Chris Christie Introduces the Establishment’s Fear of Gingrich In To the Presidential Race

Bookmark and Share   In a Sunday morning interview with NBC’s David Gregory, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed to be doing his best to help establishment Republicans remain in the driving seat.  The interview with Christie consisted of a discussion about the results of South Carolina’s primary, which saw Christie’s prefered choice for President, Mitt Romney,  lose to Newt Gingrich. According to Christie those primary results  will not make that much of difference as the nomination battle rages.  According to the New Jersey Governor, one of the reason for that is because Newt Gingrich has “embarrassed” the Republican Party, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney never has.  He went on to claim that the former speaker just didn’t have the experience needed to be President.

But Christie’s remarks were based less on truth and more on an immediate need for Chris Christie to do his job as a surrogate for Romney and out of need for self-preservation.

Following Romney’s devastating loss to Gingrich in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Christie is apparently grabbing for straws as he searches for anything that he can throw at Newt and make stick.  But why?  What is the real reason behind Christie’s vitriol?

It is a simple fact that the establishment, or status quo,  of any institution naturally tries to preserve itself.  So it is only logical that in politics, the establishment of any Party will try to do the same.  It is the main reason why change, true change, is hard to come by in politics.  In the case of establishment Republicans, Newt Gingrich is the one realistic candidate remaining in the Republican nomination contest, who represents real change and as such, the establishment wing of the Party is not compelled to enthusiastically embrace his candidacy.  Going with Gingrich would cause them to risk losing the traditional perks that the system grants to the political powerbrokers and as an idea based reformer, Newt is a threat to the process, a process which is stacked against change.

But another political reality that the establishment is facing is the bigger electoral picture in 2012.

Establishment Republicans want not only to maintain the status quo of the political process, they want to increase their sphere of influence of that process.  That control comes about by increasing the number of Republicans who are elected to office……all elected offices.

When it comes to Chris Christie, that electoral concern is largely the main reason he came out and endorsed Mitt Romney for President.

While the focus right now is on the presidential race, in the next few months, elections for other offices will quickly consume some of that focus.  In 2012, control of the United States Senate is already beginning shape the presidential race and that is already playing out in New Jersey more than anywhere else in the nation.

Although there is little public interest in New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race, the top of the ticket will make all the difference between winning and losing for Republicans.

Incumbent liberal Senator Bob Menendez is up for reelection to his second full term in the Senate.  He was first appointed to fill the vacancy that was created by then Senator Jon Corzine, who in 2005, became Governor.  In 2006, Menendez was subsequently elected to his first full term in the Senate.

Currently, Menendez is in decent political standing among New Jersey voters.  According to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, 45% of state voters believe to be re-elected while 38% believe otherwise.  And he beats a generic, unnamed Republican candidate by as much as 11%.

Typically, incumbents are in trouble if their reelect number are under 50%, but this is New Jersey, a state that brought Frank Lautenberg back to life, out of retirement and back in to the Senate where he does little more than keep his senate seast warm while he nods off in it. However, while the opportunity to pick Menendez off will be an uphill battle, the possibility does exist.  And therein lies Chris Christie’s endorsement of Mitt Romney for President.

In a state as blue as New Jersey, Mitt Romney can do relatively well.  While Newt Gingrich’s description of Romney as a Massachusetts moderate may work against Mitt in Peioria where conservatives can’t find anything too favorable about either Massachusetts or moderates, in Trenton, both are positive things which can only help Mitt among a Republican electorate which is generally slightly to the left of the national Party.   This becomes an even more important factor in New Jersey when it comes to defeating Bob Menendez.

Given Mitt’s perceived moderate image, he is expected to have much longer coattails than the more conservative, abrasive, hard-hitting, Southern Republican that is Newt Gingrich.  That conventional thinking is playing a critical role in New Jersey.

Although it is not official, Republicans are expected to nominate a longtime Republican State Senator by the name of Joe Kyrillos, for Bob Menendez’s Senate seat.  By New Jersey standards, Joe Kyrillos is considered a right of center Republican, but he is also the ultimate political insider.  In 1988 he became one of the state’s youngest members of the Assembly, where he served two consecutive terms and then promptly went to the State Senate where he remained since 1993.  Along the way, Kyrillos also spent some time as the state Party Chairman.

In addition to that, Joe Kyrillos happens to be a good friend of Chris Christie and served as Christie’s 2009  gubernatorial state campaign chairman.  Joe Kyrillos also coincidentally served as Mitt Romney’s presidential state campaign chairman in 2008.

This web of connections is all the evidence one needs to understand why Christie endorsed Romney and why he is now aggressively attacking Newt Gingrich.

