Tim Pawlenty Could Stand To Gain While The Big Names Sit On The Sidelines

Bookmark and ShareThe 1st GOP Presidential debate is in the books. There are those who feel it lacked the “Wow” factor that it would have had if the top polling candidates had taken part. With Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin all declining to attend, the field was filled with candidates whose names are not well known on a national scale. Texas congressman Ron Paul is probably the exception to that statement but his public persona and Libertarian views have never played well to most in the GOP.

Of the remainder of the field that included former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and conservative talk show host Herman Cain, Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, it may have been Pawlenty that came out with the most to gain from the absence of the big name candidates.

Most of those polled said that they came away with a better opinion of Herman Cain than any other candidate. I agree. Cain came away as the non-politician’s politician but he is an unknown to most voters and will need much more than this debate to get the recognition he will need to mount a serious run. Santorum is known to a certain degree through his work on Fox News but has established himself as the social issues candidate so far in a time where the economy will likely reign supreme. Gary Johnson is the poor man’s Ron Paul and did little to move up the ladder in the debate and at points looked uncomfortable on the stage. Ron Paul is simply Ron Paul. Most Republican’s tend to agree with his economic stances and most independents with his social stances but he has difficulty communicating them in a manner that helps him in a conservative GOP primary.

That leaves Pawlenty, who did little to “Wow” the audience but came across as a solid candidate when put next to the CEO with little experience, the Libertarian’s with little communication skills and the evangelical social issue guy, as a possible challenger to the big name candidates who themselves have issues that will be exploited if and when they decide to enter the race. Romney has to answer for his health care program he implemented while Governor of MA. Gingrich has had marriage issues that have haunted him for years. Huckabee has issues regarding his stances on crime while Governor of Arkansas and Palin, well she has always incurred the wrath of the media and I expect if she decides to run in 2012 it will be no different.

So although he may have not brought the “wow” factor with him to South Carolina last Thursday night, it could be Tim Pawlenty who very well takes away the most from the debate. Although Herman Cain may have hit the “wow” factor it was Pawlenty who by reason of recognition stands to gain the most from the decision of the big names to sit this one out. If he stays on message and the more recognizable names continue to sit dormant, Tim Pawlenty has one up on the other candidates.

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Romney and Huckabee Strongest Against Obama

Bookmark and Share The result of a Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll of potential Republican opponents to President Obama, shows that Mitt Romney holds a slight lead over President Obama while Mike Huckabee is even with the President. The Romney lead is well withing the polls margin of error but the numbers that both Huckabee and Romney get are far closer to the President’s than any of the other potential contenders that the poll track.

Rasmussen points out the following little tid bit regarding 2004, the last time thepresidentialelection featured anincumbent running for reelection. They write;

Its interesting to note that Kerry trailed Bush by three points on the night he became the front-runner, and he ended up losing the election by three percentage points. In 2008, Rasmussen tracking polls showed Obama leading McCain consistently by five or six points for the first month after Hillary Clinton bowed out of the race. Obama ended up winning by seven.

Of course, the poll is not exactly an accurate predictor of the 2012 election but it does show us who is, or “isn’t”, getting in to the race with some wind at their back.

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Republican Presidential Candidates to Attend Spending and Jobs Summit in New Hampshire

Bookmark and Share The New Hampshire chapter of the fiscal conservative watchdog group Americans for Prosperity has announced that they will be sponsoring a summit on spending and jobs. Invited to this event are Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Atlanta radio talk show host and former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, South Dakota Senator John Thune, and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint

DeMint had previously stated that he was not interested in running for President in 2012, but as of last week has changed his mind and is now willing to look at a run for the White House as a means to insure that he plays a role in the nomination process and the agenda that the GOP debate is centered around. Without any explanation, the New Hampshire AFP has stated that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has no been invited yet.

The event is planned for April 29th and will be centered around a dinner reception at which the New Hampshire AFP organization will name Ovide LaMontagne as their Conservative of the Year. LaMontagne was the TEA Party backed candidate for the republican nomination to replace retiring Republican Senator Judd Gregg. LaMontagne ran a close race but failed to defeat his opponent, Kelly Ayotte. Ayotte went on to win the general election in November.

