POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/5

How Obama Will Run Against Romney

Kevin Drum: “My guess: the flip-flopper charge probably won’t get much traction. It’s mostly a problem for conservatives, who don’t fully trust that Romney is one of them, but by the time summer rolls around they’re going to be his most fire-breathing supporters. They’ll have long since decided to forgive and forget, and independents won’t care that much in the first place as long as Romney seems halfway reasonable in his current incarnation. It’s possible that Obama can do both — Romney is a flip-flopper and a right-wing nutcase! — but if he has to choose, my guess is that he should forget about the flip-flopping and simply do everything he can to force Romney into the wingnut conservative camp. That’ll be his big weakness when Labor Day rolls around.”

 

Anyone But Romney

A group of movement conservatives has called an emergency meeting in Texas next weekend to find a “consensus” Republican presidential hopeful, Politico reports.

The group is “concerned that a vote split between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum among base voters could enable Mitt Romney to grab the GOP nomination. A source who shared the invitation said the meeting was about how to avoid such a possibility.”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I was out on the trail when it kind of came to me.”

— Rick Perry, quoted by the Austin American Statesman, on how he decided to stay in the GOP presidential race while on a morning jog.

(WHAT? — NO VOICE FROM THE CLOUDS?)

 

Obama to Make More Recess Appointments

In addition to naming Richard Cordray to head the new consumer bureau, President Obama will also use recess appointments to install his picks to the National Labor Relations Board, reports Greg Sargent.

“Obama’s move, which will help energize unions in advance of the 2012 election, is yet another sign that he is determined to circumvent GOP opposition and make government functional again by any means necessary. It’s another sign that the White House and Dems have abanoned the illusion that anything can be done to secure bipartisan compromise with Republicans on the major items on Obama’s agenda.”

Adam Serwer: “According to reports from the Congressional Research Service, during their time in office President Ronald Reagan made 240 recess appointments, President George H. W. Bush made 77 recess appointments, President Bill Clinton made 140 recess appointments, and George W. Bush made 171. Obama’s first term has seen a paltry 28. In this context, Obama’s move seems less like a power grab and more like the proverbial 98-pound weakling taking a second to wipe the sand out of his eyes.”

 

What the Candidates Spent Per Vote

Derek Thompson breaks down BuzzFeed’s data on political spending in Iowa to determine how much each candidate and their supporters paid per vote in the Iowa caucuses.

The breakdown: Rick Perry spent far more than any other candidate with $478.40 per vote, followed by Mitt Romney at $154.90, Ron Paul at $103.30, Newt Gingrich at $89.84, Rick Santorum at just $20.50, and Michele Bachmann at $3.95.

 

Gregoire to Propose Legalization of Gay Marriage

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) said she’ll put forward legislation to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples, the Seattle Times reports.

“The proposal will be introduced during the legislative session that starts Monday. If it’s approved, Washington would become the seventh state to legalize gay marriage.”

Gay marriage is currently legal in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and the District of Columbia.

 

Quote of the Day

“Taking two positions on every issue, one on the left and one of the right, doesn’t make you a centrist. It makes you a charlatan.”

— David Axelrod, in a conference call with reporters, on Mitt Romney.

 

Late Night Cable News Anchors Struggled

If you watched the media coverage of the Iowa caucuses as it continued into the early morning hours, you most likely witnessed some of the most polished news anchors in the business struggling to keep it together as they waited for the final results.

See more…

 

Perry Says He’s Still Running

Contrary to suggestions last night, Rick Perry tweets he’s not dropping out of the presidential race after all:

“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State…Here we come South Carolina!!!”

 

Gingrich Floats Idea of Anti-Romney Alliance

In an interview with Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich raised the possibility of creating an anti-Mitt Romney alliance with Rick Santorum.

Ingraham: Can you see a scenario under which the two of you would align together to try to defeat the establishment candidate, Mitt Romney?

Gingrich: Absolutely. Of course. I mean Rick and I have a 20-year friendship, we are both rebels, we both came into this business as reformers, we both dislike deeply the degree to which the establishment sells out the American people. We both think Washington has to be changed in very fundamental ways, and we have lots of things that fit together. And the thing that’s interesting is if you take the votes, you add to that Perry and Bachmann, you begin to see the size of the conservative vote compared to Romney…if you take, you know, Santorum and Perry and Bachmann and Gingrich you get some sense of what a small minority Romney really represents.

