Big Change: Romney’s Major Address on The Economy (Full Speech and Transcript)

   Bookmark and Share  On Friday, as President Barack Obama sat down in the Blue Room of the White House to conduct an in-depth interview with MTV’s Sway, Mitt Romney used his campaign for President as an opportunity to discuss the economy.   (See complete video of the speech below and a transcript of the speech below that).  And as President Obama was telling “Sway” how he thought the most vibrant form of music right now is hip-hop, Mitt Romney stood before a crowd of 2,000 Americans in Ames Iowa, at the site of a construction company, and discussed something that might not have been quite as topical to MTV as the President’s musical tastes.  Romney chose to discuss the economy, an issue President Obama continues to try to avoid talking about.

With some 11 days to go before Election Day, the dichotomy between the topics the two men chose to focus on presented serious voters with evidence of there being a sharp contrast between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama when it comes to their priorities.  As Barack Obama chose to pander to the bubble gum blowing, pop-culture element of the electorate who is more concerned with voting for someone who spends most of their time debating who to vote for on American Idol, Mitt Romney was addressing concerned, responsible, educated voters who are more concerned with electing a President whose priorities include restoring America to greatness, not who the most popular Rap artists is.

Beyond anything else, the contrast is an embarrassing one for our President and for Americans in general.  It is an example not only of vastly different styles and priorities, it is evidence of just how while the Republican challenger for President is more willing to win this election on the issues important to our future, our incumbent President seeks to win this election by hammering together a plurality of voters that is comprised largely of people who have more knowledge about every word in Katy Perry’s latest song than they are of the words in our Constitution.  This should offend voters.  Furthermore; it is a clear indication of the President’s obvious awareness of the fact that he cannot win this election on the issues and on his record.  it is why he has spent most of time on the sofa’s of The View and every late night entertainment program that the mainstream media has to offer.

The Speech

Aside from the contrast between what the two men chose to speak about on Friday, is the content in Mitt Romney’s speech.  It was a speech that served two purposes for Romney.  It helped to remind people of the contrast in campaigns that has Barack Obama’s campaign talking about little things like Big Bird, binders, Mitt Romney is talking about the ideas worthy of a great nation.  In this case Romney addressed our economic future and it was speech worthy of a great future President.  It was a powerful, factual endictment of the President failed reocrd on the economy.   As Romney pointed out;

 “President Obama frequently reminds us that he inherited a troubled economy,” Romney said. But he also “inherited the most productive and innovative nation in history. He inherited the largest economy in the world…. What he inherited wasn’t the only problem; what he did with what he inherited made the problem worse.”

He added;

“Despite all that he inherited, President Obama did not repair our economy, he did not save Medicare and Social Security, he did not tame the spending and borrowing, he did not reach across the aisle to bring us together. Nor did he stand up to China’s trade practices, or deliver on his promise to re-make our relations with the Muslim world, where anti-American extremism is on the rise.”

But the speech was also an inspiring artiuclation of Romney’s economic vision for America, a vision that included concrete proposals to get the economic engine of our nation moving again.

If you have not taken the time to hear this speech, you should.  It may not be as scintilating as watching Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj having a catfight on American Idol but it is far more imporatant and inspirational.

Complete Transcript of the Speech;

Thank you all.  It’s great to be back in Iowa. And don’t think that this is the last time you are going to see Paul Ryan and me, because you Iowans may well be the ones who decide what kind of America we will have, what kind of life our families will have.

The choice you make this November will shape great things, historic things, and those things will determine the most intimate and important aspects of every American life and every American family. This is an election about America, and it is an election about the American family.

All elections matter. This one matters a great deal. Over the years of our nation’s history, choices our fellow citizens have made have changed the country’s course–they were turning points of defining consequence.

We are at a turning point today. Our national debt and liabilities threaten to crush our future, our economy struggles under the weight of government and fails to create essential growth and employment.

At the same time, emerging powers seek to shape the world in their image–China with its model of authoritarianism and, in a very different way, Jihadists with Sharia, repression, and terror for the world.

This is an election of consequence.  Our campaign is about big things, because we happen to believe that America faces big challenges.  We recognize this is a year with a big choice, and the American people want to see big changes.  And together we can bring real change to this country.

Four years ago, candidate Obama spoke to the scale of the times. Today, he shrinks from it, trying instead to distract our attention from the biggest issues to the smallest–from characters on Sesame Street and silly word games to misdirected personal attacks he knows are false.

The President’s campaign falls far short of the magnitude of the times. And the presidency of the last four years has fallen far short of the promises of his last campaign. Four years ago, America voted for a post-partisan president, but they have seen the most political of presidents, and a Washington in gridlock because of it.

President Obama promised to bring us together, but at every turn, he has sought to divide and demonize. He promised to cut the deficit in half, but he doubled it. And his budget?  It failed to win a single vote, Republican or Democrat, in either the House or the Senate. He said he would reform Medicare and Social Security and save them from pending insolvency, but he shrunk from proposing any solution at all.

