getting out of hand too.  Romney is a great candidate.  He is a Reaganite, and I believed even in 2008 in his conversion to pro-life, pro-family issues.  He is cool headed on foreign policy, and great on fiscal conservatism.  I believe him when he talks about states rights and the tenth amendment separating what he did in Massachusetts from what he would do in the Whitehouse.  I’ve said before that I think it is criminal what his opponent did in 2008, insinuating that he was going to cut and run from Iraq.  I will admit that I had hoped Newt would run in 2008, but when he didn’t, I supported Mitt Romney.

Now Mitt needs to be careful.  His friends are getting a little crazy.  I have been chronicling Ann Coulter’s conversion from right wing radical conservatism to mainstream moderate in her love affair support for Mitt Romney, and it appears the conversion is complete.  In her latest newsletter, she blasts Rick Santorum as a “right wing zealot” and calls him a Catholic, not a conservative.

Coulter also lists why only Romney is electable.  Ready?  Pay attention kids.  If you were merely a congressman or congresswoman, you can’t win.  If you have a Texas accent, you can’t win.  If you ever had a business with prominent clients who did bad things later on in life, you can’t win.  If you are a Catholic, you can’t win.  If you have ever cheated on a spouse, you can’t win.  If you’ve been divorced, you can’t win.

Apparently, if you are a Mormon, you can win, but not if you are a Catholic.  If you started your career as a pro-choice candidate, you can win, but not if you ever had dinner with a pro-choicer.  If you instituted and still defend a personal insurance mandate you are electable, but if you at any time thought one would be a good idea, you are unelectable.  If you believe in Global Warming, you are OK by Ann.  If you do an ad with a Democrat saying you believe in generic climate change, forget it.

As John McCain taught us yesterday, campaign rhetoric is campaign rhetoric.  If Newt or Santorum wins, Coulter will have a lot of backstepping and bridge rebuilding to do.  Judging from what she says now, we might be tempted to think she would vote for Obama over Newt or Santorum.  Time for a reality check.  Coulter is in full campaign mode for Mitt Romney.  Give it a few months and we will get back the fiery, anti-liberal conservative Ann Coulter we used to know and love.  The question is if she will get us back.

Perry hopes we are laughing WITH him

Idea for a better Perry debate performance...

Following an awkward and frankly embarrassing stumble at the GOP debate in Michigan, Rick Perry made things all better by poking fun at himself on David Letterman.  Actually, if this was 2000 and Perry was running against George W. Bush and John McCain, this wouldn’t have been that bad a move.  On the other hand, even George W. Bush did well enough at the debates that whackos on the left thought he had a transceiver hidden between his shoulderblades.

Going on latenight television is not unheard of at all for candidates.  But for GOP’ers it usually doesn’t fare as well as for Democrats.  Letterman is pretty notorious for a left leaning slant.  Perry’s delivery was also reminiscent of his debate delivery.  So will his Letterman appearance make everything ok?  Or was this Perry’s falling off the stage moment?  My guess is the later.  But here they are, Perry’s top ten excuses for forgetting something like what departments he would eliminate as President:

10. “Actually there were three reasons I messed up last night. One was the nerves, two was the headache and three was, and three, uh, uh. Oops.”

9. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I think things went well.”

8. “Hey, I was up late last night watching ‘Dancing With the Stars.'”

7. “I thought the debate was tonight.”

6. “Hey, listen. You try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you. That is one handsome dude.”

5. “Uh, el nino?”

4. “I had a five-hour energy drink six hours before the debate.”

3. “I really hoped to get on my favorite talk show, but instead I ended up here.”

2. “Hey, I wanted to help take the heat off my buddy Herman Cain.”

1. “I just learned Justin Bieber is my father.”

Well, don’t forget Mr. Perry: Republicans don’t want the candidate who can make them laugh.  They want the candidate who can beat Obama.

