Perry Endorsement All About Perceptions

Nate Silver doesn’t think Rick Perry’s endorsement of Newt Gingrich in the Republican presidential primary will give Gingrich a direct boost, but that’s not to say it doesn’t help advance the emerging “Newt-mentum” narrative.

“Among these voters, second-place support was about evenly divided among three candidates: Mr. Gingrich was listed by 22 percent of Mr. Perry’s supporters as their second choice, but Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney were each listed as the second choice by 20 percent of Mr. Perry’s voters… And some of the ground that Mr. Gingrich has gained there since Monday night’s debate has come at Mr. Perry’s expense, so the voters who were most amenable to switching to Mr. Gingrich may already have done so… Instead, the main way this may aid Mr. Gingrich is by generating a strong headline for his campaign and entrenching the sense among the news media that he has the momentum in the race. That could be helpful to Mr. Gingrich given the complex story lines of the past few days.”


Iowa Victory Too Late for Santorum

Jonathan Chait: “Romney’s run of luck during the Republican nominating race is beginning to defy belief. Begin with the fact that Rick Santorum turns out to have won the Iowa caucuses. Finding this out now is approximately 0.001 percent as valuable as having it announced the night of the caucuses. There was an old Fed Ex commercial depicting an aging pool cleaner suddenly discovering a 20-year-old acceptance letter from Harvard he had never received, and imagining the life he could have had. That man is Santorum. He has to wonder if the Iowa vote counters were gay.”


Polling Snapshot Shows Gingrich Leading in South Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in South Carolina — based on just one night of phone calls — shows Newt Gingrich leading Mitt Romney, 34% to 28%, followed by Ron Paul at 15%, Rick Santorum at 14%, Rick Perry at 5% and Buddy Roemer at 3%.

Key finding: “This is not a case of Romney imploding.  His support has been pretty steady in the 28-30% range in our South Carolina polling so far. But Gingrich has risen from 23% to 34% over the last two weeks, benefiting from declining support for Santorum and also from undecided voters moving into his camp.”

It’s the first of what will be three nights of tracking. PPP released the poll given Perry’s drop out from the race. It will be interesting to see how tonight’s debate and the interview with Gingrich’s ex-wife impact the results.


Romney’s Offshore Investments Did Avoid Taxes

Mitt Romney’s campaign has attacked reports “on the candidate’s offshore investments, saying his holdings in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere have no effect on the amount he pays in U.S. taxes,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“But the campaign’s assertions may be wrong or misleading. Tax experts said some of the offshore holdings are likely intended to help Mr. Romney avoid paying an obscure but hefty tax of as much as 35% on some of those investments, held in a tax-deferred retirement account.”


Ex-Wife Claims Gingrich Wanted “Open Marriage”

Marianne Gingrich told ABC News that when her husband Newt “admitted to a six-year affair with a congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista.”

Said Marianne: “And I just stared at him and he said, ‘Callista doesn’t care what I do.’ He wanted an open marriage and I refused.”

The former Mrs. Gingrich says Newt began to plan a run for President at the time of the divorce and told her that Callista “was going to help him become President.”


Two Polls Show Gingrich Leading in South Carolina

Two new polls in South Carolina — both conducted after Monday’s presidential debate — show a very tight Republican primary race.

American Research Group: Newt Gingrich 33%, Mitt Romney 32%, Ron Paul 19%, Rick Santorum 9%, Rick Perry 4%.

InsiderAdvantage: Newt Gingrich 32%, Mitt Romney 29%, Ron Paul 15%, Rick Santorum 11%, Rick Perry 3%.

Caveat: Harry Enten makes a persuasive case that InsiderAdvantage has a pro-Gingrich bias to its results.


Quote of the Day

“Overall, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to argue that we have not executed a strategy over the last three years that has put America in a stronger position than it was than when I came into office.”

— President Obama, in an interview with Time magazine, on Mitt Romney’s criticism of his foreign policy.


Biden Confuses Giants

Vice President Joe Biden had his “oops” moment yesterday in San Francisco when he told a crowd that “the Giants are on their way to the Super Bowl,” the San Francisco Chroniclereports.

That didn’t please a crowd filled with San Francisco 49ers fans looking forward to a playoff game this weekend against the New York Giants.

“Biden quickly recognized the gaffe and and explained he was accustomed to thinking in terms of the San Francisco Giants and their baseball wins. His next reference was to the ’49ers on their way’ to the Big Game.”


Colbert Super PAC Attacks Colbert

More proof the Super PAC formerly run by Stephen Colbert is independent of the comedian’s presidential exploratory bid: It released an ad attacking Colbert himself.

See more…


Axelrod Makes Post-Election Plans

Obama strategist David Axelrod “is already making plans for after the 2012 election, and they do not involve another candidate or another trip to Iowa,” the New York Times reports.

Instead, Axelrod will lead “a new, nonpartisan Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago aimed at helping students seeking careers in public and social service.”

Said Axelrod: “This is my last campaign.”


Iowa Result Unresolved

The Des Moines Register reports Rick Santorum ended up with a 34 vote lead over Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses but “there are too many holes” in the certified totals to know for certain who won.

“Results from eight precincts are missing — any of which could hold an advantage for Mitt Romney — and will never be recovered and certified.”


GOP Still Favored to Retain Control of House

Kyle Kondik updates the House forecast at Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Democrats need to win 25 additional House seats to retake the speaker’s gavel next year. In order for them to do that, President Obama will need to win next year, and that probably won’t be enough. What Democrats really need is a poisonous, damaged Republican nominee who not only loses to Obama but causes harm down the ticket.”

“At this point, we believe that 341 of the 435 House seats are safe for the Republicans (189) or the Democrats (152), which leaves the other 94 as potentially competitive. Ultimately, if Republicans win all the seats we currently favor them to win, and Democrats win all the seats they are favored to win plus all 15 toss ups, Republicans would still hold a 233-202 edge in the House.”



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