1 Year Ago Today, Paul Ryan Announced He Would Not Run for President

  Bookmark and Share  What a difference a year makes.

About a year ago the G.O.P. seemed to be in an endless and desperate search for a presidential nominee that had many wondering if Republicans would ever be able to find someone they could enthusiastically get behind.   The political world was still a buzz over Michele Bachmann’s victory in the Ames Straw Poll  which resulted in Tim Pawlenty ending his candidacy and withdrawing from the race.  We were also talking about the potential of Texas Governor Rick Perry who announced his candidthe presidential the day before Pawlenty dropped out of it.

Yet many Republicans were still holding out for someone else to surprise us with their candidacy and win us over.  The media’s talking points were that Bachmann was too nuts, Santorum and Cain were too dangerous,  Romney would not be able to overcome his creation of Romneycare, Newt Gingrich was too extreme and undisciplined, Perry was to closely associated to George W. Bush, and the others were just not known or liked enough to be in serious contention.  So many Republicans were looking for a White Knight.  We had urged people like John  Thune and Mike Pence to run but Thune decided to forego the race and Pence decided to run for Governor of Indiana.   Some were urging names like Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, and Chris Christie to come forward and save the day.  Others, including myself, were urging House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to run.

Then suddenly exactly one year ago today, Congressman Ryan released the following statement;

“I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation. While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party’s nomination for President. I remain hopeful that our party will nominate a candidate committed to a pro-growth agenda of reform that restores the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation. I remain grateful to those I serve in Southern Wisconsin for the unique opportunity to advance this effort in Congress.”

Just days before this announcement, word was out that Ryan had been giving a run for President some serious consideration and many fiscal conservatives were buoyed by the prospects.  In one post entitled ” Heavy Hitters Urge Paul Ryan to Run for President“, White House 2012 detailed the high praise being offered for Paul Ryan’s potential candidacy from such political luminaries as Mitch Daniels,  Jeb Bush, Bill Bennett and Scott Walker.  And in that same post I wrote;

“If Paul Ryan were to be our Republican presidential nominee, he will begin a national dialogue that will consist of tough truths and sellable solutions, not bumper sticker slogans and hapless hyperbole. If Paul Ryan runs, the question will not be is he ready to do the job, the question will be is America ready for Paul Ryan. We already know that the guy who currently has the job was not ready for it. But I know Paul Ryan is.”

On this day a year ago, Paul Ryan released an announcement that put an end to all the speculation.  He would not be a candidate for President.  But a year later even though Ryan is not not running for President, his vice presidential candidacy is doing exactly what I indicated his presidential candidacy would do.  He has changed the narrative of this election by getting us away from the dialogue of distractions perpetuated by the left and President Obama, and thanks to his expertise, and credibility on matters of fiscal responsibility, Paul Ryan has gotten us to talk instead about those sellable solutions on the economy that he is now promoting on the campaign trail quite well.

In just one year the road to the White House has seen more twists and turns than  England’s famous Longleat Hedge Maze.  Names like Huntsman, Gingrich, and Bachman have become faded footnotes of a nomination contest that few remember with great detail.  Few recall the promise of the Perry candidacy that petered out within a moment of his momentary memory lapse.  Faded memories of the derailment of the Cain train over unproven sexual harassment charges have left most Americans asking “Herman who?”  And the past’s surpise surge of Santorum which was rolled back by the consolidation of support for the slow but steady momentum of the Romney campaign has people now wondering if the nomination contest was ever really close.  Now, one year ago to the day that Paul Ryan declared he would not be a candidate for President, Mitt Romney has taken that momentum he had in the primaries and increased its pace by getting Paul Ryan to run for Vice President.

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Obama Can’t Wait To Rip Apart Romney’s Running Mate. No Matter Who It Is

Bookmark and Share  In 2008, within moments of John McCain announcing Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, the campaign of Barack Obama immediately mocked the choice by describing Palin  as a “small town Mayor” who didn’t have the necessary experience.  The response overlooked the fact that Palin was in her second year as a Governor and it ignored all that she had accomplished up to that point.  They also neglected to mention that Palin had more executive and real life experience than did Senator Barack Obama.  The rest is history.  From describing her as a pig wearing lipstick, to claiming that her newborn child with Down syndrome was actually her daughter’s child and not her own and even trying to paint her oldest son as a Nazi sympathizer who joined the white power movement , Palin was mercilessly torn apart by Team Obama and the Obama loving media.

Four years later and the reelection campaign of President Obama can’t wait to make the next Republican vice presidential nominee a victim by “palinizining” them much the same way they did to Sarah Palin four years ago.

Evidence of this deep rooted desire to destroy the reputation of whoever Mitt Romney nominates recently surfaced in my email box, when I received the following from the Obama’s New Jersey State campaign director, Jackie Cornell-Bechelli.

As a loyal Republican operative, I try to make sure that I receive everything that the liberal opposition sends out.  Consider it a form of opposition research.  And despite the LiberalsRlosers@aol.com email that I use when I sign up on the oppositions contacts lists, the left sends me loads of useful examples of just how they are communicating to their base.  In this case, as a resident of New Jersey, the Obama-Biden campaign sent me the email shown above.  It is intended to fire up Obama’s liberal base in New Jersey by inviting them to give examples of how terrible a governor they believe Chris Christie is.