CNBC versus the GOP

Last night the GOP candidates went into hostile Michigan to face a hostile set of moderators who were booed into sticking to economic issues by the crowd after an unfair detour against Herman Cain.  In all, the night turned into somewhat of a circus.  Hopefully, the GOP will shun CNBC in the future, as this was the worst and most unprofessional case of moderation we have seen.    But aside from that, let’s get to the winners and losers.  First up…

It floored me when they tried to ask if companies should be making a profit or growing jobs.  Excuse me, but how the heck do you create jobs if you aren’t making a profit?? Gingrich’s response was beautiful. Watching the moderator rolling her eyes when Gingrich said a 30 second answer on healthcare was ridiculous was fun to watch.  But my favorite answer of Gingrich’s was on education, where he offered a real life example of a real life solution that addresses the issue of education that is getting exponentially expensive with much cheaper results.  As someone who works full-time, is a full-time grad student and has been in college for a decade following various business and religious pursuits, I connected with Gingrich’s answer and could not agree more.  This morning Neil Boortz in a morning phonecall to WOKV implied that Republicans needed to worry about who could beat Obama, not who would be the best President speaking of Newt Gingrich.  Bull.  Gingrich keeps winning debates because he is the smartest man on that stage.  And he made a joke out of those bombastic, rude moderators.

Rick Santorum did well.  This doesn’t mean anything, he still can’t win.  But he did highlight his leadership on things like medical savings accounts and gave viewers no reason to mark him down.  He has struggled in debates, but performed well last night.  Ron Paul also did a good job.  He avoided saying anything outlandish and produced a solid, constitutionalist approach.  Bachmann did well, but was once again forgettable.  Huntsman also did pretty well, though his attempt at “answer this in 30 seconds?” humor sounded like a lame, screwed up retelling of a good joke.

Mitt Romney needs to understand his precarious position.  He is stuck at 30%.  The rest of the GOP voters are looking for not-Mitt-Romney as their candidate.  His smoothness, economic savvy, and gaffe free debate performances have gotten him this far (along with a great deal of establishment money).  He needs to figure out how to get himself the rest of the way.  He has to find a way to make Social Conservatives trust him. Mitt, if you are listening, make a major statement in favor of state personhood amendments.  Consider that step one to breaking into the 40s in the polls.

Herman Cain also has hit a roadblock, but it is a policy roadblock.  I think many viewers were left with the feeling that if nuclear missiles were airborne from China heading for the US, President Cain would be on the phone with the Chinese President telling him how his bold plan, the 9-9-9 plan, could solve their problems by growing China’s economy.  9-9-9 is to Herman Cain what Windex was to Tula’s family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  This one dimensionalism will leave him open to a Gingrich rise.  On the other hand, Cain did very well defending himself against accusations which are more and more looking like racist smears from the Axelrod/Democrat machine.

Rick, Rick, Rick.  By the way, if you want to see the sexism of the left, just watch how long Perry’s crash and burn stays in the media cycle and blogosphere compared to a Palin or Bachmann gaffe.  Talk about not being ready for primetime.  I think Perry likes to start talking and get rolling, and that’s why he sometimes forgets what he was talking about mid-sentence.  No excuses.  You are running for President of the United States.  Running before you secure the ball is how you lose games.  Running your mouth before you have your answer and grasp on the issues is what makes Presidents say stupid things.  E.g. Barack Obama talking about police officers who arrested his professor friend.

Newt’s rebirth: Romney’s innocence: Cain’s oops

Give Newt a chance?

That seems to be the message coming from GOP grassroots following another commanding debate performance in Nevada.  Newt Gingrich is announcing on his Facebook page that contributions over the last four days have exceeded what he took in for the entire month of July.

With some of this campaign cash, Newt is making moves in New Hampshire and hopes to hit other early states as well.

To date, Newt Gingrich’s campaign was slowed by an apathetic start, low fundraising, and staff defections.  The general mood towards Newt Gingrich has been that everyone will admit he is the smartest man in the room, but nobody thinks he can get elected.  Un-electability has cost him financial support in a catch 22 situation where he has found it hard to raise the sort of excitement that gets people to fork over even small donations.  In many cases people like Newt in theory, but can think of better things to spend their cash on.

Newt also has the misfortune of having a public record far longer than any other candidate out there.  From the Clinton impeachment to his three wives, Newt has plenty of baggage.  However, none of this baggage is fresh.  This could prove to be an advantage over candidates who have made much more recent slip ups that are fresh in people’s minds.

Romney’s Illegal Aliens

Rick Perry may have made a critical error in attacking Mitt Romney for “hiring illegal aliens”.  This was a flimsy charge when it was made in 2008 and has not become any more serious since then.  Such a mean spirited attack on such a baseless charge is not what Republicans want to see candidates doing to each other.  Perry may be believing some of the religious conservative hype coming from his side of the ring: that getting rid of Romney is as high a priority as getting rid of Obama. 

Most conservatives would rather see Obama go, even if it means electing someone not as socially conservative.  Romney is not going to go down over this illegal immigration charge, and for a good reason.  Romney didn’t hire illegal aliens.

