Iowa Debate Saw Candidates Take Off the Gloves, Romney Trip Himself Up and Newt Prove He Can Go the Distance

Bookmark and Share   Before we go in to the details of the debate, let us first hand out a few awards based on each debate participant’s performance:
 

The Awards

 
Candidate with the Worst Debate MomentMitt Romney;
 
Romney’s attempt to prove that Rick Perry was wrong about Mitt’s past position on a federal healthcare mandate, prompted Mitt to make a bet of $10,000 with Perry over the issue.
 
Candidate with the Best Debate MomentNewt Gingrich;
 
When Newt was asked to defend his remarks about Palestinians being an invented people, he launched in to an articulate discussion about there being a need for a leader who will speak the truth.  He added that it was about time we called the Palestinian leaders what they really are…”terrorists” and stated, “Reagan believed in the power of truth. I’m a Reaganite, I’m proud to be a Reaganite, I will tell the truth,” .  Gingrich’s response on this issue demonstrated a sense of resolve and boldness that many voters find refreshing and appealing.
 
Candidate with the Best Defense LineNewt Gingrich;
 
When Mitt Romney tried to characterize Newt as a career politician Newt defended his record by looking at Mitt and telling him that the only reason he is not considered a career politician is because he lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.  In this case Newt proved that the best defense is often a good offense.
 
Most Aggressive CandidateMichele Bachmann;
 
Bachman coined the name “Newt Romney” when during one answer she repeatedly refereed to Gingrich and Romney in a line of attack that classified them as political insiders who were weak on conservative issues and flip flopped on everything from a federal healthcare mandate to global warming. 
 
Candidate Who Was the Most Appealing to Iowa’s Important Evangelical Vote: Rick Santorum;
 
Rick Santorum took every possible opportunity there was to give answers that allowed him to wrap up   his responses up with references to values and the importance of a traditional family.  Santorum did this better than either Perry or Bachmann, and while the other candidates on the stage addressed charges thrown at them, Santorum successfully courted evangelicals and appealed to this very important and powerful Iowa Caucus voting bloc.
 
Worst Overall PerformanceMitt Romney;
Romney had hoped to put Newt Gingrich on the defensive, but instead, Newt successfully kept Mitt on the defensive, and for the first time in these debates, Romney looked and sounded a bit rattled at times.  Romney also failed to achieve any of the things he needed to in this debate such as shore up his conservative bona fides.  But what really earned Mitt last place in this debate was his $10,000 bet.  It is a bet that he lost even though he wasn’t taken up on it and it will come back to haunt him in the months ahead.
 
Best Overall PerformanceNewt Gingrich;
 
Gingrich took the heat and proved he can take it.  He remained calm, cool, collected, and quick-witted, turned several attacks on him in to lines that he successfully used against his opponents, and demonstrated that he has some of that discipline that many claim he lacks.  Overall, Newt did all  he could in this debate.  He looked presidential, demonstrated that he can handle attacks, and did nothing that could have hurt him.
 

 The Debate

 In what was one of two critical debates before voting in Iowa commences in 24 days, the Republicans presidential candidates put the focus more on one another and less on the issues.  Instead of the candidates focussing on how they could affect the issues, the candidates used the issues to affect the frontrunners chances of winning. 

Most focussed on of all was Newt Gingrich.  Newt was tarred and feathered by his opponents for interpretations of his past positions on healthcare mandates, his approach to the explosive Israel vs. Palestine debate, marital infidelity, and his careers in and and out of politics. But the former Speaker of the House held his own and corrected mischaracterizations of his record by Romney, Perry, and Bachmann, setting the record straight concerning Ron Paul’s interpretation of the consulting that Gingrich did for Fannie Mae, and when it came to his personal life, admitting that he made mistakes and had to repent for those mistakes.

Gingrich’s personal life, specifically in the case of marital infidelity, came to the forefront after moderators asked the other candidate’s to address subtle innuendos in various campaign ads which tout their stable, longstanding marriages and suggest that their marriages are a sign of their good character, while the affairs of Newt are sign of his lack of character.