Similar emails have been sent out in the home states of several other potential Republican vice presidential picks including Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio, Ohio’s Senator Rob Portman, and Minnesota’s former Governor, Tim Pawlenty.

Of Pawlenty, Obama’s Minnesota state director writes;

“Both Romney and Pawlenty left their states worse than they found them.”

In Ohio, that state’s Obama campaign director writes;

“Rob Portman has been our senator for two years now, but the most damning pieces of his record involve choices he made as a senior member of the Bush-Cheney administration and conservative congressman, the consequences of which still reverberate on a national scale. As one of the architects of the top-down Bush budget, Portman practically invented the policies that punished middle-class families while exploding the deficit, and crashing our economy.”

And in the case of Florida, the Obama camp writes;

“You see, we know Marco Rubio — all the way from his time in the Florida House of Representatives to his election to the U.S. Senate. But most Americans don’t know him — or the extreme, tried-and-failed policies he’d bring with him to a Romney administration. As Floridians, it’s our job to share what we know about Marco Rubio with the rest of Americans.”

It’s a sign that the Obama campaign is trembling with the desire to assassinate the character and reputation of whoever Romney picks as a running mate.

Each email asks for negative testimonials of the potential GOP nominees from voters in their home states and each one the Obama campaign sent out is a sign of just how fearful the President’s team is of the daunting reelection effort before them.  They are signs of just how concerned the Obama campaign is about the strength of support they can count on from their own base, a portion of the electorate that should be more than willing to reelect the President but seems to be dwindling in size and losing enthusiasm for the President.

This tactic also signals the desperate atmosphere that surrounds the President’s reelection effort.  It is an atmosphere that finds a a helpless Obama campaign having to resort to negative attacks.  The lack of meaningful successes in the Obama record is forcing the Obama-Biden ticket to double down on their 3-D strategy —— distract, defame, and distort.  It’s a strategy based on the need to distract from the issues and the Obama record, and  to defame their opponents and distort their records.   In this case they don’t yet quite know which person to apply that 3-D strategy to as it applies to Romneys running mate, but they can’t wait to get started.  And the truth is that no matter who Romney picks as his running mate, President Obama will do all he can to destroy them personally and politically.  No matter who Romney picks, they will be palinized.

Even if Mitt Romney picked a Mother Teresa-like figure as his running mate, Democrats would set course to burn that person at the stake.  I could see the email to voters of the state that running mate came from;

Dear Voter;

What would you say if I told you Mitt Romney is choosing Mother Teresa for the VP slot on his GOP ticket?

It’s time to start thinking about it.

Mother Teresa is on Romney’s VP short list and she has been for some time. This week her name crept back into the news, and with Romney expected to announce any day now, Catholics have a job to do.

Most Americans don’t know the truth about Mother Teresa. If and when Romney selects her, those who know her best — and that’s us — need to be able to share the truth about Mother Teresa from the get-go.

We must make sure that they understand that Mother Teresa has spent her life exploiting the sick and the ill in an attempt to gain fame and become a candidate for sainthood.  We must make sure that all Americans know the true Mother Teresa, the deceptive right wing religious fanatic who refuses to accept the concept of separation of church and state and who uses the underprivileged and the most helpless in our society for personal gain.

Share what you think Americans need to know about Mother Teresa, and why a Romney-Mother Teresa administration would be a giant step back for middle-class families.

 Your feedback will help hold Mother Teresa accountable on the campaign trail, if it should come to that.

As you know, there’s no lack of material to work with here. Right now, it’s our responsibility to make sure others know what they’d be getting into, too.

Add your voice to the conversation today:

http://nj.barackobama.com/Your-Thoughts-on-Mother Teresa

 Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts,

~Team Obama

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Unconfirmed Reports Say that Chris Chrisite Will Be the Keynote Speaker at the Republican National Convention

Let the Speculation Begin.

  Bookmark and Share  New Jersey Republican activists can hardly contain their excitement over the fact that their Governor has been selected to give the all important keynote address at the Republican National Convention.  New Jerseyans are bursting with pride over the thought that our Governor will be given the national spotlight and be called upon to articulate the Republican case and cause before the nation and the world.  But the reports have not yet been confirmed by either Governor Christie, Governor Romney or the Republican National Committee.  According to the Washington Post;

“Republicans say that, contrary to media reports, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has not been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Neither the Romney campaign nor the Republican National Committee would confirm those reports.

“You”ll have to stay tuned,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon.

Sources with the campaign say Romney is not prepared to announce any speakers yet. The New Jersey State GOP Committee said they knew nothing about it. 

“I’ve gotten no invitation to do anything like that,” Christie told NBC.”

These unconfirmed reports amount to nothing more than speculation but if true, the decision to make Christie the keynote speaker opens the door for additional speculation.  So here goes.