And then, where are the jobs?  Where are the 9 million more jobs that President Obama promised his stimulus would have created by now?  They are in China, Mexico, and Canada and in countries that have made themselves more attractive for entrepreneurs and business and investment, even as President Obama’s policies have made it less attractive for them here.

And so today, his campaign tries to deflect and detract, to minimize the failures, and to make this election about small shiny objects.

But this election matters more than that. It matters to your family.

It matters to the senior who needs to get an appointment with a medical specialist but is told by one receptionist after another that the doctor isn’t taking any new Medicare patients, because Medicare has been slashed to pay for Obamacare.

It matters to the man from Waukesha, Wisconsin I spoke with several days ago.  In what were supposed to be his best work years, he used to have a job at $25 an hour with benefits and now has one at $8 an hour, without benefits.

It matters to the college student, graduating this spring, with 10 to 20 thousand dollars in student debt, who now learns that she also will be paying for 50 thousand dollars in government debt, a burden that will put the American Dream beyond her reach.

It matters for the child in a failing school, unable to go to the school of his parent’s choosing, because the teacher’s union that funds the President’s campaign opposes school choice.

The President’s campaign has a slogan: it is “forward.” But to the 23 million Americans struggling to find a good job, these last four years feel a lot more like “backward.” We cannot afford four more years like the last four years.

This election is about big things–like the education of our children, the value of our homes, the take home pay from our jobs, the price of the gasoline we buy, and the choices we have in our healthcare. It is also about the big things that determine these things–like the growth of the economy, the strength of our military, our dependence on foreign oil, and America’s leadership in the world.

President Obama frequently reminds us that he inherited a troubled economy. But a troubled economy is not all that President Obama inherited. He inherited the greatest nation in the history of the earth. He inherited the most productive and innovative nation in history. He inherited the largest economy in the world. And he inherited a people who have always risen to the occasion, regardless of the challenges they faced, so long as we have been led by men and women who have brought us together, called on our patriotism, and guided the nation with vision and conviction.

Despite all that he inherited, President Obama did not repair our economy, he did not save Medicare and Social Security, he did not tame the spending and borrowing, he did not reach across the aisle to bring us together. Nor did he stand up to China’s trade practices, or deliver on his promise to re-make our relations with the Muslim world, where anti-American extremism is on the rise.

What he inherited wasn’t the only problem; what he did with what he inherited made the problem worse.

In just four short years, he borrowed nearly $6 trillion, adding almost as much debt held by the public as all prior American presidents in history.

He forced through Obamacare, frightening small business from hiring new employees and adding thousands of dollars to every family’s healthcare bill.

He launched an onslaught of new regulations, often to the delight of the biggest banks and corporations, but to the detriment of the small, growing businesses that create two-thirds of our jobs.

New business starts are at a 30-year low because entrepreneurs and investors are sitting on the sidelines, weary from the President’s staggering new regulations and proposed massive tax increases.

Many families can’t get mortgages and many entrepreneurs can’t get loans because of Dodd-Frank regulations that make it harder for banks to lend.

The president invested taxpayer money–your money–in green companies, now failed, that met his fancy, and sometimes were owned by his largest campaign contributors. He spent billions of taxpayer dollars on investments like Solyndra, Tesla, Fisker, and Ener1, which only added to our mounting federal debt.

Energy prices are up in part because energy production on federal lands is down.  He rejected the Keystone Pipeline from Canada, and cut in half drilling permits and leases, even as gasoline prices soared to new highs.

No, the problem with the Obama economy is not what he inherited; it is with the misguided policies that slowed the recovery, and caused millions of Americans to endure lengthy unemployment and poverty. That is why 15 million more of our fellow citizens are on food stamps than when President Obama was sworn into office. That is why 3 million more women are now living in poverty. That is why nearly 1 in 6 Americans today is poor.  That is why the economy is stagnant.

Today, we received the latest round of discouraging economic news:  Last quarter, our economy grew at just 2%.  After the stimulus was passed, the White House promised the economy would now be growing at 4.3%, over twice as fast.  Slow economic growth means slow job growth and declining take home pay. This is what four years of President Obama’s policies have produced. Americans are ready for change–for growth, for jobs, for more take home pay.

We have had four presidential and vice-presidential debates. And there is nothing in what the President proposed or defended that has any prospect of meeting the challenges of the times. Raising taxes will not grow jobs or ignite the economy–in fact, his tax plan has been calculated to destroy 700,000 jobs. A new stimulus, three years after the recession officially ended, may spare government, but it will not stimulate the private sector any better than did the stimulus of four years ago. And cutting one trillion dollars from the military will kill jobs and devastate our national defense.

This is not the time to double down on the trickle-down government policies that have failed us; it is time for new bold changes that measure up to the moment, that can bring America’s families the certainty that the future will be better than the past.