But what Americans must begin to accept is that the circumstances which are forcing the establishment to rally around Mitt Romney in New Jersey are the same forces which will be forcing the establishment to rally around Romney and attack Newt Gingrich in many other states.   It is all being driven by self-preservation.  None of it is based on the issues, or reforms, or even beating Barack Obama.  It is based upon the establishment’s hope to maintain the status quo, something which can best be achieved by insuring that Mitt Romney defeats Newt Gingrich.

The good thing is that the establishment is not in good graces with a vast majority of the electorate that has taken on very anti-establishment attitudes.  This is one reason why despite the endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Romney lost to the anti-establishment candidate, Newt Gingrich.  In fact, to a large degree, the more incumbents that endorse Mitt Romney, the more the anti-establishment opposes Mitt Romney and supports  Newt Gingrich.

While those circumstances won’t help Newt Gingrich very much in a state like New Jersey, it will help him and the Republican tickets in a many other critical states.

Unlike Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich has the ability to tap into the anti-esatblishment sentiments that swept Republicans in to power in the House by historic proportions during the 2010 midterm elections.  That anti-establisment energy is minimal in New Jersey, where in 2011, state legislative elections did not produce any gains for New Jersey Republicans.

In 2012, to take control of the U.S. Senate, Republicans need to hold on to the 10 Republican Senate seats that are up for reelection and pick of 4 of the 23 Democrat seats that up for election.  At the moment Republican’s chances for success at taking the majority of senate seats are quite good.  So much so that it is even realistic to consider the chance that Republicans can actually pick up the 13 senate seats that would be required to meet the magic number of a filibuster proof 60 seat majority.

But in order for the G.O.P. to do either, a strong Republican ticket will be required.  The question is who will account for the strongest ticket?

The establishment assumes that a moderate candidate like Romney will do just that.  However; I am of the belief that a more radical, anti-establishment candidate will provide the strongest ticket and in states like Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin, tapping in to the same TEA Party-like energy that accounted for dozens of new Republicans getting elected to the House, will find that the chance to pick up each of the Democrat Senate seats up for grabs in those states will be enhanced by the “say no to the status quo” style of Newt Gingrich, far more than the “go along to get along style” of the “Massachusetts moderate”,  Mitt Romney.

Furthermore, in a state like New Jersey, where Chris Christie is hoping that his friend Joe Kyrillos can unseat Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, I am afraid that such a goal will be impossible regardless of who is at the top of the ticket, at least not with Joe Kyrillos as the standard bearer.

So what it comes down to is this.  Will Republicans be better off defending the status quo, or will they be better off staying the course that increased their numbers in 2010, when opposing the status quo proved to be the key to victory?

I believe I know the answer.  That is why I endorsed Newt Gingrich for President long ago.  Unfortunately Governor Christie does not agree.  Quite disappointingly, he is playing the role of political insider and pursing political self-preservation over proper public policy concerns.  And it is why he has chosen to go after Newt with guns blazing.

In his attempts to disqualify Newt Gingrich, he told NBC’s David Gregory that he thinks;

“Newt Gingrich has embarrassed the party over time“, and explains “whether he’ll do it again in the future, I don’t know. But Gov. Romney never has.” 

Christie added;

“We all know the record. He was run out of the speakership by his own party. He was fined $300,000 for ethic violations. This is a guy who’s had a very difficult political career at times and has been an embarrassment to the Party.”

The saddest thing about those comments is Christie’s blatant attempt to support his political opinion with lies.

While it is true that Newt has never really taken the easy way out by simply  playing the political game in order to hold on to power, Christie is actually lying when he continues to promote the myth that Newt was fined $300, ooo.  The truth is that Newt paid for the investigation into one of 84 false accusation that his political opponents tried to burden Newt with.  In the end, all of the accusations were dismissed, but Newt was still stuck with a bill for the investigation of one charge which found that his lawyers had filed papers erroneously.

But Christie’s attempt to play the role of political hitman causes him to ignore these facts and that is quite disappointing.

Up to now, Chris Christie has been an impressive, hold no punches, play no games leader.  But apparently even he is not immune from the game of politics when it concerns his the interests of the status quo and his insider buddies.

Meanwhile, even though Newt may not be “safe” choice for the republican presidential nomination, he is the bold choice and I am willing to take bold new leadership over insider politics and tired old political games.  I want republicans to win and achieve real change, not to win and simply maintain the system that needs to be reformed.

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The GOP establishment are more afraid of a Gingrich victory than an Obama victory

The signs are telling, conservative media bias and increasing establishment attacks on former Speaker – Newt Gingrich regarding his challenge on GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, to explain the nature of his role and undertakings while heading venture capitalist group Bain Capital. Many in the establishment and media have been quick to jump to Romney’s defence, calling the former speaker’s comments, an attack on Capitalism itself.

Congressman Peter King, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said in an interview in New York today, that the former Speaker of the House is being “totally delusional” about ever winning his party’s nomination.

