A remarkable success by Santorum – a devastating night for Team Romney

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum claimed a remarkable trifecta of wins and massive surge of momentum by sweeping Mitt Romney in all three contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

Santorum’s victories are all the more remarkable considering Romney’s advantage in financing and organization. Tuesday’s results included losses in two states – Colorado and Minnesota – that he won in his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign. Minnesota also became the first state where Romney did not end up in first or second place despite having the support of former presidential candidate and State Governor Tim Pawlenty.

The stunning results by Santorum have raised fresh doubts about whether establishment favourite and perceived frontrunner Romney, can in fact win a General election or even the nomination itself after struggling to get support from the party’s conservative base.

Santorum has now finished first in four of the first eight primaries and caucuses, after his narrow victory over Romney in Iowa’s caucuses on January 3.

The former senator said his campaign was already bringing in more donations, an important consideration for a candidate who trails far behind Romney in the fund-raising race.

As he has before, Romney had seemed on track to win the nomination after big wins in Nevada and Florida last week. He had been expected to win easily in Colorado and did little campaigning in Minnesota and Missouri.

In Minnesota’s caucuses, Santorum won with 45 percent of the vote. But the state became the first this year in which Romney did not finish first or second. Congressman Ron Paul was in second place with 27 percent and Romney was third at 17 percent.

Santorum trounced Romney by 30 percentage points in Missouri, 55 percent to 25 percent. That vote was a non-binding primary, but has symbolic value as a measure of support in a big Midwestern state.

The race was closer in Colorado where Santorum won by 5 percentage points over Romney, 40 percent to 35 percent.

Santorum in his victory speech also appeared more presidential then before, setting up a contrast between himself and President Obama as more of the aloof and arrogant policies from a person out of touch with the American people, or a true conservative alternative who will listen to the voice of the people. Santorum essentially positioned himself as the champion of the American people, economic policy, social values, and defender of the constitution and first amendment in particular. It was a passionate and heartfelt speech that connected with the audience.

“I don’t stand here to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama,” Santorum said. On health care, cap and trade and the Wall Street bailout, he charged, “Mitt Romney has the same positions as Barack Obama.”

Romney addressing his supporters said, “This was a good night for Rick Santorum. I want to congratulate Senator Santorum and wish him the very best. We’ll keep on campaigning down the road, but I expect to become our nominee with your help.”

I asked the question in a recent article about Mitt Romney – What does he stand for? (worldviewtonight.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/romney-florida-an-expected-success-can-he-stand-up-to-the-obama-machine/)

The reason I asked the question was not out of any dislike for Romney, I admire a lot about Governor Romney and his business success in particular. The reason I asked the question was that Team Romney were very effective at attacking President Obama and Newt Gingrich with his powerful advertising spending however; I honestly didn’t know what his vision for America was and where he stood on the key issues of the day.

Team Romney will need to have a very detailed reassessment of their strategy going forward. The tried and tested approach of going negative on his opponents, and touting his business experience combined with large rallies, has left voters and supporters devoid of enthusiasm for his candidacy.

Romney’s speech last night was almost parrot fashion repetition of his talking points from the last week. He is failing to connect with the ordinary voter and too often has appeared rehearsed and uncomfortable when put in personal one to one interviews. Romney will need to throw off the consultant shackles and be more energetic, more personal and more natural on the campaign trail or face certain defeat.

Ironically, despite his poor showing in contests which he barely contested, Santorum’s victories may also be good news for former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Team Romney will now need to develop a strategy to attack Santorum and need Gingrich to stay in the race. The longer Gingrich stays in the race, the longer it will split the conservative vote. Three weeks out of the cross hairs for Gingrich may enable him to lay the ground work for a series of victories himself on Super Tuesday, March 6, 2012.

The Romney strategy was based on spending massive early to knock-out his rivals and claim the nomination early before turning his attention towards President Obama. Last night’s remarkable series of wins by Santorum, now appears to have changed the GOP race into a near certain long drawn out affair, and even if Romney prevails as the nominee, his chances of defeating President Obama in the race for the White House in November have been damaged.

