Buffett Calls Republicans’ Bluff

Warren Buffett tells Time he is ready to call Republicans’ tax bluff. Last fall, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that if Buffett was feeling “guilty” about paying too little in taxes, he should “send in a check.”

So, he is willing to take them up on it and has pledged to match one for one all such voluntary contributions made by Republican members of Congress.

Said Buffett: “And, I’ll even go three for one for McConnell.”


Income Inequality Should be Talked About in “Quiet Rooms”

Mitt Romney was asked by Matt Lauer whether questioning Wall Street practices and the “distribution of wealth and power” in America today is a legitimate issue. He suggested it was nothing more than class warfare and envy.

Dan Amira: “To sum up, for the video impaired: Romney thinks gripes about income inequality reflect nothing but envy, and that such topics should only be discussed in ‘quiet rooms.’ What Romney is saying is, maybe we can debate income inequality and the abuses of Wall Street, if you insist on it, but it’s nothing to get upset about.”

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King of Bain

The much-anticipated 30 minute film attacking Mitt Romney as a “corporate raider” and sponsored by a Gingrich-aligned Super PAC is now online.


Romney Pulls Away from the Pack

The latest Gallup daily tracking poll shows Mitt Romney pulling away from the Republican field nationally.

Romney now leads with 31%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 16%, Rick Santorum at 15%, Ron Paul at 13%, Rick Perry at 6% and Jon Huntsman at 2%.


Warren Blows Past Brown in Fundraising

Elizabeth Warren (D) raised $5.7 million in the last three months of 2011, the Boston Globereports, “an extraordinary amount for a first time candidate and an unmistakable reflection of what many observers say is her potent appeal to party leaders and activists eager to recapture Edward M. Kennedy’s seat.”

In contrast, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) raised just $3.2 million for that same time period.


Romney’s Greatest Hits

Newt Gingrich throws everything he’s got against Mitt Romney in a new web video.

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Unfunny Candidates

John Dickerson notes one “remarkable fact about the 2012 Republican presidential campaign,” it’s not funny.

“This makes for boring politics, but it also makes for bad politics. People want to like politicians they vote for and a smile helps with that. Laughter is also an effective tool for undermining your opponents and spreading your message with voters. You would be on firm ground if you said that times are too serious for a lot of jokes. You would also be on boring ground, and we would quickly move away from you and find someone more pleasant to talk to.”

The benefits of humor: “All of the Republican contenders insist they are optimists, but they don’t seem to realize that there is no better way to convey optimism than with a smile… There’s a social networking benefit to humor too. A joke well-told gives the audience something they can pass along later to their friends… Wit suggests an agile mind, which is useful for a president who needs to cut through complex subjects, rally people to a cause, or break the tension in negotiations. Given the polarization in Washington at the moment, perhaps wit is required more than ever.”

That said, BuzzFeed compiles the 6 funniest moments from New Hampshire primary night


The Meaning of Mitt

Vanity Fair excerpts The Real Romney by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, which is to published next week.

“If Romney is exceedingly comfortable around family and close friends, he’s much less so around those he doesn’t know well, drawing a boundary that’s difficult to traverse. It’s a strict social order — us and them — that has put co-workers, political aides, casual acquaintances, and others in his professional circles, even people who have worked with or known him for years, outside the bubble. As a result, he has numerous admirers but, by several accounts, not a long list of close pals… He has little patience for idle chatter or small talk, little interest in mingling at cocktail parties, at social functions, or even in the crowded hallway. He is not fed by, and does not crave, casual social interaction, often displaying little desire to know who people are and what makes them tick.”

He sounds almost exactly as President Obama has been described.


Republican Groundhog Day

Dave Weigel has a smart rundown of the striking similarities between this year’s slate of Republican presidential candidates and the one in 2008.

“I’m thinking of a Republican primary. It starts with a candidate (John McCain/Mitt Romney) who ran once before, came in second place, and won over the party’s elite class without winning over its base. Other candidates, understandably unwilling to accept this, line up: An under-funded social conservative (Mike Huckabee/Rick Santorum), an elder statesman who’s walked to the altar three times (Rudy Giuliani/Newt Gingrich), a libertarian who wants to bring back the gold standard (Ron Paul/Ron Paul). The conservative base is displeased. In the year before the primary, it pines for a perfect candidate. At the end of summer, on (September 5/August 13), it gets him: (Fred Thompson/Rick Perry). The dream candidate immediately rises to the top of national polls, but collapses after lazy, distaff debate performances… The Republican base looks at the wreckage and shudders. It can never allow this to happen ever again.”


Romney Shows Fundraising Strength

Mitt Romney announced that he raised $24 million in the last three months of 2012, theWashington Post reports.

“It’s a significant bump from Romney’s $14 million third quarter and another sign that he is close to locking up the Republican presidential nomination.”

Most striking: Romney has given no personal donations to his campaign, in contrast to four years ago when he pumped $40 million of his own money in the race.


How Will Romney Emerge from South Carolina?

