New Poll Shows Gingrich More Electable

A new McClatchy-Marist poll finds Newt Gingrich is the strongest Republican presidential candidate when matched head to head against President Obama.

Obama leads Gingrich by just two points, 47% to 45%. Mitt Romney is next closest, trailing Obama by 4 points, 49% to 44%. Ron Paul is the third best bet for the Republicans right now, 8 points back from Obama, 49% to 41%.

No other Republican is within single digits of the president.


Majority Say Walker Should Be Recalled

A new Wisconsin Public Radio/St. Norbert College poll in Wisconsin finds 58% think Gov. Scott Walker (R) should be recalled from office.

That compares to just 47% who said in April that he should be recalled.

Key findings: “The growth in support for a recall came, surprisingly, from Republicans. In the spring, only 7% of Republicans supported recalling Walker but that grew to 24% in the fall. Support among Democrats held mainly steady at 88% in the spring and 92% in the fall.”


Boehner Never Visited Giffords

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s (D-AZ) husband scolded House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “for failing to visit his wounded wife while she was recovering from injuries sustained in a shooting in his and Giffords’ new book,” according to The Hill.

Boehner was in Houston for a basketball game while Giffords was in rehabilitation in the same city.

Writes Mark Kelly: “Considering that she was a member of Congress and he was the highest-ranking member, we thought he’d ask to visit Gabby or at least give a call to see how she was doing. Our only contact with him had been a simple get-well card he’d sent a few days after Gabby was injured.”


In Defense of Campaigns

Ronald Klain takes issue with “data wonks” and their forecasting models and argues that election outcomes are not just the product of underlying fundamentals.

“First, the models’ seemingly objective factors are loaded with ambiguity and interpretation that inject political handicapping… Second, the models cheat by capturing the performance of the campaigns and the candidates via backdoor measures… Third, and perhaps most important, the U.S. doesn’t hold presidential elections often enough in a given time frame to provide sufficient data to model the drivers of an election result.”

Factors “such as the state of the economy and the ideology of the Republican candidate will certainly affect the president’s chances of re-election. But in the end, how the campaign unfolds — the messages the candidates offer, the campaigns they run, their performance on the stump, their get-out-the-vote efforts and their debate appearances — will make the difference. Candidates and their campaigns will dictate the outcome, not calculators.”


Gingrich Scrutinized

Newt Gingrich said during a GOP presidential debate last week that he earned $300,000 to advise Freddie Mac as a “historian” and warned that the mortgage company’s business model was “insane.”

However, former Freddie Mac officials tell Bloomberg that Gingrich “was asked to build bridge to Capitol Hill Republicans.” They say he never advised management that the company’s business model was at risk and that the housing market was a “bubble,” as he claimed during the debate.

Mark Halperin: “If the press decides to pursue the angles, there could be six Newt enterprise/investigative pieces a day. If the Romney campaign decides it wants to take Gingrich down, there could be eight.”


Congress Says Pizza is a Vegetable

House Republicans released a final version of a spending bill “would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year, which included limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line and delaying limits on sodium and delaying a requirement to boost whole grains,” the AP reports.

“The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to prevent that.”


Bonus Quote of the Day

“One of the Republican weaknesses is that we rely too much on consultants and too much on talking points, and we don’t rely enough on actually knowing things.”

–Newt Gingrich, in an interview with David Brody.


Bachmann Doubles Down on Vaccine Comments

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) reiterated her previous contention that the HPV vaccine can lead to “mental retardation,” telling a voter in Iowa on Monday that her child shouldn’t “have to live with the ravages of this vaccine,” according to Ben Smith.


Warren Draws the Crowds

The Hotline notes that Elizabeth Warren, the likely Democratic nominee for the Senate race in Massachusetts, is “the biggest rock star candidate in the 2012 Senate races” and “riding a wave of enthusiasm inside the state — one we haven’t seen with other top Senate recruits so far this cycle.”

