In the deep dark days of 1994, I was out of politics. I was actually running the Middle East for the company then known as EDS out of Dallas.
In the Fall of that year, I got a call from my good friend Joe Gaylord – Newt Gingrich’s political guru – asking me to fly into Atlanta for election night because they were certain they were going to take control of the U.S. House for the first time in 40 years and Newt wanted me to come in and help oversee the press operation.
I was in Abu Dhabi or Qatar or somewhere, but flew in and, indeed, I was there for election night. Continue reading →
Rick Santorum called it a day yesterday afternoon.
In one of those weird campaign events, Santorum’s folks tried to keep what the event was to be under wraps until about 2pm Eastern. But, the staff got buffaloed into giving up the fact that Santorum would be “suspending” his campaign so, by the time the event started at about 2:20, every person on the planet with a Twitter account was writing about it.
Santorum’s withdrawal from the campaign was a paradox: He had done too well to stay in any longer.
The Pennsylvania primary will be held on April 24. If Santorum were to win (not a foregone conclusion) he would have been locked into the race through May and probably through June.
This is April 10. Santorum is pretty much out of money. The notion of pretending to compete against Mitt Romney for the next 10 weeks was too much to contemplate.
If Santorum were to lose in Pennsylvania (also not a foregone conclusion) then his political career would end with a dull thud. Santorum had no good way to move on, so he got out.
Much has been made about the fact that Santorum didn’t mention Romney in his exit speech, but there is not a great deal of love between the two, so we should give Santorum a pass. Continue reading →
This column may well generate about 40,000 “Unsubscribes” this morning, but there you are.
In the early 1960s a man named Nico Jacobellis was arrested after the showing of a French movie in his theater by the name of “The Lovers” on the grounds that the film was obscene.
This case would doubtless be relegated to punishing second year law school students were it not for the fact that (a) the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court and (b) in a concurring opinion Justice Potter Stewart penned one of the most memorable phrases in Court history.
In concurring with a reversal of Mr. Jacobellis’ conviction, Justice Stewart wrote about trying to define the phrase “hard-core pornography”: I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”
Putting aside how Mr. Justice Stewart had come upon comparative material, this famous quote came to mind when I read that GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum plans to boldly go where Supreme Court Justices have feared to tread.
On his campaign web page a position paper on pornography contains this: While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum Administration. Continue reading →
Alabama and Mississippi. Southern States. States that help define the word “Southern” in the United States.
Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania – western Pennsylvania, not southern – won them both.
Newt Gingrich made it clear after Nevada that he had a plan to turbocharge his campaign once the primary calendar moved into the South. On CNN a couple of weeks ago, Gingrich said he thought he’d win at least two among Mississippi, Alabama and Kansas.
He didn’t win Kansas. Santorum won Kansas, too.
That meant, by his own arithmetic, Gingrich needed to win both Mississippi and Alabama. Continue reading →
At 10:08 PM Rick Santorum was hanging on to a two percentage point lead in Ohio, but it was a very good night for Santorum no matter what happens as the rest of Ohio’s votes are counted.
The pre-game analysis – by me – was that Romney would probably win Ohio fairly easily – by four or five percentage points. He had closed a double-digit gap over the past 10 days and I thought he was catching Super Tuesday on an upswing.
I was wrong.
I also thought that he would have a good chance of picking off Tennessee where he had been doing well among late deciders. I was wrong. The high-level of Evangelical voters there boosted Santorum to an easy 9 percentage point win.
I thought Ron Paul might pick up his first win in North Dakota. I was wrong. Santorum won there, too. Even though only about 10,000 people participated, Santorum got about 40% of them. Continue reading →
We haven’t had any election activity since February 7 when Rick Santorum led the pack in the popular votes in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado.
That led to a Perry-like, Cain-like, Gingrich-like spike in the polls for Rick Santorum who, in the ensuing three weeks, built a double-digit lead ahead of Mitt Romney in the Gallup national tracking poll, a double-digit lead in some of the polls in Michigan, and closed the gap to low single digits against Romney in Arizona.
That, in turn, led to 37 billion words being written about the possibility of a brokered convention largely because there was nothing else to write about.
Then came the debate in Arizona last week and, although I didn’t think Santorum stunk out the place, I did think he was below par. Everyone else apparently thought he stunk out the joint because since that debate five days ago Santorum’s leads in the Gallup poll has completely disappeared – in Sunday afternoon’s report Romney was leading 31-29. Gingrich and Paul are battling for third at 15 percent to 11 percent respectively. Continue reading →
There were election events last night in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado.
