Gingrich Holds Solid Lead in Iowa

The latest Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds Newt Gingrich leading the Republican presidential field with 27%, followed by Ron Paul at 18%, Mitt Romney at 16%, Michele Bachmann at 13%, Rick Perry at 9%, Rick Santorum at 6% and Jon Huntsman at 4%.

Key finding: Gingrich has gained 19% since early October while Paul is up 8% and Bachmann is up 5%. Romney has dropped 6% since then with the other candidates mostly standing in place.

These results mirror the results of the Des Moines Register and NBC News-Marist polls released over the weekend.

New Iowa polls from ABC News-Washington Post and CBS News-New York Times are scheduled to be releases in the morning.


Romney Spent $100K to Hide Records

Mitt Romney “spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret,” Reuters reports.

“The move during the final weeks of Romney’s administration was legal but unusual for a departing governor… The effort to purge the records was made a few months before Romney launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.”


Quayle Will Back Romney

Former Vice President Dan Quayle will endorse Mitt Romney for president in an Arizona event on Tuesday.

Mark Halperin: “The Establishment is going to increasingly close ranks around Romney. They did the same for Bob Dole in 1996. Then Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary. Then the Establishment closed ranks more, and Dole fought Pat off. But/and: this is a different time.”

Alexander Burns: “Quayle is, obviously, not one of the most admired people in American politics, and if this is the major endorsement Romney’s campaign teased this week, it falls a bit short of the billing.”


It’s Down to Two Candidates

A new Gallup poll finds that Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are the only two candidates that a majority of Republican voters think would be acceptable nominees to run for president.

Gingrich holds a small edge over Romney in acceptability, 61% to 54%.

Josh Kraushaar: “The goal of Team Romney in the coming weeks: Spend big bucks to raise Gingrich’s negatives, and hope he’ll fade like the other candidates who enjoyed their time in the spotlight.  It’s becoming clear that Romney isn’t able to win the Republican nomination, but can prevail if all his rivals self-destruct and he’s left as the last candidate standing.”


Mexican Candidate Draws a Blank

Enrique Pena Nieto holds a comfortable lead in the polls for Mexico’s July 1 presidential election but the Washington Post notes he “floundered in confusion for about four minutes when the audience at a book fair asked him to name three books that had influenced him. He was able to correctly name only one he has read parts of: the Bible.”

After several minutes, he said, “The truth is that when I read books, the titles don’t really sink in.”

“The floundering by Pena Nieto, a strikingly handsome man married to a television actress, fed into the images critics have tried to spin around him: telegenic but hollow.”


Assessing the GOP Field

Paul Begala: “Let’s face it: this is a weak field. A seemingly endless string of polls and debates have produced a series of frontrunners who, as LBJ said of the Republicans of his day, couldn’t pour pee out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel.”


Pelosi Threatens to Release Dirt on Gingrich

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told TPM that she’s got dirt on Newt Gingrich from her time on the House ethics panel investigating him.

Said Pelosi: “One of these days we’ll have a conversation about Newt Gingrich. I know a lot about him. I served on the investigative committee that investigated him, four of us locked in a room in an undisclosed location for a year. A thousand pages of his stuff.”

She added that she would provide more detail, “When the time’s right.”

Gingrich responded to Politico: “I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard as an early Christmas gift. That is a fundamental violation of the rules of the House.”


Flashback of the Day

In August 2004, Mitt Romney spoke to the Iowa delegation to the Republican National Convention about the tendency in politics for people to look at your past, find where you’ve changed positions and then label you a “flip-flopper.”

Romney notes that in Sen. John Kerry’s case, “this guy really is!”

See more…


Trump Yells at Todd

Donald Trump getting testy at Chuck Todd in an interview this morning is just classic.

See more…


The Problem with Historical Comparisons

Jon Meacham: “It is a perennial lament, one we are hearing anew as the Republican nomination race closes in on the actual casting of votes, and every candidate appears small if not fatally flawed. The past always seems somehow more golden, more serious, than the present. We tend to forget the partisanship of yesteryear, preferring to re-imagine our history as a sure and steady march toward greatness.”

