The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa (1972-01-20) January 20, 1972 (age 40) Bamberg, South Carolina, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Michael Haley
Children 2
Alma mater Clemson University (B.S.)

Nikki Haley came to office as Governor of South Carolina as a TEA movement favorite known for her record of fiscal conservatism, a record she accumulated as a state representative.

That record is one which has yet to be tested as an executive officeholder but she remains a promising conservative who is leading a state which has an approximate 10% unemployment rate and is by many, considered to be under direct attack of the federal government. As such Haley and her state has challenged everything from South Carolina’s plight for voters to provide identification before voting, to their enforcement of anti-illegal immigration laws, and even the state’s right to work laws.

This puts Nikki Haley on the frontline of many of the hot button, conservative issues and that in turn makes her a prominent name to be considered for Vice President. However, Haley has really yet to cement her reputation as a fiscal conservative and with less than two years in office, it can be said that there are better choices to go with. Especially when you consider the fact that South Carolina is not likely to vote for President Obama. And at the moment, Governor Haley is not the most popular politician in her state. Recent polling indicates South Carolinians were evenly divided on if they approved of the way in which Haley was doing her job.

Another bump in the road deals with the unanimous agreement by members of the South Carolina House of Representatives’ House Ethics Committee to take a closer look at an ethics complaint against Gov. Nikki Haley. The complaint alleges Haley used her position as a House member to lobby and then vote on bills to benefit employers. But she still remains a potential candidate for the long list of vice presidential options. It is also worth noting that Nikki Haley was a prominent early supporter of Mitt Romney who even though he lost the state’s primary to Newt Gingrich, is certainly appreciative for her help.

Between her personal story as the daughter of Indian immigrants and her being the first woman Governor of South Carolina, she would bring to the G.O.P. ticket an interesting demographic which Republicans must considered.

Pros:

  • Helps Romney with the T.E.A. activists that he needs on his side.
  • Helps Romney energize the Southern base.
  • Aides Romney with the women’s vote that he needs help with.
  • Haley’s fiscal conservatism helps underscore Romney’s command of economic issues and the federal budget deficit.
  • The potential to make history as the first woman vice President carries a degree of excitement around it that the Romney campaign could use a touch of.
  • Nikki Haley is a strong and energetic speaker.

Cons:

  • Haley is not seasoned.
  • Lacks any foreign affairs credentials.
  • Is not as popular in South Carolina as she was in her first year in office.

Overall Assessment:

While Haley is a politically attractive and definitely qualified candidate for Vice President, she fails to bring to the table as much gravitas to the ticket that several other male or female prospects do. And while her brief tenure in office has proven her to be a rising star, now is probably not the time when her star should rise to the second highest office in the nation. But the Romney campaign must still consider Nikki Haley for the job.

She is strong on many of the issues that Romney needs to stronger on, including the issues of abortion, and limited government. He also needs to be sure that voters with T.E.A. Party sentiments do not sit on their hands on Election day and Nikki Haley can go a long way in winning them over at the voting booth.

Of all the potential female running mates that exist for Romney, Haley is probably one of the best. She is a safer choice than several others and Romney likes playing it as safe as possible. So Nikki Haley will probably make it to the short list of candidates but in the end, she is not likely to make the final cut.

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Recent Key Votes

SB 1227

Legislation (Sign)

March 29, 2012

More Key Votes

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Nikki Haley On The Issues

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Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Endorses Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share   Early this morning, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who once declared that he would not be endorsing a candidate in the Republican presidential contest has seemingly reversed course and thrown his considerable clout behind Mitt Romney for President.

McDonnell called Romney a “results-oriented conservative” who can appeal to Democrats and independents and he told CNBC that his message is that if you want to win the race in November, vote for Mitt Romney.

On Fox News, Governor McDonnell stated that Romney has a proven record in the public and private sector of getting things done and argued that there are only three issues that will really matter in the election………. one being job creation, another being the need to get rid of “this crushing national debt” and finally, leadership.  And it is on those issues that McDonnell says Romney can win.