Missouri was a primary, but it was a state-wide beauty contest. No delegates were at stake. I’m not certain why the state of Missouri thought it might be a good idea to have what was essentially a spring training election costing millions of dollars, but there you are.
Rick Santorum won the Missouri contest. Gingrich wasn’t organized enough to even get on the Missouri ballot. Colorado and Minnesota had caucuses – and we know how well those have gone so far – but there are 36 delegates in play in Colorado and 40 in Minnesota.
When the day began the delegate count was:
Mitt Romney – 100 , Newt Gingrich – 35 , Ron Paul – 15 , Rick Santorum – 11
A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to claim the nomination, so we have a way to go.
If I had been advising Romney (which I am not) I would have said, “Let’s let Santorum win Missouri. There are no delegates at stake, but he gets the bragging rights and can claim two wins in the first seven states. That means Gingrich has to deal with Santorum before he can deal with us. Thus, losing to Santorum in Missouri is a win.” Continue reading →
The Nevada GOP couldn’t get the votes counted. By halftime of the Superbowl CNN.com was reporting that a full day after the caucuses only 83 percent of the precincts had been recorded.
The Iowa GOP chairman resigned in disgrace after it took nearly two weeks to decide that Rick Santorum, not Mitt Romney had been the winner there. By that time, whatever minor momentum Santorum had gained by “losing” by only eight votes on caucus night had long dissipated and he was but a footnote in the South Carolina story.
The results from Nevada as of 7:50 pm Eastern time last night were:
Mitt Romney – (13,442) 48%
Newt Gingrich – (6,043) 22%
Ron Paul – ( 5,239) 19%
Rick Santorum – (2,952) 11%
I kiddingly Tweeted, after Iowa announced its final ruling, that international observers would be called in to oversee the Iowa caucuses in 2016. Continue reading →
As the primary contest goes on to Nevada, one has to wonder what former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s campaign must do to stop former Gov. Mitt Romney’s momentum after his overwhelming victory in Florida. If the Gingrich campaign has an effective fundraising plan, solid organizational structures in Super Tuesday states, and reconfigures his message to appeal to voters, then he should remain in the race. However, if he simply chooses to remain in the race because he wants to needle the Romney campaign until the convention, most GOP voters will not have the stomach for it. Romney allies took Gingrich down in Iowa and Gingrich returned the favor in South Carolina. Both waged an extremely negative campaign in Florida and Romney won. Continue reading →
BY JOHN FEEHERY
Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com
Mitt Romney won a big victory and that win should propel him to the nomination sometime by June, given the vagaries of the proportional delegate system put in place by the Republican National Committee.
But Romney shouldn’t feel that comfortable with his position in the party or with the state of his party at the moment. Sarah Palin can be dismissed as a goofball and an idiot for continuing to embrace Newt Gingrich, despite the former Speaker’s trouncing in the Sunshine State. But she speaks for many of the goofballs and idiots who make up a fairly large chunk of the Republican/Tea Party base.
And those goofballs/idiots could make up the critical difference between winning and losing in next November. Continue reading →
No campaign for President is a straight line upward. Some campaigns are a flat line; some are a straight line down, but no Republican in a contested cycle has ever run the table.
Didn’t happen in 2012, either.
There is a theory in politics that the proper time to judge a campaign isn’t when everything is going well. The time to judge a campaign is how they recover from a stumble.
Ok. That’s not really a widely held theory, but I say it all the time and I think it’s true.
Last week Mitt Romney got skunked in South Carolina by Newt Gingrich. Over the course of five days and two debates Gingrich returned a punt, a fumble, and an interception, scored on a safety and pinned Obama deep in his own territory – everything an opposing candidate could have done within the football metaphors of Superbowl week. Continue reading →
NBC’s Brian Williams Monday night focused almost half of the Florida presidential debate, not on substantive issues but on negative ads and who is saying what to whom and what they’re saying back. It was more than 32 minutes into the debate before he posed a question on a real issue–Iran.
The headlines the next day were predictable. “Mitt Romney Smacks Newt Gingrich”, Romney Accuses Gingrich of ‘influence-peddling’,” Romney Unleashes Attack…”, Front-runners Go Toe to Toe…”
For anyone interested in learning where the candidates stand on issues that affect their lives, this debate was the wrong place on the TV channel. They would have been better informed watching the Home Shopping Network.
If only these debates were important, or moved votes, or caused some changes in the race, I might not mind that they come about every 18 hours.
You know what happened in South Carolina: In five days, including two debates, the race turned upside down and what appeared to have been a easy, if surprising, win for Mitt Romney turned into a huge, if surprising win, for Newt Gingrich.