In fact, as an accountant myself, I would wager that under the criteria given by Rick Perry I could discover illegal aliens that Rick Perry has “hired”.  Romney hired a legal US company to perform services for him.  That company broke the law and hired illegal aliens without Romney’s knowledge or direction.  When Romney found out, he gave them one chance to fix it and then fired them.

So, has Rick Perry eaten at any restaurants along the border?  Has he ever used the services of any company that hired illegal aliens?  Give me unfettered access to his check books and credit records and I can easily find you the illegal aliens Perry has “hired” by this criteria.

Besides, did Nannygate in the Clinton administration change one voter’s mind?  Stick to the Issues, Rick Perry.

Cain talking himself out of contention

For two straight debates, 9-9-9 has played a significant role in tax discussion.  Cain is tapping the anti-IRS Fairtax group in the country with step one on the way to a national sales tax.  But the Fairtax has always overpromised on things it could not deliver.  9-9-9 actually makes the Fairtax look pretty good.  Cain has lucked out so far since no candidate attacking his plan seems to understand his plan.  But eventually word will get out on some of the real flaws in it, such as the basis for the 9% corporate tax.

The 9% corporate tax is on gross minus purchases.  For service  intensive industries such as consulting firms, temp agencies, and other such businesses, that 9% tax could easily turn into an effective 90% tax or even higher.  How?  Picture a company that makes $1.1 million gross per year.  They are a consulting firm with $100,000 in expenses and $900,000 in payroll costs resulting in $100,000 in profit.  Under Cain’s plan, it they leave the $100,000 profit in the business, they will be taxed on 9% of $1 million, or $90,000.  Of course, $90,000 tax on $100,000 net profit is a 90% corporate tax.

Now Cain has made another misstep on abortion.  At the same time, he practically handed out endorsements to his two biggest competitors, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Cain continues to establish his amateur status and lack of political savvy.  Some voters will find that endearing, especially in our polished political world.  Others will start questioning just how much they can trust Cain to hold the line on important principles and give fast, correct answers in one of the most demanding jobs on the planet.

Time to thin the herd

All is not lost!  Yes, it was an ugly night for several GOP candidates.  Newt’s frustration with the format is certainly understandable.  It made for great television, but it was a bad debate.  However, there were some glimmers of hope, starting with the Vegas Champ…

Newt Gingrich.  I didn’t give Newt the win last time because I didn’t think his campaign would see a boost.  After this debate, I think it will.  Newt once again is the adult in the room.  He puts himself above the fray and really acts as a second moderator.  Voters should give Newt a second look.  Give Newt seven debates with Barack Obama and Obama might even drop out of the race before November.  I would love to see these debates as more candidates drop out and more time is given.  Newt has been so supportive of other candidates that his questions of other candidates carried a great deal of weight and were therefore more devastating.  Cain will not survive the 999 barrage, look for Newt to pick up steam.  Newt’s statement on faith put him squarely in the majority of conservative thought.  Newt’s biggest slip up was on appearing weak on states rights.  Another candidate who performed well, but likely won’t see much change because of it was…

Mitt Romney.  Romney was once again the big punching bag, and once again hit back.  He continued to defend his healthcare program as a state program and did pretty well.  But here Newt hit him hard on the big government aspect of it.    Romney kept his cool when being shouted down by Rick Santorum and talked over by Rick Perry.  Romney screwed up on Cain’s 999 plan trying to argue that Cain’s plan would add federal taxes to state taxes.  Excuse me, Mr. Romney, but you already pay bushels of apples and oranges.  Don’t feel bad, every candidate but Cain and Newt seemed to forget that 999 would eliminate our current tax code.  In the end, especially with no Huntsman, Romney’s got his support base solidified and did nothing to hurt that. Unfortunately, this is the last good report on a candidate performance in this review.  Although, it wasn’t terrible for everyone, especially…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele, Michele, Michele.  First, Obama took us to Libya, THEN, he took us into Africa!  Oops, Libya is in Africa.  But again, if Joe Biden can be VP, we shouldn’t be too hard on Bachmann for her frequent misspeaks.  Aside from that, she did well in another forgettable performance/turned stump speech.   As a tax litigation attorney though, I am disappointed in her evaluation of Cain’s 999 plan.  A VAT because every corporation in the manufacturing process pays 9%?  What does our current corporate tax do?  Same thing.  Shame on you Michele.  But most people won’t figure that out, so you’re good.  We will see if the media picks up on Bachmann’s idea of a $1 poor tax.  Bachmann won’t see any uptick from this debate.  Another candidate with no uptick or downtick…