While McDonnell’s support has some value, the most interesting aspect of the endorsement is the timing.  It comes one day before what could be a game changing result in the South Carolina Primary.  It is pretty clear that the Romney camp, which has mastered much of the art of political campaigning, has begun to sweat and so they decided now was the time to unleash the endorsement of the popular Southern Governor in the hopes that it will help stem the perceived surge that Newt Gingrich is riding as the race in South Carolina wraps up.

In case you haven’t heard, timing is everything and its not any different in politics.

If you recall, back in December, Newt Gingrich flew to the front of the then crowded G.O.P. field.  The problem was timing.  He peeked too early and in the two weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucuses, he saw that rapid rise to the top erode and ceded ground to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  This time, in South Carolina, thanks to Newt’s ability to catch the crest of his wave at just the right moment, combined with a few well timed breezes at his back which consisted of Sarah Palin’s quasi-endorsement, Rick Perry’s suspension of his own campaign and endorsement of Newt’s, and two well executed debate performances, Gingrich looks like he is peaking just in time to be the first one to ride his wave across the Palmetto State finish line.   All of these conditions which have been beyond Romney’s control have forced him to play some cards that he has been holding close.  In this case, it is obvious that Gingrich’s success has Romney sweating enough to have forced his hand and play the McDonnell card.

How much it will help is questionable.

McDonnell promises to spend the closing hours of the campaign stomping in South Carolina, but Mitt already has the personal and organizational support of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and the insularly access to support from the state Party apparatus that comes with her.  And at the moment it is not stopping Gingrich from pulling ahead in the latest polls.

In my own estimation, I have concluded that even though McDonnell is a rising conservative star and a positive name to have your on side, in the case of Mitt Romney, McDonnell’s endorsement will actually benefit Newt Gingrich more than Mitt.  As the perceived “establishment” candidate, getting the endorsement of another elected  “establishment” politician, will help urge still undecided voters from among the large anti-establishment voting bloc, to move more Newt’s way than Mitt’s way.

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Where New Hampshire Leaves Us

Bookmark and Share    The results of the Live Free or Die State’s first in the nation primary, did little to change minds or establish any great degree of certainty about the final outcome when Republicans gather to nominate a President in September.  Yet despite all the hand ringing, flavors of the many different weeks, sniping about who is to liberal, and general exasperation over the lack of perfection in the presidential field, I do believe that just as was the case in Iowa and now New Hampshire, Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee.  However, nothing is set in stone and as masterfully noted in a recent post by MDuminiak, there are a number of unique circumstances facing the now undeniable Republican frontrunner, Mitt Romney.

As I have mentioned in the past, there is a significant possibility for Republicans to see their first brokered convention since 1976.  In his post “Hollow Victories”, MDuminak cites several factors that could lead up to such an event.  They include the penalties which strip several states of half their delegate counts for holding earlier than allowed primaries and the proliferation of states that have moved to a proportional allocation of their delegates rather than the usual winner-take-all system that dominated the process in the past.

Even so, while right now it does look like there is a good possibility for a brokered convention , I am convinced that all the speculation will be proven wrong and by the time September comes along, many will find it hard to remember just how contested the nomination seemed to be, or that most of us tried to make it out to be.

Many may find that hard to believe, but if history is any indication, that is exactly the way it will be when Mitt Romney accepts the nomination and nominates his running mate.  To believe that though, requires an interpretation of exactly where New Hampshire leaves us.

 Mitt Romney:

Romney finally cracked that 25% mark that has helped many to question his electability as a Republican.  But it was in a state friendly to Mitt and that is seen as less conservative than many other states.  Nonetheless, he did exceed his 25% high watermark and achieved what can only be called a landslide victory.

But there is more to consider as Romney moves on to the next battleground.