If Paul Ryan and I are elected as your president and vice president, we will endeavor with all our hearts and energy to restore America. Instead of more spending, more borrowing from China and higher taxes from Washington, we’ll renew our faith in the power of free people pursuing their dreams.  We’ll start with our plan for a stronger middle class, which has five elements:

One, we will act to put America on track to a balanced budget by eliminating unnecessary programs, by sending programs back to states where they can be managed with less abuse and less cost, and by shrinking the bureaucracy of Washington.

Two, we’ll produce more of the energy we need to heat our homes, fill our cars, and make our economy grow.  We will stop the Obama war on coal, the disdain for oil, and the effort to crimp natural gas by federal regulation of the very technology that produces it. We will support nuclear and renewables, but phase out subsidies once an industry is on its feet. And rather than investing in new electric auto and solar companies, we will invest in energy science and research to make discoveries that can actually change our energy world. And by 2020, we will achieve North American energy independence.

Three, we will make trade work for America.  We’ll open more markets to American agriculture, products, and services. And we will finally hold accountable any nation that doesn’t play by the rules.  I will stand up for the rights and interests of American workers and employers.

Four, we will grow jobs by making America the best possible place for job creators, for entrepreneurs, for small business, for innovators, for manufacturers. This we will do by updating and reshaping regulations to encourage growth, by lowering tax rates while lowering deductions and closing loopholes, and by making it clear from day one that unlike the current administration, we actually like business and the jobs business creates.

Finally, as we create more opportunity, we also will make sure that our citizens have the skills to succeed. Training programs will be shaped by the states where people live, and schools will put the interests of our kids, their parents, and their teachers above the interests of the teachers’ unions.

If we do those five things, our economy will come roaring back. We will create 12 million new jobs in just four years, raise take-home pay, and get the American economy growing at four percent a year—more than double this year’s rate. After all the false promises of recovery and all the waiting, we will finally see help for America’s middle class.

Paul and I won’t stop there. When we take office, we will take responsibility to solve the big problems that everyone agrees can’t wait any longer.

We will save and secure Medicare and Social Security, both for current and near retirees, and for the generation to come. We will restore the $716 billion President Obama has taken from Medicare to pay for his vaunted Obamacare.

We will reform healthcare to tame the growth in its cost, to provide for those with pre-existing conditions, and to assure that every American has access to healthcare. We will replace government choice with consumer choice, bringing the dynamics of the marketplace to a sector of our lives that has long been dominated by government.

These things among others we can only do if we work tirelessly to bridge the divide between the political parties. We will meet with Democrat and Republican leadership regularly, we will look for common ground and shared principles, and we will put the interests of the American people above the interests of the politicians.

I know something about leading because I’ve led before.  In business, at the Olympics, and in Massachusetts, I’ve brought people together to achieve real change.

I was elected as a Republican governor in a state with a legislature that was 85% Democrat. We were looking at a multi-billion dollar budget gap. But instead of fighting with one another, we came together to solve our problems. We actually cut spending–reduced it. We lowered taxes 19 times. We defended school choice. And we worked to make our state business friendly.

Our state moved up 20 places in job growth. Our schools were ranked number one in the nation.  And we turned a $3 billion budget deficit into a $2 billion rainy day fund.

I know it because I have seen it: Good Democrats can come together with good Republicans to solve big problems. What we need is leadership.

America is ready for that kind of leadership. Paul Ryan and I will provide it. Our plan for a stronger middle class will create jobs, stop the decline in take home pay, and put America back on the path of prosperity and opportunity. And this will enable us to fulfill our responsibility as the leader of the free world, to promote the principles of peace. We will help the Muslim world combat the spread of extremism; we will dissuade Iran from building a nuclear bomb; we will build enduring relationships throughout Latin America; and we will partner with China and other great nations to build a more stable and peaceful world.

We face big challenges. But we also have big opportunities. New doors are open for us to sell our ideas and our products to the entire world. New technologies offer the promise of unbounded information and limitless innovation. New ideas are changing lives and hearts in diverse nations and among diverse peoples. If we seize the moment and rise to the occasion, the century ahead will be an American Century.

Our children will graduate into jobs that are waiting for them. Our seniors will be confident that their retirement is secure. Our men and women will have good jobs and good pay and good benefits. And we will have every confidence that our lives are safe, and that our livelihoods are secure.

What this requires is change, change from the course of the last four years. It requires that we put aside the small and the petty, and demand the scale of change we deserve: we need real change, big change.

Our campaign is about that kind of change–confronting the problems that politicians have avoided for over a decade, revitalizing our competitive economy, modernizing our education, restoring our founding principles.

This is the kind of change that promises a better future, one shaped by men and women pursuing their dreams in their own unique ways.

This election is a choice between the status quo — going forward with the same policies of the last four years — or instead, choosing real change, change that offers promise, promise that the future will be better than the past.

If you are ready for that kind of change, if you want this to be a turning point in America’s course, join Paul Ryan and me, get your family and friends to join us, and vote now for the kind of leadership that these times demand.

God bless you. And God bless America.

