Analysis of the CNBC GOP debate from across the Big Pond

Bookmark and Share  Sitting down to watch the CNBC GOP debate last night, the first thing that struck me was the aggressive style of questioning from the hosting panel. There was one gentleman, Jim Cramer, who clearly either drank too much caffeine or was a tree short of a forest on the evening in the manner he was asking  his questions. To be fair, I didn’t like the question regarding character thrown into the debate by Maria Bartiromo who was only doing her job. The debate was meant to focus on the economy and after almost two weeks of the Herman Cain affair, nothing objective or constructive could be obtained by posing such a question. I enjoyed her tussle with former Speaker Gingrich during the night and to their credit, both provided the night’s best moments.

The Texan boot size error by Governor Rick Perry was certainly a major faux pas, but to his credit he took to the morning shows today and openly admitted it. It was unfortunate, as up to that point in the debate, I believe Perry was actually putting in his best debate performance of the campaign so far. Yes, this mis-step will hinder him for the news cycle however, Perry should look to the positives and hopefully his experience of the military and managing the Mexican border will assist him in this coming Saturday’s debate. One major factor that may work in Perry’s favour indirectly is his recognition factor is sure to shoot up. Expectations going forward in debates couldn’t be lower at this stage, and Perry only needs one strong performance to knock the ball out of the park so to speak, time will be the biggest decider, if this is possible.

The winners in my view were as follows:

Speaker Gingrich provided a mixture of charm, assertiveness and clarity that the other candidates couldn’t match. Speaker Gingrich did have a difficult moment when questioned about his $300,000 consultancy payment for lobbying work connected to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapse in 2008 , he claimed that his advice was ignored. This may come back to haunt him and scrutiny is certain to follow in the coming days, but his back and forth with Maria Bartiromo was entertaining and in fact, made Speaker Gingrich raise his game in comparison to previous debates. The clear winner on the night.

Governor Mitt Romney put in another presidential like performance with the exception of stumbling over how long he was married to his wife, but he recovered brilliantly. Romney brought the audience to a rapturous applause when the panel tried to put him on the spot over whether he would hire Herman Cain. Romney delivered a brilliant rebuff to Bartiromo when she asked, why he made no mention of housing in his 59 point plan. Romney replied saying it’s simple, because it is a Jobs Plan not a Housing plan, an excellently executed response. Romney as in previous debates was firm, quick minded and authoritative in his delivery, another strong performance.

After two difficult weeks, Herman Cain delivered a good strong performance considering, the intense pressure he has been under in the lead up to the debate. He managed to deliver a good retort to Bartiromo when asked abut his alleged indiscretions and went back to his core message of 9-9-9 and emphasising why politics needs a fundamental change.  He had some good lines, referring to Nancy Pelosi as “Princess Nancy,” and two of the problems with the Dodd-Frank Bill, these being Dodd and Frank. While they made for good sound bites and were well received by the audience, Cain needs to have another policy area to build back his credibility. The 9-9-9 plan is good however, if he doesn’t come out with an in-depth and demonstrable knowledge ability in another policy area, he is in danger of being perceived as a one trick pony.

The remaining candidates found it difficult to break into the debate on the night although, Jon Huntsman delivered a good response on the housing crisis,” Lost in all of this debate is the fact that there are people tuning in tonight who are upside down in terms of the financing of their homes, are feeling real pain, people who probably heard today that they lost a job. These issues are very real.”

Representative Ron Paul was very good on discussing the economic issues outlining his five point plan and how he would cut $1 trillion straight away in spending. He really does have some excellent ideas on the debt crisis and economy. It is a shame that his statements on Iran in the last debate where polar opposite to most common thinking. Paul may be able to retrieve himself in Saturday’s foreign affairs debate. A good performance.