“The problem with such narratives is that they are in fact ahistorical. Franklin Roosevelt was hated by a large number of Americans in real time; some people actually celebrated when word came of his death in April 1945. From Jefferson to Jackson to Lincoln to FDR to Reagan, every great president inspires enormous affection and enormous hostility. We’ll all be much saner, I think, if we remember that history is full of surprises (both good and bad) and things that seemed absolutely certain one day are often unimaginable the next.”


Why Suspend and Not End a Campaign?

Washington Post: “Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s announcement that he is suspending, rather than terminating, his campaign appears to give him greater flexibility in the months ahead to transfer leftover funds to a candidate or political committee of his choice.”

“That financial flexibility — as well as the potential to benefit by picking up Cain’s supporters — was not lost on the other GOP presidential hopefuls, who Sunday morning continued to heap praise on the embattled former Godfather’s Pizza executive.”


Bonus Quote of the Day

“There’s another name for ‘an unconventional campaign’ and that’s ‘a losing campaign.’ There are reasons we call things ‘conventional’ — because they work.”

— Former Rep. Vin Weber (R-MN), quoted by the New York Times, in reference to Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign.


Career Politician

The DNC is out with yet another effective video hitting Mitt Romney.

Time time, they take issue with his claim, “I didn’t spend my life in politics.”

See more…


Don’t Forget the Outside Groups

First Read: “Here’s a question we have: Who is going to do the dirty work for Romney to soften up Gingrich? Will it be that pro-Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future, which has LOTS of money, and hasn’t spent it yet? Another outside group? Remember, it was an outside group — fronted by Robert Gibbs, of all people — that started running TV ads hitting Howard Dean in late 2003/early 2004 to stop Dean and eventually move the nomination back to the ‘establishment.'”


Rubio Has a Book Deal

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) signed a book deal with Penguin “to publish the nationally watched biography of the nationally watched Florida Senator– the target of liberals and acolytes of the Democratic White House who don’t want to see the Republican garner any more positive press or become a national candidate one day,” the Miami Herald reports.

The book is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2012.


Momentum More Important than Organization?

Matthew Dowd: “What is needed in the Iowa Republican Caucus is energized voters and momentum going into that day. If you have those things, an organization is not a real necessity. For example, by nearly every account, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had the best organization around going into the Ames Straw vote, but he didn’t have momentum or energy. So he finished third, and dropped out of the race the next day… So in the next 30 days, don’t watch the organization. Watch for the outward signs of momentum, energy and passion for a candidate. Whichever candidate has got that spirit over the Christmas holidays is the bright star real political magi need to follow to figure out the winner in little towns throughout Iowa.”


Trump Says Paul is a Joke

In an interview on Fox News, Donald Trump reacted harshly to Ron Paul’s snub of an upcoming Trump-moderated presidential debate.

Said Trump: “Ron Paul’s not going to win. He’s got no chance. You have a better chance right now of winning, and you’re not running, and so he’s not going to win. He’s a joke candidate.”


Quote of the Day

“We’ve had the flavors of the month up and down so far in this campaign. I like to think of myself as the flavor of the decade.”

— Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), in an interview on CNN.


Gingrich Surges to Double-Digit Lead

A new Poll Position survey shows Newt Gingrich leading the GOP presidential field nationally with 37%, followed by Mitt Romney at 23%, Ron Paul at 7%, Michele Bachmann at 6%, Rick Perry at 3%, Jon Huntsman at 2% and Rick Santorum at 2%.

It’s the first national poll conducted since Herman Cain left the race.


Trump Won’t Rule Out Independent Bid

The Wall Street Journal reports that as much as Donald Trump “relishes his role as Republican kingmaker, he won’t close the door on his own independent presidential bid once the next season of his reality TV show, The Celebrity Apprentice, wraps up on NBC next spring — a prospect that could spell doom for the eventual GOP nominee.”

Said Trump: “I absolutely have another bite. If the economy continues to be bad and if the Republicans choose the wrong person, I would do it.”

Meanwhile, USA Today notes Newt Gingrich will visit with Trump in New York City today.

Expect to hear a lot from Trump this week; he’s got a new book out.


Gingrich On Air in Iowa

Newt Gingrich is set to run his first ad in Iowa, a 60-second upbeat spot talking direct to the camera.

The Des Moines Register notes it’s just the beginning of a series of ads for Gingrich.

See more…

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

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