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Romney Still Winning the Election in the Electoral College But Wisconsin and New Hampshire Are Becoming Critically Important

Bookmark and Share   The latest White House 2012 analysis of polls, conditions, and circumstances in individual states projects a slightly smaller Electoral College vote total for Governor Mitt Romney than he had last week, but Romney still remains above the magic number of 270, that he needs to win in the Electoral College.

This week, WH12 has seen the battleground states of Iowa and Nevada taken out of Romney’s column and designated as toss-up states.  This switch has taken away 12 electoral votes from the Romney-Ryan ticket and brought  them from last week’s total of 291 electoral votes , to 279 electoral votes this week.  But as Mitt Romney sees 12 votes go from him to the undecided column, President Obama sees his previous Electoral College projection decrease by 10 votes as WH12 now takes Wisconsin out of the President’s column and classifies it as a toss-up state.  So President Obama now finds  his Electoral College vote drop from 247 last week, to 237 this week.

But the big story here ends up not being the new numbers projected in White House 2012’s analysis.  The real story here is the increasing importance that these numbers places on New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and probably most of all… Wisconsin.

Based upon WH12’s  current level of confidence in Mitt Romney having solid leads in all his base states* and strong leads in the once very competitive states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, combined with our increasing confidence in Romney’s ability to at least squeak out a win in Ohio, what we find ourselves with here is a race that really hinges upon Romney’s need to win any combination of New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and or Wisconsin.

With former toss-up states like Colorado, Virginia, and Florida projected to be solidly behind Romney, as seen in the map below, all the Romney-Ryan tickets needs to secure victory is Ohio.    With Romney’s base states, and locks on the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina,and Virginia, if Romney can squeak by in Ohio, he can lose New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and  Wisconsin and still win with 5 more electoral votes than he needs to secure the presidency.  That would produce an electoral vote of 275 for Romney, to 263 for President Obama.

But Ohio is too close for comfort for Romney to count on.  So the Romney-Ryan ticket must secure an optional path to victory to rely upon.  Based upon the current projection which gives Romney the battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire, ,  if President Obama wins Ohio, the only state that Romney needs is Wisconsin.   In that scenario, even if the Obama-Biden ticket won the remaining battleground states of Iowa and Nevada, Mitt would still win in the Electoral College with 271 electoral votes to Obama’s 267 electoral votes.

Without Ohio, this New Hampshire plus Wisconsin combination to victory for Romney is currently the best and most logical strategy to pursue.

In New Hampshire, the Romney-Ryan ticket is behind Obama-Biden by only approximately 1%.  That is well below the 2.2% margin of error that WH12’s projection formula adds to Romney’s numbers in an attempt to compensate for the erroneous turnout models that pollsters are using in their polls.  So by WH12’s standard, Romney is actually ahead of President Obama in New Hampshire by approximately 1.2%.    Then there is Wisconsin.

While Real Clear Politics has Obama ahead of Romney by approximately 2.8% in Wisconsin according to White House 2012 that is only a .06% lead for the President.  It is a lead so small that that it could easily by overcome.  Especially if its favorite son, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan,  focusses on Wisconsin during this last two weeks of the election. That is a point White House 2012 made last week in a post entitled  “Checkmating Obama with Wisconsin: A Romney Win in the Badger State Dooms Obama“.   Furthermore, Ryan’s focus on Wisconsin could also produce an overflow effect that impacts the close contest in Iowa which borders Wisconsin and possibly provide the margin of victory for the G.O.P. ticket there.

What this all means is that if projections that give Romney his base states and the critical battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, but he losses Ohio, the Romney-Ryan ticket can still win the election if they take Wisconsin and either New Hampshire, Iowa, or Nevada.   But under this situation, if Romney does not win Wisconsin,  Romney would have to win all three states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada.

So it becomes clear to us that while several states remain quite important in this election, if Mitt Romney’s momentum  continues to hold, Wisconsin and New Hampshire may be the states that offer him the best assurance of a victory in the Electoral College. Especially if Ohio remains as tight as it currently is and goes down to the wire as a state so close that its results might not be known until days or even weeks after they are litigated in the courts.  However, the outcome of such litigation would be meaningless  if Romney can put New Hampshire and Wisconsin safely in his final Electoral College vote total.

In the meantime, while White House 2012’s current projection classifies 22 electoral votes as toss-ups, no matter which way they ultimately go, the most Barack Obama could get is 259 electoral votes.  That would leave and Romney with at least 20 more electoral votes than Obama and nine more than Romney needs to win in the Electoral College.

Meanwhile, if Barack Obama fails to curtail the Romentum that we currently see, it won’t be long before White House 2012 finds itself issuing the very best but still realistic projected outcome that Mitt Romney could see.  That projection may end up with a far more lopsided Electoral College than anyone is expecting.  As seen in the map below, existing trends may soon establish a projection that looks like th e map below.  It’s a Romney led Electoral College result of of 302 electoral votes to 236 electoral votes.