King when asked if he felt Romney, coming off victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, could now be considered his party’s presumptive Presidential nominee.  “I don’t want to go that far,” King said, adding, “We’ve had so many rollercoaster’s this year.  A month ago Newt Gingrich was the frontrunner. Now he’s just being an assassin, a political assassin out there.”  And King, who has previously lambasted Gingrich, observed, “He has to know he has no chance of getting the nomination but he’s coming down on Mitt Romney with all these charges, charges that a liberal democrat could be making…attacking Romney for being too much a part of the free enterprise system.

To have Newt Gingrich, supposedly a right-wing conservative, making those charges is the height of hypocrisy.”  King said Gingrich is “going out of his way, millions and millions of dollars spent for one purpose, and that’s to bring down Mitt Romney.” However, the real hypocrisy lies in the fact that the conservative media are hiding the sheer scale & ferocity of the attacks Romney’s Super Pac spent in Iowa & New Hampshire attacking Gingrich who only this week got a major financial backer for his bid.

In the lead up to the Iowa caucuses earlier this month, nearly half of the political television ads airing in the state were critical of Gingrich. Former Mayor of New York & one-time presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani chastised Mitt Romney Thursday for a barrage of anti-Newt Gingrich attack ads aired in Iowa on his behalf. “Some of it was unfair,” Giuliani said. “The sheer amount of it. And the fact it’s being done by a PAC and Mitt Romney’s separating himself from it.

During the attacks on Gingrich in Iowa, the same people now jumping to Romney’s defence were standing behind him and his Super Pac’s nasty attacks saying, “It is fair-game in an election cycle to have your record challenged.” However, Gingrich hasn’t been attacking the capitalist system, what Gingrich has been attacking is Romney’s claim of creating 100,000 jobs. Surely, if Gingrich has to explain and defend his career record, then why not Romney? Gingrich seized on a new Romney campaign ad that defends the former Massachusetts Governor’s record when he led the private investment firm, Bain Capital.

The ad states Romney and Bain created “thousands of jobs,” not 100,000 jobs as the former Governor has previously claimed. When asked about the ad, Gingrich laughed. “He’s now himself changing his claim,” Gingrich said.

The former House Speaker called on Romney to produce records from his tenure at Bain to prove his claims. “He’s still not prepared to release any documents from Bain to prove anything,” Gingrich said.

Last month, Romney told Time Magazine he and Bain created 100,000 jobs.

“And so I’ll compare my experience in the private sector where, net-net, we created over 100,000 jobs. We created over 100,000 jobs,” Romney told Time. That jobs claim does not appear in the new Romney ad. “Mitt Romney helped create and ran a company that invested in struggling businesses, grew new ones and rebuilt old ones, creating thousands of jobs,” the spot states.

In an interview with CNN, Gingrich questioned Romney’s claims. “I’m saying that he misstated the facts,” Gingrich said. A New ARG poll finds Romney and Gingrich in a statistical dead heat for the upcoming South Carolina primary.

Many conservative establishment people feel that a Gingrich victory might be scarier than a GOP defeat. Gingrich’s defenders say such fear is a compliment because it shows that he’s a “change agent” threatening the status quo. There is no doubt that those against Gingrich are trying to portray him as the Angry Old Newt however, I’d trust Bill Clinton’s judgement when recently asked if he respected Gingrich, Clinton replied;” I respect his ability to think and do. I eventually hammered out a really productive relationship with him.” The truth is, Gingrich and Clinton although polar opposites in the political sphere proved a winning combination balancing the budget for four successive years, delivered entitlement reform, an issue which the next four term president must tackle, produced a budget surplus and created over 11 million jobs.

American voters must decide if they trust their party establishment more than a man granted with some personal flaws, but brilliant in delivering transformational change on a national level. It is Gingrich’s ability to work in a bi-partisan manner, his ideas and solutions and above all, his willingness to tackle head on the difficult decisions which should make him the only candidate ordinary American’s would vote for to restore America’s economic strength and respect around the world.

The establishment are petrified what a Gingrich presidency would bring to the Washington gravy train. The inner beltway has for too long stumbled along talking big, but doing and achieving little. Gingrich may be a man of many words however; he is also a man who says what he means and does what he says.

The Republican Party hierarchy & playmakers are fearful a Gingrich presidency would solidify the Tea-Party & certain libertarian factions within the party permanently. They do not want this and want to control the status quo. Gingrich is genuinely interested in serving his nation and the American people; he has the record to prove it at a national level. The question quite rightly should be, what will voters get from a President Romney? Challenging a candidate about their claims should not be confused with an attack on capitalism. It is only right and reasonable that Governor Romney should be asked to explain his own claims.
 


Romney will need to beat the strongest campaigner in history should he become the nominee

The result in New Hampshire tonight for Mitt Romney ensured he captured the nation’s first primary election with about 35% of the vote following two tough days, in which the presumptive front runner by the establishment, withstood attack from his Republican opponents.

