Is Romney Signaling that He Will Tap Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for Vice President?

 Bookmark and Share   Praise for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell by Mitt Romney during a Wednesday campaign stop in Virginia, has many speculating that if nominated President, he will tap McDonnell as his Vice presidential running mate.

Speaking at Virginia’s  Fairfax County Republican headquarters, Romney called McDonnell one of the “great leaders of the Republican Party.” He added, “He’s a terrific governor doing a great job here in Virginia.” and stated “I say nice things about Governor McDonnell every time I have a chance”.

The remarks do not necessarily indicate that Romney is ready to pick McDonnell if he wins the G.O.P. presidential nomination.  What it does mean is that Romney is smart enough to appeal to Virginians by agreeing with them.  Governor McDonnell receives extraordinarily high approval from Virginia voters and to do anything other align himself with McDonnell would quite frankly, be a sign of severe brain damage.

Governor McDonnell is doing a fine job in Virginia and a look at his near perfect conservative record would make one believe that he might be a better Republican presidential candidate than those now running.  However, even though Barack Obama won Virginia in 2008, that is unlikely to be repeated.  Virginia is normally a reliably Republican state when it comes to presidential politics, and is likely to be that way in 2012 regardless of who the G.O.P. nominee is.   So for electoral purposes, McDonnell is not going to be needed to deliver Virginia’s electoral college vote to the Republican presidential ticket.

For the purpose of having an edge in the electoral college, Republicans may want to look at more truly competitive swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada or even, to a lesser extent, Florida, where the obvious choice is Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

No matter what though, Governor McDonnell will be and deserves to be on everyone’s short list.  Which is why there should not be too much read into Romney’s remarks in Virginia about their popular Governor.  The only remarks about McDonnell that should raise eyebrows would be negative ones.  Had Romney stood in the headquarters of one of Virginia’s county Republican headquarters and said of their popular Governor something like “Bob McDonnell is okay, but I can take him or leave him”, that would deserve attention.

Meanwhile, I remain reluctant to discuss vice presidential contenders until we know for sure who the Republican presidential nominee will be.  However I will say that my initial instincts tell me that if Romney is the nominee, Bob McDonnell is not his most likely choice.  As I previously pointed out, Virginia should easily go Republican in the presidential election no matter who the G.O.P. nominee is.  Add to that the imagery of Romney and McDonnell together and what you have is a ticket that looks almost too perfect.  Kind of like the cake topper of gay wedding cake.

Personally I believe that when it comes to Romney, he is going to have to go with a conservative but unconventional running mate.

So far Romney is tied too closely to the establishment and his reluctance to be bold in his policy choices leaves the selection of a running mate to be one of the few opportunities to step out of the establishment mold.  All things considered, I can see Romney picking someone like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley or even more likely than her, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.  Like Marco Rubio, she is conservative, strongly appreciated in the TEA movement, from an important swing state and offers the opportunity to make inroads into the increasingly important and influential Hispanic vote.

Another bold choice could be Herman Cain.  His strong TEA movement appeal and anti-career politician profile will make him attractive on an ticket, and helps Romney shore up his conservative credentials.

Then there is a real wildcard choice for Romney……… former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee may have very well cost Romney the nomination in 2008 and there is undoubtedly still some bad blood between the two men.  But they have seemingly warmed up to one another since 2008.  Huckabee even had Mitt Romney on his weekly Fox News program.

Picking Huckabee could be a way for Romney to inject new blood and new life in to what will be a news weary electorate by the time the Republican National Convention is held in late August of next year.  Adding Huckabee to the ticket will also appeal to the evangelicals that Romney really needs to appeal to and overcome their prejudices toward his Mormon faith.  As an ordained Southern Baptist minister, Huckabee could go a long way in helping Romney among the evangelical flocks that will be important to a Republican victory.  Mike Huckabee does have some luggage of his own, but when it comes to Mitt, Huckabee would be more compensation than burden.

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Is it Coming Down To Romney, Cain, South Carolina, and Florida?