Right now, that is the best case scenario for Romney but if current trends to continue, it is the result we are most likely to see.  It is also a result that would include something new… the splitting of Maine’s electoral vote between Romney and Obama.  Maine, like Nebraska splits their electoral vote between their congressional districts.  Some recent polling has shown that in  Maine’s second congressional district, Romney was leading Obama 49 to 44%.  If that holds up, it would be the first time Maine ever actually split it’s electoral vote.  And it would also give Romney at least 1 electoral vote from a region of the country that Romney has been all but written off in.

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The Mistake That is Iowa: Santorum Beats Romney………Maybe

Bookmark and Share   Up to now, Iowa’s erroneous Caucus results created a narrative that allowed Mitt Romney to be the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to win both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary.  The distinction really did not mean much.  Both New Hampshire and Iowa award delegates on a proportional basis and neither actually determine who the nominee is.  However the public perception of two seeming back to back victories for Mitt Romney had a profound effect on the perception shaping the ongoing nomination contests.  Romney’s strong showing and one time 8 vote victory in Iowa along with his landslide win in New Hampshire, helped to establish him, at least psychologically, as the inevitable Republican presidential nominee.  In turn, that perception gave Mitt a leg up on his opponents by denying them, at least some  momentum and money.

Now it comes out that in an attempt to certify the Iowa Caucus results,  there are 34  more votes for Rick Santorum than Mitt Romney which can be accounted for.

The problem is that there is unknown number of votes from 8 different voting precincts which can’t be accounted for.

This has forced the Iowa G.O.P. to formally declare the Caucus a virtual tie between Romney and Santorum.

However, in his never ending attempt to capitalize on what his undeniably overwhelming finish in Iowa, Rick Santorum is focussing in on the the votes which can be accounted for and give him a technical victory in the Hawkeye State.  Upon the newly unofficial certification of the election results, Santorum released the following email to supporters;

As I stated, between the closeness of the Iowa Caucus and the proportional basis which Iowa awards delegates, makes who won by a handful of votes not very important.  And seeing as how Santorum achieved such a close result by spending hardly any money in the state and still going from the bottom of the pack to the front of the field, Santorum was the real winner regardless of who technically won.  But the perceptions created by the mishandling of the caucus results did have an undue, albeit minimal effect on history and the early stages of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

That fact makes it clear that there was one real big, undeniable, loser here.  it was the Iowa State Republican Party.

Their inability to properly oversee the most basic aspect of our democratic process is a embarrassing blemish that makes one wonder how much we should rely upon their Party Caucus when it comes to selecting a presidential nominee.  If these people can’t even count accurately, I am not too confident in their ability to pick presidents.

Perhaps Jon Huntsman was right when he said that Iowa picks corn while other states pick Presidents.

No matter what, this tabulating error was an inauspicious way to kick off the 2012 presidential election cycle and conjures up fears of another chad-ridden, presidential election in 2000, a repeat of which our troubled nation truly does not need.

Thanks Iowa.

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Hollow Victories?

One aspect of the Republican race for the nomination that may yet become a serious issue is the penalty assessed on NH, SC, FL, AZ and MI because they held their primaries before February. It has been the case that no Republican has won the nomination without winning SC and either IA or NH. Yet, this year those victories are more a public relations victory than ones that really build a delegate base. Even if Mitt Romney swept the January primaries, he won’t have amassed the type of delegate count candidates would have historically had by Michigan. When he is only polling on average at 25% across the country and a couple other candidates still with money and a national campaign staff, Romney could be unexpectedly wiped out on Super Tuesday.

While the traditional conservatives are split right now between three candidates, there is time to unite even after Michigan and still effectively challenge Romney. That was not the case four years ago when the split among the conservatives allowed McCain to build not just a list of victories, but a strong foundation of delegates. With half of the delegates stripped from the early primary States and the proportioning of delegates splitting them even further, Mitt Romney will not have the lead that McCain had by Michigan even if he runs the table. That has to be cause for concern.

Complicating the issue is the candidacy of Ron Paul. He’s not going anywhere. He can raise the money and has the grassroots network to at least maintain his current percentage of the votes. As the conservatives coalesce around a single candidate, this will become a three man race. Even if the final conservative candidate cannot fully consolidate all of the support currently spread across three, he will only really need around 40% of the electorate to win the election if Paul stays around 20%. Romney voters are not energized for him, generally speaking. Already he is tied with Ron Paul when they are polled against Obama – meaning Romney’s ‘best candidate to defeat Obama’ pitch is already losing its power. When the conservatives finally settle on a single candidate (probably after Florida), that person will likely also pull even with Romney and Paul on head to head match-ups with Obama. With the moderates split, a conservative could cruise to victory.