Ron Paul. Paul is good on state’s rights.  The other candidates would do well to learn some things from him.  On the other hand, we heard a lot of the same platitudes and fuzzy one liners that leave us scratching our heads about if Paul actually has a viable plan.  Get rid of the income tax?  Oh, ok.  Is that like repealing Medicare part D?  Would be nice, but not a priority?  Paul came out with a new economic plan that cuts a trillion in spending.  Worth taking a look at, but didn’t get much play last night.  He will maintain his small support base, but with his vagueness and legend over substance approach this debate won’t give him a bump.  But at least he won’t lose support, like…

Herman Cain.  Cain gave the media some pretty good quotes last night.  Would he shut down Guantanamo to negotiate with terrorists?  Kinda sounded like it.  Apples and Oranges?  Cain, that is simply not Washington speak.  Cain looked amateurish.    He is an amateur though, so he may get a pass for the inability to articulate his 999 plan in a way that Americans can understand and latch on to.  Fortunately, his opponents weren’t much better.  In fact, only Newt seemed to have a clue how 999 works, but he wasn’t about to throw Cain a bone.  Cain right now is riding on populism, but poor debate performances can sink that ship (Bachmann, Perry).  In fact, I think it did sink two ships last night, starting with…

Rick Santorum.  Rick continues to be an advocate for the family.  He continues to present strong conservatism.  But his discussion with Romney early on just set a bad tone.  He reminded me of an angry teenager.  It was unprofessional and amateurish.  It’s been good to have Santorum in these debates for the most part, but after last night he needs to drop out and endorse a social conservative who can still beat Romney.  You’re not going to win, Rick Santorum.  At this point you are hurting more than helping.  But at least Santorum did better than…

Rick Perry.  Geez.  I don’t want to sound politically incorrect, but Perry seemed…slow.  Can we still use that term?  When Romney was answering and Perry was slowly drawling over him and droning on, I couldn’t help but laugh.  But it got worse as the night went on.  Perry, who gave instate tuition to illegals and opposes a full border fence, went after Romney for hiring a landscaping company that hired illegal aliens.  And that wasn’t the only 2008 unfair attack that Perry dug up.  Even when Perry made a good point (We need to uh, look at, uh the…darn, which amendment was it again?  Oh yeah, tenth amendment for uh…issues) it was lost in translation.  Perry was put in his place over and over.  It was a complete dud.  Even his distancing from Pastor Jeffers was not believable.  The best we got from Perry was a promise that next week he will have a tax plan. The good news is that even Rick Perry had a better week than…

Barack Obama.  Rumor has it, after a bunch of his tour supplies were stolen, that his teleprompter is currently being interrogated by Iranian sponsored Al Qaida terrorists in Mexico.  Although, there have also been alleged sightings of his teleprompter in Zuccoti park, smoking a joint and displaying a message about being overworked and underpaid.

Cain May Be on the Rise, But Romney Still Sees Perry as His Greatest Threat

Bookmark and Share    In advance of tonight’s CNN Republican presidential debate in Nevada, the two names that comprise what the media defined two man Republican race for the White House is, have issued new web ads.

For Mitt Romney it is one of his first attack ads.  Up to now, he has essentially been running a general election campaign which has presumed that he is the nominee.  But now, his campaign has produced a web ad designed to undermine what is supposed to be one of Rick Perry’s greatest selling points ……his record on jobs.  In the latest ad, Romney’s campaign points out that there are 1 millions Texans without a job, claims Texas is now suffering from its highest unemployment rate in 20 years, that nearly half the jobs that Perry created over the last 4 years went to illegal immigrants, and that unemployment has doubled in  Texas under Perry’s watch.  The ad starts and ends by comparing Perry to President Obama in the sense that both men are denying the truth about their records.

For his part, Rick Perry released his own web ads, which touts him as America’s “Jobs Governor”.  It begins with a Bloomberg News reporter’s voice stating how great Perry’s record on jobs is.  The rest of the ad uses video of Perry’s recent speech announcing his energy based jobs creation plan.

In comparing the two spots, Romney’s ad is more effective.  But together, both ads demonstrate how the truth cannot be established through statistics and that it is all a matter of choosing the metrics which allow you to make the case you want.

What is most interesting about this new series of ads, is Romney’s desire to focus on Rick Perry and not Herman Cain.