Many of the candidates admitted that Newt’s failed marriages were in fact signs of Newt’s serious character flaws and to his credit, Rick Perry showed some courage when he spoke words in front of Newt’s face that others would have only said behind his back.   The Texas Governor said;

“I’ve always been of the opinion that if you cheat on your wife you’ll cheat on your business partner, so I think that issue of fidelity is important,”

Mr. Perry the went on to say;

“It’s a characteristic of which people look at other individuals, whether it’s in their business lives, or in their personal lives, or picking someone to serve in public office for them.”

On this issue, after all his rivals had their say, Newt agreed it was a legitimate issue and simply admitted that he has made mistakes and asked God to forgive him.  He then went on to state that he hopes that now as a 68  year old grandfather,  people will judge him on his entire record.
 
“People have to measure who I am and whether I’m a person they can trust,” he said.
 
As the new king of the Republican hill, Newt took most of the punches, but in doing so, he also proved that not only can he withstand them, he can pack  a good “issue based” punch of his own.
 
When a question about a recent statement Gingrich made about Palestinians being a made up people, Congressman Ron Paul was the first to pounce on Newt and said of the statement; 

“That’s just stirring up trouble,”

He then added;

“This is how we get into so many messes. I think it just fails us on a little bit of diplomacy.”

Romney also tried to take advantage of what he had hoped would be an opportunity to make Gingrich seem irrational,  He told the assembled Republicans that “we’re not going to throw incendiary words into a place which is a boiling pot.” Romney then went on to imply that Newt was a bombthrower.

But attempts to nail Newt to cross on that issue failed, and in the end Newt handled the question about his statement in a wat that won him the debate.  He stated that he was merely doing what Ronald Reagan used to do, which was to have the courage to tell the truth no matter how unpleasant.

“Reagan believed in the power of truth. I’m a Reaganite, I’m proud to be a Reaganite, I will tell the truth,” he said.

While Newt took the heat, withstood it, and won the debate, former frontrunner Mitt Romney was not nearly as nimble in defending himself as Newt Gingrich was and to make matters worse, he had his first major debate stumble of this election. It was a stumble caused by Mitt’s mouth forcing him to trip over his own feet.

When trying to prove to Rick Perry that he never never supported a federal mandate  regarding the issue of healthcare, Romney turned Perry, put out his hand, and bet the Texas Governor $10,000 that he was  wrong.

Way to go Mitt!

After three years of going sans tie to prove that he was in touch with the average voter, he successfully pulled a stunt that proved to those voters that he lived in a world that was not anything like their’s.  Few Americans can fathom making a spur of the moment bet for $10,000 just to prove a point.  For his part, Rick Perry did not shake the hand extended to him by Romney for such a bet.   Instead Perry said he was “not a betting man”.  Romney reacted with a shrug and throwing up of his hands as if to indicate, he won because Perry was not  willing to put his money where his mouth is.  But in truth, it was Romney who lost many points for that stunt.

Romney’s $10,000 bet not only gave voters the impression that he had a much more carefree attitude with finances than they do, he also demonstrated that he is out of touch with their plight during these tough economic times.

While his opponents on the stage did not immediately pick up on Romney’s gaffe and run with it, you can bet (pun intended) that there is now a race going on to see which one can turn the moment in to an ad and use it against Romney.

As for the rest of the candidates on the stage, Perry had a few decent moments and no embarrassing moments, but a few awkward ones.  Ron Paul was Ron Paul and he did little to demonstrate that was either more electable or more competent than any of his rivals.

Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum did however perform quite well and make some powerful points that proved themselves  to be the most consistent conservatives on the stage.  That will go a long way in insuring that they remain viable alternatives to Gingrich and Romney in the remaining three weeks of the campaign  leading up to the Iowa Caucuses and it is safe to say that after last night’s performance by Santorum and Bachmann, not only will undecided voters be considering the two of them, the two of them can and will pick up any support that Romney and Gingrich ose in the coming wakes.  That means that you should not be surprised to see one or both of them finish far better than expected when the Caucus is over.

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Trunkline 2012: Monday Mentions from The Republican Presidential Race – 11/28/11

Bookmark and ShareThe wrap up of news from the campaign trail today has mentions of an accusation of an affair, Newt rifding waves, Romney trying to keep up, vice presidential speculation, Cuban endorsements, a preview of a Romney presidential campaign, a request for your participation in the latest White House 2012 poll, and more.
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What are the chances of there being a significant third Party candidate in the 2012 presidential election?