The moderator of this debate was NBC’s Brian Williams. I am prepared to institute a law that says no one may moderate a political debate whose name is not Brian Williams or Wolf Blitzer.
Unlike the audiences in South Carolina which sounded like they were watching a World Wrestling Federation steel-cage death match; the audience last night was mostly silent, allowing the candidates to answer the questions and not vie against each other for the best applause line.
At long last, real voters cast real votes on behalf of real candidates. One down, 49 to go and that doesn’t include American Somoa, Guam, the District of Columbia and other U.S. holdings.
You already know what happened last night: Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. Rick Santorum essentially tied for first with 25 percent apiece. Rep. Ron Paul faded to third with about 2 percent. Speaker Newt Gingrich preserved a semblance of a win by beating out Gov. Rick Perry about 13 percent to 10 percent with Rep. Michele Bachmann coming in sixth with about five percent of the votes.
The Santorum story here – and it’s a good story – is, months and months of hard work and long road trips finally paid off. After Conservatives in Iowa kicked the tires of the four other candidates: Bachmann, Perry, Cain and Gingrich; they decided to take a look at Santorum and decided he was as good as they were likely to get and they made their choice pretty clear. Continue reading →
The final debate prior to the January 3 Iowa Caucuses was held in Sioux City last night. The race is no less fluid with 19 days to go than it was last summer. Newt Gingrich had jumped out to a huge lead a week ago, but that lead has (depending upon which poll you look at) has either diminished, or evaporated altogether.
After the first 20 minutes of Kumbaya, the questions turned to Gingrich. The second tier candidates were unabashed about piling on.
Here’s how I think the seven candidates did last night.
Newt Gingrich: (26.0% in the RealClearPolitics.com summary of Iowa Polls) Last week we were waiting to see how Newt handled being the front-runner and he handled it pretty darned well. Last night we were waiting to see how he handled watching his support erode in the face of a determined opposition. Continue reading →
The thing about telling you that I watched the GOP debate that took place in Des Moines, Iowa Saturday night is I have to admit I had nothing else to do Saturday night.
— Attend Joint Chiefs of Staff Christmas Party – Pentagon
— Fly to New York to see “Spiderman” – Broadway
— Weekend cruise to friend’s private island – Caribbean
— Feed the cat
— Make a meat loaf
— Watch GOP debate
Here’s the shorthand version of what I think happened.
Newt Gingrich won. No surprise. Gingrich is leading the pack because there have been 217 debates and he’s been great in all of them. Anyone who thought he was going to suddenly collapse under the weight of being the frontrunner simply doesn’t understand the Tao of Newt.
The Twitter-verse exploded when Mitt Romney offered to bet Rick Perry $10,000 on who was right about what was in Romney’s book regarding a national individual mandate for health care. Continue reading →
Newt Gingrich apparently let loose with some puzzling pronouncements about Palestine and Israel in a cable television interview recently and again in the Iowa debate. Before the debate, the Washington Post quoted him saying, “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire…We have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab people…”
The Post reporters went to Ghaith al-Omari, executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine, for this response: “Besides being factually and historically wrong, this statement is unwise,” and from former national security adviser Elliott Abrams: “There was no Jordan or Syria or Iraq, either, so perhaps he would say they are all invented people as well and also have no right to statehood.”
Gingrich’s remark threw the spotlight on one of the most profound, turbulent and impactful political, religious and human conditions of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The hot and cold wars of the Arab-Israeli conflict have affected the lives of millions of people throughout the world, as dramatically and injuriously as some of the greatest events of our time.
The Gingrich story, then, served as a wonderful opportunity for the Post to both inform and educate its readers on the history and the complexities of the conflict. Continue reading →
We can say this about our friend Newt Gingrich: He has never suffered from public self-doubt.
On the strength of a string of polls showing the GOP conservative base has fallen in love with him Newt told ABC News’ Jake Tapper: “I’m going to be the nominee. It’s very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I’m going to be the nominee.”
A Rasmussen poll which was taken on Wednesday shows Newt with 38 percent to Mitt Romney’s 17 percent among likely voters. Even being mathematically challenged I know that is a 21 percentage point lead. The rest of the field is in single digits: Cain & Paul are at 8; Perry, Bachmann and Santorum are at 4, and Huntsman continues to trail the field with three percent.
If there were a national primary and it was scheduled for this Saturday, Newt would probably be correct. He might be correct anyway, but it’s a little early to be taking a victory lap. Continue reading →