 

Iowa Shows Romney’s Weakness

Paul Begala: “I would have never guessed Rick Santorum would be so happy about two men being tied up together. The former senator tangled with Romney atop the Iowa caucuses by following the Frank Finkel strategy. Finkel was the only man in George Custer’s C Company to survive the Battle of Little Bighorn. He survived not because he was especially crafty or brave. It was just that his horse couldn’t get him to the battle on time. Following the Finkel strategy, Santorum avoided the media crossfire, arriving at the battle too late to be killed. But fear not, dear reader, there are many battles to come.”

“So while the winner of Iowa in terms of expectations is Santorum, the story is the man he basically tied: Mitt Romney. Not to put too fine a point on it, but when you can’t beat the Man-on-Dog guy, who lost his home state by 18 percent, you stink. You really stink.”

 

Santorum’s Challenge

Politico: “He doesn’t have the money or infrastructure to keep up with Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, and he hasn’t been in South Carolina since Nov. 12… he’s going to have to dramatically expand his campaign apparatus virtually overnight… Many Santorum supporters and staffers worked for or backed Mike Huckabee in 2008. They vividly remember the former Arkansas governor’s upset victory in the caucuses and his distant third-place finish in New Hampshire one week later. He ultimately proved unable to translate Iowa momentum into the nomination.”

First Read: “What to watch: Do movement conservatives who have so far stayed on the sidelines (the Palins, the Cains, the DeMints, Tea Party groups, etc.) begin rallying to his side? This is the last conservative train leaving the station. Does Romney upset these folks enough that they want to potentially upset the eventual Republican nominee? That’s the calculation that may be taking place among these folks.”

 

On to New Hampshire

First Read: “The upcoming New Hampshire contest is going to be FASCINATING, as well as potential trouble for Romney. It’s do-or-die time for Jon Huntsman. Gingrich last night warned that he will make New Hampshire his Alamo… So you could have Huntsman hitting Romney from the middle and Gingrich hitting him from the right. That creates an opportunity for Santorum, who has the potential to stay above that fray and pull off another surprising finish. Second place in New Hampshire is worth something if it’s 25% or more.”

 

Winning Ugly

Nate Silver: “What Mr. Romney did not do, in either a literal or a figurative sense, was wrap up the nomination. A resounding victory in Iowa might have come closer to accomplishing that, but not one with these aesthetics. Here comes the ugly stat sheet: an eight-vote margin of victory, a vote share lower than Mr. Romney attained in 2008, a failure to beat Mr. Santorum among registered Republicans and the lowest-ever winning percentage in the Iowa caucus… There is certainly the chance that he wins the nomination without really capturing Republican voters’ hearts and minds, and that might have an impact on Republican turnout at the margin in November. But few candidates capture the party nomination, or the presidency, without ‘winning ugly’ at some stage.”

 

Paul’s Secret Victory in Iowa

Business Insider notes that although Ron Paul finished third in the Iowa caucuses, he may end up being a winner anyway.

“That’s because Paul’s massive organizational push in Iowa focused on both winning votes, and also on making sure that Paul supporters stuck around after the vote to make sure they were selected as county delegates — the first step towards being elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.”

Iowa’s Republican caucuses are non-binding, so once delegates are selected they are free to vote for whichever presidential candidate they choose.

 

Iowa Results Change Little in New Hampshire

CNN poll finds the Iowa caucus results appear to have changed few minds in New Hampshire, at least among likely GOP primary voters who watched the caucus results tonight.

The survey shows Mitt Romney at 47%, Ron Paul at 17% and Jon Huntsman at 13%, all virtually unchanged since early December. However, Rick Santorum gained a small amount of support among Iowa caucus-watchers, moving from 5% to 10% among that group.

It will be interesting to see what the Suffolk daily tracking poll picks up over the next few days.

 

What Happened to Republican Enthusiasm?

John Avlon: “The most ominous sign for the GOP might be the low turnout in Iowa after the Tea Party-driven enthusiasms of 2010. Roughly 123,000 of 640,000 registered Republicans in the state turned out to vote, along the lines of 2008, when dueling Democrats absorbed most of the electoral energy.”

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