The proof: “While she raised 70 percent of her third quarter haul from outside of Massachusetts, the, her total haul was $3.14 million, meaning that nearly $1 million was raised from donors in the state. That’s no small sum… The Democrat drew a crowd of about 1,000 people at a campaign rally in Roxbury on Sunday, NECNreports. And, as the Boston Globe notes, it’s not her first campaign event to draw a large number of people. Warren has also held volunteer events that have consistently drawn hundreds of people… Those are numbers even the presidential candidates wouldn’t turn up their noses at.”


Gingrich’s Signature Look

New York magazine compiles a slideshow of Newt Gingrich looking at people condescendingly.


Bachmann Accuses Bush of Socialism

In her soon-to-be published book, Core of Conviction, Rep. Michele Bachmann accuses former President George W. Bush of “socialism” for his 2007 decision to bail out financial institutions that were near collapse, ABC News reports.

Writes Bachmann: “The Bush administration, which had always professed faith in the free-market system, was now reversing its course.”

She says Bush and then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson were embracing a kind of “bailout socialism.”


Invoking the Mercy Rule

After Herman Cain’s bumbling answer on Libya yesterday, Daniel Drezner has had enough:

“There’s a mercy rule in Little League, and I’m applying it here — unless and until Herman Cain surges back in the polls again, or manages to muster something approaching cogency in his foreign policy statements, there’s no point in blogging about him anymore. I can only pick on an ignoramus so many times before it feels sadistic.”


Anything Could Happen in GOP Race

With Newt Gingrich the latest Republican presidential candidate to become a frontrunner,First Read notes this “leaves just Ron Paul and Rick Santorum as the only GOP presidential candidates who haven’t enjoyed being the GOP flavor of the month.”

“Good news for them: We have still have two months to go. Of course, all of this volatility underscores the extent to which GOP voters are undecided, the extent to which Mitt Romney hasn’t closed the deal with them (at least not yet), the extent to which the debates have come to matter in the modern TV era, and the extent to which things can still change before the contests begin in January. And Newt’s current rise underscores how much can change — and how much people can forget — in just a few months.”

Stu Rothenberg: “OK, I give up. I don’t know what the heck is going to happen in the Republican race.”


Romney Downplays Iowa

Mitt Romney “veered into some talk about the political chessboard” at a Florida fundraiser, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

“Romney said after airing ads in Iowa for nearly an entire year during the 2008 campaign, he has not run any spots to date. Romney told the crowd his campaign calculus was that he could spend nothing and come in fourth or spend a bit and finish second or third. He guessed that Republicans could split the first three events, which would make Florida particularly important.”

“Romney predicted a Tea Party favorite would win Iowa and that he would take New Hampshire, according to interviews with six people in the audience. Romney told the crowd he would seal the nomination by then winning Florida’s Republican contest.”


Four-Way Dead Heat in Iowa

A new Bloomberg News poll in Iowa shows Herman Cain at 20%, Ron Paul at 19%, Mitt Romney at 18% and Newt Gingrich at 17% among the likely attendees with the caucuses that start the Republican presidential nominating contests seven weeks away.

Key finding: 60% of respondents say they still could be persuaded to back someone other than their top choice and 10% are still undecided.

Said pollster Ann Selzer: “In Iowa, it’s long been a two-person race between Romney and someone else. It is now a four- person race between Romney and three someone elses.”


Quote of the Day

“If you’re not tough enough to withstand this kind of scrutiny, you’re sure not tough enough to be President of the United States.”

— Newt Gingrich, in a Fox News interview, saying his support “clicked” because Republicans “want someone who can debate Obama.”

See more…


Police Take Back Zuccotti Park

“Hundreds of New York City police officers cleared Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters early Tuesday, arresting dozens of people there after warning them that the nearly two-month-old camp would be ‘cleared and restored’ before the morning and that any demonstrator who did not leave would be arrested,” the New York Times reports.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s statement: “No right is absolute and with every right comes responsibilities. The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out – but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others – nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law. There is no ambiguity in the law here – the First Amendment protects speech – it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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