In recent weeks, Perry has plummeted in the polls and Herman Cain has skyrocketed, even to the point of surpassing Mitt Romney’s position in the polls.  Yet the Romney campaign saw fit to still go on the attack against Perry, not Cain.  This would seem to indicate that the Romney camp continues to see Rick Perry as the greatest threat to their winning the Republican presidential nomination.

Romney’s Ad

Perry’s Ad

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So a Mormon, a Pizza Salesman, and a Texas Governor Walk Into a Bar

Bookmark and Share  Today’s Presidential Punch Line comes to us from Doug McMurry;

“So a Mormon, a pizza salesman, and a Texas governor walk into a bar…..

The Mormon says, “I’ll have an O’Douls.”

The pizza salesman says, “I’ll have a Godfather, except make mine a 9-9-9, nine ounces of Amaretto, nine ounces of Scotch, over nine ice cubes…”

“Whoa!” says the governor, “That’s a fancy, Texas-size drink.”

The salesman says, “Yea, I was going to order a Scotch on the rocks, but… I thought you’d just paint over my rocks….” 

Now before you react, please keep in mind that scientists have found that four in ten people laugh at bad jokes………Ba dum tssshhh.  Just kidding.   Thanks to Doug for his submission.

White House 2012 welcomesmyou to send in your own presidential or political jokes, cartoons, images, and videos. If you have material that you would like considered for reproduction in White House 2012, send it to:

Who Members of Congress Are Endorsing for President

Bookmark and Share   In case your keeping track, the list below shows which memebers of Congress have endorsed, which Republican presidential candidates.

As you can see, Mitt Romney has so far garnered the most endorsments from Congress. All it really means is that Mitt Romney is indeed the establishment candidate. However some namesz are more important than others. Som emembers of Congress weild strong control over Republican organizations back in their home districts. That organizational support can translate in to enough votes to swsing a state’s primary to the candidate they get behind.

This is only a list of the endorsements from Republican Senators and Congressmembers and it is only as of today, Wdnesday, October 12th, 2011.

Soon White House 2012 will be making room for a central location that will list the endorsements that each of the candidates have recieved among other elected and elected non-officials, organizations, etc, etc.

Mitt Romney (25)

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Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.)

Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.)

Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.)

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah)

Sen. James Risch (Idaho)

Rep. Rodney Alexander (La.)

Rep. Judy Biggert (Ill.)

Rep. Rob Bishop (Utah)

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (Calif.)

Rep. John Campbell (Calif.)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah)

Rep. Ander Crenshaw (Fla.)

Rep. Jeff Flake (Ariz.)

Rep. Tim Griffin (Ark.)

Rep. Michael Grimm (N.Y.)

Rep. Joe Heck (Nev.)

Rep. Wally Herger (Calif.)

Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.)

Rep. Connie Mack IV (Fla.)

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.)

Rep. Buck McKeon (Calif.)

Rep. Mike Rogers (Ala.)

Rep. Todd Rokita (Ind.)

Rep. Tom Rooney (Fla.)

Rep. Mike Simpson (Idaho)

`

Rick Perry (10)

Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.)

Rep. John Carter (Texas)

Rep. Mike Conaway (Texas)

Rep. John Culberson (Texas)

Rep. Sam Graves (Mo.)

Rep. Kenny Marchant (Texas)

Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas)

Rep. Candice Miller (Mich.)

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (S.C.)

Rep. Steve Scalise (La.)

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Newt Gingrich (4)

Rep. Joe Barton (Texas)

Rep. Michael Burgess (Texas)

Rep. Jack Kingston (Ga.)

Rep. Tom Price (Ga.)

`

Ron Paul (3)

Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.)

Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.)

Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (N.C.)

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Welcome to the top, Herman Cain

The most recent debate is over, and Herman Cain is discovering what Rick Perry felt like when he was the front runner.  The way the debate went, there was clear recognition of Cain, Romney and Perry as front runners.  The other candidates almost seemed to be helping in the vetting process as though they were seeking to help Americans choose from one of those top three.   So here goes, the latest debate in retrospect.  And the winner is…