Super Tuesday could also redefine the election from the current Romney vs. non-Romney into Paul vs. non-Paul. This is possible because the conservative candidate will battle Romney mainly as the main rival, leaving Paul to his 20%. Once the delegates get tangled up between Romney and the eventual conservative candidate, Paul’s slowly accumulating delegate count will become an issue. More moderate Republicans could begin to shift from Romney to Paul as Romney’s chances of victory wane. Gingrich, Santorum and Perry are all polarizing figures. Unifying each others’ supporters will be hard enough, but winning over the more moderate voters could be very difficult, especially if the kinds of attacks on Romney that have been made by them recently continue over the next six weeks. Disgruntled Romney supporters (the elderly in particular) may shift over to Paul giving him both the elderly and the youth. If the vitriol between the eventual conservative and Romney were bad enough, Romney could even endorse Paul just to stick it to the person who ‘robbed him’ of his nomination.

Of course, the conservatives uniting may not happen. An angry Perry or Santorum or Gingrich could pull out and endorse Romney rather than join with a conservative they are angry with. That would give Romney more conservative credentials and be just enough to let him steamroll over the final conservative candidate. With Paul pulling out at least 20%, Romney doesn’t need to be stellar so long as the conservatives don’t fully unite.

Certainly this is all speculation. However, the stripping of half the delegates from the early primary States has bought time for the conservatives to unify that they lacked in 2008. Combine that with a stronger Ron Paul who has gone all in this year (abandoning his seat in the House) and the early primaries just don’t hold the power they normally do. A third party run in the general election is very unlikely. But the dynamics of such a race playing out for the Republican nomination is not only possible but probable. The conservatives will unite. Paul will continue on. Romney will not be safely ahead in the delegate count after FL. How that plays out just can’t be predicted right now. Just don’t think that it is over even if Mitt sweeps right through FL. The victories are hollow when it comes to actual delegates gained. He’ll still be vulnerable. There are States that only Romney and Paul are on the ballot and conservatives could support Paul in those just to weaken Romney, complicating the delegate picture. This isn’t over and won’t be over for quite some time.

Iowa Recap

Romney won, Bachmann quit, Santorum is rising, Paul is maintaining his status quo, Newt is struggling, Perry has faith, and Huntsman….who?  Iowa recapped:

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney won in Iowa. Honestly?  No big deal. Romney will gain momentum from winning, but when people look at the numbers they will realize that if Michele Bachmann wasn’t in the race, Santorum would have won comfortably.  If Santorum wasn’t in the race, Newt and Perry probably would have both outpolled Romney.  In Iowa, he got his fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives split the rest.  But it’s not all bad for Romney.  In fact, while Romney may have come to a predictable finish, he won by choosing his opponent.  Gingrich was a shoe in to win Iowa barely more than a week ago.  Instead, Santorum now has the social conservative momentum and Romney should easily win New Hampshire and could win South Carolina.  So Romney’s win is:

Good for: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum      Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman

Rick Santorum

A shocking surprise to some, a mild surprise for others, Santorum has Huckabee’d Iowa.  With a great ground game, time, hard work, and the luck of Newt Gingrich being destroyed by Romney, Inc, Michele Bachmann, and the Republican establishment, Santorum is finally getting his shot at vetting.  Already, he is being called a war monger and “big government conservative”.  But Santorum’s rise may be too late in the game for a vetting process to destroy him.  Many social conservatives have been waiting for a reason to believe that Santorum could win.  From the day he started running the narrative has been that Santorum is simply unelectable on a national scale.  So, Santorum’s second place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney   Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann

Ron Paul

Paul’s third place finish is certainly not what the Paul camp was hoping for.  Ron Paul came very close to breaking free from his libertarian ceiling, but in the end social conservatives showed they would rather take a gamble on the unvetted Rick Santorum instead of giving Ron Paul the ‘turn’ he was starting to experience.  Paul has been passed over as the anti-Romney.  He may be able to turn things around in New Hampshire, but a third or worse finish in New Hampshire should be a clear signal to Paul that the revolution is over.  Paul’s third place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney  Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Even if Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race and split their votes on a pro rata share, Newt would still not have passed Mitt Romney.  The fact is, Romney ran an incredible, strategic dismantling of Newt without even breaking a sweat.  In the meantime, Newt refused to go dishonestly negative, but managed plenty of headlines saying “Newt Goes on the Attack”.  Newt is realizing in time for New Hampshire, he won’t win with a positive campaign.  Can he win with a negative one?  New Hampshire will probably go Romney’s way.  But Newt needs South Carolina.  Without South Carolina, he won’t have the momentum to take Florida and Florida is the key.  So Newt’s dismal fourth place finish is:

Good for: Mitt Romney   Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann

Rick Perry

Perry’s fifth place win got him to re-think his campaign.  But with Michele Bachmann choosing to drop out, perhaps Perry thinks he still has hope.  He should have decided to stay in Texas.  Perry’s placing is:

Bad for: Rick Perry

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann barely registered.  Iowa was her last hope to connect with social and evangelical conservatives and she failed.  Fortunately, this provided the wake up call she needed to see the end of the race.  Bachmann has decided to drop out of the race and return to Minnesota.  Unfortunately for Bachmann, she has not built the cult following that Sarah Palin did.  Hopefully she will continue to be a strong voice for the TEA party.