If it is true that Christie is the RNC’s 2012 keynote speaker, it will signal the G.O.P.’s obvious desire to highlight the message of a figure who has established a reputation for being blunt about what needs to be done to get our nation on a track to economic responsibility and prosperity.   It would also signal the G.O.P.’s desire to appeal to fiscally conservative independent voters, a segment of the voting bloc which could be critical to who wins the presidency in November.

Picking Christie to be the keynote speaker could also be a signal of several other things to come such as who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate. There has been a wide range of Republicans who would have liked to see freshman Florida Congressman Allen West deliver the keynote address.  West has proven himself to be a powerfully articulate speaker who inspires the conservative base while also firing up the TEA Party which Romney needs to bolster his standing among.  Christie tends to enjoy similar popularity within those same groups but West brings additional positives that Christie doesn’t.  Unlike Christie who comes from a state that Republicans feel is so hard to win that they have written it off in most of their campaign plans, Rep. West comes from a critical swing state that is well within the reach of Republicans to win.  Additionally, West is African-American, and those two factors would have made West a prime pick for giving the keynote address.  But giving that honor to Christie instead of West could be a sign that Mitt Romney has picked a running mate of color and so the need to highlight ethnic diversity during a high profile, primetime, keynote address may not be as necessary as it once was.  If true, that person of color who Romney may be ready to pick could very well be  former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who many have suggested that Romney is quite enamored with and whom  in national polls,leads all other potential vice presidential choices Romney may have.

But to read too much in to any decision would be wrong.

While Chris Christie is liked for the breath of fresh air that his brutal honesty and bluntness brings to the table, his abrasive nature does not fit well with the more diplomatic, less confrontational approach to politics that Mitt Romney is comfortable with.  The same goes for West who may seem like a good choice for Vice President for Romney but like Christie, neither man can be described as having the “same personality type” as Mitt, a factor that Anne Romney once described as a key consideration in her husbands decison on who he will nominate for Vice President.   Yet there is no denying that Christie’s approach has been popular and as such, there may be no other suitably prominent role for Christie to play in the Romney campaign other than allowing him to be a surrogate speaker and what more suitable platform can there be for such a surrogate than keynote speaker?

This of course does not leave West out in the cold.  Many other primetime slots are still available.  They include the highly coveted opportunity to be tapped as the lucky individual who gets to make the speech that nominates the presidential candidate, a role that West would fit quite well.

All of this is speculation though.  The only thing that is not speculation however is the fact that if it is true that  Christie is the keynote speaker, you can rest assured that he is definitely out of the running to be Romney’s Vice President.

On that front, until now, speculation about who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate has of late been superseded only by the speculation over when he will publicly announce who that person will be.    Today’s Wall Street Journal writes;

“It appears unlikely now that Mr. Romney will name his selection before departing next week for a trip abroad.”

At the same time, The New York Daily News writes;

“Sources close to the Romney campaign told the Daily News the working plan has  been to announce the pick after the Olympic Games, which begin next week and  conclude Aug. 12 — two weeks before the Republican convention in Tampa.”

Yet amid that media speculation comes a Tuesday tweet from National Review political reporter and CNBC contributor Robert Costa in which he writes:

“A Republican strategist close to the Romney campaign tells me veep announcement may come Friday”

Meanwhile, in an interview taped for ABC earlier today, Ann Romney claims that  her husband is “not quite there yet” on a final decision regarding who he will nominate for Vice President.

Not long after that interview, while attending a town-hall event in Bowling Green, Ohio, Mitt Romney answered a a question from the audience regarding who he will pick by confirming that  he has “not chosen the person” who will be his Vice President.

What this all means is anyone’s guess but to confuse matters even more, as noted in a previous White House 2012 post, Tim Pawlenty, the former Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has decided to retool his website, TimPawlenty.com.

Currently TimPawlenty.com has been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read  “Please come back later.”  Normally such an event would not mean very much but at a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal.   In this particular case though, having been a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw’s decision to finally retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit it, appears at the same time that Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.

Coincidence?  Speculation?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

You’re guess is as good mine.

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Is Tim Pawlenty Preparing His Website For The Vice Presidential Nomination?

 Bookmark and Share  Most people have little if any reason to visit TimPawlenty.com, but if you are one of the very limited stream of visitors to the official website of the former Minnesota Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, than you have been surprised to find that the long standing platitudes for conservatism, apple pie, coffee, and all things American , have been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read  “Please come back later.”

Whether Pawlenty is just conducting some useful site maintenance on his otherwise useless website, or handing control of the site and its future content to the campaign of Mitt Romney in preparation of Pawlenty’s accepting Romney’s vice presidential nomination is unknown.  Calls from White House 2012 regarding the status of the site that were made to several aides and former staffers of Pawlenty’s presidential campaign and his Nation First PAC have received a range of inconclusive responses that claimed the “Coming Soon Page” is up as the site undergoes some retooling.  However; attempts to determine exactly what it is being retooled for remains undetermined.

At a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, aside from who will the election, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal but in this case, one can’t help but question the timing.  Almost a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw finally decides to retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit, appears at the same time that we all know Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.