There are three winners from last night’s results. Santorum’s victories give him the momentum he needs going forward and hopefully an injection of much needed financial support. They give President Obama renewed confidence that former Governor Romney is not as strong an opponent as initially believed and the longer the race GOP race on, the more damaged he will become. Finally, it gives Gingrich hope and time to re-organise his campaign and ground work ahead of Super Tuesday to deliver a series of southern victories himself.

A bad night for Romney.

You’re the Nominee – “The Donald” endorses Mitt

Dynamic Businessman – Donald Trump turned the Republican presidential race into a scene resembling one of his Apprentice shows by keeping everyone guessing on whom he would endorse for president. The rumours had been back and forth that he would endorse Newt Gingrich, then it was leaked that he would endorse Mitt Romney however, in true Trump fashion, he kept everyone waiting until the end before confirming his support behind Mitt Romney.

The Romney campaign did not release their public schedule until Thursday morning in an unusual move for them and even then their 20:30hrs GMT slot stood vague, offering only: “Romney for President Event. TBD Location. Las Vegas, Nevada.” Mr. Romney will appear with Mr. Trump at his Trump International Hotel & Tower.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Trump have not always enjoyed the strongest of relationships with Romney as recent as December, referring to Trump as a real estate mogul and reality television star and declined an invitation to attend a Republican debate, which “The Donald” had planned to host, but was later cancelled after other candidates pulled out and included a very public spat with Jon Huntsman.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump suggested the Romney camp would be releasing an official statement soon, and in manner typical of Trump showmanship, said, “I strongly suggest you be there no matter what.”

Trump is a controversial figure and the world’s greatest self-promoter however, like him or loath him, he brings considerable media attention where ever he speaks and when he speaks. Trump did toy with the idea of entering the race last year himself and actually led the polls prior to pulling out with catchy sound bites on U.S. trade policy being weak towards China and regarding Iran. Trump has been one of the most vocal critics of President Obama and his economic record as president. He has made no secret of his concern about the direction and future of America under another four year Obama term and has also criticised the president on the polarising approach to his presidency and his failure to unite American’s in a common cause.

Trump promised to “push our president and the country’s policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness.” Following his announcement last May, that he would not be a candidate for the GOP nomination, Trump welcomed other hopefuls to his office at Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue for strategy sessions. Romney made the trek, as did former candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry. Gingrich visited in December when he was topping polls in Iowa and nationally.

Trump’s weeks of will-he-or-won’t-he run last year, stole the media coverage and his decision to question the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate, caused such a news media firestorm that the White House was forced to publicly release the document. A feat even Hillary Clinton her campaign team had failed to achieve during the heated Democratic primary campaign four years ago.

Many will question the impact of a Trump endorsement, I believe it will not have a considerable impact on Republican voters, but most certainly on Independent voters where Romney has an increasing negativity rating in recent weeks, due to his attack ads in Iowa and Florida against Gingrich. Trump will be able to command a media audience and spotlight that no other previous endorser of Romney could hope to deliver. The media love “The Donald” and he equally loves them.

Trump said he made the decision after getting to know Romney after meeting with him several times in the past few months and it was his real honour to endorse Mitt Romney. He said Mitt was tough, his smart and he’s sharp and he’s not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to the country. Trump also cited Romney’s performances in presidential debates and his tough stance on China and OPEC as reasons for his support.

It is certain that Trump’s announcement has all but ruled out a third-party run for the White House which he threatened if the wrong GOP candidate was selected to run as the nominee. One would also have to say that with Trump’s ability to command a media audience and great communication ability, Speaker Gingrich’s hopes of winning the nomination appear to be dwindling by the day now. It will come down to his performance in the Lone Star state of Texas on 3 April, 2012. A poor showing by Gingrich in Texas will effectively finish his campaign and hand Romney the nomination.