Bookmark and Share    While Republican presidential prospects look good at the moment, making the defeat of  incumbent President Obama an inevitability will be far from easy.   Regardless of who the GOP presidential nominee ultimately is, they will have to run a solid campaign that reassure voters that they can at least do no worse than the sitting president.  They will have to be able to defend their personal history and try to turn it in to a political virtue.  They will have to be able to rewrite the storylines of their opponents, get their message out over the din of a biased liberal media, and provide a national direction that most can agree with. 

With President Obama wounded by growing scandals involving Solyndra and “Fast & Furious“, and being weighed down by higher than normal unemployment, a record amount of increased federal spending and debt, and the general impression that the nation is headed in the wrong direction, his defeat may now seem unavoidable. 

But it’s not.

Republicans have always had a great talent for defeating themselves and if there were ever a chance for them to do that, 2012 is it.

Despite his standing in the polls, President Obama has a full year to raise and spend what his campaign advisors say is an amount close to, or more than a billion dollars.  That’s “B” …..”billion”.

Billion Buck Barry will undoubtedly use that money much more wisely than he has used taxpayer’s money.  There will be thousands of mini ACORN-like organizations registering professional football players and Mickey Mouse to vote as Democrats, there will be well spun ads on T.V., cable, radio, computer games, on Google Ads, and newspapers and anything that has enough space to occupy with powerful images of the czars of czars.   It will be an air, sea, and ground campaign of class warfare that will best be described as a modern day, American blitzkrieg that will level our cities with a litany of liberal propaganda that will inspire the most social of socialists.

But Republicans will be dealing with a much more divided group of supporters than Democrats.

While a mere 20 or so percent of Americans describe themselves as liberal and 42% describe themselves as conservatives, many of those conservatives have come to feel disenfranchised from the G.O.P.

Between 2004 and 2008, many Republicans feel the way that Ronald Reagan felt about Democrats early on in his career when he explained;

“I did not leave the Democratic Party.  The Democratic Party left me

Hence the onset of the TEA movement.  And just for the record, yes, I wrote the “TEA movement”, not the TEA Party. 

The phrase TEA Party, logically creates the perception of a nationally organized political establishment, promoting one set of candidates representing their political affiliation.  That is not the case with so-called TEA Party.  It is a movement, based on the principles of less spending, less government, and more freedom.  On top of that,  this broad coalition is, at best, loosely organized, and it does not automatically support Republican candidates.  This makes it much more of a movement than a political Party.  And then there is the capitalization of the letters “T”, “E”, and “A”.  I do that because this coalition did not name themselves after tea bags.  The combin ation of letters is an acronym that stand for  “Taxed Enough Already”. 

In any case, the TEA movement is more than willing to oppose the G.O.P. and their candidates, and in 2012, the Republican Party can not rely on the common perception that voters unhappy with President Obama will simply support the Republican presidential nominee solely as a means to defeat the President.  In 2012, many voters do not want to settle for the lesser of the two evils.  Many voters, especially those in the TEA movement, want to eliminate both evils.

As such, conditions are just right for a third Party candidate to have the opportunity to significantly affect the presidential election.

A strong third Party candidate may not be able to win if Billion Buck Barry utilizes his money effectively and Republicans run a decent campaign, but they could still determine the results. 

When Theodore Roosevelt ran under the Bullmoose banner in 1912, he ran the most effective third Party candidacy in history.  He did not win, but he came in second, and  was singlehandedly responsible for the loss of incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft.  Had Roosevelt not upset the apple cart, Taft would have won a second term.  But thanks to Teddy, Taft came in third and with the vote split between the two, Woodrow Wilson became our President (see Fig. 1) . 

In 1968 the ugliness that was George Wallace ran for President on the American Independent Ticket.  That race may not have changed the results but it easily could have.  Only 0.7 % of the popular vote differentiated winning from losing by Richard Nixon over Democrat Hubert Humphrey.  However; the electoral college was still quite lopsided in Nixon’s favor. 

That year, racial strife allowed a coalition of Southern states to give Wallace 46 electoral votes, and nationally he drew 13.53% of the vote.  (see Fig.2)

In 1980 liberal Republican Congressman John Anderson ran on an Independent ticket under the banner of the National Union Party after losing the Republican presidential nomination to Ronald Reagan. 