 Bookmark and Share    While there is a great deal of focus on the view that the bickering during the recent CNN  G.O.P. debate in Nevada hurt Republicans and helped President Obama,the truth of the matter is that the bickering of today, is the meaningless and forgotten history of tomorrow.  Just ask George. H. W. Bush who called Ronald Reagan’s economic policy, voodoo economics and then went on to serve two terms as Reagan’s Vice President.

The only truly relevant factors concerning the success or failure of any of the Republican presidential candidates at this point concern three key elements………, their organization and its effectiveness, their fundraising capabilities, and their individual standings within the first four nominating contests, especially the last two of those four…..South Carolina and Florida.

While national trends have a role, it is important to remember that nominees are chosen through individual state contests and at different times.  So while the entire nation participates in the process, it is far from being accurately described as a national election.

For those reasons, I am less concerned with what Rick Perry said about an illegal immigrant cutting Mitt Romney’s lawn, in an attempt to defend his own pitiful position on  illegal immigration.  More important than any of that is the current snapshot taken by two new NBC News-Marist polls.

To get a real sense of how things are going, one needs to remain focussed on what really matters.  And with just a few months to go before voting in the Republican nomination contests begins, that focus needs to be less on any overall national impression of the current field and more on where the individual candidates stand in individual states. Although polls are merely a snapshot of a fleeting moment, the cumulative effect of each of these moments offer an indication of the way things are going and at the moment newly energized Herman Cain narrowly leads Mitt Romney in South Carolina’s Republican primary, and is running neck and neck with Romney in Florida.

Click Here for Complete October 19, 2011 South Carolina NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete October 19, 2011 South Carolina NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

More so than Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida will have a profound effect on establishing the future trajectories of all the candidate.  The only real way for Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two contests, to have as much as an impact as Florida and South carolina is if Mitt Romney can win both of those states, or if someone is able to defeat Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.  If Romney wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, he will establish an almost unstoppable momentum that will lift his chances for victory in all the state contests that immediately follow them.  If someone like Jon Huntsman or Herman Cain pulls off an stunning upset victory over Romney in New Hampshire, they will be in the catbird seat as they go in to the Palmetto and Sunshine state contests.

No matter what though, South Carolina and Florida will really set the tone for all the following contests, especially in the delegate rich South which Mitt Romney faces his stiffest competition in as he vies for votes among the region’s uber-conservative, evangelical base, and must also contend with evangelical Christian bigotry towards Romney’s Mormon faith.

The fact that Romney is still maintaining a strong position in both Florida and South Carolina is a testament to both the effectiveness of his campaign organization and the viability of his candidacy.  But this does not insure a Romney win  in either state.  Herman Cain’s current ability to tie and even surpass Romney in early polls in South Carolina and Florida, is a sign that Romney is still quite vulnerable.  Herman Cain does not have a campaign that is organized in a way that is comparable to Romney’s.   Yet despite that lack of organization, Cain  is holding his own.  If Herman Cain hopes to insure his own victory in South Carolina and Florida, he must build an organization that can establish a strong ground game.  Mitt Romney will have a top notch ground game in both of those states.  If Herman Cain’s operation is inferior to Romney’s, the results in Florida and South Carolina could be close, but the winner will ultimately be Mitt Romney.

But if Romney finds himself facing off against a well organized competitor who within striking distance, Romney can definitely go down.

This made quite evident in the current NBC-Marist Poll which shows that in South Carolina, Cain has the support of 30% of likely GOP primary voters, to  Romney’s gets 26%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 9%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 6% and Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul at 5%, with 15% of likely primary voters remaining undecided.  According to a broader pool of Republicans in South Carolina, Cain is at 28 % and Romney is at 27%.

In Florida, Cain is at 32% among likely voters, Romney at 31%, Perry at 8%and Paul and Gingrich are at 6%, and  11% say they are undecided.

South Carolina and Florida have both played pivotal roles in past Republican presidential nominating contests.   Since 1980, the winner of South Carolina’s GOP primary has gone on to win the party’s nomination, and in 2008, John  McCain’s win of Florida’s primary  essentially handed the nomination to him.  Both states are likely to play the same role in 2012.