Senator Rick Santorum attempted to break into the debate, but just couldn’t turn the tide of attention away from the leading four. Santorum’s biggest problems in these debates is not just time allocation, he has developed a habit of talking in the past-tense, instead of the future tense. I do like some of his ideas. He needs to project his forward thinking ideas more into the remaining debates to match his retail politic efforts in Iowa. Maybe, just maybe, he might be able to surprise a few people there. A tall order at this stage of the race though.

Representative Bachmann actually had some new ideas and messages last night saying her everyone-pays-something plan is part of the needed reconfiguration of the tax code. She promised a big performance last night, sadly, it just didn’t materialise. Overall though, it was her best debate performance since the CNN debate to date. Bachmann needs a big performance and soon. Should Bachmann fail to gain some attention, she may be out of the race even before we arrive in Iowa proper.

The big question remains with only 60 days to the Iowa caucuses, who will be the alternative to Romney? I think it will be between Gingrich, Paul and Perry and possibly Huntsman, if he can finish in the top two in New Hampshire.

You’ve noticed no Cain that is correct. My view is based on his campaign’s inability to deal with a known on-coming crisis effectively and nothing to do with the allegations. I think Cain has lit up this campaign with his unconventional approach and straight talking approach. I just can’t see him winning the nomination or beating President Obama following the damage of the last two weeks. Cain needs another unique moment to save his campaign in my view.

Overall, I thought most of the candidates did well against some tough questions which is how it should be. The only criticism of the night was in the manner the questions were posed, not the content of the questions.

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New Poll Shows Perry Has Lots of Work To Do

Bookmark and Share    A new poll of New Hampshire Republicans by Suffolk University has begun to raise doubt about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s electability outside of the South. According to the poll, Romney leads Perry by 33 points. Even more depressing for the Perry camp is that not only is the gap between him and Romney so wide, but he also trails behind Texas Congressman Ron Paul and even former Ambassador and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. According to the results, Romney takes 41 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul garners 14 percent. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman finishes third with 10 percent, followed by Perry with eight percent, Sarah Palin who is not even an official candidate at 6%; Michele Bachmann 5%; Newt Gingrich at 4%; and Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer at or around 1%.

Perry’s fourth place showing in New Hampshire according to one poll which is not among any of the four that are typically used to gauge how a candidate is doing, is certainly not a sign that things are over for Perry, not even in New Hampshire. But it does suggest that Perry has a lot of work to do outside of the delegate rich South.

Between January and April 24th of 2012, 351 delegates are up for grabs from within the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states alone. In that same time period, Midwest and upper-Midwest states will have 238 delegates in play. This means that unless Perry locks up the nomination with substantial early wins in at least South Carolina and Florida, followed by substantial victories in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, and North Dakota which are scheduled to hold their contests on the same day in February, than Mitt Romney can assure Rick Perry a long and drawn out battle that Romney could easily win.

Currently, while Perry’s strength lies in the South, Southwest and possibly even places like Iowa, Romney has a leg up on Perry in the Northeast, upper Midwest and West. For Mitt, states, like Michigan, which he won in 2008, and Wisconsin and Minnesota are strong territory for him. In the Northeast, states like new York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and others, make it the region that is strongest for him.

And then there is of course California, which is a winner-take-all contest that is closed to only registered Republicans. A win there in early February will earn the victor 172 delegates. That is equal to the number of delegates in play in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida combined.

What this means is that Rick Perry will need to quickly show some strength outside of Iowa and the South. New Hampshire would be the perfect place for him to do that. But asking Perry to win New Hampshire over Mitt Romney is like expecting Mitt Romney to defeat Rick Perry in Texas……..it ain’t gonna happen.

Still, coming in behind both Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman is embarrassing for a so-called frontrunner. So Perry is going to have to work at New Hampshire. Even though a Southern strategy that would have him win the early states of South Carolina and then Florida can work, being blown out in New Hampshire will not allow Mitt Romney to stay in the game and survive until the states favorable to him allocate their delegates. At the same time, it must be realized that the earlier we decide who the Republican nominee is, the better it will be for the Party.