Romney who has led in New Hampshire, where he owns a summer home, for several months, and where anything less than a double-digit margin of victory might have been viewed as a loss won very comfortably. There is a historical aspect to his victory insofar as, he’s the first non incumbent to win both the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary since 1976.

Ron Paul finished a very credible second in his head to head battle with former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman coming third. Paul and his campaign will have to be pleased with their 25% of the vote and second place finish.

Former House Speaker Gingrich finished fourth as he predicted however, his last two days of attacks hurt the Romney Campaign and sets up a fierce battleground fight for what many neutrals perceive as the first real competitive primary in South Carolina on January 21.

The media bias has been incredible in the run up to the New Hampshire primary, Fox News has literally turned into the Romney adoration channel and their commentary while Romney attacked Gingrich with his Super Pac was, it’s part and parcel of any primary race however, their viewpoint with Gingrich’s Super Pac poised to launch Romney attack ads in South Carolina is, Gingrich is being nasty & angry for criticising Romney. Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry and Ron Paul did not escape Fox News’s condemnation over their sparring with Romney.

The irony for conservative media outlets like Fox rushing to Romney’s defence, is rather then protect and support Romney; they are in fact exposing how weak he could actually be as a potential nominee. Do not misunderstand me, if Romney eventually wins the race, I’ll throw my weight behind his election effort, as I mentioned, this general election in my opinion is unlike any other for generations. America and Western nations are on the economic brink at present, the policies of the Obama administration have proven a failure and we desperately need the American economic engine working on full throttle to get growth, expansion, and job creation underway again in a meaningful way.

I believe all the GOP candidates have very solid economic policies which will be needed to tackle the key issues of managing the national debt, curbing spending and tax reform. What has disappointed me most about the current campaign is how little the discussion has centred on actual policy. If the eventual nominee is to stand any chance of developing their message and vision for restoring America, they need to hone it in the primary race and start talking more about the key issues.

Personally, I don’t think any of the GOP candidates should be attacking each other in the personal manner they are, it only damages themselves, the party and their chances. Romney’s victory in New Hampshire tonight though should not be sold as a ringing endorsement of his candidacy, or his policies. Iowa was a good result for Romney, tonight’s result was expected, and the really important result will come in South Carolina. Romney is currently leading there ahead of Santorum and Gingrich and victory there and in Florida, and one would have to accept that it is highly unlikely with such momentum that anyone could stage a winning comeback.

What Republican’s have to realise is one thing, forget about President Obama’s performance in office, and ignore the current economic statistics and the expected $1 billion war chest. The eventual GOP nominee will have to take on President Obama at what he does best, campaigning and beat him.

I’ve maintained all along, anyone who believes President Obama short of an unexpected scandal or disaster between now and November, is going to be easy to beat in the general election is very badly mistaken.

President Obama is a community organiser by profession, organising, raising funds, communicating a message and rallying people to a cause are his strengths, they are what he can do better then anyone, dare I say it performance aside, he comes across more charismatic and electrifying then most politicians on a campaign trail that I’ve observed.

The GOP establishment and media need to be cautious about what they wish for, it is more important than ever to select the right candidate for the general election. One thing, I learned from New Hampshire, is how organised Romney’s set-up actually is. Popularity is one thing, but victory is only possible with solid organisation & strategy executed well. Romney did it effectively and he’ll need to target the Florida primary to essentially reduce the field of candidates down to the serious contenders.  It is important however to pause and remember that the race could have many twists and turns yet. Victory is not yet guaranteed for Romney and he’ll still have to work hard to secure the nomination.

I liked Romney’s closing remarks about the upcoming election being about “American Greatness,” and his emphasis on the need for everyone to still believe in that America

“Iowa” – A great tradition in its finest form, but not the decisive point many believe

The waiting is finally over, the first real election day of the 2012 campaign, kicks off in the U.S. State of Iowa this evening, with the latest polls still showing some 41% of caucus going Republicans no closer to a decision on who to support, then they were six months ago. One thing is certain, they will arrive at their decision at one of 1,774 GOP precinct caucuses shortly after 7 p.m. EST this evening.

The settled top three candidates by most polls appears to be Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and the grandstand finisher, former Senator Rick Santorum making up the top three. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich who has been the target of almost $3 million of negative advertising by Ron Paul and the Mitt Romney affiliated Super Pac groups has seen his support in the polls plummet.

A number of different pundits have been casting their varying opinions over what the outcome will mean for the GOP candidates and the GOP race as a whole post Iowa. Iowa matters not so much in terms of who wins, but it does matter in terms of who loses and campaign finance. Iowa is a launching pad, but is not the finishing point and people need to keep that fact in perspective. The media presence alone in Iowa tells you it does matter and positive or negative reporting can benefit or hurt candidates is equal measure.