Mitt has played it safe.  He has not offered a single bold initiative or major reform other than his promise to repeal Obamacare.  This has made it difficult for him to win over the reform minded TEA movement wing of the G.O.P. and nearly impossible for him to tap in to the general anti-establishment mood that permeates the electorate.  His lack of innovative, revolutionary, ideas have left many uninspired by him, myself included.   Yet all that Romney has carefully proposed can not be considered anything less than conservative.  They are just not things that could easily be painted as “extreme”.  That may not be a big hit with conservatives, but it does give Romney an advantage in the general election and that is exactly what Romney is trying to do…….run a general election campaign.  It was, and is a calculated risk that he decided on many months ago. when it became clear that conservatives were not going to have a single conservative alternative to Romney  to unite behind.

So Romney has been playing it safe, and for good reason.

While the rule of thumb is that Republicans must run to the right to get the nomination and then run to the middle to win the election, that old concept may not apply in 2012.

With Barack Obama accumulating a war chest of more than a billion dollars, Romney knows that if he runs too far to the right to get the nomination, Obama’s money may make it impossible for him to run back to the middle.   Obama’s historic spending could go a long way in painting Romney as the extremist who is more out of touch with Americans than the President himself is.

Then there is the fact that Romney is not exactly quite as condemned by conservatives as many would like you to believe.  Here is a man who for several years  priors to 2011, was elected the favorite conservative by CPAC.   In 2008, Mitt Romney was also the conservative alternative to John McCain.  And since then, Romney has only become more conservative, not more liberal.

This is probably why recent exit polling showed Romney beating all other candidates among even conservatives.  In many ways, according to the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney is the conservative alternative that conservatives were looking for.

Add to that the most well financed and organized campaign, combined with significant endorsements from people like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and what you have is candidate who can buy,  organize, and win over all the delegates he needs to win the nomination.

Then of course there are all the factors working against each of  Mitt Romney’s rivals;

Ron Paul:

Ron Paul is performing far better than he ever has before.  Some may see this as a sign that his rhetoric is resonating.  And it is.  But not with Republicans.

While Republicans agree with much, if not all of Paul’s fiscal ideas and platitudes about the Constitution, they know that he is really not quite as unique as some of his worshippers think he is.  Many Republicans understand that Paul is more rhetoric than action and that when it comes to foreign policy and national defense, he is just irresponsible.  This is why polling, including exit polls from both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary, show :

a).- Ron Paul losses among self identified Republicans.

 b).- Ron Paul loses among self identified conservatives.

c).- Ron Paul, the mythological father of the TEA Party, even loses among those who identify themselves as TEA Party members and supporters.

Which leads us to the electoral irrelevance of Ron Paul.

Ron Paul’s inflated vote totals are arrived at through a unique coalition of liberals, independents, and youth who look upon their parent’s  days as hippie, love and peace, revolutionaries,  with nostalgic admiration and see it as the days when America had meaning.

Some suggest that we must thank Ron Paul for bringing these people in to the Republican Party.   Some do, but I don’t.

First of all, I have no need for liberals in my Party.  It’s bad enough that as a New York born resident of New Jersey, I am living among far too many Rockefeller Republicans already.  But more than that, none of these people are going to stay in the Republican Party, and none of these Paul fanatics are going to ever vote Republican.  They will either cast their lot with President Obama, vote for a third Party candidate, or not vote at all.  No matter which one of those three alternatives they choose, none of them were or are ever going to vote Republican.  Not unless Ron Paul becomes the nominee and that is just not ever going to happen.

So when it comes to Ron Paul, relax.

He has little to do with the G.O.P. and this is still the Republican presidential nomination we are talking about.  Will Ron Paul continue to get his message out?  Yes.  Will it change the results of the Republican presidential nomination contest?  No.

So Ron Paul is merely a distraction.

Jon Huntsman:

Huntsman did well in New Hampshire, but third place behind Ron Paul does not make him a rock a star and while he claimed that third place was his ticket to South Carolina, he better hope it’s a roundtrip ticket.  His 3rd place finish will not swing big money his way as it did for Rick Santorum after Iowa,  and with the lack of money that he has to invest in South Carolina, what you get is a candidate with no momentum and not enough tread on his wheels to get the type of traction he needs in South Carolina.