Now this could very well be coincidental but my political experience has taught me that in politics coincidences are events which politicians actually put on their schedules.  In politics, coincidence is a convenient excuse which allows the most unlikely set of circumstances to come together and seem like the most natural  string of events.  That stated, even though I have recently indicated that I am of the opinion that Mitt Romney will pick South Dakota Senator John Thune as his running mate, I can’t help but wonder if the coincidental timing of Tim Pawlenty’s “Coming Soon” page and Mitt Romney’s “soon to come” decision on a running mate is a more definitive indication of who that running mate will be than is my personal sense of who it will be?

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The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

The Herd: A Look at the Possibile Picking of Tim Pawlenty as Romney Vice Presidential Running Mate

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Born: November 27, 1960,St. Paul, Minnesota

Spouse(s): Mary Pawlenty

Children :Anna, Mara

Residence :Eagan, Minnesota

Alma mater: University of Minnesota (B.A.), University of Minnesota Law School (J.D.)

Profession:Lawyer

Religion:Baptist

Political Career :

  • Appointed to the the Eagan city’s Planning Commission by then Mayor Vic Ellison
  • Elected to a term on the City Council
  • Campaign advisor for Jon Grunseth’s 1990 losing bid for Minnesota governor
  • 1992; Pawlenty was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and was re-elected to that seat five times
  • 1988; Pawlenty was elected House Majority Leader when the Republicans became the majority party in the State Legislature
  • 2002; Pawlenty campaigned and won on a pledge not to raise taxes to balance the state’s budget deficit, requiring visa expiration dates on driver’s licenses, a 24-hour waiting period on abortions, implementing a conceal-carry gun law, and changing the state’s education requirements. Pawlenty defeated 2 challengers in the GOP primary and eventually his opponents in the general election.
  • 2006; Pawlenty was reelected Governor of a margin of little more than 1%. This victory was despite DFL gains in both the state House and State Senate and a big gains for Democrats nationally.

(Click here to see Pawlenty’s White 2012 Presidential Page)

Pros:

  • Pawlenty could possibly make Minnesota more competetive for Romney than it currently is and without Minnesota in Obama’s column, it could be hard for Democrats to make up for that loss in the electoral college from another state
  • Pawlenty is a competent speaker
  • Pawlenty is a safe choice who has been somewhat vetted
  • His candidacy would not lead to any distractions from the issues or overshadow Mitt Romney

Cons:

  • Pawlenty does not fire up the base which Romney needs to energize

Overall Assessment:

There is no reason why Tim Pawlenty can’t be on the ticket. However; Pawlenty became one of the first people to declare their candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination and he became the first to withdraw from the race for the Republican presidential nomination. And the same reasons which led to his withdrawal from the race may be the same reasons he is not nominated for the vice presidential nomination. Another reason he may not be on the ticket is because he has stated that he is taking himself off the list of candidates for Romney to consider for Vice President, and that he doesn’t even want to consider the position. Still, that doesn’t mean he is not being considered for the job or that he will reconsider his earlier stated thoughts.

Pawlenty campaigned long and hard. His campaign team was top notch and his campaign was initially financed fairly well and he did just about everything right. He had a good message, well done ads, and a good strategy. The only problem seemed to be the messenger. Tim Pawlenty seemed to be the kid in the classroom who always had his hand up while howling “ooh, ooh” but failed to interest anyone in what he had to say. So one day after the Ames Straw poll in Iowa, he dropped out of the race.

Despite those circumstances, Pawlenty is a top quality conservative leader with a great record on social and economic issues and he is an extraordinarily competent executive. Such qualities make Pawlenty a top contender for the vice presidential nomination, at least on paper. He is certainly not the type of running mate that any presidential nominee has to fear being overshadowed by. All this means that Mitt Romney could easily tap Pawlenty for Vice President. He comes from a state that the G.O.P. could use help with and which if they could win, would leave the Obama-Biden ticket in deep trouble. He also appeals to many Midwest voters and lacks much of the luggage that other potential running mates have.

But Romney may want and need a running mate who excites at least one demographic group far more than T-Paw does. Given that fact, even though Pawlenty is a safe choice and Romney likes playing it safe, there are several other potential running mates who are equally as safe as Pawlenty but bring a touch more excitement to the ticket than he does.

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Trunkline 2012: Friday’s Campaign Trail News – 10/14/11

Romney, raises more moolah than expected, conservative think about how to stop Romney, Pawlenty wants a refund from the South Carolina primary conmtest he won’t be in, Perry tries get his footing with an energy based jobs plan that Michele Bachmann takes credit for, President Obama uses bailout money in his reelection, MSNBC host calls for violence in order to give the Occupy Wall Street protests some momentum, and more, is all a part of today’s news form the campaign trail.Bookmark and Share

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Rick Perry’s Attack Ad Ties Romney to Obama. But Does it Help Rick Perry Any?

Bookmark and Share   With some polls showing Rick Perry in fourth place behind Herman Cain and even the doomed candidacy of Ron Paul, the Governor, is at least for the moment, on the ropes.  His immediate strategy is to attack the man  who many polls currently have in first place, Mitt Romney.