Until we have a nominee, the contenders will be beating up on each other. A protracted nomination contest will therefore only help to weaken the nominee up for President Obama to beat on. But a contest that wraps up the nomination decisively and early will allow everyone to focus on beating up on President Obama. As such, having a frontrunner for the Republican nomination blown out in New Hampshire, does not help anyone…..accept for Mitt Romney. Therefore if Perry wants to have any chance of securing the nomination early on in the process, he is going to have to do better in New Hampshire and demonstrate to voters that he can get votes outside of the South.

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Perry Calls Obama “President Zero” and Romney Calls Perry “Governor Sub-Zero” in Response

Bookmark and Share    Ahead of Thursday’s Republican presidential debate in Florida and the second debate appearance for Rick Perry, the Texas Governor has released a new a ad entitled “Rick Perry – Proven Leadership”[see ad below this post]. In it Governor Perry hammers President Obama on his economic record.

With depictions of barren land, boarded up homes, empty factories, and desolate scenes of decrepit urban ruin, Perry’s ad tags Obama as “President Zero”, a reference to his creating “zero“ jobs since he has been in office. But after the first half of the ad, a more optimistic tone is set with images of a happier, more pleasant America that include horses galloping through the surf , sun drenched cities, American flags, the statue of liberty, and happy factory workers shaking Perry’s hands. Perry’s point is driven home as you hear him describe the type of leadership that will lead to a thriving America as opposed to the ailing America that President Obama’s leadership has created.

The ad is somewhat reminiscent of the dramatic, quick cutting imagery, and shaky shots done at angles, with jagged audio cuts, and a booming motion picture-like soundtrack that became a staple of Tim Pawlenty’s web ads that he ran during his short-lived presidential campaign. And that is for good reason. It was produced by Lucas Baiano, a 23-year-old video prodigy who was once the director of visual media and film for The Republican Party.  Baino also did ads for the Republican Governors Association and in 2008 he  cut some spots for Hillary Clinton.

When Tim Pawlenty closed shop, Bainao was scooped up by Perry’s campaign earlier this month.

Lucas Baino

For his part, Mitt Romney, the man who is seen as Perry’s biggest rival (or vise versa depending on which side you’re on) issued a press release entitled “Governor Sub-Zero,”in response to Perry’s “President Zero”. In the release, Romney’s campaign alleges that that while the US economy produced zero net jobs in August, Texas produced even less. Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul added

In his campaign’s latest video, Governor Perry criticizes President Obama for an economy that added zero jobs in August, yet Texas added even fewer and has over a million people unemployed,”

While Romney’s distortion is less accurate than the exaggerations of Perry’s ad, attacking Perry’s record right now is a political necessity. Perry’s three terms as Governor of Texas have outshined the accomplishments of Romney’s one term as Governor of Massachusetts. However, the better strategy for Romney might be to play Perry up as the career politician and himself up as a successful entrepreneur who understands how government works, or in most cases, doesn’t work. But in order for such a strategy to fly, Romney needs to exhibit anti-establishment positions and make bold proposals that don’t just tinker with out arcane tax code, but instead scrap it and do things like create a flat tax. In order for Romney.

Meanwhile, Perry’s ad effectively sets a tone and while it says more about President Obama than himself, it is a good indication that Perry’s campaign does know the issue that can get him votes.

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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Set to Endorse Rick Perry for President

Bookmark and Share   On a day that began with what seemed to be big news about Tim Pawlenty endorsing Mitt Romney for President, Texas Governor Rick Perryquickly moved to bury that story by allowing sources to leak the pending endorsement of him by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Sources state that the announcement will be made before this evenings TEA Party/CNN Republican presidential debate in Florida. The same sources state that Jindal will be attending the debate as a guest of Governor Perry.