Huntsman like Paul, is now merely a distraction.

Rick Perry:

At this point, the only reason Perry is still running is because he wants to be there if the other candidates trip and fall as badly as he did.  Perry does not want to miss the chance to become the nominee by default if Romney or any combination of the others become the next Gary Hart and fall out of favor because of “Monkey Business”.

Perry is not even a distraction. He is just standing by and waiting to fill a vacancy that may never open up.  His only other hope is that the field stays relatively muddled until he can rack up a significant number of delegates from Texas and the rest of the deep South, West of Florida.  And even then he has to hope that fate provides him  with a brokered convention that make his delegate count important enough for him to have a big say as to who the nominee is.

Rick Santorum:

Santorum still has a chance to show some life in South Carolina.  Like Iowa, it is dominated by social conservatives and no one else has really  established themselves yet as the social conservative candidate.  On top of that, he now has money.  After raising significant amounts of money following his virtual tie with Romney in Iowa,  he could not spend it in New Hampshire because its primary was so close to Iowa’s caucus, that all the air time was already bought up.  That is not the case in South Carolina.

However, that is about all the momentum Santorum has left going in to South Carolina.  He was unable to turn his strong Iowa showing into a strong New Hampshire finish and coming in behind Newt Gingrich did not help at all.

So Santorum is not likely to defeat Mitt Romney in South Carolina but he could still emerge as a conservative alternative to Romney in Florida.

Newt Gingrich:

Gingrich is fading fast.  He really needed to at least beat Jon Huntsman if not Ron Paul too.  Instead he now goes in to South Carolina as an underfinanced, unorganized, bottom tier candidate. Yet if there is  any place he could turn things around, it is South Carolina.  Sadly though, I do not see him doing that.  Gingrich failed to ever accept the fact that although he may be an unconventional leader, there are some conventional aspects of a campaign that are so basic, that even he, Gingrich the Great, needed to employ them.  But he didn’t.  between that, a lack of structure,as well as a lack of a clear theme and message, and his experiment with attacking Mitt Romney from the left, it looks like South Carolina may be Newt’s last stand.

Even if Newt does surprise us all in South Carolina, I am afraid it is too late for him to do much with it.  Florida will be tougher for Newt and easier for Mitt than South Carolina, and with Newt’s lack of funds and Romney’s abundance of funds, Florida is where the inevitability factor may settle in for Mitt and help to dry up any remaining opportunities that his rivals might still have.

Does this mean it’s all over?

Not at all.

The game will still be played.

If  for nobody other than Ron Paul, the race will remain contested at least until Super Tuesday and probably beyond.  But the game won’t  be a very serious one.  It will mainly be talked up by political junkies like myself and rating starved talking heads who will claim Ron Paul is tearing the G.O.P. in half, and that he may go to the convention with enough delegates to change the Republican platform or determine who the presidential and vice presidential nominees are.  But such talk will be mere fantasy because in the end, Mitt Romney will reach the 1,128 delegates he needs for the Republican presidential nomination by March 20th or earlier.  And if he happens not to get it by then, he will do so no later than Tuesday, April 24th, when 231 delegates are up for grabs in the Mid-Atlantic version of Super Tuesday that will see the Romney rich states of Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island all hold their primaries.

Then, mark my words, all this talk about about how incompetent the Republican field was and how competitive it was, will all be a part of a hard to remember past, and no matter how much you dislike Mitt Romney now, you will not be disliking quite that much after he delivers his acceptance speech in September at the Republican National Convention.

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Nikki Haley Endorses Mitt Romney for President

Bookmark and Share   Several weeks ago, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley declared to a reporter that she would be endorsing a businessman for President.  At the time that could have really only one of two people……Herman Cain and Mitt Romney.  But seeing as how Mitt Romney was one of those people who came out early in 2010 and endorsed Nikki Haley for Governor, then subsequently worked hard for her in the state, odds were that she did not mean Herman Cain.

Today, that was confirmed.

In an early morning interview on Fox News, the popular Governor of the increasingly important early primary state made it official and declared her support for Mitt Romney for President.