Newt the “Great Articulator” wins big in South Carolina

Not since President Ronald Reagan has a Politician stirred the deepest heartfelt passions & spoken to the sense of disillusionment, about every American household’s current struggle & experiences, then former Speaker Gingrich has this past week. “It’s not that I am a good debater,” Gingrich said, “It is that I articulate the deepest-felt values of the American people.” President Reagan may have been known as the “Great Communicator,” I welcome Speaker Gingrich as the average ordinary person’s “Great Articulator.”

Gingrich won 40% to Mr Romney’s 28% in South Carolina, a victory that seemed most unlikely a week ago. It proves that focussing on the issues and being prepared to stand up for traditional American values and speak directly to the people about the real issues, not the sugar coated spin often associated with the media’s interpretation of the issues, is what really appeals to the ordinary person. Other Republican hopefuls, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and Texas representative Ron Paul, were trailing badly with 17% and 13% respectively.

In his victory speech Gingrich went out of his way to praise his presidential rivals, getting an especially lively response when he cited Rick Santorum’s “enormous courage” for campaigning, and winning, in Iowa when he had no money, organization, or media coverage.  He was careful to cite the issues the other candidates have championed, as well as offering personal praise. Gingrich also said, ”Obama is the most effective food stamp president in history, I would like to be the best paycheque president in American history.”

Newt Gingrich’s thumping victory last night was based not only on his willingness to stand up against the media bias, which has traditionally attacked Republican candidates. It is also founded in the support base and homes of every American household, it is jobs and shows true people power is still the effective tool in American politics.

Gingrich spoke about a pro-growth strategy similar to the proven policies used when he was Speaker to balance the budget, pay down the debt, and create jobs. Political commentators and the media in general, have grossly underestimated the influence of social networks such at Facebook, Twitter and others have had in this result. The support base are now better informed and more independent then in any previous election, due to their willingness and ability, to undertake their own research on allegations and facts on the internet.

This election is without a doubt a watershed in American history, it will dictate whether America recovers from its slow economic decline over the last decade, and have its American spirit and love of free enterprise restored. The election boils down to the traditional question and bottom line. “Are you better off now then you were four  years ago?”

President Obama who is a very likeable person and rode a wave of public disillusionment in 2008 to win the White House with the message of hope and change, respectfully has proved an ineffective and at times weak leader. The near $5 trillion dollars of spending, and a perceived detachment from how ordinary American’s are feeling, is a world away from the optimism he espoused. American’s sense that their society, and indeed government, have never been as divided before. The ordinary voters haven’t switched off from President Obama the person, they have switched off from his administration’s poor policies, and all too frequent politicking in crucial matters. American’s want jobs and action, not political rhetoric.

Gingrich’s victory, should also send a clear and distinct message to Governor Romney, who has already spent $7 million dollars in Florida on media ads, the message is that dirty personal attacks are not what is going to make him president in this election. Voters want to know what the candidates stand for and what they will do to help them, with a passion.  I still believe Romney will win in Florida due to his spending advantage. However, Romney needs to win over the hearts and minds of the voters. He is coming across as too insincere, too out of touch and too much the professional politician. Fundamentally, people are sick and tired of the personal attack ads he so frequently uses.

Voters don’t want their votes and support taken for granted any longer, and political consultant’s will need to adapt their long held strategies and rule books and recognise, and respect, the reality is the modern voter is better informed and educated on the issues than ever before. Ordinary grass root supporters are also fed up of having a preferred establishment candidate being jammed down their throats, as if their own views and choices don’t matter.

This election is about restoring the American Dream, restoring jobs, rebuilding the education system, rebuilding communities, and above all, restoring the American dream with its unique exceptionalism together with a clear vision about the American future.

People are no longer interested in the trash talking that most of the television networks engage in, while reality T.V. may have made the debates more attractive and appealing to the younger generation. People want to know they can have a secure pay check at the end of each month and are able to meet their commitments and have the personal security that brings. They want a leader who puts America and Americans first, not their party or themselves. Gingrich has a record for delivering large scale improvements and for putting the people first, not the political elite.

The most evoking line that signalled Gingrich’s intent going forward against the GOP establishment and media attackers was, “We want to run, not a Republican campaign, we want to run an American campaign.”