This unofficial presidential summit on jobs and spending in America will take place approximately one before a WMUR/CNN/Union Leader sponsors what they call a presidential debate.

Currently, Mitt Romney is a seemingly strong frontrunner in New Hampshire. But his hold on frontrunner status is a tentative one that is largely due to an as of yet established field of candidates for him to run against, and the fortune of seeing the most conservative of New Hampshire voters split their support among a host of potential conservative rivals such as Gingrich, Palin, Huckabee, Santorum and other names that many hope ultimately decide to run for President.

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Republican Presidential Contenders React To President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Bookmark and Share Under an atmosphere that frowned upon the slightest hint of disagreement much more than in State of the Unions gone by, many potential Republican candidates for President had reactions to the Presidents address whichshowed that they were not timid in their desire to make clearwhere theyparted ways withthe President.

The often abrasive John Bolton who threatens to run for President for the purpose of focusing the nations attention on to international threats to our security Tweeted;

With no foreign policy victory of his own & many failures, bizarre that Obama would take credit for restoring America’s leadership in world.

Leading conservative deficit hawk, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint sent out a Tweet stating;

Our debt crisis demands spending cuts, not a freeze. When a car speeds toward a cliff, you hit the brakes, not cruise control.

Indiana Congressman Mike Pence sent out the following the email that described the Presidents speech as frustrating. In it he also sent a post SOTU interview he did with PBS.

Dear Fellow American, In last night’s State of the Union address,




President Obama called on Americans to take control of our destiny and take responsibility for the deficit.
He outlined plans to increase American competitiveness through education, infrastructure and innovation. And he encouraged members of Congress to put their differences aside and work together to restore this country to prosperity and greatness.So how does President Obama plan to achieve this transformation? More spending!

You and I both know that more spending and more borrowing is not the answer to get the economy moving. To hear the President call for more of the same stimulus spending that failed to turn our economy around for the last two years was very frustrating. That’s why I hope you will stand with me as I call on our leaders to give the American people a new direction.

Sincerely,

Mike Pence
Member of Congress

On his Free and Strong America PAC web site, Mitt Romney had the following statement posted;

President Obama knows where he wants to go, but he has no idea how to get there. Under President Obama’s economic leadership, more Americans have lost their jobs than any time in modern history. The on-the-job economic education of the President has cost American families almost a trillion dollars in failed stimulus schemes and, unfortunately, he’s still failing the course. Rhetoric, however soaring, does not put pay checks in pay envelopes at the end of the week. You can’t build a high speed rail system fast enough to outrun the President’s misguided regulations, higher taxes or lack of focus on jobs. Hopefully he is learning. American families are depending on him.”

South Dakota Senator John Thune issues a press release in which he decalred:

“After presiding over a staggering 21 percent spending increase during his first two years in office, the President’s proposal to simply keep spending at its current level for the next five years is too little, too late. In just two years, the government has grown at 10 times the rate of inflation.

“The president called for new spending, although he repeatedly called it investment,’ but this is nothing more than increased Washington spending in the style of the failed stimulus. With a $14 trillion national debt that is growing at a trillion dollars every year, we should reverse the out of control spending we’ve witnessed the past two years and begin to save taxpayer dollars.”

Herman Cain issued a statement that described the state of the nation as“fragile” and claimed that when the President spoke of “investment” we heard “spending” and when he spoke of job creation, we heard “but not in the private sector”. http://on.fb.me/gXSmwL

Ron Paul was unimpressed and in an interview seen below, said that he really didn’t hear anything he liked. He stated that he heard nothing regarding any real new cuts but did hear about more government programs.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told theNBC’s Today Show that there were “some good things” in the speech, but the president missed an opportunity “to take the deficit more seriously.” Obama “showed no leadership on that,” .

Freshman Florida Senator Marco Rubio told reporters “I had hoped to hear the president outline real solutions to fundamentally tackle our national debt crisis and help clear the way for urgently needed job creation,” “Instead, we heard him talk about more ‘investment,’ which is what most Floridians I know would simply call more government spending.”