Anderson’s vote did not change the outcome of that election, but he did do surprisingly well, by winning 6.61% of the popular vote.  (see Fig. 3)

But the best performance by acontemporary third Party candidate occurred in 1992, when eccentric businessman H. Ross Perot struck a chord of political independence within the nation and effectively torpedoed any chance that incumbent President George H.W. Bush had at winning reelection. (see Fig. 4)

In 2012, while there is not yet any sign of such a candidacy on the horizon, the right formula for one is there.

People are tired of both Party’s.  Democrats feel their Party has not been liberal enough.  Republican believe that the G.O.P. has not been forceful enough and not been committed enough to conservative principles.  And a whole host of Americans from Independents to TEA movement activists, are fed up with both Parties and no one sees either Party doing enough to solve the greatest challenge facing our nation since World War Two and the War on Terror……………our deficit and addiction to spending.  Thus making it so that the right candidate could just tilt the scales enough to determine which one of the two major Parties control the White House for the four years following the election.  From my perspective, two candidates who would do just that are Sarah Palin and Russ Feingold.

If Sarah Palin ran as a third Party, Independent candidate, she would certainly be viable,e enough to prevent the G.O.P. from beating Billion Buck Barry.  And if someone like former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold mounted a third Party, candidacy  he would be able to attract enough votes away  from the Democrat’s liberal base, in enough key states to cost President Obama reelection.  I don’t see either doing such a thing, at least not yet.  But you never what will happen.  If enough conservatives remain dissatisfied by the prospects of Mitt Romney becoming the nominee and then fail to accept him if he is the nominee, someone like Palin could easily keep those votes for themselves and prevent Republicans from claiming the electoral votes of key states like Colorado, New Mexico, and even Ohio and Florida.

So what do you think?

Answer this week’s White House 2012 question.  What are the chances of there being a significant third Party candidate in the 2012 presidential election? Vote here now.

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Complete Transcript and Video of the CBS/National Journal Republican Presidential Debate on Forign Policy

Bookmark and Share   To see a complete transcript of the CBS/National Journal Republican presidential debate on foreign policy that was held on Saturday, November 12, 2011, at Wofford College in Spartanburg, Douth Carolina, visit the White House 2012 Reference Center here.

You can view video of the entire debate by visiting White House 2012 here.

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Mitt Romney : Which is More Important? His Midas Touch or His Flawed Candidacy?

Bookmark and Share   Having already left the starting gate, the Republican race for the White House continues to run down a long and bumpy track that is riddled with twists, turns, high hills, steep declines, and blind spots. The biggest blind spot of all exists among the voters.  With them it seems as though the perfect candidate in 2012 is always someone else.   Once it was Mike Pence, then it was John Thune. For the longest time it was Mike Huckabee and then for For awhile it was Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels and Paul Ryan.  For some it’s Sarah Palin, for others it’s Chris Christie.  The only problem is that none of these people have expressed a willingness to make the committment necessary to become President.

Then Texas Governor Rick Perry did make that committment.  He immediately vaulted to frontrunner status as the next near perfect and everyone finally had  the perfect candidate.  But after one month in the race, he fell out of favor and people quickly started to again ask Chris Christie to become the perfect candidate.  Now they are again turning to Mike Huckabee.

In Iowa Michele Bachmann was the perfect candidate for a while.  She even won their Straw Poll.  Now after her first place showing there, Mitt Romney is leading in Iowa and Herman Cain came in first in Florida.

So now, Herman Cain goes from bottom tier candidate to top tier candidate and some claim that he is now the perfect candidate.  But for how long will that be?

Through it all though, there has been one candidate who ever since he entered the race, has held steady among Republican voters.  He has never been seen as perfect.  But he has also never been viewed as a certain loser like Ron Paul and he has never been seen as a candidate who had no chance of beating President Obama if he were the Republican nominee.

That candidate is Mitt Romney.

While Romney has been denied be seen as a strong frontrunner, since the 2008 presidential election, he has consistently been a frontrunner nonetheless.   And for good reason.

While the creation of Romneycare will always make Mitt a flawed candidate, the success of Romney’s record in and out of politics, makes him without a doubt, one of the most impressive and promising candidates running.  The problem is, that he is not perfect and will not ever be seen as perfect.

The greatest knocks against Romney are that he has flip-flopped on several issues including abortion, and his creation of Romneycare.  But on these issues, Romney has indeed redeemed himself in many different senses.