The ad is produced by the same young, creative wiz kid that produced Tim Pawlenty’s ads and it ties Romney to President Obama through the  healthcare plans Romney created for Massachusetts and that Obama created for the nation.  The problem is, the ad may not work as well as Perry hopes.  First of all, the comparison between RomneyCare in Massachusetts and ObamaCare in the nation, is not new.  The secret about the similarities with the two plans is out.  Secondly, like Tim Pawlenty, the attack is probably not going to help Perry very much.  When he was running for President, Pawlenty was the one candidate who attacked Romney the most on the issue.  Who can forget the waves he made when he coined the phrase “ObamneyCare”

While Mitt Romney’s healthcare plan in Massachusetts certainly raises enough questions about Romney’s limited government credentials and is perhaps what is most responsible for making him a flawed candidate, it has not been enough to derail his candidacy and as we saw with Tim Pawlenty, it is not enough to help others move ahead of the pack.  Furthermore; Obama’s Massachusetts healthcare plan has nothing to do with Perry’s own precipitous drop in the polls.  On the flip-side, it is not likely to be the cause of an equal precipitous rise in the polls for Perry.

Going negative this early is a sign of desperation.  Perry’s slipping popularity apparently has him trying to find a rung on the ladder that he can grab on to and lift himself up.  But this approach to focus on Mitt Romney.  Besides, at the moment, Perry has to go through Ron Paul and Herman Cain before he can realistically challenge Romney.

In the meantime, Mitt Romney is essentially running a general election type of campaign and building his own candidacy up without having to tear down anyone elses candidacy.  All that the new Perry attack ad does is show that while Romney is gaining ground, Rick Perry is trying hard to compensate for ground he lost.  This is not the way for him to do that.  And by the way, despite all his opposition to “ObamneyCare”, who did Tim Pawlenty endorse for President?  It wasn’t Rick Perry.

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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Set to Endorse Rick Perry for President

Bookmark and Share   On a day that began with what seemed to be big news about Tim Pawlenty endorsing Mitt Romney for President, Texas Governor Rick Perryquickly moved to bury that story by allowing sources to leak the pending endorsement of him by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Sources state that the announcement will be made before this evenings TEA Party/CNN Republican presidential debate in Florida. The same sources state that Jindal will be attending the debate as a guest of Governor Perry.

The news quickly stepped allover Tim Pawlenty’s  endorsement of Mitt Romney. Romney had been getting some mileage out of having a formal rival for the nomination who was a popular Governor, suddenly throw his support behind him. But the news that Jindal, a popular incumbent Governor was throwing his considerable clout behind Perry quickly changed the story of the day. But beyond today, Jindal’s endorsement will still have much more weight than does Pawlenty’s.

While Pawlenty dropped out of the Republican presidential nomination contest because of a lack of popular support, Bobby Jindal turned down a run for President that did have popular support. Instead, Jindal is seeking reelection to his second term as Governor of Louisiana. More important still is the fact that as a sitting Governor, Jindal has the influence and control over the state Party apparatus that can help sway the outcome of a statewide Republican primary. This is especially the case when it comes to the all important Get Out the Vote Operation.

Jindal’s endorsement also could be a signal of a solid South that lines up behind Perry.

While Pawlenty’s endorsement of Romney does little for any regional strength to the Romney camp, Jindal’s endorsement of Perry has a great deal of influence in the South. Particularly with neighboring states such as Mississippi and Arkansas. It will even have a positive effect on the all important nearby state of Florida.

The Jindal endorsement should not come as a surprise. In the past, the Louisiana Governor has had nothing but praise for his neighboring Governor. Jindal has particularly commended him for always being a friend for Louisiana to count on during the slew of natural disasters that Louisianans has had to deal with. The real surprise would have been if Bobby Jindal didn’t endorse Perry. But as with al things, timing is critical and in this case, Perry’s timing was impeccable.

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Trunkline 2012: Monday Tidbits From The Republican Presidential Race – 9/12/11

Pawlenty’s Demise Focuses Crosshairs on Obama

Tim Pawlenty bowed out of the race  on Sunday morning.  He cited a poor showing in Iowa and no clear path forward.  In his exit statements, Pawlenty offered what had been missing from his campaign.  Pawlenty said:

“I’m doing this because I love this country and I want to defeat Barack Obama because I think he’s got it on the wrong course…but I don’t get my identity or my sense of worth or my values or my faith from politics. I get it from my personal faith in God, and I believe in this country, I love this country, I thought I would have been a great president.”

And with that he summed up what he should have been saying all along in this campaign.

Pawlenty's strategy of attacking frontrunners failed to rocket him to the front

Instead, Pawlenty became memorable for coining the term Obamneycare, attacking Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul for never accomplishing anything, while allowing himself to easily slip into the category of being a copy of another candidate.  Pawlenty was the governor who balanced the budget without increasing taxes beyond a cigarette tax.  But that didn’t separate him from nearly half the other candidates.  In fact, Pawlenty’s biggest differentiation was that he was the sole candidate outside of Ron Paul to go after his GOP rivals in a race that thus far has been mostly focused on Obama and liberal policies.

The loss of Pawlenty and inclusion of Rick Perry will help focus this race more on Obama as each candidate contrasts themselves with him instead of with each other.