Romney back in the driver seat

Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney had some good news today.  He picked up an endorsement from Chris Christie, which is huge.  He also had some bad news.  Rush Limbaugh questioned Romney’s conservatism compared to other candidates and gave the death knell that took down Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.  Rush called him the Republican establishment candidate.  Still, Romney was his usual comfortable self.  His adopting the Trump doctrine on China will help build that portion of his base.  Cain did Romney a huge favor by asking him about his 59 point plan and giving him the chance to explain it and expound on it.  In fact, the questioning session turned into an opportunity for the other candidates to seem to vet the apparent front runner candidate.  Romney’s own question to Michele Bachmann was very gracious and showed the kind of class that simply makes Romney likeable.  Romney’s answer on Dodd Frank was pure gold.  He was polished and Presidential.  Romney still has to get a little bit stronger on his conservative stances and lose a bit of that obvious shine in order to pick up more of the anti-politician minded rightwing, especially the TEA party.  But for this debate, Romney managed to edge out…

Newt Gingrich.  Newt Gingrich is the best debater.  As the best debater, Newt spewed pure common sense.  His best was when he bluntly spoke about how absolutely stupid the debt commission is.  His answers put him above the fray and he maintained his mantra that any candidate on that stage would be better than Obama.  However, Newt did not get enough face time.  He took no arrows, shot no arrows at the other candidates, but simply did not have enough chances to speak to make a difference.  Newt has won several of these debates, but winning these debates is not enough for him at this point.  He must so completely knock each debate out of the park that everytime a front runner falls he is there to pick up the pieces.  In this case, he did not even mention his campaign’s new contract with America.  It was a lost opportunity.   So far he has not accomplished what he needs to do in these debates.  I can’t give him first, no matter how well deserved.  But as a representative of the Social Conservative flavor of this party, he did outperform…

Cain has his work cut out for him

Herman Cain.  Cain’s 9 9 9 plan finally got the inspection it deserved.  A striking moment was when Rick Santorum polled the audience on who wanted a new 9% sales tax, and who thought a 9% flat income tax would stay at 9%.  Not a single hand in the audience was visible.  Santorum hit the nail on the head.  The result is Cain will be in trouble after this debate.  He must now find a way to explain his plan in a way that resonates with Americans.  He made a good start when he talked about how the 9% sales tax would replace a 15% payroll tax, which of course we all pay.  If he can hit that point and solve the question of how to prevent future Presidents from turning his 9 9 9 plan into a 35 35 35 plan, he can salvage his front runner (by my calculations) status.  Cain took a huge hit on the federal reserve when Paul questioned him too.  Later when he spoke about fixing the Fed, Paul made easy work out of Cain.  Still, his likeability level and pure down home realness will keep him afloat for at least one more round.  At this point, if Cain falters I predict voters will finally give Newt Gingrich a second look.  Another candidate they might be looking at is…

Rick Santorum.  Rick Santorum did very well.  He made a key point when he said he did not support the bailout.  He called out Cain’s 9 9 9 plan and struck a very strong blow on it.  He exposed Cain’s naivete beautifully.  But that was the extent of Santorum’s stunning performance.  Like Gingrich, he simply did not get enough other face time to make a huge difference.  No one is afraid of him becoming the front runner any time soon, so there wasn’t much interest in him among the debate moderators.  While Santorum did not make a strong case for himself as President, he certainly gave voters a lot to think about with the latest rising star in Herman Cain.  That may be his purpose at this point.  There is very little chance of his campaign being successful.  Almost as little chance as…

Jon Huntsman.  Jon Huntsman did not do bad for the most part.  His answer on China will not connect with Americans and for a good reason.  Being nice to China does not sell when as Romney pointed out we are already losing to them because they are cheating.  Two debates ago I said Huntsman’s campaign is over.  Nothing changed with the debate tonight.  Feeling our pain because he helped run the family business and was a good governor is so cliche at this point, it’s really forgettable.  But not as forgettable as…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele Bachmann did well.  She spoke on Obama’s failures and conservatism.  But mostly she was forgettable.  At one point, it sounded like she said she raised 28 children, 22 foster and 5 biological.  I could understand, with that many kids, how easy it would be to get the math wrong.  But it’s not good when that’s what sticks out in my mind.  No highlights, no major gaffes, and in fact her role in Congress became even more forgettable when Gingrich asked why the House has not made any move to repeal Dodd Frank or Sarbanes Oxley.  I was left wondering where her actual leadership has manifested itself.  The exchange with Romney was her one saving grace, proving that at least she is not one dimensional unlike…

Popularity off the debate stage won't save these candidates from earning low marks in this debate.

