Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Endorses Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share   Early this morning, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who once declared that he would not be endorsing a candidate in the Republican presidential contest has seemingly reversed course and thrown his considerable clout behind Mitt Romney for President.

McDonnell called Romney a “results-oriented conservative” who can appeal to Democrats and independents and he told CNBC that his message is that if you want to win the race in November, vote for Mitt Romney.

On Fox News, Governor McDonnell stated that Romney has a proven record in the public and private sector of getting things done and argued that there are only three issues that will really matter in the election………. one being job creation, another being the need to get rid of “this crushing national debt” and finally, leadership.  And it is on those issues that McDonnell says Romney can win.

While McDonnell’s support has some value, the most interesting aspect of the endorsement is the timing.  It comes one day before what could be a game changing result in the South Carolina Primary.  It is pretty clear that the Romney camp, which has mastered much of the art of political campaigning, has begun to sweat and so they decided now was the time to unleash the endorsement of the popular Southern Governor in the hopes that it will help stem the perceived surge that Newt Gingrich is riding as the race in South Carolina wraps up.

In case you haven’t heard, timing is everything and its not any different in politics.

If you recall, back in December, Newt Gingrich flew to the front of the then crowded G.O.P. field.  The problem was timing.  He peeked too early and in the two weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucuses, he saw that rapid rise to the top erode and ceded ground to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  This time, in South Carolina, thanks to Newt’s ability to catch the crest of his wave at just the right moment, combined with a few well timed breezes at his back which consisted of Sarah Palin’s quasi-endorsement, Rick Perry’s suspension of his own campaign and endorsement of Newt’s, and two well executed debate performances, Gingrich looks like he is peaking just in time to be the first one to ride his wave across the Palmetto State finish line.   All of these conditions which have been beyond Romney’s control have forced him to play some cards that he has been holding close.  In this case, it is obvious that Gingrich’s success has Romney sweating enough to have forced his hand and play the McDonnell card.

How much it will help is questionable.

McDonnell promises to spend the closing hours of the campaign stomping in South Carolina, but Mitt already has the personal and organizational support of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and the insularly access to support from the state Party apparatus that comes with her.  And at the moment it is not stopping Gingrich from pulling ahead in the latest polls.

In my own estimation, I have concluded that even though McDonnell is a rising conservative star and a positive name to have your on side, in the case of Mitt Romney, McDonnell’s endorsement will actually benefit Newt Gingrich more than Mitt.  As the perceived “establishment” candidate, getting the endorsement of another elected  “establishment” politician, will help urge still undecided voters from among the large anti-establishment voting bloc, to move more Newt’s way than Mitt’s way.

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The Impact of Perry’s Decision to Suspends His Campaign and Endorse Newt Gingrich

Bookmark and Share   In what was probably the most sincere and eloquent speech of his 5 month long race for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that he was suspending his campaign and endorsing the candidacy of Newt Gingrich for President.  The decision which came in advance of what was an inevitable, single digit, last place showing in this Saturday’s  South Carolina Primary was not totally unexpected, but both its timing and the endorsement that came with it were.

In recent days it became clear that despite an endorsement of Rick Santorum by over 150 evangelical leaders, the evangelical base and conservative base of the G.O.P. was not coalescing around Santorum and continued to see both blocs dividing their vote between Gingrich, Perry, and Santorum.  At the same time, while Santorum seemed to be losing steam among those voting blocs, Newt was gaining momentum among them.  So much so that he even suggested that if Perry and Santorum really cared about the conservative cause, the two of them would drop out and get behind him.

Rick Perry apparently agreed and in his announcement, he issued a subtle call to arms for conservatives to indeed get behind Gingrich.

According to Perry, Gingrich is a “conservative visionary” and in a clear attempt to blunt the blow from an anticipated ABC News interview with Newt’s ex-wife Marianne, Perry stated;

“Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?” 

He added;

“The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek God and I believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenet of my own Christian faith.”

The latter remarks will probably have more of a positive impact on Gingrich’s candidacy than Perry’s actual endorsement.

Some recent polls indicate that Perry only has the support of 2% of South Carolina primary voters and while not all of those supporters will simply flock to Newt because of Perry’s decision to support him, Perry’s words about redemption will resonate quite well among the broader base of evangelical voters at large in South Carolina.  Those words will go a long way in helping many of those undecided evangelicals to break for Newt rather than Santorum.

To a great degree, Perry’s decisions to suspend his campaign and endorse Newt Gingrich are less important than the timing of those decisions.

Before the day was less than half over, Perry’s announcement blurred the focus of two other headline grabbing bits of news that had it not been for the distraction of Perry’s announcement would have captured the headlines and all the attention.

The first was the continued leaking of the ABC News interview with Newt’s ex-wife, who described her revelations as career ending for the former Speaker.  The other news was the declaration by the Iowa State Republican Party to “unofficially” certify Rick Santorum as the actually winner in that state’s caucus.  Even though a recount has given Santorum 34 more than Mitt Romney the Party oficially ruled the caucus a virtual tie between Santorum and Romney.  The unusual ruling was based upon the fact that the results from 8 different precincts are missing.

The glitch allowed Santorum to technically declare himself the winner and give him the hope of changing the narrative that has until now, dominated the Republican nomination caucus, a narrative which made Mitt Romney the clear frontrunner as the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Given the few votes that separated Santorum from Romney in Iowa, and the fact that there are votes missing, Santorum would have already had a difficult time trying to change the existing perceptions about Romney’s electoral strength, but Governor Perry made it practically impossible for Santorum to do after he quickly replaced the Iowa Caucus headline with his own about the end of campaign and endorsement of Gingrich.

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