What is particularly troubling for Romney within those numbers is a breakdown which shows that while Romney may be toward the top of the field with Herman Cain, the enthusiasm for Romney is much lower than it is for Cain. In South Carolina, 45% of Cain’s supporters in South Carolina strongly back him, while only 37% of Romney’s supporters describe themselves as strongly committed to Romney. In Florida, 52% of Cain’s supporters strongly back him, compared to 41% who strongly back Romney.

That means that the Republican electorate is quite unsettled and if there is still time for a third candidate to rise to the top.  I believe that that candidate could be Newt Gingrich.

If Gingrich holds his powder in Iowa and New Hampshire, a split decision  in those two states could allow Newt to make his move and startle everyone with either a win in South Carolina and Florida, or at least a stronger than expected showing.  That is unlikely but it is quite possible.  However, much like Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich does not have a campaign that is organized enough compete with Mitt Romney’s.  Unless and until someone can match Mitt Romney’s ground games in several early states, Romney is headed towards the Republican National Convention in Orlando, Florida as the inevitable Republican presidential nominee.

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“You’ve Got Mail”. Chris Christie Fundraising Email For Romney Hits

Bookmark and Share    Hours after winning one of the more coveted endorsements that a Republican candidate for President can get, the campaign of Mitt Romney has fired oof persoanalized emails to an extensive list of supporters and potential supporters [see the email below this post].

The email makes a direct appeal for voters to support the Romney campaign with a financial donation. 

In his message, Chrsitie focusses on the economy and credits Mitt Romney as the presidential candiate who can fundamentally change the economy and reverse the past three years of the Obama policies that have failed us.

Support Mitt Romney

Anthony,

This is the most important election in generations. Whether we are able to fix our economy and
get our country on the right track will have ramifications for decades. We cannot afford to continue on our current path.

Mitt Romney has a life history of coming into struggling organizations and turning them around. Right
now, we need someone like him in the White House to fundamentally change our economy and reverse three years of failed policies. Unlike our current President, Mitt Romney understands the economy from the inside out.

Chris Christie stands with Mitt

Fixing the economy will not be easy, but Mitt has shown throughout his life that he has the leadership ability and expertise to lead our country toward a recovery.  Republicans should recognize the importance of this election and realize that if they are serious about regaining the White House, Mitt Romney is the only candidate to back.

I hope you’ll join me and stand with Mitt today http://mittromney.com/donate

Best,
Chris Christie

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View Chris Christie Announcing His Endorsement of Mitt Romney for President

Bookmark and Share   In advance of tonight’s Washington Post-Bloomberg TV Republican presidential debate on economic issues, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie traveled to New Hampshire to appear with Governor Romney and announce that he was endorsing Romney for President. [See video and transcript below]

“I’m here in New Hampshire today for one simple reason: America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney is the man we need to lead American, and we need him now. So that’s why I’m here.

If you look at Governor Romney’s experience — his experience in the private sector, running businesses, turning them around, going in there and telling the people the truth about what needed to be done, and then coming up with a plan to get it done, and you look at his experience as an elected official, we know that he brings the best of both to what we need for America right now.

He brings that great, private sector experience and he brings the experience of governor of Massachusetts, knowing how government works. Not a legislator, trying to figure out how to use executive power, but an executive who’s used executive power and will use it to make Americans’ lives better.

That’s why I’m endorsing Mitt Romney for president of the United States.”

Click here for an analysis of what was behind Christie’s endorsement and what it will mean in the presidential election.

Meanwhile, less than hour after the endorsement was passed on to the public, Romney’s campaign organization did not miss beat as they promptly posted the following page on the Romney for President website;

Click on the image to see a larger version of it

It is a whopping request to join Chris Christie in supporting Mitt by making a donation to his campaign.  Clearly, as was indicated by WH12 in a previous post, Christie’s endorsement does more than just help firm up Romney’s frontrunner status, it is worth a ton of money too.