Ron Paul.  Ron Paul did ok.  He made it pretty clear he isn’t a fan of the fed.  But on the fed, especially Bernanke, Newt stole his thunder.  What else did Paul speak about?  Again, another forgettable candidate.  Paul fans, don’t hate me for saying that.  Step outside of the movement for a minute and ask yourself if he truly made a splash.  Did we hear anything new about Ron Paul that would make us want to make him in charge of everything the President of the United States is responsible for?  No, but I’d be happy to see him head up the Fed audit once we get a President who has that as a priority (which apparently is not Herman Cain).  But even Ron Paul did better than…

Rick Perry.  Rick Perry came across as a something between a walking cliche and a deer in the headlights.  He simply does not debate well.  He again was slow in his responses and his wording did not connect.  He came across as very unprepared once again.  His good answers were copies of other candidates, and his bad answers seemed to drag on with his drawl.  I’ve said before that I would love to see Newt Gingrich debate Obama.  I would not love to see Perry debate Obama.  I’m not sure I would be able to watch.  Can Perry turn things around?  Possibly.  I’m not ready to give him the Dead Candidate Walking title along with Huntsman just yet.

Trunkline 2012: Monday Mentions from The Republican Presidential Race – 9/26/11

Bookmark and Share    Some of the fallout from today’s trek down the campaign trail ………….Perry’s record under attack, Herman Cain’s Florida win raises questions, and shakes the establishment, Colorado makes the G.O.P. primary calendar a mess, Romney kisses Donald Trump’s ring, more talk about Christie running for President, the Recession Generation is quickly becoming “the Obama Generation”, Democrats try their best to let the government shutdown for the President’s benefit, and liberal discrimination against gays who disagree with them………..

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The GOP Debate Disconnect

Moments ago, the Republican candidates finished yet another debate.  This time, CNN and the TEA Party Express were the odd couple sponsors.  Blitzer was in liberal heaven, getting every question the left wanted the candidates to quarrel about on the record.  But there were some very bright spots, which brings us to our debate winner:

I call Newt as winner

Newt Gingrich.  The GOP debate disconnect seems to be how Newt consistently delivers stellar debate performances, and in fact directs the flow of the debate away from where the moderators want to go, and yet continues to flounder in the polls.  Other candidates were taking their cues from Newt, and Newt was again successfully making the case that every candidate on that stage was better than Obama.  At the same time, he was showing why at least in debates, he is the best candidate on the stage.  Newt hit a couple home runs.  The first was in the Social Security squabble between Perry and Romney where Newt reminded us that it was Barack Obama who threatened twice to cancel Social Security checks if Republicans didn’t vote for his liberal budget policies.  Gingrich’s second big home run came again when other candidates were arguing about job growth.  Newt pointed out that Americans create jobs, not government.  He then gave credit to other candidates for what they did to create job growth, but ultimately gave the credit to the American people.  Lastly, on green energy tax loopholes for GE, Newt destroyed Obama’s attacks on the oil industry.  Newt showed that he is the smartest and most studied candidate on the stage.  When asked about whether he would compromise with Democrats in power, his answer was perfect.  Whether or not that reflects in the polls will be seen.

Michele Bachmann was on the attack, but her strikes were good conservative strikes and they hit their

Bachmann had a good showing

targets.  Bachmann came across as the conservative constitutionalist on the stage with a balanced approach to getting our nation back to the constitution.  Her strikes landed on Perry with Social Security, and the HPV vaccinations, she struck Romney on the constitutionality of his healthcare plan, and she landed shots on Perry and Huntsman for their help to illegal aliens.  She did not come across as someone struggling to take down the frontrunners ahead of her, but more like a principled conservative attacking the liberal tendencies of her opponents.  And no one hit her back on anything.

In this debate, Santorum finished a solid third place.  I had a feeling Santorum would do well with the TEA Party audience.  He looked far more relaxed and in control than in the last debate.  He maintained his conservative credentials, but introduced a new element: how he won multiple times in a blue state.  He also was able to identify himself with some of Gingrich’s success.  Santorum hit hard on Perry’s HPV issue and delivered a deadly blow on it.  Santorum and Bachmann are key elements in where I score Perry tonight, and both walked away unscathed.

Mitt Romney took some tough shots.  But despite the tough shots, he continued to show class and to handle attacks.  He was hit hard on Social Security, and in fact his position on Social Security was easily exploitable in front of this TEA Party audience.  Overall, he did a good job at taking some clean shots and his seven things we need to do to fix the economy and budget were spot on.  Romney fell into the expected trap and tangled with Perry too much on Social Security, and Romney’s support for Federal Social Security won’t win him TEA party support.