Credit should go to Senator Santorum who has practically lived in Iowa with his family for the last three months, travelling around in a pick up truck visiting all 99 counties and shaking hands. There is no doubt that his commitment to the state and his social conservative values has resulted in him gaining the evangelical support in the closing week. Santorum will receive a vital and much needed financial boost ahead of the three remaining January primaries.

In truth however, the GOP race is really about three candidates, Mitt Romney the millionaire former Governor from Massachusetts, former speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Romney and his campaign team have been very effective at dealing Gingrich a major blow in Iowa, but Iowa was always an aspirational rather than a likely victory for Gingrich. Gingrich really must win in South Carolina where Romney will do well to place third. The real driver of this GOP race will be decided in Florida and who goes forward thereafter.

Iowa & New Hampshire have great traditions, the other candidates whether it is financial constraints, poor strategy or eccentric policy positions will not be electable in the long run. The Republican race will essentially be Romney against the conservative candidate who will either be Gingrich or Santorum come the party convention in Tampa, Florida, come August.

Contrary to popular opinion, I still believe Texas Governor Rick Perry could emerge to be the biggest threat to Romney for a number of reasons. He is a proven traditional conservative in his values, he can attract large financial support to prolong his campaign where other candidates will struggle and above all, he has a very successful record of governing.

Former Governor Romney clearly has been the establishment pick for the nomination and pollsters will try their level best to convince you, that he is the only candidate capable of beating President Obama. I do not concur with that opinion; I believe there are five candidates out of the remaining seven on substantive policy issues that could beat President Obama. My over riding concern with Mitt Romney is that he simply doesn’t like to be challenged and will fall apart under a relentless barrage from the Obama campaign. Romney hasn’t been challenged yet and if he does come under any real sustained attack, I believe he will crumble.

The Obama team have spent considerable time and money expecting a likely Romney win and an early Romney victory in the GOP primary campaign will assist the Democrats and hurt the Republicans in the general election. The longer the primary campaign goes on and the more, all the candidates are tested on their positions and policies in a meaningful and constructive way, the better it will be for party and country. America needs candidates who have a vision with the ideas, solutions and leadership to restore it to greatness. It doesn’t need another election delivered on sound bites and expensive media buys, substance has got to be the issue.

Iowa does matter because it will reduce the size of the field in a matter of weeks however, more importantly, it will also leave less places for those remaining to hide away from their records and policy positions.

I love the tradition of Iowa and all it offers presidential politics however, we must get it into the right perspective, it is not a decisive part of the election race, it is not the end all or be all that some commentators try to portray it as, there are still 49 state races to follow.

Iowa plays host in its finest traditions to the real presidential politicking we all crave, and what it does deliver is a whittling down of the field. The whittling down of the field in this election year is unlike elections will be crucial, as the focus has to be on policy and not personality going forward.

The Republican Party can only win the 2012 election by selling a vision with ideas and solutions to the American people. If the candidates and party make it about personalities in the primaries or general election then they are certain to lose.

Observers should be aware that with the revised primary calendar and changed party rules, the race for 2012 could well be much longer and less predictable then many people and commentators believe.

The Fox News GOP debate analysis

Newt Gingrich entered last night’s Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa, with a political target on his back, as Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican presidential candidates looked to challenge his front-runner status ahead of the Iowa Caucuses. In a week that has seen unacceptable attacks from a bygone era from the likes of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, Gingrich, vowed to stay to stay positive. My big fear before the debate was that the Republican candidates would have done so much damage in their primary campaign that any hopes of beating President Obama would be all but disappeared before 2012 had even begun. 

The moderators were Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, Chris Wallace and Neil Cavuto and they put forward good strong questions and weren’t afraid to challenge the candidates. I was especially pleased to hear a question on the Fast and the furious being placed, as it is a topic certain to raise its head during the general election.

WINNERS

Newt Gingrich

Speaker Gingrich was definitely looking for a big performance on the night to compliment his new found front runner status. Gingrich did receive some tough questioning especially from Michele Bachmann over his involvement with Freddie Mac. Overall though, Newt as in all the previous debates, was the most substantive on policy and tried his best to stay focussed on the policy aspect on the night. He added humour into his responses saying he didn’t want to be viewed as overly critically, so he was standing there editing before responding to a question about President Obama and the Keystone pipeline, he even poked fun at recent critiques of his “zany” reputation. Gingrich delivered a powerful condemnation of President Obama campaigning instead of passing the approval for the Keystone pipeline. One thing I noticed was that while Bachmann was quick to attack Newt at every opportunity, Bachmann on more then one occasion deferred to Gingrich’s response and threw some additional commentary to attempt to build up her response in some instances. Gingrich demonstrated with ease that he has the solid base of policy and in particular foreign policy, that no other candidate can match. Overall a good, solid, winning performance by former speaker Gingrich and after a week where the GOP party machine and many other Republican Super Pac’s, have been running a hard hitting campaign against him.