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Martinez, Gregg, and Grimm Endorsements Giving Romney an Edge

  Bookmark and Share  Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney received two high profile endorsements today.  One each in the two key early primary states of New Hampshire and Florida.  He also received a third endorsement from a less visible but equally as important freshman Congressman.

In New Hampshire, Judd Gregg, a popular former Governor and three term Senator from the Granite State announced his support
of Romney, and in Florida, former Senator and RNC Chairman Mel Martinez did the same.

Also today, Romney picked up the endorsement of freshman Congressman Michael Grimm.

His endorsement may not attract as much news as Gregg’s and Martinez’s public support but as a former Republican operative in Grimm’s congressional districts which spans Staten Island and Brooklyn, I can tell you, that Grimm’s support is just as important.

Grimm took back the seat formerly held by disgraced Republican Congressman Vito Fossella.   In 2008, the seat went to a Democrat, but in 2010, Michael Grimm won it back for the G.O.P.   The district encompasses the most heavily Republican section of New York City ……all of Staten Island, and the Southwest portion of Brooklyn, which send one of the City’s only Republicans to the New York State Senate.   Beyond that, the political machine that Grimm represents and is controlled by former Congressman Guy Molinari, is an extremely heavy handed, Republican regime with a great deal of influence in the New York G.O.P.  This means that freshman Congressman Mike Grimm’s endorsement of Romney is an early signal of widespread organizational support.  In other words, Romney is locking New York up for himself.

This will help to dissuade others from forcing Romney to spend money on the New York presidential primary, a contest that because of its placement amid very expensive media markets, could be quite expensive.

New York could be important in the nomination process.  It offers 95 delegates, one of the largest in the nation. That’s only four less than Florida,
and because the Sunshine State has violated RNC rules by setting an earlier than allowed date for their primary, they could see their delegate count cut in half.

Unfortunately for Romney though, the New York presidential primary is not held until April 24th.  However; if the early primary contests do not
produce a clear frontrunner thereby allowing us to have a presumptive nominee, New York could be decisive.  In fact mark April 24th on your calendars.  On that day, New York will not be alone in holding its presidential primary.  For the first time, we the 2012 nomination contest will be experiencing a sort of Northeast version of the South’s Super Tuesday.  Call it a Northeast Mega Primary.  On that day 231 delegates will be up for grabs form among  5 Northeastern states:

  • Connecticut – 28 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • Delaware – 17 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • New York – 95 – Primary/Winner-Take-All– Closed
  • Pennsylvania– 72 – PrimaryLoophole Primary – Closed
  • Rhode Island – 19 – Primary/Proportional – Modified

If one of the candidates has not practically wrapped up the nomination by then, Romney could be the one to do it on that day. All 5 of those
states are largely fertile for a Romney.

So while Congressman Grimm’s endorsement may not grab the headlines that Gregg’s and Martinez’s endorsements will, it is as , or even more important.  In the case of Judd Gregg, while he is popular in New Hampshire, his electoral influence is debatable.  In 2000, Judd Gregg, then a sitting U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, endorsed Texas Governor George W. Bush for President and Senator John McCain wound up winning that primary.

Mel Martinez is a different story though.  While how much sway he still has among Florida’s voters is iffy, he does have the potential to influence important parts of the electorate there.  Particularly the higher than average  Cuban-American population. This can only help Romney in a state         where he will need all the help he can to fend off Herman Cain and Rick Perry.

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Haley Barbour Says Mitt Romney is “Less Conservative than Most Republicans”

 Bookmark and Share  In a recent forum discussing political strategy for Republicans and President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke about the need for the G.O.P. to make the election a referendum on President Obama’s employment and economic policies, while Democrats will have to try to portray the Republican Party as unacceptable or disqualified. Afterward, he answered questions from John Harris of Politico and the audience.

In one of those questions, Barbour was asked why Republicans seemed to be uninspired by the candidacy of  Mitt Romney despite the fact that he seems to be the most electable candidate in the general election, especially among independent voters.