Michele Bachman provided her Tea Party response to the State of the Union which was addressed here in a previous White House 2012 post. While it had plenty of visual props and offered some compelling factual comparisons, her performance lacked the poise and effectiveness of Paul Ryan’s official Republican response to the State of the Union address. That speech which can be seen here, was quite effective and offered a convicncing rationale for the challenges that they will present to Democrats as he and his fellow Republicans try to approach fiscal responsibility in ways that differ from the President and his Party.

In general, Republicans all heard the same things in President Obama’s State of the Union. They heard little that would dramatically tackle our national debt, curb government overreach and spending and very little in the way of inititatives that would help improve the near term condition of employment and the stagnant economy.

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New Polls in Iowa and New Hampshire Make Nothing Very Clear

Bookmark and Share Two new Strategic National polls offer results from Iowa and New Hampshire that mirror other similar surveys.

Of 410 Iowans who are described as typical caucus voters, former Governor Mike Huckabee is ahead of his closest possible rival, Mitt Romney, by 9.02%.

Complete poll results were as follows:

  1. Mike Huckabee 27.56%
  2. Mitt Romney 18.54%
  3. Undecided 17.56%
  4. Sarah Palin 12.44%
  5. Newt Gingrich 12.20%
  6. Tim Pawlenty 4.39%
  7. Michele Bachmann 3.66%
  8. John Thune 1.95%
  9. Rick Santorum 0.98%
  10. Other/Undecided 0.49%
  11. Haley Barbour 0.24%

In New Hampshire a random sample of 940 Republican primary voters offered a result that was almost as equally lopsided between the first and second place finishers as Iowa’s results were, but here it is Romney who takes the lead. The New Hampshire poll played out like this:

  1. Mitt Romney 33.51%
  2. Mike Huckabee 13.83%
  3. Sarah Palin 12.77%
  4. Newt Gingrich 8.62%
  5. Tim Pawlenty 5.21%
  6. Mitch Daniels 1.60%
  7. Rick Santorum 1.28%
  8. Haley Barbour 0.96%
  9. John Thune 0.21%
  10. Other/Undecided 22.02%

Both polls do little more than confirm what we already knew. What we don’t know though is who Iowa and New Hampshire voters will actually be splitting their votes between when it is time to vote and caucus. While we are more than certain that Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty will be running, and pretty sure people like Fred Karger and Rick Santorum are running, we do not know with any certainty if Mike Huckabee or any of the other often mentioned names are running. Furthermore, given the countless number of variables, including who will or wont be in the race and the great potential that the campaigns of many potential candidates have, it would be naive to assume that anyone who is a frontrunner at this moment, will be the winner a year from now.

However, when it comes to New Hampshire and Iowa and Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, a combination of name recognition from their 2008 presidential runs and demographics, Romney and Huckabee are where they should be in New Hampshire and Iowa and are naturals to win those state respectively.

If they did win in these tow states, the Republican presidential nomination contest is likely to be wide open well into the primary and caucus season.

Following Iowa and New Hampshire are Nevada and South Carolina. Here too a split decision is as natural as it is in the results of Iowa and New Hampshire. Demographics and established name recognition make Nevada a natural for Romney to win and South Carolina a natural for Huckabee to take. Of course with South Carolina being more of a sign of how the South goes than Nevada is of the way the West goes, Huckabee’s win in South Carolina would put him in a much better position for him than Romney.

South Carolina is where Romney has to draw his wall of fire. It is where he has to establish the “Big Mo” that George H. W. Bush thought he had behind him in the 1980 primaries against Ronald Reagan.

Of course as noted in previous White House 2012 posts, if enough candidates who are attractive to the evangelical vote, jump into the race, Romney could be the beneficiary and have the chance to walk right up the middle.

For now though, it really is too early to base any wagers on any of these polls. None of the potential candidates campaigns can be underestimated and there are so many possible players at the moment that it is too difficult to predict which way any one demographic or state will fall.

If Newt Gingrich were to run, not only will his command of the issues be undeniably impressive, but between the unique and numerous ideas he brings to the table, combined with a personality that will surprise many and the ability to reshape his image, he could quickly become an appealing figure to many, including evangelicals and TEA Party energized people.

If Sarah Palin were to run, her ability to campaign in a way that can broaden her base should not be underestimated and given the enthusiastic support that she already has from a loyal base of voters, such an expansion of her base could effect the primaries and caucuses profoundly.