Mitt has has remained true to his conversion from being a pro-choice Republican, to being a Right-to-Life Republican and as Governor he did the following;

  • Vetoed legislation that would have provided for the “Morning After Pill” without a prescription.
  • Fought to promote abstinence education in the classroom.
  • Vetoed legislation that would have redefined in Massachusetts the longstanding definition of the beginning of human life from fertilization to implantation.
  • Supports parental notification laws and opposed efforts to weaken parental involvement.
  • Supports adult stem cell research but has opposed efforts to advance embryo-destructive research in Massachusetts and he has not supported public funding for embryo-destructive research.

On the healthcare issue, while Romney admits that his healthcare plan had some things in it that he would change, he also turns it into a powerful example of state’s rights that can be used with great strength against President Obama.  But in addition to understanding that state’s should have the rights to legislate based on their own needs and desires and not a federal mandate force them in to  a one size fits all federal bureaucracy, it is important to realize the biggest difference between RomneyCare and ObamaCare.

Romney proposed universal insurance, not universal health care.

The difference is critical to not only the basic thrust behind the two healtchare approaches, it is essential to ideological purity.  What revolutionized the traditiona lstate health care sys­tem was that Romney’s plan attempted to empower individuals to buy and own their health insurance policies and keep these poli­cies with them regardless of job or job status.  ObamaCare goes beyond that, denying choices and creating a new humoungous federal bureaucracy that essentially allows bueraucrats to make healthcare decisions by determining what treatment Obamacare will allow one to get or deny them the opportunity to get it.  According to the leading conservative policy think tank, The Heritage Foundation, Romney’s plan “made significant strides in reforming their health insurance market, and other states can learn from the Massachusetts experience.”  Still it is clear that the plan leaves much to be desired.

Yet, many see the implementation of Romneycare in Massachusetts as a sign of Romney having a lack of limited government credentials and too much of a government-centric mindset.  This is where those within the TEA movement have the most difficulty with Mitt.

However, not only has Romney vowed to repeal Obamacare, he has promised to provide waivers that would allow all fifty states to be exempt from Obamacare.  This is a clear sign that Romney gets it.  Furthermore, given the strong doubts about Romney’s limited government credentials, one should easily be able to see that Romney will have to go out of his way to lead in a way that compensates for those doubts.  In other words, Romney’s hands are tied.  He will have little chance for political survival if he were to employ big government policies.

So it is safe to say that Romney not only gets it, he has no choice other than practicing limited government policies.

But beyond that, Romney’s overall record as a Governor, does support his being considered a worthy conservative.

Upon taking over Beacon Hill, Romney  issued an Executive Order reestablishing a Judicial Nominating Commission that reviewed resumes of applicants for state judicial positions and did so without any knowledge of the applicants  race, sex, or  political leanings.  The process, resulted in the selection of the judges based solely upon their qualifications as responsible interpretations of the law.  Furthermore; Romney appointed a chairman to the Judicial Nominating Commission that used the position to prevent the appointment of liberal activist judges who would legislate from the bench. That Romney appointee was Christopher Moore, a member of the Federalist Society, which fights against judicial activism. This helped move the courts of what is arguably one of the most liberal states in the nation, to the right.

Beyond his strict constitutionalist views, Romney has been a productive conservative on everything from illegal immigration, to economics.  He has fought for lower taxes,  practiced fiscal responsibility, been a longtime defender of Second Amendment rights, taken a hardline on border security, executing the War on Terror, and as Governor, he reformed government in ways that made it more efficient and effective as he cut wasteful programs, merged duplicate departments, and turned the state’s $3 billion deficit into a $700 million surplus without raising taxes.

But the most impressive example of Romney’s abilities still remain his turnaround of the 2002 Olympics in 2002.

Not only were the Olympic games a great example of his superior executive skills, as seen in the video below, it offered a great look at the character, determination, skills, positive attitude, and due diligence that is Mitt Romney. And in many ways, the Olympics of 2002 are incredibly analogous to the condition of the U.S. economy, the issue most critical to the election of a President in 2012.

In 1999 Romney took over what was a scandal-ridden Olympic organization committee that was in crisis, in debt, and in complete disarray, and turned it around by making it the most successful, well organized, and profitable Olympic games in history.