The two biggest issues of clarification for me on the night were that he possesses the policies to beat President Obama and the toughness to face the attacks that would come in a general election campaign. Newt is tough and in my view, has demonstrated that he desperately wants people’s votes and to challenge President Obama.

Rick Santorum

Contrary to many media commentators, I believe former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum did himself a world of good during last nights debate. While he wasn’t as outlandishly aggressive like Bachmann, he again highlighted his efforts in Iowa. He emphasised the need to restore American manufacturing jobs and gave a very good answer on the Iranian issue, again clashing with Ron Paul. The one thing I think Santorum managed to do very subtlety last night was position himself as the strong social conservative to the Iowa voters. The conservative voters of Iowa will have noticed his performance to their satisfaction even if, the mass media didn’t pick up on it. I thought it was Santorum’s best debate night without appearing desperate as Bachmann did. Should he get a decent result and surprise a few people in Iowa. An area Santorum will need some stronger selling points on is job creation and the economy, if he is to make an impact in later states.

Mitt Romney

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appeared to heed the general consensus before the debate, that he needed to move away from his ill advised and much publicised attacks in particular against Newt Gingrich. I was extremely surprised to hear in the post debate summary on Fox News that Frank Luntz and Hannity, thought he won the debate. I thought to myself, what! I must have been watching a different debate. Romney’s performance was safe; he managed to provide some good substantive answers on the economy and did well in explaining his role with Bain Capital. Romney was presidential in his delivery, but yet again, almost tripped up in the debate on foreign policy. Like Gingrich, Romney focussed his attacks on President Obama to good effect saying, if he is elected president this century will be an American century, not a Chinese century. Romney explained the narrative about working with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature in Massachusetts, which was effective to a watching audience.

In my humble opinion, not his best debate performance but a comfortable one nonetheless. My concern with Romney is that he will look like a Republican, but sound too much like a Democrat in a general election match-up against President Obama. I’m yet to be convinced of his ability to take on the Obama campaign machine and win. Romney is too prickly in my view to take the harsh attacks that will inevitably come in a general election campaign.

Rick Perry

The Texas Governor had a relatively quiet first half of the debate until a question by Neil Cavuto brought him to life on his debating skills. I loved the way he put humour but a level of seriousness into his reply saying he would even turn up early to debate President Obama. He did well attacking Gingrich over his perceived inability to distinguish between a lobbyist and a consultant.” An interesting if somewhat equally confusing statement was when he compared himself to Denver bronco’s Quarterback Tim Tebow. The point he was trying to make essentially was he is now an underdog candidate but can mount a comeback against the odds like Tebow. Perry has restored some credibility to his challenge and his call for a part-time Congress is starting to catch some people’s attention. If Perry can finish in the top four in Iowa and with his recent renewed confidence, he could challenge in South Carolina and Florida in a serious way. Perry is starting to show he is resilient and prepared to fight his way back into contention.

Losers

Michele Bachmann

I’ll give Congresswoman Bachmann credit for her gutsy and aggressive performance last night. She took every opportunity to try and steal the limelight but over cooked her fine start by trying to hit Gingrich again on his record with Planned Parenthood. She sounded like a moaning child in a playground saying she’s serious candidate, the mere fact she used that statement immediately made the point that actually, although she’s a serious politician, her day and chances of winning in Iowa are all but gone. I highlighted how she would default to Gingrich’s answer when it appeared to anyone watching, that the question she was asked, stumped her slightly. My point here is, you cannot attack a candidate constantly and when it suits you for playing it safe purposes, defer to their answer as the authoritative response if you want to be president. I did enjoy her tussle with Ron Paul on his position in Iran. Surprisingly she didn’t use the Newt Romney line which has been so effective in the previous debate. Gingrich was clever mentioning her statements as being often factually incorrect, a simple yet effective rebuttal, as it is a charge she has often been accused of in the past. Overall, I credit her for her effort but she over played her hand somewhat and were noticeably exposed in some of her response. An “A” for effort though, but a case of too little, too late.

Ron Paul

As always Ron Paul supporters packed the auditorium and were their usual vocal selves. Paul was energised, direct and articulate in most of his responses and he is clearly enjoying his moment as serious contender for winning the Iowa caucus. Paul as always was consistent, repeated his commitment to cutting $1 trillion from the budget. He looked and acted like a frontrunner however, his isolationist stance on Iran hurt him badly again last night. Only if Paul could find a way of shifting his position on Iran slightly he would have much greater broad appeal but as we witnessed during Bachmann’s brutal and most powerful attack, his foreign policy makes him frankly unelectable in a general election. Paul will have a good result in Iowa no doubt largely due to his organisation and supporters however; he simply isn’t electable with his stance on Iran. Paul got hit hard in the post-debate conversation with Sean Hannity over his Newsletter and he was visibly rattled and agitated by Hannity. I don’t expect to see him appearing anytime soon on the Hannity show.