In her endorsement, Haley praised Romney as being a business leader who understands the economy, knows how to create jobs, and has the vision and ability to turn our nation around.  Governor Haley said that while no candidate is perfect, Romney happens to be the best person for the times we are in.

The endorsement is probably the most significant one to be bestowed upon any of the Republican presidential candidates to date and deals a pretty big blow to his competitors, especially frontrunner Newt Gingrich.

In addition to being a favorite influential figure within the TEA movement, a group of people Romney needs help with, Nikki Haley is a very popular Governor of the Palmetto State and in addition to her giving Romney some TEA Party credentials, her support gives Mitt Romney unprecedented access to the state Party organization of South Carolina.  While Haley’s endorsement of Romney does not constitute an endorsement by the South Carolina G.O.P. or any of its county organizations, it does essentially put the Governor’s controlling share of the state Party apparatus behind Romney.  Such organizational support will help make a big difference on primary day in South Carolina.

Currently, South Carolina is where Newt Gingrich has his largest campaign organization.  it is there that Newt is hoping to pull off a win that will bring clarity to any mottled decision that comes out of Iowa and New Hampshire and catapult Newt to a win in Florida and the upper hand in the nomination process.

While this is certainly not out of the question, Haley’s endorsement of Mitt Romney did just make the question mark much bolder.

One thing this endorsement certainly does though is show how the early strategic groundwork of Mitt Romney’s long campaign for president is beginning to pay off.  In the year’s leading up to this year’s election, Romney had been criscrossing the country to support candidates all over on the state and county level in their own election and reelection efforts

So this endorsement comes as no surprise to Romney. It has been known that it was coming for more than a year now.  It is an endorsement that Romney planned for long ago when he supported Nikki Haley in her primary contest for the gubernatorial nomination and when his PAC, Free and Strong America PAC donated to Haley’s campaign.  It was all a part of a Romney strategy that was created long ago.

What is interesting though is the timing of the endorsement.

It comes on the heels of last night’s Republican debate in which Newt Gingrich seemed to have stolen the thunder.  Having Haley endorse him this morning was designed to try to take some of that thunder back.

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Is Haley Barbour Taking Sides In the Presidential Contest?

Bookmark and Share  Haley Barbour is one of the Republican Party’s most beneficial strategic leaders.  As the Governor of Mississippi, he also proved to be an effective and savvy executive leader.  As for his Party involvement, Barbour has been brilliant.  He led the G.O.P. as its Chairman when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress in 1992, oversaw the successful election of a majority of Republican Governors in 2010 when he was Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is a prolific fundraiser, and has a network of connections in the Party and government that is unparalled.  All of this gives reason for some to still wonder if he might jump in and run for President , even though he opted out of run several monmths ago.

While that is unlikely, who Haley Barbour does support for the Republican presidential nomination will be almost as important as if he ran for President himself.

That is why his recent remarks on the Laura Ingraham Show have many people raising their heads.

Barbour described rising star Herman Cain  by saying,  “He is likable” .

He then went on to say;

“He [Herman Cain], does not give you the impression that he is full of himself, but rather than he is a straight-talkin’ person who, will tell you, he call it like he sees them. He’s not trying to sugar coat anything and at the same time he is not trying to be shrill and a chest beater. He’s a straight talker and I think that makes him very, very attractive to people.”

Barbour then went even further and said of Cain;

 “If Herman Cain is our nominee against Barack Obama, I think he’ll sweep the South.”

At another point he added that if the election wereheld today,  his wife would vote for Herman Cain.

As laid out in this Talking Point Memo by Benjy Sarlin , Barbour’s high praise of Cain is a significant contrast to his less then enthusiastic referrences and descriptions of Mitt Romney and even Rick Perry, two men Barbour worked closely with when he was Chairman of the RGA.  TPM even refers to a White House 2012 post and video in which Barbour states “Mitt is less conservative than most Republicans.”