But many other names also have the potential to establish powerfully effective campaigns that can attract the attention and support of any combination of influential wings of the G.O.P.. Texas Governor Rick Perry is building a solid foundation for a possible campaign that highlights states rights which appeals to TEA Party priorities. He has also built a record around anti-abortion measures and other social issues that are attractive to evangelicals and social conservatives. And on economic issues, his tax cuts, spending cuts and jobs record in the Lone Star State, appeal to all wings of the Republican Party.

Indiana’s Mitch Daniel’s is another figure whom could take the Party by storm. His American Heartland appeal and economic prowess will shine brighter than most. The entry of Mississippi’s Haley Barbour could quickly round up a large portion of the G.O.P. inner circle, raise oodles of money, count on many favors owed to him, significantly coalesce Southern support and dilute Huckabee’s Southern strength, while also surprising people with his own strategic abilities and appeal to conservatives in all four corners of the country.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota will be force to a contend with if he runs. While the addition of his name in to the field may not initially turn the race on its ear, he will quickly gain steam. Then there are other names like Rick Santorum and Mike Pence. All of these names will sharply divide the conservative vote, thereby give people like Tim Pawlenty, as well as Mitt Romney and maybe even Rudy Giuliani a better shot at racking high delegate counts.

And through it all may also be the likes of libertarians Ron Paul and former new Mexico Governor Gary Johnson as well as those dark horse candidates, such as Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and maybe even Donald Trump.

Right now, all that we can be sure of is that while some names like Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and outsider Fred Karger have all but made their campaigns official, everyone else is watching what each of the other names are doing. And until people like Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, John Thune and Sarah Palin, make up their minds, people like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman and more, will be waiting to make up their own minds.

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Huckabee To Lead Health Care Repeal Petition Drive

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In what he called, the most massive petition drive in the history of the country. , former Arkansas Governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee called Tuesday for Congress to repeal the health care laws passed last year by the Democrat led House and Senate and signed by President Obama. The repeal process is expected to move forward on Wednesday with the backing of the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Democrat Senate majority leader Harry Reid however has vowed to not even bring the House repeal bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

“We were told — and sold — everything except the truth about the details in the health care act, noted Huckabee on Tuesday. And then, despite a majority of Americans rejecting this massive change in public policy, Congress enacted it anyway. Thats not the way its supposed to work in our representative democracy. This massive 2,500-page piece of legislation went to the floor of the House without being read by pretty much anyone, was rammed down the throats of an unwilling public, was enacted in the middle of the night — and in the height of hypocrisy, exempted the president, the vice president, congressional leadership and committee staff from the bill that Americans didnt want.”

With a 2012 run in the near future, Huckabee seems to be drawing a line in the sand when it comes to the health care bill which has been a hot button topic since it was passed by the Democrat majorities last year. With the Democrats remaining in control of the Senate and repeal seeming unlikely a petition drive may be the way in that those who favor scrapping the laws need. Although it may not be an actual feasible means to force the Senate to address the issue it does have the power of public support behind it that can be used as ammunition in a possible Huckabee candidacy in 2012. Former New York Governor and potential 2012 candidate George Pataki also favors a petition drive for repeal. If the the petition drive gains steam and the Senate refuses to hear the House repeal bill, Huckabee could have a hand up in showing the people that he will be working for what they want in 2012.

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To Run or Not To Run? That is the Question

Bookmark and Share Now that the midterm elections have ended and the results indicate that Republican are back off the ropes, the jockeying for position between Republicans who want to run for President in 2012 has begun in earnest and a crowded field it will be.

While Tim Pawlenty, the soon to be former Governor of Minnesota will be releasing his own book in January of 2011 and using the excuse of book tour as reason to traverse the nation, he currently has paid staffers on the ground, organizing things for him in New Hampshire. So he’s running.

Even though no one is talking about it, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is crisscrossing America on a shoe string budget and he is running.

Despite the fact that the G.O.P. took the majority in the House, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence gave up an influential leadership post that is just to die for if you’re looking for power. Yet Mike Pence made it clear that he will be too busy to take on a leadership responsibility in the new House. What will he busy with? His campaign for President.