Jon Huntsman

I have a simple statement here, would the real Jon Huntsman stand up. If anyone watched the debate between himself and Gingrich earlier in the week they will see he was simply brilliant. Last night it was a train wreck, simple. Huntsman’s attempts at humour and using young language such as “we are getting screwed as Americans” fell flat. He didn’t make an impression with any of his answers and seemed too laid back and without any real sense of passion throughout. A very disappointing performance and ironically, he probably did himself some harm in New Hampshire too, where he was starting to make some recent gains.

Summary

Overall, the lesson from the night was the fact that perhaps it was the first night where the GOP candidates are starting to cause damage to President Obama and gain interest from the larger electorate. A promising night for the party and something to certainly start the Obama campaign machine to stop taking re-election as guaranteed.

Gingrich under pressure in Iowa from Paul

The race for the Republican nomination may have come down to Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, however, the race is Iowa is far from a foregone conclusion. Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign strength in Iowa is evolving into what could be the deciding factor in the Republican presidential campaign. Paul has steadily being in second place in every state wide poll since Thanksgiving at around 20 percent in most polls.

Iowa voters are passionate, they value their tradition and place in every presidential race and as history has shown, it is not polls alone that decide elections; it is organisation on the ground and the politician who respects Iowa’s voters and speaks to them directly in town halls, community centres and even breakfast bars.

Paul is an experienced campaigner having previously run as an independent libertarian candidate and again in 2008, coming in a very credible third place nationally. Paul is without doubt the most consistent politician in the field, although his views especially on Iran and US support of Israel has flabbergasted many independents, who value the long historical US relationship with Israel established by President Harry Truman.

Romney who wasn’t competing in the state a month ago,  has had to respond due to former speaker Gingrich’s rise in the polls. Romney has come out swinging with some criticism of Gingrich this week and between Super Pac’s and his own campaign ads, a fierce onslaught of attacks has been unleashed on Gingrich.

Paul’s criticism and attacks on Gingrich however, are definitely the most damaging, he currently has an ad airing in Iowa that portrays Gingrich as a serial hypocrite, flip-flopper and greedy Washington insider, who doesn’t really believe in the conservative principles he is preaching. Paul has a long working relationship with former speaker Gingrich, and his $1 million ad blitz is aimed at highlighting Gingrich’s many different positions on key issues over the years, and has hinted in interviews that he doesn’t even view Gingrich as a conservative.

“Whenever I hear Newt try to sweep his Big Government record under the rug, I can hardly help but shake my head,” Mr. Paul said in an email to his supporters Monday. “If you and I are truly serious about defeating President Obama in 2012 and turning our country around, nominating Newt Gingrich is the absolute last thing the Republican Party should do,” Mr. Paul added.

Paul has a huge war chest and an ability to raise huge sums of money in “Money bomb” drives among his support base that all the other candidates can only look on and admire with envy. The crucial aspect is that Paul’s persistent attacks on the former speaker will assist the Romney challenge, and eat away at Gingrich’s current numbers both in the state and nationally.

Team Romney can only hope that Congressman Paul defies expectations and actually wins Iowa. A Paul victory in Iowa and a third or fourth placed finish for Romney would actually represent a good result for Romney. Romney is virtually assured of victory in New Hampshire leaving Gingrich in that case having to wait until South Carolina or Florida for a victory. Gingrich simply hasn’t got the funding in place to compete with Romney or Paul and badly needs an early and resounding victory in Iowa to boost not just his challenge but his campaign coffers.

The Paul campaign’s orchestrated attack on Mr. Gingrich appears to be working, according to the latest Iowa PPP poll. Mr. Gingrich’s lead in Iowa has dwindled from 9 percentage points to 1 percentage point in the latest Iowa PPP poll.

If Iowa comes down to a battle between Gingrich and Paul, expect the rhetoric to get stronger and it will be interesting if Gingrich manages to hold his discipline in not attacking another Republican candidate. Beyond Iowa, Paul’s appeal is not as strong or appealing however, he will be competitive throughout the campaign and may very well decide where the eventual Republican nomination goes.

The outcome come January will be down to Paul and his organisation being able to get people out to vote, with a lot of College students on holidays during this period, it may prove harder than expected.  One thing is certain, if Paul continues his attacks on Gingrich and eats into Newt’s lead, it will be advantage Romney in the race for the Republican party nomination.

Polls encouraging for Gingrich & Romney however, ideas and solutions must be the key factors.