Herman Cain did a good job, but he continues to look amateurish compared to some of the more experienced heavy hitters.  Cain did well to expound on his 999 plan this time around, and he picked up the Perry/Romney social security fumble and ran it back for a touchdown.  But other than that his performance was unremarkable.  When Newt talked about private accounts for Social Security, he connected far better than Cain’s repeating of Neal Boortz talking points on Chile and Galveston.

Perry took it on the chin

Rick Perry took another beating, and this was a good one.  On social security, HPV and illegal immigration, Perry seemed to slip into his deer in the headlights slo-mo’ mode.  Perry’s argument that his state’s version of the dream act for illegal aliens was somehow a states rights issue was off-base and will not sit well with the TEA party.  Santorum and Bachmann nailed him on HPV and that one will stick.  At the same time, Perry’s role as the attack dog against Romney has soured this race somewhat.  Perry looked kind of amused/detached for a good part of the debate.  That mixed with his slow, Texan accent will remind some voters of a previous Texas Republican Presidential candidate, however unfair that comparison may be.

Ron Paul redeemed himself somewhat from his last debate performance.  However, his dodge on the Medicare Part D question may spark some serious questions that have been lingering in the darkest cellars about Ron Paul.  Is he as much of a purist as he seems?  Instead of quickly putting Medicare Part D on the chopping block, Paul kind of hemmed and hawed about other programs that should be cut first, including his biggest applause getters of the wars, the department of education, etc.  Paul, who is normally eager to take on unconstitutional spending programs, seemed to give an “if I get to it” response on Medicare Part D, which was one of the biggest social spending programs under George W. Bush.

Jon Huntsman just has nothing left in the tank.  His good answers were echoes of other candidates, and his bad answers were echoes of Barack Obama.  His Kurt Cobain joke fell completely flat.  His tax plan sounds exactly like Obama’s.  His stance on illegal immigration was wrong.  His Afghanistan rhetoric was meant to sound like the Afghan people needed to take more responsibility, but instead came across like America just wasn’t strong enough to fight anymore.  The best thing that happened to Huntsman tonight was no one asked him about global warming.

If debates drove polls, Newt Gingrich would be the front runner after tonight.  How Perry remains such a strong front runner with debate performances like these speaks to his clout and ability to run a public campaign away from the debate stage.

Did Rick Perry Threaten Ron Paul During the Presidential Debate?

Bookmark and Share  While most of the on air sparring in last night’s Republican presidential debate took place between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, apparently there was a little brouhaha during one of the station breaks. 

As captured in the photo shown here, it was during one of these breaks that Governor Perry strode up to Ron Paul, grabbed Paul’s wrist and raised his other hand to point a finger in Paul’s face in an attempt to make a point to the Congressman.

According to RonPaul.com, here’s how it went down:

“During a commercial break at Wednesday’s Republican debate, Rick Perry and Ron Paul continued their spirited exchange on stage. Suddenly, Perry grabbed Ron Paul’s forearm while aggressively pointing his index finger towards the Congressman’s face. Alerted by Perry’s menacing gestures, Ron Paul’s bodyguard (front left) was standing by, ready to protect the Congressman.”

What exactly was said is unknown but that won’t prevent Pauliacs from trying to use the image against their feeble three time presidential candidate.  So far they are on a campaign to try and claim that Perry was threatening and intimidating Paul. 

If the photo is capturing a truly heated exchange you can rest assured that Governor  Perry most likely urged Ron Paul  to stop the blatant lies Paul’s campaign has been promulgating about Perry, including the one about Perry having been a national chairman for Al Gore.

In past debates, live streams allowed internet users to catch glimpses of the candidates and how they were interacting during commercial breaks but MSNBC’s live stream of last night’s debate did not offer such an opportunity as they simply cut the  feed during commercials.  Had they not, we might have at  least seen the Perry-Paul exchange.

So far, there is no official comment from either Paul or Perry regarding what the exchange consisted of, but that has not stopped Ron Paul fanatics from trying to lift their messiah ever higher by alleging Rick Perry assaulted their guy. 

Until it is known exactly what was said, drawing conclusions is futile, but in the end, it my be in the best interest of Ron Paul that Rick Perry’s words remain unknown because if I know Rick Perry, his words probably did not provide for the type of praise that Ron Paul  would want to duplicate in an ad promoting his candidacy. And it will probably make many Paulbots look truly stupid for their exaggerations and lies.

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Update:  The truth comes out and the Ron Paul crowd does indeed look stupid.  See the conclusion here.

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