New Hampshire Union Leader Endorsement of Newt Gingrich: What Difference Will It Make?

Click here to read the actual endorsement

Bookmark and Share    The New Hampshire Union Leader is the Granite State’s largest newspaper and while it’s endorsements have not always been a make or break proposition for candidates running for President, it has almost always bucked popular thinking and strongly influenced the state of the presidential primary itself.   This time around, the Union Leader has again gone against the grain of popular opinion in New Hampshire and in a somewhat surprising turn of events, endorsed New Gingrich for President.

The endorsement comes at a very interesting time.  In the short history of the 2012 Republican presidential election cycle, a merry-go-round of flavors of the month have emerged with one candidate after the other suddenly rising to frontrunner status only to fall out of favor almost as quickly as they fell in to favor.  Based upon that trend, Newt’s time in the spotlight would seem to be coming to an end.  But with this endorsement from the Union Leader, Newt may get the type of help he needs to not peak too early in this race.

While the New Hampshire primary is still 6 weeks out, the Union Leader does not simply print an endorsement and leave it at that.  The paper’s publisher, Joe McQuaid once stated:

“The Union Leader’s style is we don’t just endorse once. We endorse every damn day. We started endorsing Reagan in 1975 and never stopped.”

In other words, from a point of journalistic integrity, whether it is moral or not, the Union Leader continues to make their case for their endorsed candidate.  That entails a process which often finds the Union Leader shaping the debate and interjecting certain issues in to the race.

But aside from the obvious help that this endorsement and the support that will continue to come because of it, Newt also benefits from the paper’s reputation for supporting the anti-establishment conservatives.

In 1972, the Union Leader endorsed Ohio Congressman John Ashbrook in the primary against incumbent President Richard Nixon.  That is an endorsement of particular interest to this author, who views Ashbrook as one of his personal conservative hero’s

In 1975, the Union Leader endorsed former California Governor Ronald Reagan over incumbent President Gerald Ford.

In 1988, the paper endorsed then former Delaware Governor Pete DuPont.  Back then, while I endorsed Jack Kemp, DuPont was my second choice.  In many ways he was an anti-establishmentarian and even had an idea about privatizing Social Security (I like people who are ahead of their time).

By the time 1992 rolled around, the Union Leader still found itself bucking the establishment and in both that year and in 1996, endorsed Pat Buchanan.  When 2000 rolled around, the paper backed the so-called “maverick”, John  McCain and they again endorsed him in 2008.  McCain lost the nomination in 2000 and the general election in’08, but he did win the New Hampshire primary both times.

So when  it comes to picking winners, the Union Leader has picked more losers than winners but in 2012, the paper’s almost TEA Party-like anti-establishment streak does nothing but help Newt Gingrich.  And not only in New Hampshire where Mitt Romney leads Gingrich by almost 25%.  The early endorsement by this major New Hampshire newspaper will have a spillover effect in states like Iowa and South Carolina where right now, momentum is the name of the game.  This endorsement will go a long way in helping to give Newt that momentum and  helps to reaffirm many of the positive aspects that Republican voters are looking for and even appeals to the TEA Party.

With quotes from the endorsement such as;We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing.”  and “A lot of candidates say they’re going to improve Washington. Newt Gingrich has actually done that, and in this race he offers the best shot of doing it again”, Newt can make a strong case for why he is best suited to lead Republicans to victory in 2012, and the nation to prosperity in the years to follow.

Some of the most interesting things to come out of this endorsement came not from  what was written in it but what the editorial board members behind the endorsement said about the endorsement.

On CNN, Drew Cline, the paper’s editorial editor, contrasted Newt with his main rival in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney by calling Romney  “a very play-it-safe candidate”  and then going further by adding

“Imagine what that would look like as president,” “We need a candidate that is bold in his leadership, has a vision for where he wants to take the country, and knows how to get there.”

The Union Leader’s publisher, Joe McQuaide alluded to Romney in the actual endosement by writing;

” We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear.”

As stated at the beginning of this post, endorsements like that of the Union Leader don’t necessarily make or break a candidate, but if used properly, they can go a long way in helping a candidate and so far, Newt is using it properly.  In an initial response to the  support given to him from the Union Leader, the campaign called  the newspaper;

 “one of the country’s most important conservative barometer[s],”

And said it was;

“among the first to champion Ronald Reagan.” 

Such characterizations of the endorsement will have legs not just in the Granite State but in the Hawkeye and Palmetto State’s as well.

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Pawlenty Pummels Romney With “Obamneycare” in Republican Debate Preview

Bookmark and Share    As previously pointed out in detail by WH12, Mitt Romney is the biggest target that will be on the stage in tonight’s Republican presidential debate. The most recent evidence of that fact comes from former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who is so eager to hit the bull’s-eye that he has already begun taking some early practice shots at Governor Romney.

As seen in the video below, during an interview on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace, Pawlenty launched what is for Romney, a MOAB (Mother of All Bombs), a memorable hit on Romney’s Achilles heal……Romneycare. In describing Governor Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare plan as the model for President Obama’s national healthcare plan, commonly referred to as  Obamacare, Pawlenty called it Obamneycare. Pawlenty’s ability to coin a one word phrase that negatively links Mitt Romney to President Obama in such a memorable way, is a stroke of political genius that will prove to be a particularly potent strategic weapon as the Republican race for President moves forward.

Not only does the word help to move Romney’s thinking closer to President Obama’s thinking in the eyes of voters, it also provides Pawlenty with a perfect short and snappy soundbite that requires no explanation and continues to put Mitt Romney on the defensive and in the awkward position of having to spend valuable time trying to explain away. While Pawlenty need only to say the word “Obamneycare” to make his point, Romney has to exhaust time and spend money on using many words to defend himself against Obamneycare. While Tim Pawlenty’s campaign could now make money selling anti-Romney shirts emblazoned with the word “ObamneyCare” on them, Mitt Romney has to spend money on ads and mailings to explain Obamneycare away.

During the rest of the interview, host Chris Wallace afforded Pawlenty many opportunities to take more shots at Mitt Romney on an array of issues. But Governor Pawlenty resisted and instead maintained his focus on Obamneycare, adding,

“President Obama said that he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare… What I don’t understand is that they both continue to defend it.”

The one thing I do find questionable here though is Tim Pawlenty’s strategic decision to release his useful verbal weapon a day before tonight’s CNN/WMUR-TV/ Manchester Union Leader debate in New Hampshire. The newly created word was certainly laid on the desks of Mitt Romney’s talented team of experienced strategists, consultants, media mavens, and assorted opinion makers. This gives them more than 24 hours to come up with a creative response to any use of Pawlenty’s new verbal assault weapon during the debate. The question is, is Romney and his team talented and creative enough to come up with a rebuttal to “Obamneycare” that takes 15 seconds or less to articulate and sting Pawlenty with to boot?

No matter how Romney prepares to address Pawlenty’s new tool in an old line of attack against Romney, the seat that Mitt is in is only going to get hotter when the five other candidates on the stage tonight, follow Pawlenty’s lead and go for Romney’s jugular.

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