As I predicted back in May of this year, Newt Gingrich’s ideas and solutions based approach to campaigning is starting to show that perhaps, he isn’t so unelectable after all. New Quinnipiac polls of general election voters in three key battleground states released Thursday show the former House speaker increasingly competitive against President Obama next November, if Mr. Gingrich wins the Republican nomination.

The challenge for Gingrich rests in his ability to pull together the ground organisation in the early states to convert his poll numbers into state wins and look to secure the nomination. Be under no illusions, the Obama Campaign and media will attempt to cast former speaker Gingrich as unelectable, in fact, they’ll throw the kitchen sink at Gingrich to prevent him being nominated. Gingrich is a tough, experienced and battle hardened politician who is rising like a Phoenix from the flames, in his second political coming.

I appreciate Gingrich may not be liked by all within the Republican Party however, I wish those representatives would keep their own counsel for the present time and stop assisting the media and Obama campaign machine with attacks on both Romney and Gingrich. There is nothing more that the Democrats want then a long, drawn-out, heated GOP primary campaign. The longer the battle goes on, the more likely the GOP field are to tear themselves apart and make themselves look like damaged goods to likely electors, effectively handing the election to President Obama next November.

The polls actually look encouraging too for the other front runner in Florida, Romney beats President Obama 45 percent to 42 percent, but Gingrich isn’t too far off the mark. He trails President Obama with 44 percent of the Florida vote, compared with 46 percent for President Obama, within the margin of error, according to the Quinnipac University Poll, based in Hamden, Connecticut. In Ohio, Romney and Gingrich have the exact same numbers against President Obama. Each Republican gets 43 percent versus 42 for Obama. Pennsylvania is President Obama’s strongest state of the three, narrowly beating Romney 46 percent to 43 percent, and beating Gingrich handily, 48 percent to 40 percent.

At present, Gingrich beats Romney in all three states for the GOP nomination, although only Florida holds its primary early in the nominating calendar. Florida Republicans vote on Jan. 31, after Iowa (Jan. 3), New Hampshire (Jan. 10), and South Carolina (Jan. 21). In Florida, Gingrich beats Romney 35 percent to 22 percent. In Ohio, Gingrich beats him 36 to 18 percent. And in Pennsylvania, the former speaker is up 31-17. No other candidate scores in double digits.

Quinnipiac’s numbers are a reflection of the national trend with Gingrich cementing his front runner status among GOP voters. The latest Gallup national tracking numbers show Gingrich ahead with 36 percent and Romney second with 23 percent. But more important are the numbers in early-nominating states, where success can change the shape of the race overnight.

New Hampshire remains Romney’s only stronghold of the first four states, at 35 percent, though Gingrich is closing in on him with 26 percent, according to CNN/Time. In South Carolina, CNN/Time has Gingrich way ahead of Romney, 43 percent to 20 percent.

Although the polls look like good news for Gingrich, I don’t think the Romney campaign need to push the panic button just yet.  Gingrich’s campaign cannot match the funds or the infrastructure the Romney campaign already has in place. Gingrich is hoping his meteoric rise in the polls will result in a large injection of badly needed cash, enabling him to build the organisational structure and team to deliver a winning national campaign.

I certainly hope Gingrich can overcome all the attacks which are coming his way from within his own party and from the Democrats. I’m not interested in what mistakes someone made 10, 15 or 20 years ago, I want a person elected president who is willing to put the nation’s interests first and foremost, above all else. Yes, Gingrich has made mistakes then again, he has openly admitted them and discussed a vast majority.

Why I would like Gingrich to stay the course is for many reasons. Gingrich possesses a unique vision of how he will make America great again, his 21st Century Contract with America is better and wider ranging than anything, any other candidate including the president can put on the table at present. It is a live working document but yet, we know where he wants to take America and what he stands for. Honestly, after three years in the White House, can you say with any clarity what President Obama stands for with all respect? Anytime, I pose that question to people, it generates more negative and defensive responses than anything else.

Gingrich possesses brilliant communication skills, a steadfastness on key difficult issues which only Romney can almost equal in the GOP field. He has ten ideas and solutions for everybody else’s one, and is passionate about putting America first and foremost in all he will do as president.

The now campaign departed Herman Cain was right about one thing, the 2012 election should be about “We the people,” not decided by the media or political elite. Look at the performance members from both parties are doing in Congress at present. American’s need a president in the White House who can provide leadership, vision, ideas ad solutions for the wholesale problems the nation faces on both domestic and international levels.

I would like to think that the people will not be swayed by politicians and cheap media attacks. I would encourage everyone to give Gingrich a second chance, and if he doesn’t deliver within four years, use the ballot box. However, can American afford four more years of President Obama? My honest answer based on policy is absolutely not. I will restate my view that winning the GOP nomination will prove a harder challenge for Speaker Gingrich then beating President Obama in November 2012. It is just starting to get interesting!

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