Pawlenty was a good candidate with good credentials coming into this race.  However, after his performance in the last Iowa debate I was surprised that he did as well as he did in the Iowa caucus.  Pawlenty is making the right choice by stepping out of this race, and the tone of the race will be better without him.  The key to winning the 2012 GOP primary is becoming more clear.  Candidates need to contrast themselves with Obama and then win on ideas.  In this stage of the game, going after fellow GOP candidates is not yielding much fruit.

Tim Pawlenty Ends His Presidential Campaign

Bookmark and Share    Before the vote was in on the Iowa Republican Presidential Straw Poll yesterday, White House 2012 put up a poll that asked readers who will drop out of the presidential race due to a poor showing in the poll.  I never expected to get an answer to that question so soon but shortly after former Minnesota Governor Tim Palwenty finished third, he decided to close up shop.  And while I did not expect it, only 11% of those polled by WH12 did anticipate Pawlenty’s withdrawal from the race.

Shortly after disclosing his plans in a private conference call with  ABC’s “This Week” from Iowa  Pawlenty explained “I wish it would have been different. But obviously the pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist so we are going to end the campaign.”

Pawlenty  trailed the straw poll winner, Michele Bachmann, by 2,530 votes or nearly 15%.

In the end, the decision was essentially based upon what he had so far put into the campaign and what he has gotten in return.  Given Pawlenty’s perfectly managed campaign (although his ads were a bit too dramatic) and campaign organization, his aggressive and constant campaigning, the infinitesimal amount of time he dedicated to the campaign, and the money he already spent, it was clear to Pawlenty and his more than competent campaign team, that they just were not getting enough traction.  It was impossible for Pawlenty to do much more than he did, yet he still was registering support only in the single and lower double digits.

In Iowa, alone, Pawlenty invested plenty of money and put together the type of organization that is required to pull out the straw poll voters needed for a win to be possible.  In the end, his third place showing after his first place effort was apparently enough to convince T-Paw that he couldn’t work any harder than he already was working in order to do any better than he did.

Such a decision does not come easy.   After putting as much of yourself into something as much as Tim Pawlenty and his family did, it is hard to let go.  But  it was the fact that Pawlenty did give his all and knew it which allowed him to come to a conclusion earlier  than most candidates do.  Pawlenty’s decision was a sign of man who his a realist and unafraid to deny reality.  Ultimately the former Governor may have garnered some delegates here or there but it was apparent to him that the cost and effort that he would have needed to invest in order to lose with as few as 10 or 20 delegates, was not rational.

This conclusion was probably also due in part to the sixth place showing of Texas Governor Rick Perry in the straw poll. 

Perry who was not even an official candidate at the time that voting began, and has not campaigned a day anywhere, pulled 718 write in votes.  That was only an additional sign that another well-financed and popular candidate in the race was only going to make the mountain Pawlenty was climbing even more difficult.

Pawlenty was a very credible candidate.  In another time he probably would have been considered a frontrunner.  But in this day and of age of polarized politics, the ideological divide is becoming so wide that the most motivated of voters who are seeking change, just did not find Tim Pawlenty extreme enough or as forceful enough as the times require.  He was a victim of populist anger.  No matter what though, it can’t be said that Pawlenty didn’t run a first class campaign.  And it also can’t be said that he didn’t give us the opportunity to take advantage of his leadership.  The same can not be said for others like Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour who were not willing to make the sacrifices that Tim Pawlenty was willing make and already did make.

As for the remaining field, the effect of Pawlenty’s withdrawal will probably benefit Mitt Romney the most, while making to little to no difference to Bachmann, who like Pawlenty is from  Minnesota.

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View Tim Pawlenty’s Iowa Straw Poll Speech in its Entirety

Bookmark and Share    Of all the speeches given before the votes were counted at the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, Tim Palwenty delivered a speech which I can’t find any fault with.  If a speech could be perfect, this one would have been close to it.  In fact there was nothing wrong with.  I found no disagreement with his positions and opinions and found nothing wrong with his excellent message.  I guess the only problem is the messenger.  And I hate to say that, for Tim Pawlenty is a seemingly great guy.  The kind of guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but will do a good job at making sure that no flies got into his tent.
 
But for some reason, even though Pawlenty says the right things, they just don’t resonate as well as they should with him.
 
See the speech for yourself.  I bet you won’t find anything wrong with it, but it still won’t hit you in any significant way.  Maybe his speech was to rehearsed, to the point where it was over-reheased?  Maybe it was too perfect?  I don’t know what it is  but whatever it is, it’s not working for Pawlenty as well as it shoud.

New Pawlenty Ad Can Win An Oscar But I’m Not Sure it Will Win Any Votes

Bookmark and Share    Tim Pawlenty’s latest ad picks up on what has become a trend of late…….using President Barack Obama’s own words against him. Clearly, the G.O.P. is now comfortable with trying to make this election a referendum on President Obama and his record. And why not.  It speaks for itself. 

Pawlenty’s new ad essentially mimics one that Mitt Romney  put out last week. It uses the same Obama line about his presidency being a one term proposition of he fails to get the economy back on track. But this ad also splices together multiple quotes from various news reports pertaining to the poor economy and puts it to a melodramatic, operatic musical background that is more fitting for an intense action scene dramatic from some goth-like  motion picture than ad discussing the economy.