In his response, Governor Barbour began by stating;

“Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans”

He went on to explain that many Republicans remember Ronald Reagan so, in his words;

“they (Republicans) don’t accept the idea that nominating a moderate is the pathway to victory”

Governor Barbour added that there are a lot of soft Republicans and independents who vote Republican and want a more moderate nominee.  He writes it off as a “process you just have to work through.”

Whether Barbour intended it or not, his opening statement will make for a perfect soundbite in a thirty-second commercial spot for any of Romney’s opponents such as Perry, Cain, Santorum, and Gingrich.  Specifically in the South, where Romney will have some of his toughest primary challenges and where Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi has significant influence.  This is particularly the case in the important early, delegate rich primary state of Florida, where Barbour has significant sway.

Barbour who was himself almost candidate for for President, had been endorsed by Ohio Governor John Kasich, eleven days before Barbour decided not run.  After that decision it was said that Barbour was prepared to join with Chris Christie and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in endorsing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels for President.  But Daniels, a close friend of Barbour also declined to run for President.

Who Haley Barbour will endorse for the Republican presidential nomination now, is anyones guess.  For the time being, it would seem that he is remaining neutral.  But is Barbour’s description of Mitt Romney as “less conservative than most Republicans” a sign that Mitt is not on Haley’s short list?

If Mitt Romney hopes to avoid a long, drawn out nomination battle, he will need someone like Haley Barbour behind him.   Barbour’s support could help Romney do well in the South, or at least better than expected.  That is the only way to insure that none of his opponents come out of the Southern contests with enough steam and momentum to compete with Romney in the primaries and caucuses held outside of the South, where Romney should be the strongest.  The question now is, will Haley Barbour be willing to endorse a Republican who “is less conservative than most Republicans” for President?

One thing to consider is this.  If anyone has been listening to the candidates, not just reading the media’s interpretations of the candidates, they will find that Mitt Romney has not taken a single position that would indicate he is less conservative than any of the other candidates running.  It comes down to this  ……….. Is anyone listening and if they are, do they believe what Romney is saying?

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Romney Addresses Values Voter Summit After Bill Bennet Defends Him Against Bigotry

Bookmark and Share  Today Mitt Romney took to the podium at the Values Voters Summit and delivered a speech that gave all whom call themselves Christians plenty of reasons to vote for him.  Romney’s speech came a day after Southern Baptist Convention leader Robert Jeffress, introduced Texas Governor Rick Perry at the Values Voters Summit and then proceeded to unleash extraordinarily unchristian-like conduct through bigoted statements that condemned Mormonism and disqualified Mitt Romney as a legitimate presidential candidate because he is a Mormon.

Upon hearing these statements, White House 2012 posted a scathing editorial which among other things, denounced Jeffress, suggesting he was anything but Christian in his conduct and attitude and called him a bigot.  The editorial also questioned the sincerity of Governor Rick Perry’s attempt to disassociate himself from Jeffress, who his campaign agreed to let introduce him at the Value Voters Summit.  In that post White House 2012 also called upon Governor Perry to not just distance himself from Jeffress, but to repudiate him for his bigotry.

I continue to stand behind this position.  It is a position that I have seen few other forums covering the Republican presidential nomination contest take.  For a while I was beginning to think that I was alone in  my harsh judgment of Jeffress.  Such loneliness left me with a feeling of great disappointment in my Party.  As I stated in the original post;

“In this day and age, for Americans to hold prejudices against a political leader because of their faith, is nothing other than an example of backwards thinking and a contradiction to the very constitutional principles that the G.O.P. is trying to stress the need for our nation to return to.”

To think that I was alone in that belief within the G.O.P., left me angry.

That is until today.

Prior to Jay Sekulow’s introduction of Mitt Romney, the events emcee, former Reagan Education Secretary and  George H. W. Bush Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Bill Bennett , addressed the remarks made a day earlier by Pastor Jeffress after Rick Perry addressed the gathering the day before [see the video below] .  Bennett called the pastor’s comments “bigotry” and added

“Do not give voice to bigotry,” …… “You stepped on and obscured the words of Perry and Santorum and Cain and Bachmann and everyone else who has spoken here. You did Rick Perry no good sir, in what you had to say.”