None of this is good news for Romney, who could really use some help in the South, where Barbour has a great deal of influence, particulary in the state he governms, and nearby Georgia and Florida.  A Barbour endorsement of Romney, would be a hinderance to Rick Perry and give Romney much more of a fighting chance for wins in Southern primaries.  But based upon multiple comments Barbour has made, an endorsement of Romney before the GOP settles on a nominee, is probably not in the forecast.  It could go to Rick Perry, but even that is now questionable.

All of this helps to make it seem that with many Republicans not totally sold on Romney, and with Perry unable to yet get his footing after stumbling in his second debate appearance, even the establishment might be willing to back Herman Cain.  I recently went out on a limb suggesting that a surprise endorsement of Herman Cain from South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley could be possible.  If the two Haley’s  (Haley Barbour and Nikki Haley), happen to endorse Cain, it is quite possible that people will be talking about him being the presumptive nominee and not Mitt Romney.

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Trunkline 2012: Saturday Political News in Review and Cinema Politico Movie of the Week

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  • Herman Cain Wins Big! See complete Florida Presidency 5 Straw Poll results here
  • A No Confidence Vote in Orlando.  Was Herman Cain’s p5 win a protest vote?
  • Is South Carolina Governor & TEA movement favorite Nikki Haley, preparing to endorse Mitt Romney or Herman Cain?
  • Does Romney Truly Embrace Tea Party Principles?
  • Chris Christie Reconsiders 2012 President Bid….Supposedly
  • Missouri Republican Party Takes a Proactive Approach to March Presidential Primary Bill
  • Sen. Susan Collins Delivers Weekly GOP Address on Over-Regulation
  • Preview of the Sunday Morning Political News Shows, 9/25/11: 
  1. Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: White House senior adviser David Plouffe and Sen. Lindsey Graham What’s the President got planned for the next budget deal and how do we handle Pentagoon claims about Pakistan behind terrorist attacks.
  2. ABC’s This Week: Senior White House Advisor David Plouffe.
  3. NBC’s Meet the Press: Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel; Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City (I); Donna Shalala President, University of Miami and Former Secretary of Health and Human Services; William Bennett, Former Secretary of Education; Tim Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics; Tavis Smiley, PBS.
  4. CBS’s Face the Nation: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and RNC Chair Reince Priebus.
  5. CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley: David Plouffe, senior White House adviser; Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA); Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN); Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), author “Keeping the Republic.”
  6. CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz: Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post; David Shuster, Current TV; Craig Crawford, Congressional Quarterly; Ron Suskind, author and former Wall Street Journal senior national affairs reporter; Connie Schultz, former Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter; wife of Sen. Sherrod Brown.
  7. Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal: Christi Parsons of Tribune News; John Harwood of CNBC and The New York Times; Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post; Susan Davis and Jim Tankersley of National Journal.
  8. Bloomberg’s Political Capital with Al Hunt: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).
  9. NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show: Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast; Helene Cooper, The New York Times; Gloria Borger, CNN; Michael Gerson, The Washington Post.
  • Saturday Night Politics at  White House 2012’s Cinema Politico:  This Saturday night’s political movie pick…….Anytown USA.

Brought to you by White house 2012 & Hulu.com, Anytown USA is a  funny and eye-opening look into a hard-fought mayoral race between a legally blind, blunt-speaking, conservative Republican incumbent, a retired Democrat brought back into the fray, and a legally blind write-in candidate, in the small town of Bogota, New Jersey. With its quirky characters, dilapidated infrastructure, and impassioned citizens, Bogota serves as the perfect backdrop for a behind-the-scenes look at our nation’s political heart.

For anyone who is an experienced political hand, Anytown USA will have you saying, “Been there.  Done that”.  It is an amusing but real and ultimately, surprising, look at a political campaign that could be like any campaign in any town.  It offers a good look at the feelings that lie behind campaigns and which motivate the candidates.

Winner – Best Documentary – Minneapolis/St. Paul, Long Island, and Staten Island Film Festivals. Winner – Best Director – Trenton Film Festival. Official Selections – Atlanta and Newport Beach Film Festivals.

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