First Read notes that South Carolina “promises to be the first time that Romney will come under sustained fire — particularly over the TV airwaves — in this GOP race. And it will come after Romney’s rocky 48 hours leading up to the New Hampshire primary, particularly over the subject of Bain Capital. So, 10 days from now, it will be interesting to see what Romney looks like after this barrage. Yet consider this about Romney: He went into Iowa as the weak front-runner; he came out of it as the front-runner; and after last night’s victory, he’s emerged as the strong front-runner. And if he wins South Carolina, he will become the de facto nominee. It’s as simple as that.”

Newt Gingrich is already up with his first ad attacking Romney.


GOP Turnout Underwhelming

First Read: “Here is something that might start to concern Republicans: For the second-straight contest, GOP turnout was pretty pedestrian, especially given the party’s supposed enthusiasm about defeating Obama in November. With 95% of precincts in, turnout in last night’s Republican primary in New Hampshire was slightly under 240,000, which is about the same as it was it was in 2000 and 2008. While turnout will increase once the other 5% comes in — setting a record just like it did in Iowa — it won’t be a WOW figure like we saw on the Democratic side in ’08.”


Did Bain Attacks Come Too Soon for Democrats?

Joe Klein warns that Democrats “shouldn’t get too cocky about the internecine bloodshed. They’ve been handed a gift. Romney’s love of pink slips will stand as a historic blunder, one of the stupidest statements I’ve ever heard a politician make. And yes, it’s mega-dumb even in context. Who actually likes firing people? Only a person who has not even the most rudimentary understanding of what it means to be fired. It’s as insensitive and lunkheaded as saying, ‘There’s an upside when old people die.’ Or, ‘Miscarriages tend to weed out the bad apples.'”

“But the fact that Bain has blown so big, so early may not be good news for Democrats… if Romney wins the nomination, this early fuss might have inoculated him against the Scrooge gambit. The public may feel Bain is same old, same old by October.”

However, Greg Sargent argues that the GOP attacks have now given bipartisan legitimacy to what was previously an exclusively Democratic argument, making it tougher for Romney to counter that its “anti-capitalist.”


First Lady Disputes Accounts in New Book

Michelle Obama told CBS News that depictions of friction in a new book, The Obamas, between her and former top aides to her husband, President Obama, aren’t true.

Said Mrs. Obama: “Who can write about how I feel? Who? What third person can tell me how I feel, or anybody for that matter.”

But she added that she hasn’t read the book.


Romney Caught Off Guard by Bain Attacks

Mitt Romney was “largely unprepared for an assault that came so early in the campaign and from within the ranks of their own party” on his work at Bain Capital, the New York Times reports.

“Even as Mr. Romney coasted to victory in New Hampshire, they worry that the critique could prove more potent as the race shifts to South Carolina, where shuttered mills dot the landscape, unemployment is higher and suspicion of financial elites is not limited to left-leaning voters.”


Barbour Rides Wave of Pardons Out of Office

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) “granted full and unconditional pardons to 193 criminals — an unusually high number for the state, and one that is likely to inflame controversy about Mr. Barbour’s pardon practices,” the New York Times reports.

Jackson Clarion-Ledger: “Barbour’s pardons of murderers, including four on Friday, already had incited a storm of criticism. His additional action further fueled public outrage.”


Romney Will Go After Gingrich

Mike Allen: “Look for Mitt Romney’s campaign to put a renewed focus on snuffing out Newt Gingrich, despite his poor showing in last night’s N.H. primary. Team Romney worries that the former Speaker has nothing left to lose and will amp up his kamikaze attacks on the likely nominee, including buys by the pro-Gingrich super PAC, which last week got a $5 million check from billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The new attacks will fall under the ‘unreliable leader’ rubic that Romney rolled out when Gingrich looked like a real threat in mid-December. Gingrich was never going to be competitive in N.H., but could still run strongly in the primaries in S.C. (Jan. 21) and Fla. (Jan. 31). So Romney, leery about potential fallout from Newt’s promised Bain Capital jihad as the campaign moves to S.C., plans to keep a boot on his throat.”


Romney May Be Too Strong to Stop

Mitt Romney has all the momentum in the Republican presidential race and leads in the polls in the next two states to vote, South Carolina and Florida.

Nate Silver: “I’m not quite ready to say that Mr. Romney has the nomination locked up, but when you evaluate the known unknowns, they don’t seem that threatening to him. We may be nearing the point where an unknown unknown — a heretofore unexposed scandal, a major gaffe, an ‘oops’ moment in a debate — is what it would take to trip Mr. Romney up.”

Amy Walter: “South Carolina voters like to be on the side of a winner, and at this point, Romney is the guy who looks like the winner. History is also on Romney’s side. Since 1980, no candidate who has lost Iowa and New Hampshire has gone on to win South Carolina.”


Florida Senate Race Razor Tight

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida shows Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) locked in a very tight race with likely challenger Connie Mack (R), 41% to 40%.

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

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