Good for: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry   Bad for: Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney

As for the other contender, Jon Huntsman’s disrespectful snub of Iowa, especially in light of Romney’s stronger finish in the state and momentum, seals Huntsman’s irrelevancy.

Groundhog Day Came to Iowa Early and Rick Santorum Saw His Shadow

Bookmark and Share   Iowa proved to be an incredibly dramatic opening contests for the Republican presidential nomination that even included the added suspense of missing and improperly recorded vote totals.  But by 2:30 in the morning, all was resolved and the results gave Mitt Romney a 8 vote victory.  The closeness of the race did not help Mitt Romney but it certainly helped Rick Santorum, the candidate who came from so far behind and so close to defeating Romney, that in the end Iowa really goes down in the books as more of a near loss for Romney than a real win.  And it was the incredible closeness of the race that changed everything, at least in the short term.

Several days prior to the Caucus, I correctly predicted the order in which the candidates would finish.  So the fact that Santorum finished second should not have been a total surprise.  But the fact that he came within 5 votes of winning is what changed everything.  As a result, contrary to other predictions, Iowa wound up mattering more than many expected, including myself. Exactly how much more though is up to Rick Santorum.

In addition to ending Michele Bachmann’s campaign and giving movement conservatives a chance to divide their vote up among fewer candidates, Iowa shifted the focus on to a new contender…..Rick Santorum.  But how much that matters depends upon Rick Santorum’s ability to capitalize on his new found fame.  If he fails to come out of New Hampshire and South Carolina stronger than he was going in to them, then Iowa’s impact on the nomination will prove to have been minimal.

The one thing we do know is that the strong showing they provided Rick Santorum with was a political version of Groundhog Day……not the movie, but the actual holiday.  Santorum, the former Senator from Pennsylvania, emerged from Iowa much like Punxsutawney  Phil, the famed Pennsylvania groundhog who the nation watches as he emerges from his burrow.  If he sees his shadow, it is said  to indicate that winter weather will last longer than we may want.  In Rick Santrorum’s case, his come from behind split decision in Iowa has cast a shadow on the Republican race which means that this nomination contest remains contested and will probably do so far longer than Republicans would like.

That situation was arrived at due to both Romney and Santorum.

In addition to running a strong campaign that was waged on principle, persistence, and elbow grease, Santorum never became the type of target that everyone who surged to the top found themselves to become. This helped him win voters over and keep them in his column.  Had Santorum surged to the top like Newt Gingrich did weeks before voting began, he probably would have fallen victim to the same circumstances of those before him and now he will have a hard time proving that he can withstand such scrutiny.

As for Romney, although he technically won, to really win, he needed to stun Republicans with a strong first place finish with 30 or more percent of the vote.  That would have changed the entire storyline coming out of Iowa.  Instead of Rick Santorum being the main focus of the results, the real headline would have been that Mitt Romney finally exceeded the 25% ceiling of support that has become his greatest hurdle.  And he would have done so in a state where he was hardly considered a favorite.  Instead, not only did Romney almost lose to someone who was in the single digits a week before the caucuses, he actually won with 6 votes less than he received in 2008 when he came in second to Mike Huckabee.  In 2008, Romney received 25.19% of the Iowa Caucus vote, just about the same as he did this time, but the raw total was 30,021 votes.  In yesterday’ s caucus Romney won with 30, 015 votes.

Given that this was Romney’s second time around and he actually lost support, last night was really  not a win for him.  In the end, all that Iowa did for Romney was confirm that Republicans are still not excited about him and would like a better candidate.

So the race goes on and Romney is poised to become the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to ‘technically’ win Iowa and New Hampshire.  The problem is that between the reality of his poor showing in Iowa relative to Rick Santorum’s near defeat of him, and  Romney’s win in new Hampshire being considered a given, those victories may not provide Mitt with the momentum he needs to assure himself of a win in South Carolina where Mitt may find himself either in his last stand or finally on course to winning the nomination.

Newt Gingrich, who currently leads in New Hampshire has been trying to build a firewall in South Carolina in the hope of finally establishing himself as the alternative to Romney.  And Newt is looking for a fight with Mitt and is ready to provide him with some payback for all the negative ads that he believes Romney is behind.

Then there is Rick Perry.

Perry had time to sleep on his fifth place finish in Iowa and while he headed to bed with thoughts of ending his campaign dancing in his head, he woke up ready to fight and even Tweeted a battle cry that declared he is moving on to the Palmetto State.

And not to be Rick-rolled will be the other Rick, Rick Santorum, the new great conservative hope.

If Santorum can run strong enough in South Carolina to prevent Perry and Gingrich from getting out of the single digits or mid teens, at least one of the two will drop out and give Santorum the opportunity to bring their numbers in to his vote totals in the Florida primary which immediately follows South Carolina.