The news quickly stepped allover Tim Pawlenty’s  endorsement of Mitt Romney. Romney had been getting some mileage out of having a formal rival for the nomination who was a popular Governor, suddenly throw his support behind him. But the news that Jindal, a popular incumbent Governor was throwing his considerable clout behind Perry quickly changed the story of the day. But beyond today, Jindal’s endorsement will still have much more weight than does Pawlenty’s.

While Pawlenty dropped out of the Republican presidential nomination contest because of a lack of popular support, Bobby Jindal turned down a run for President that did have popular support. Instead, Jindal is seeking reelection to his second term as Governor of Louisiana. More important still is the fact that as a sitting Governor, Jindal has the influence and control over the state Party apparatus that can help sway the outcome of a statewide Republican primary. This is especially the case when it comes to the all important Get Out the Vote Operation.

Jindal’s endorsement also could be a signal of a solid South that lines up behind Perry.

While Pawlenty’s endorsement of Romney does little for any regional strength to the Romney camp, Jindal’s endorsement of Perry has a great deal of influence in the South. Particularly with neighboring states such as Mississippi and Arkansas. It will even have a positive effect on the all important nearby state of Florida.

The Jindal endorsement should not come as a surprise. In the past, the Louisiana Governor has had nothing but praise for his neighboring Governor. Jindal has particularly commended him for always being a friend for Louisiana to count on during the slew of natural disasters that Louisianans has had to deal with. The real surprise would have been if Bobby Jindal didn’t endorse Perry. But as with al things, timing is critical and in this case, Perry’s timing was impeccable.

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Can Perry Win by Describing Social Security as a Ponzi Scheme? Ron Johnson Did? What Do You Think? Take the White House 2012 Poll

Since last week’s G.O.P. presidentia debatem the first one which Texas Governor Rick perry participated in, there has been

consternation about his calling Social Security as a “Ponzi Scheme”. The description even compelled Mitt Romney to declare victory in the debate and to suggest that Parry all but lost the presidential nomination.

The truth though is that an important part of Perry’s Ponzi Scheme description seems to be constantly left out by his critics. That part is where Rick Perry states that is a Ponzi Scheme for future generations. On that he is right. Furthermore; Perry points out that his desire to reform Social Security does not change it for those who are already being funded and for whom the funds exists. The same goes for those who expect to be on it in the relatively near future. His changes are directed for future generations for which the money will not be there to fund under the current system.

Nonetheless, the truth Perry speaks about the “future” of Social Security has been controversial. Fir that reason, this week, White House 2012 asks readers if it is possible for Governor Perry to win the nomination with his opinion of Social Security. To participate in the poll click here or just vote in the poll question box in the top portion of the column to the right of this blog.

As to the question itself, whether Perry’s view of Social Security is risky or not, it should be understood that despite the issue being a political third rail that the left electrifies with propaganda designed to scare senior citizens, it is possible to address the issue of Social Security reform in a campaign and still get elected.

In the recent 2010 midterm elections, underdog Republican businessman Ron Johnson successfully defeated once heavily favored liberal Senator Russ Feingold.

After a hard fought campaign in which the issue of Social Security was often raised, Johnson and the left once again tried to use their Social security scare tactics. Johnson, who like Rick Perry had once referred to Social Security as a Ponzi Scheme, put out the following ad.

Ron Johnson a, is now Senator Johnson and Russ Feingold is now a shocked and angry former Senator.

So don’t write off Rick Perry.  If he plays his cards right and deals with the issue of Social Security reform properly, his Ponzi Scheme definition could help him.

A Two Horse Race

Bookmark and ShareWith the 3rd major Republican primary debate in the books there are 2 candidates whom have begun to distance themselves from the pack. Mitt Romney looked and sounded presidential as he took shots from and at the man who has unseated him as the early polling frontrunner, Texas governor Rick Perry. Perry was the self described ‘pinata’ as he wore the target as the newest candidate and he did not disappoint, handling well the shots coming at him as well as throwing some shots towards his main opponent.