The message is strong. We said so when Romney presented the same one last week,  but the production value takes away from the message.

Pawlenty’s ads seem to get carried away with a production value that is reminiscent of trailers for a high budget, blockbuster movie, with an all-star cast. They are designed to catch the attention of a society that has become accustomed to the badda-bing, badda-boom, flash driven, imagery that dominates commercial television. But it is getting to a point where the production of Pawlenty’s ads are surpassing his message. And while the message that President Obama has so far failed as President is a potent one, the drama elicited in Palwnety’s ads is so overdramatic that it begins to make one wonder if it is a serious political ad or a comedic parody.

Now if you really want to see a memorable video check out, ‘Na na na na, Hey  Hey Hey Goodbye Democrats’

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Who Would the Republican Presidential Candidates Appoint to the Deficit Committee?

Bookmark and Share   With the passage of the multifaceted, two staged, bill to raise the debt ceiling, one must ask if it makes any difference. It has received mixed reaction. Those on the left despise the fact that the deal does not include any immediate tax increases, or as they have been defined in this debate, revue increases. Those on the right despise the deal because it does not contain any significant reforms on entitlements and does no go far enough in proposing cuts. Then there are those who have no partisan political allegiances. These are for the most part, the average independent, middle of the road voter. These individuals understand that the proposal’s almost $3 trillion in deficit reduction over a ten year period is really only a drop in the bucket that does little to put a dent into our long term debt and is still not enough to maintain the United States’ AAA credit rating.

Yet, despite conservative angst with the proposal and liberal disgust for the bill, both Houses of Congress passed it. This brings up another debate, one that is totally based on political perceptions and asks who won this deficit ceiling debate?

Seeing as how the bill raises our debt ceiling and does not reduce our debt significantly enough, there are no winners. At least not immediately. In fact the lack of immediate results makes us all losers here. But at the same time, it is clear that Republicans have settled on a deal that moves things in their direction. Democrats received none of the tax increases they wanted, they received none of the spending increases they wanted, and they were forced to accept some bitter pills. Some of these pills include the Republicans desire to get Democrats on record with a future vote on a balanced budget amendment and immediate spending caps. Another Republican victory in the proposal that is hard for the left to swallow is the automatic wholesale cut of up to $1.2 trillion that will occur if several terms of this bill are not met by the time Congress goes on their Thanksgiving recess in October.

So it would seem that Republicans have advanced their conservative agenda far more than liberals advanced their socialist agenda. Still, the need to reduce the deficit significantly enough to insure that our debt does not continue to exceed our GDP, has not been achieved.

Solving that problem will require deficit reduction actions that more than double the nearly $3 trillion proposed over the next decade. And that will have to be done in the not so distant future.

In the meantime, while Republicans did not have to compromise as much as Democrats were forced to, they are not yet winners in the debate. That will only be determined in October when the newly created Select Committee on Deficit Reduction proposes the $1.2 trillion in cuts and expense saving reforms that the bill demands. From the Republican perspective, the danger here is that this super committee is not limited to spending cuts and entitlement reforms. It could end up proposing tax increases (revenues). The committee could also shirk its responsibility to significantly reform entitlements, something that will be quite hard to pass the Senate anyway.

Given the flexibility that the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has, the only way the G.O.P. will have proven that they were successful in this recent deficit ceiling debate will come from what the Select Committee on deficit Reduction comes up with.

The committee is to be comprised of 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans, presumable chosen by the legislative leaders of the perspective political Parties. Boehner and McConnell for Republicans, and President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi for the Democrats.

The Party leaders will initially consider the usual cast of characters as candidates for this committee. People like Tom Kean, Erskine Bowles, Alan Simpson, Lee Hamilton, Judd Gregg, and other seemingly, now non-partisan, elder statesmen. Now while there may not necessarily be anything wrong with the usual cast of candidates for typical D.C., bureaucratic committees, the crisis we are in is not typical. Our debt crisis is so severe that for the first time in history, military experts warn that it has become a national security crisis. Furthermore; President Obama’s leadership has awakened the nation to just how distinct the political ideologies that divide our nation are. People have come to question what kind of nation America will be. Will we be the type of nation with a government that controls more and more of our lives with greater control, or do we want less spending, less government, and more freedom. Including economic freedom.

The ideological differences have become so divergent, that it is incumbent on the G.O.P. to make sure that the 6 members they choose for the deficit reduction commission are true conservatives who believe in limited government. Any one of those who doesn’t hold true to that belief, can easily defect and give the balance of power to the 6 liberals that Democrats will appoint to that committee.

So who should the G.O.P. appoint to the committee?

The first choice should be House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

Ryan is a must. He is a deficit hawk who is reasonable but passionate. He understands the need for entitlement reform, supports a balanced budget amendment, is brave enough to stand against the tide of popular opinion and not looking for anything more than getting the job done.

Another appointment should be Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Daniels has been there and done that when it comes to the budget, deficits, and spending. As Governor, his state has been one of the most economically stable states in the nation and he brings to the table some first hand experience with the excellent built-in, economic structural aspects of the budget process that Indiana has and that the United States would be wise to adopt.