As for Ron Paul, given how far out of the mainstream his national security policies are and given his lack of  legislative accomplishments in almost two decades in Congress, in order for him to have a major impact on future primary nomination contests, he needed a big win in Iowa.  Add to that the buzz about polls which showed him actually in first place over the course of the weekend prior to the Caucus, and what you have is a candidate who failed to live up to expectations, and failed to meet a level of support that would have helped him overcome his perceived electability problems.  Although Ron Paul ran well and his strong showing can not be denied, it was not strong enough to help him gain the type of traction that he needs.   As a result, Ron Paul’s 22% percent in Iowa was probably his high watermark and from here on out, while he will remain a presence in the race, his impact on it will be about as significant as it was in his previous two runs for President.

Meanwhile the immediate effects of Iowa are apparent.

Since last night, interest in Santorum reached such heights that his website crashed and he collected $1 million in donations.   That is a good indication of just how his strong showing in Iowa has indeed provided him with the opportunity to become the real viable alternative to Romney that many have been looking for.

Another good sign for Santorum is that several national evangelical leaders have decided to get together and determine which of the remaining candidates they can all get behind in an attempt to be certain that Romney is denied the Republican nomination.  Given the circumstances, at the moment, Santorum would seem to be the most likely beneficiary of such an alliance.

At the moment I am not sure what will happen.  I have a feeling that while Rick Santorum may now be considered the Great Conservative Hope, he will ultimately be like another great hope……Duane Bobick, the 197o’s boxing star who was jokingly refered to as the “Great White Hope”.   Back in 1977, the biggest sporting event of the year became a much anticipated match between Bobick and future legend Ken Norton.  Bobick had a a 38-0 record with 32 KO’s and when he entered the ring with Norton, millions were anticipating an epic fight between two extraordinary athletes.   Less than 40 seconds in to the first round, Norton landed  an overhand right to Bobick’s throat and after just one minute into the fight Bobick was counted out.  A large part of me believes that this is Romney’s nomination and that Santorum will be the Duane Bobick of presidential politics.

Romney is still best poised to lock up the nomination soon after Florida.  However; if the inevitability of a Romney candidacy becomes so obvious, and triggers the far right base of the G.O.P. to finally unite behind one candidate in an attempt to stop Romney, this could be either a long, drawn out battle or a quick turning of the tables.  My biggest fear is that if conservatives really can not accept Mitt Romney and do not settle on who his one opponent should be, we could just find ourselves with the first brokered convention since 1976.

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Bachmann’s Presidential TEA Party is Over

  Bookmark and Share    After canceling a planned campaign swing to South Carolina, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann scheduled a press conference in which she announced that she was suspending her campaign.

Bachmann who won the Ames Straw Poll several months ago, lost the state in it’s first in the nation caucus to all of her rivals except for one, Jon Huntsman, the one candidate who did not campaign in Iowa.

Bachmann began the announcement to suspend her campaign by discussing the great responsibility to defend our republic is and explained that she decided to take responsibility by running for President and that her decision was made on the day that Obamacare was passed.  She described Obamacare as one of the greatest threat to the very foundation of our Republic and that its repeal is her greatest goal.

She promised to consider to fight against President Obama’s socialist agenda, as well as capital cronyism, family, life, and religious liberty.

But Bachmann said that on Tuesday, the people of Iowa spoke loudly and as now she will step aside and support the Republican whom we must all unite behind in order to defeat Barack Obama in November.

What Bachmann did not do is throw her support behind any particular candidate yet.  However her departure from the presidential race begins to cut down on a critical factor behind Mitt Romney’s success in the Republican contest.  With her in  the race, Bachmann helped divide the social conservative voting bloc among at least 4 candidates.  That dilution of the vote helped Romney hammer together his frontrunner status.  But now with her out, a candidate like Rick Santorum who essentially tied with Mitt Romney in Iowa, may benefit the most as he begins to become the candidate that social conservatives begin to coalesce around.

While Bachmann may not immediately throw her support behind a single candidate right now, her own future will probably consist of her filing the paperwork that will make her a candidate for reelection to her Minnesota congressional seat.

While a  prospective Republican candidate to replace Bachmann in the House did step forward, Bachmann supporters and the Minnesota G.O.P. have largely been anticipating a Bachmann reelection effort.  According to the deadlines established on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, the filing deadline for Bachmann is May 5, 2012, a date that gave Bachmann plenty of time to pursue her presidential ambitions and still file her candidacy for reelection to Congress if that pursuit failed.  That scenario was predicted by White House 2012 back in October of 2011.

Last night it became clear to Bachmann that her pursuit for the White House did fail, but you can rest assured that Bachmann will not fail the conservative cause as she moves forward.  While her campaign may not have been a been a big success from a strategic standpoint, she performed valiantly and was a ferocious defender of our founding principles who most definitely kept the other candidates on their toes and deserves credit for a job well done.

Bachmann now becomes the second Republican presidential  candidate from Minnesota to fall victim to the voters of neighboring Iowa.  Back in August, when Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s own poor showing led him to end his presidential campaign a day later.

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