This was no easy accomplishment.  Romney’s massive operation, included the oversight, management and coordination of everything from the image of the Olympics, to the construction of the Olympic Village and top notch venues for Olympians to compete in, and even what was the most secure Olympics history.  After the events of 9/1/01, the Winter Olympics which took place only a few shorts month after that horror, suddenly became the place most vulnerable for terrorism in  the world.   With its worldwide audience, the high profile of the Salt Lake City Olympics made insuring it against acts of terror, the largest security operation of its kind .  And Mitt Romney coordinated it  all.

While Mitt points out that he did not do it alone, he is the person who hired the competent, committed people, that made it possible to turn the Games around and make them the most successful ever.  In the end, from both a sporting and business standpoint, the 2002 Salt Lake City set  broadcasting and marketing records with more than 2 billion viewers and 13 billion viewer hours.  Financially, Romney’s Olympic’s turnaround raised more money with fewer sponsors than any prior Olympic Games, and left Salt Lake Olympic Committee with a surplus of $40 million at the conclusion of the games.

Given Romney’s record, while he may be flawed, there is little to suggest that he is anything but conservative.  And beyond that, Mitt Romney is a by nature, a forward thinking, problem solver who does not seek quick, short term fixes.  He seeks to solve problems now and avoid them in the future.  He has done so be it in business or government.  Such leadership is lacking in the White House today, and not easily recognizable in the existing field of Republican presidential candidates.

This is why even though Mitt Romney has essentially been running for the presidential nomination since 2008, he is not trying to come on like gangbusters.  Romney’s campaign is one that is carefully pacing itself.  That is why while other candidates are bouncing back and forth in the polls, Romney has remained consistently towards or at the top.   All of this could ultimately mean success for Romney in  the Republican presidential race.  Romney’s steady position helps add to an impression of consistency, something which people like and trust.

Another thing to remember is this.  With a large field of Republican candidates that consists of a number of candidates who are splitting the hardcore religious right of the G.O.P., Romney can play safe and not move so far to the right, that he turns off Independent voters in the general election.  Instead he can remain, consistent and noncontroversial and benefit from a diluted concentration of a social conservative voting bloc that is divided among three or four candidates.   However, this does not mean that Romney will be a moderate Republican if elected President.

Case in point.  Back in 2009, I did not have a great deal of appreciation for Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie of New Jersey.  I was one of those New Jersey voters who has been fed up by moderate Republicans who try to be like Democrats for the sake of political expediency in a very blue state.  I had in fact favored an ardent conservative who challenged Chris Christie in a primary for Republican gubernatorial nomination.   During his campaign, Christie did little to prove to me that he would be a reliable conservative and that is what I wanted in a Governor. But not long after Chris Christie was elected Governor, I began to understand that if Chris Christie’s campaign sounded as conservative as his Administration actually proved to be, there would be no Christie Administration.

So it is reasonable to say that Romney is playing politics here.  Whether that is good or bad, elections are political and if you’re not willing to play politics, don’t  run for election.  That combined with the fact that Mitt Romney is no liberal and has a an incredible ability to lead, solve problems, and turn things around, allows me to keep the door open to him.   Be it Perry, Paul, Palin, or Ryan, Daniels, or Christie,  none of them are perfect and to keep waiting around for such a candidate will only get us a second term of a President who is as far from perfect as the sun is from the Earth.  And I for one am not going to wait light years to bring about the change we need.

This is not an endorsement of Mitt Romney, at least not yet.  But this is a reminder that Romney has given us no reason to believe that he won’t do as he says …………..

” I will press for full repeal of Obamacare, which will save hundreds  of billions of dollars. I will reduce the size of the federal workforce  and align the wages and benefits of federal workers with the private  sector. And I will set about the hard work of fundamentally  restructuring the federal government.”

If that is  not good enough for many Republicans, than they can throw their vote away on Lyndon LaRouche or Ron Paul.  As for myself, I believe there comes a time when one  has to start differentiate the rhetoric from the facts.  In doing so, I can see that Mitt Romney has a record that allows me to believe he will do what he says.  While he has not yet moved me enough to endorse him, I can tell you that I have closed no door on any Republican presidential candidate.  My door is open for all them to come right through and prove to me that they deserve my vote.  I just hope that many Republicans will leave the door open for Mitt Romney.  Not only is he the likely nominee, he is also the person who is most likely to be able to get this country back on track when 2013 rolls around.

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