Mitt Romney stays away from the question and when he can’t avoid it, he answers “it’s too early to talk about the next presidential election”. But as his PAC, Free and Strong America, raises more money than any other candidate’s PAC, Romney most certainly is running. Further evidence of this is Romeny’s attempts to retool his image and give the impression that he understands middle class America.  Hence the shopping trips to Wal-Mart, that he often casually mentions in his speeches. And then there are all those excursions that takes while  flying everywhere in coach instead of first class. With his money, why else would anyone want to be sitting cramped with us folks, when they can be eating full course dinners and sipping champagne in first class?

As I said, he’s running.

The day after the midterm elections, former Senator Rick Santorum traveled to New Hampshire to attend their storied Politics and Eggs breakfast where he stated “We have some real choices to make, and of course, New Hampshire has a disproportionate say in that choice, that’s why I’m here.”

He’s running.

Santorum is not the only one to trek on up to the Granite State. To date between 9 potential candidates, there has been a total of 32 visits there.

Haley Barbour – 3 trips, 3 days
Newt Gingrich – 2 trips, 2 days
Gary Johnson -3 trips, 8 days
George Pataki – 3 trips, 3 days
Tim Pawlenty – 5 trips, 5 days
Mike Pence – 1 trip, 1 day
David Petraeus – 1 trip, 1 day
Mitt Romney – 8 trips, 9 days
Rick Santorum – 6 trips, 6 days

What I find most interesting so far, is who hasn’t been to New Hampshire.

Sarah Palin has been allover the map, but she has not made any grand entrance into the home of the Live Free or Die residents. But the fact that Sarah hasn’t been there, does nott tell us anything. It could either mean that she has no plans to run or that she is in fact considering it but does’nt want to let on by making the hints that such a trip would make.

Other notably absent, often mentioned names include Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Daniels and Huckabee could be playing the same game that Palin may be playing and Huckabee may truly be undecided. After a hardened criminal that Huckabee had given clemency, went and slaughtered several Washington State police officers, his momentum may have come to a standstill.

No matter what, at this point in time, although people like Mitt Romney have dedicated the last two years of their life to running in 2012, no one has given up to do so then Mike Pence. He could have had maintained a truly powerful leadership position as Republican Chairman, especially being in the majority come 2011 but as he stated when he declined to run again for the job. Now that we have restored a Republican majority to the House of Representatives and I have fulfilled my commitment to the Republican Conference, my family and I have begun to look to the future. That future is a run for President, something that will be all the more difficult if the popular Governor from his state, Mitch Daniels, also decides to run. But perhaps Mike Pence knows something that we do not, which is that although Mitch Daniels has never said never to the presidency, he might just not being doing it in 2012.

One thing is for sure though, and that is that the race is on, the positioning has begun and in no time at all the first punches in the Republican presidential primary will soon be thrown.

In the mean time, as relayed by TalkingPointMemo.com, a collection of polls by the Democrat polling service Public Policy Polling released the following breakdown of the shaping potential field of Republican contenders in several states.

Early 2012 Presidential Polls, State by State

No matter how scientific PPP may claim these polls to be, the only thing they do right now is give a good indication of who has more name recognition. But they are still poor examples of national sentiment. Besides PPP did not even mention mention people like Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum in their survey. Still, some of these polls do show the construction of base of support for some that is directly related to the foundation that their previous 2012 campaigns built and which has made some voters loyal to one candidate or another, not merely because of name ID, but for what they stand for. Such is the case in Nevada, Florida, New Hampshire and Connecticut with Mitt Romney and with Huckabee in the Southern states. Nevertheless, these results do give us a cloudy glimpse of the picture and the tough task ahead of some more than others.

In the meantime, everyone is watching closely, how the Republicans lead in the House of Representatives and how the larger size Republican minority in the Senate works with them. Potential Republican presidential contenders are hoping that they lead as they promised and offer America less spending, less government and more freedom. If not they may have to work much harder than they want on polishing up their outsider image and run more like a TEA Party candidate than a Republican candidate. For now it looks like we are on track to pushing the agenda we ran on.  If that is the case, expect a crowded field of candidates who will be trying to lay claim to the conservative revival that put House Republicans back into power.

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