Gingrich is slowly becoming the champion of the American dream and American exceptionalism for its people. More importantly, Gingrich is starting to make the ordinary American believe again in their leadership and country, that with optimism, hard work and some sacrifice, the American Dream can and will shine brightly for generations to come if he is elected.

Welcome Gingrich, the “Great Articulator”.

Newt under attack from a hidden source but is endorsed by Perry as the right man

Texas Governor Rick Perry stepped out of the Republican Presidential race in a dignified and gentlemanly manner this afternoon.

Perry is abandoning his run for his party’s nomination to face Democratic President Barack Obama on November 6, campaign sources said, and will endorse Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Perry scheduled a news conference in North Charleston, South Carolina, for 11 a.m. EST just two days before this Saturday’s crucial Republican presidential primary in the conservative Southern state, where he had hoped to revive his campaign.

“I’ve never believed that the cause of conservatism is embodied by one individual,” Mr. Perry said at a news conference here. “Our party and our conservative philosophy transcends any one individual.”

“I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me,” Mr. Perry said. “I am suspending my campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich.”

“Newt is not perfect, but who among us is,” Mr. Perry said, in an apparent allusion to his three marriages. “The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek god. And I believe in the power of redemption for it is a central tenant of my Christian faith.”

Mr. Perry’s decision comes as Mr. Gingrich has picked up support in South Carolina during the past week of campaigning with the latest Rasmussen Poll showing Gingrich at 33%, leading Romney at 31% in South Carolina.  Monday’s debate performance on Fox News combined with the unofficial nod from Sarah Palin, has seen Gingrich surge in the polls over the last few days. Gingrich had called on his other conservative rivals to drop out so that conservative voters can coalesce around him as the alternative to Mr. Romney.

Perry’s support and endorsement of Gingrich couldn’t have come at a more welcome and critical time for the Gingrich campaign, as his second and former wife Marianne, is due to give an interview to be broadcast this evening on ABC news. It alleges former Speaker Gingrich asked her for an “open marriage” or a divorce in 1999, at the same time he was giving speeches around the country on family and religious values.

Most of the allegations have previously appeared in an interview printed last year in Esquire magazine. The general feeling and belief among commentators and supporters is that this is a “put-up,” by a non Democratic source in an attempt to derail Gingrich’s rise in the polls again. There are many who are concerned that Gingrich’s commitment on doing away with some of the poor practices in the Washington inner-belt, if elected, are motivating some of the dirtiest tricks seen in recent elections mostly from within his own party.

Gingrich has been direct and honest regarding the mistakes he has made in his personal past; he states that he has gone to god and sought forgiveness and reconciliation over those events.

Some sources in the media have gone as far as accusing those in the GOP establishment aligned to Romney with the attempted smear although; these are yet to be confirmed. However, even most Democratic commentators are surprised with the timing of the attack, and are steadfastly insistent that the source lies within the GOP, and not the Democratic machine itself.

Perry was clearly aware of the allegations to be broadcast on ABC tonight when saying, Newt is not perfect, but who among us is.” It is noteworthy in possession of the information surrounding the allegations to be broadcast tonight, Perry still felt strongly enough that Gingrich was the right candidate to lead the party into the general election and beat President Obama.

While South Carolina has been a renowned slugfest in the past, this campaign season has seen a determined effort by many in the establishment and conservative media, to anoint Romney ahead of Gingrich, Santorum & Perry and have the primary process over even before it has started.

The conservative and grassroots Tea Party movement have noticed the efforts to make a Romney victory in South Carolina, a coronation of his candidacy & seal the party nomination. There is no doubt, voters and supporters are now more concerned with issues of policy, and the need to have a strong powerful candidate, capable of beating President Obama in the fall.

If the latest effort to slur Gingrich, over widely known, and long held allegations, is identified as coming from a Romney source. Not only will Romney’s efforts to defeat Gingrich have been in vain, his political career will be well and truly over, regardless of the vast sums of money he has built up for the primary campaign.

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