There were other candidates on the stage but the debate quickly became the Romney/Perry show.

Rick Santorum didn’t do anything to hurt himself but certainly didn’t help himself either. He looked as if he were either miffed that the debate was becoming about the 2 top candidates or that he had just sucked on a lemon. Newt, always the smartest guy in the room, had some good answers but again went after the record of the media instead of the records of his opponents. Michelle Bachmann didn’t have the opportunity that she did in the first two debates to showcase her TEA party credentials and didn’t do anything to stand out. She has simply been overshadowed by the entrance of Perry. Herman Cain stuck to his buisness leader guns but is quickly fading away as he fails to have the power or ability to shine above the other candidates. Jon Huntsman was doing a good job until he got led into his global warming stance which is a quick turn off for most GOP primary voters. Ron Paul did something he normally shy’s away from and took some shots at fellow Texan Perry but again fell prey to his lack of communication skills and undoubtedly hurt the small amount of momentum he gained in Iowa.

In my opinion Romney looked more presidential, whatever that means, and remained calm and well spoken. Romney deserves the win in the 1st head to head showdown between himself and Rick Perry. Perry handled the expected barrage of shots across his bow from his opponents and came out strong in the beginning. As the debate went on Perry seemed to fade and Romney still stood out. Perry also made some bulletin board comments that his opponents, and especially liberals, will pin up and go after every time he speaks. For that he gets the 2nd place finish. The polls in the next week will be interesting. Will Perry hold onto his entering momentum….or will Romney have gained back the spot he has held since the beginning?

It would be hard pressed for any conservative who is voting Republican to deny that after this debate there are 2 candidates that distanced themselves from the rest. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

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Rick Perry Picks Up Important Endorsement for President

Bookmark and Share   Early in the evening on Wednesday, Texas Governor Rick Perry picked up a valuable endorsement in a critical early primary state. Republican Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Dean Cannon, endorsed Rick Perry for President. One of the major stated reasons for Cannon’s endorsement was Perry’s highly successful record of job creation in Texas.

A statement released by Cannon read;

“America is at a crossroads. Time and time again, President Obama’s agenda has damaged the confidence of the private sector and made it harder – not easier – to create the jobs Americans desperately need,” Cannon said in a statement. “The President has failed, and it’s time for a different approach.”

“Governor Perry knows that we must reduce government spending. You cannot tax your way into prosperity, and you cannot borrow your way out of debt. Governor Perry’s record of creating jobs and cutting spending is exactly what we need to get our country back on track, and I am excited to support his campaign to get America working again,”

For his part. Perry declared:

“I know that with Speaker Cannon’s help, we will win Florida’s primary, the Republican nomination, and ultimately, the Presidency. “

How much weight Cannon’s endorsement will directly have among Florida voters statewide, is questionable but indirectly this endorsement means much. In addition to opening up the coffers of deep pocketed Floridians who want to remain well connected to the political process in Florida on the state level, Cannon’s decision will also influence the decisions of other local Florida state legislators who want to remain in the good graces of their leader. This will in turn provide Perry with a wealth of volunteers from the local, grass root Republican organizations which each state legislator controls or at least holds significant sway with. After Cannon’s endorsement, those legislators who endorse anyone else are in essence going against the will of their leader. Rightly or wrongly, that doesn’t play well for them. Legislative leaders have long memories and they have a way of making sure that certain bills never see the light of day, if you what I mean?

So while nationally, few know who Dean Cannon is, he could be a critical player in influencing who the next President of the United States is.

In addition to being one of the earliest states to hold a presidential nomination contest, Florida also has the third largest delegation count and is seen as a prelude to the results of the rest of the all important South. As such, it can either solidify a candidates frontrunner status, or take it away from them and give someone else the opportunity to claim that mantle and the momentum that will come with it.

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