Can I hear a hallelujah, praise the Lord, and Amen to that!

I felt redeemed in my disgust with Pastor Jeffress and his anti-Christian remarks and at the same time, Bill Bennett helped redeem my Party.  I applaud him for stepping up to the plate and correcting the record for us all.  And at the same time, I must pat myself on the back  among the first to take the position which I did, a position that Bill Bennett happened to echo when he stated that the words which Pastor Jeffress spoke, did nothing to help his Rick Perry, his chosen candidate for President.

I presented the same argument when I wrote;

 “Jeffress did little to win over any converts to Perry.”

 Soon after Bennett spoke, Mitt Romney followed, and  stated;

“And how ’bout that Bill Bennett?  He really hit that out of the ballpark.”

After that, Romney proceeded to present a case which did not allow for any Christian to legitimately question Romney’s committment to faith, values, morals, and Christian principles.  He called for everything from the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and defunding planned parenthood, to reaffirming marriage as that of a union strictly between a man and a woman, and for our government’s need to respect religious values.  And he did so in a presentation that was relaxed, laced with mild injections of appropriate humor, and also outlined his presidential agenda beyond social issues.  In it’s entireity, Romney’s speech was articulate, convincing and a presentation of a strong case for his being our next Commander-in -Chief  [see the complete speech below this post].

Unfortunately though, the religious intolerance and bigotry of people like Pastor Jeffress was something which existed and among far too many of those attending this celebration of Christian values.  While those who possess the ugly prejudices which use religion to divide people rather than unite them were in the minority, the few that do subscribe to such intolerable conduct had often received levels of visibility that were distasteful representations of the Family Research Council which holds the annual Values Voters Summit.   For that reason, Romney found a legitimate need to allude to his opening references to bigotry, towards the end of his speech.

Scheduled to speak after Romney, was Bryan Fischer, a director at the American Family Association.  In the past, Fischer claimed that Mormons and Muslims have “a completely different definition of who Christ is” than the founding fathers did, and therefore, as a result,  do not deserve First Amendment protections.    That prompted Romney to note

“Now one more thing.  Our values are noble as citizens. And they strengthen the nation.  We should remember that decency and civility are values too.  One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line I think.”

And in a direct reference to Fischer’s call to deny Mormons and Muslims their rights, Romney stated;

“Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate.”

He added;

“The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us – let no agenda  narrow our vision or drive us apart.”

It is both ironic and a shame that Mitt Romney, a Mormon, had to waste time pointing these things out to Christians. The shame is that Christians should be well aware of the point he made.  The irony is that a man of the very religion Christians are claiming is not Christian, is espousing the Christian values that some of them are not.    The whole incident helped to demonstrate to me that while Romney has changed his position on about three issues throughout his adult life, unlike some Christians who are inconsistent with their own values, Mitt Romney at least practices what he preaches.  For that reason, I am more than proud to disclose that I am moving closer to endorsing Mitt Romney for President.

With Daniels, Ryan, Pence, and Palin out, I am slowly returning to the confidence I had when I endorsed Mitt Romney over the false prophet Huckabee and the false Republican McCain in 2008.   I am close but I am not there yet.  I want to be sure that Republican nominee earns my vote.  As such, I am inclined to still give Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum the chance to do that.  All three of these candidates have served the conservative and/or represent the conservative admirably and have already earned my respect.  If any of them can prove to me that they would be a better candidate and conservative Commander-in-Chief than Mitt Romney, than  I will accept as the better candidate and support them until the end.

For now though, I will await for Governor Perry to do the right thing and like Bill Bennett, denounce his friend and political supporter Pastor Robert Jeffress for his bigotry and injection of hate in to the Republican presidential contest.  As I have indicated on a previous occasion.  This is Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright moment.

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