Former Tennessee Fred Thompson is another excellent choice.

Thompson has proven to have a wealth of understanding for our existing problems and a unique down-to-earth and often blunt approach to the problem that can be refreshing.

Other good choices would be individuals who do not come from the often self-contained alternative reality that is Washington, D.C. People who are students of sound economic policy and people who have operated with and successfully crafted budgets that created jobs. The type of people who come from the real world……the private sector. People like Jack Welch, the most studied CEO of the 20th century, who had a successful 41- year career with the General Electric Company, one of the nation’s most preeminent names in the free market. Lawrence Kudlow is another refreshing suggestion. The CEO of Kudlow & Co., LLC, an economic research firm was a chief economist and senior managing director of Bear Stearns & Company, back when Bear Sterns ran things right, he improper workings of the Federal Reserve Bank regarding open market operations and bank supervision. Kudlow is also the host of The Kudlow Report on CNBC.

With the exception of Paul Ryan, there are probably others who would make even better members than those suggested above. These are the type of people who should have a seat at the table that represents the conservative, free market, economic principles which can get us back on track. Without conservative voices who will stand firm on these values, Democrats will wind up being the real winners of this most contentious recent debt ceiling debate.

I would be most interested in knowing who the Republican presidential candidates would seek to appoint to this deficit super committee? Who they would appoint would be incredibly telling. Their selections to this committee would be even more telling than the name of those whom they would nominate to the Supreme Court. That decision is affected by politics much more than an appointment to this deficit committee which requires no congressional hearings and a no need to get the blessing of those who hold true to the liberal ideology . Who the Republican candidates would appoint to the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction would be a great sign of just how truly conservative their instincts are and just how committed to the conservative ideology they are. It would also tell us if how serious they are about reducing the deficit controlling spending and reforming the entitlements programs that are sucking the air out of the room.

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The Disadvantage of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann

Bookmark and ShareThe debt. The deficit. The debt ceiling. Default. Social security checks. Medicare payments. Balanced Budgets. Tax increases. Gang of six. Cut, Cap and Balance. Headlines all in the past week. Headlines that, for the most part, the Republican candidates for President have been able to take a stand on without actually having to take a solid position. That is unless you are Ron Paul or Michele Bachmann, the 2 candidates who are sitting members of the House Of Representatives.

2012 GOP Presidential leader and former MA Governor Mitt Romney has stated that “The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut federal spending, to cap federal spending and to put in place a balanced budget amendment.” “If the president were to do those things, this whole debt issue would disappear.” He has declined to say whether he would support a compromise.

Former MN Governor Tim Pawlenty said in Iowa this week, “Eventually you run out of money, but what you do is you buy yourself a bunch of time to have the debate about real reform.” A vague statement but one that allows him to offer an opinion without having to land solidly behind a plan.

Paul and Bachmann however are forced, through their House seats, to vote for or against the actual plans. They are not afforded the luxury to simply make broad statements without taking a position that the other candidates are. Both Paul and Bachmann were also among the nine House Republicans who voted Tuesday night against the ‘cut, cap and balance’ bill that would reduce 2012 spending by more than $100 billion, cap it over the next decade and prohibit more government borrowing until Congress passes a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. Harry Reid has vowed it will not pass the Senate and the President has vowed to veto it if it does.

Ron Paul said it wouldn’t live up to it’s promises, passing the cuts off for years and Bachmann said it didn’t go far enough to cut spending.

So are candidates that hold seats in Congress at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to use the rhetoric on an issue? Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who was a top economic policy adviser to Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 but not aligned with any of the contenders this time around stated, “What they would like to have is the issue and that’s the difference between them and the congressional leaders. They need an issue. The congressional leaders need a result.”

We will see in the coming days and months leading up to the Iowa caucus if the other candidates try to pull the votes of Paul and Bachmann into the fray. While the other candidates can rely on rhetoric and easily take the stance that the polls dictate are popular, sitting members of Congress have to take a solid stand on the bills before them. A disadvantage for sure in a large candidate field with a mere 2 current legislators in it’s ranks.

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Romney Inspires Open Wallets

The April-June quarter numbers are in for the Romney, Huntsman, Cain and Pawlenty camps, and if donation figures are any indication, it is clear why Romney is still the front runner.  Romney has raised nearly twice as much as the other three combined.

Romney fundraising solidifies his front runner status

Romney has raised about $18 million.  Huntsman and Pawlenty have each raised about $4 million and Cain comes in with $2.5 million.  Romney is also conserving his funds, having more left in the bank at the end of the quarter than the other three have raised at about $12 million.  Things are looking good for the Romney camp.

Huntsman joined the campaign late, but AP speculates that half the money he has raised came from his own funds.

Bachmann, who has not released her figures yet, saw a big spike in May.  Her April-June contributions may confirm her current runner up status.

 

Update: Ron Paul beat out Pawlenty and Huntsman by raising $4.5 million in the second quarter, while Newt Gingrich raised a measly $2 million and is reportedly deep in debt.  Bachmann and Obama have yet to release their numbers.

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