“Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum got 12%. Santorum has run a traditional, all-in Iowa campaign, practically moving to the state and visiting each of its counties. Romney has been there four times this year.”
The New York Times runs an interesting profile of Chelsea Clinton and how she has stopped “pretending she was not Chelsea Clinton.”
“It was quite an assertion from someone who — despite the very public profile of her parents, one a former president and the other the current secretary of state — had lived most of her 31 years at a far remove from the spotlight.”
“Don’t ever get involved in politics if you require winning an election to pay your mortgage or if your kids are young — you don’t want money to shape your views, and you don’t want your kids’ heads turned by the attention politicians sometimes receive.”
— Mitt Romney, in an interview with Parade, on advice given to him by his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney.
A new NBC News/Marist Poll in Iowa finds Newt Gingrich jumping into the lead of the Republican presidential pack with 26%, followed by Mitt Romney at 18%, Ron Paul at 17%, Herman Cain at 9%, Rick Perry at 9%, Michele Bachmann at 5%, Rick Santorum at 5% and Jon Huntsman at 2%.
With Herman Cain not in the race, it’s Gingrich at 28% followed by Paul and Romney with 19%.
Said pollster Lee Miringoff: “As the roller coaster picks up speed in the month leading up to the Iowa caucus, Newt Gingrich has moved into the lead car. Hold on tight for any further twists and turns.”
A new NBC News-Marist Poll in New Hampshire finds Mitt Romney with a large lead in the GOP presidential race with 39%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 23%, Ron Paul at 16% and Jon Huntsman at 9%. No other candidate received more than 3% support.
Notes pollster Lee Miringoff: “Romney is down, Cain has collapsed, and the undecided have dropped since October. In the meantime, Gingrich has emerged as a serious threat to Romney’s must-win, first-in-the-nation primary.”
“I’ve been watching some of these Republican debates and they’re just terrible. Terrible. It’s embarrassing for me as a Republican to watch this stuff.”
— Former Sen. John Danforth (R-MO), in an interview with KTRS.
George Will: “Obama is running as Harry Truman did in 1948, against Congress, but Republicans need not supply the real key to Truman’s success — Tom Dewey. Confident that Truman was unelectable, Republicans nominated New York’s chilly governor, whose virtues of experience and steadiness were vitiated by one fact: Voters disliked him. Before settling for Romney, conservatives should reconsider two candidates who stumbled early on.”
His alternatives: Rick Perry, whose “political assets remain his Texas record and Southwestern zest for disliking Washington and Wall Street simultaneously and equally,” and Jon Huntsman, who “inexplicably chose to debut as the Republican for people who rather dislike Republicans, but his program is the most conservative.”
With Newt Gingrich fortifying his position in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, theWashington Post reports Mitt Romney’s campaign “has been announcing volunteer networks in such places as Delaware, Indiana and Montana, where contests occur months after the trio of early states.
“The Romney campaign believes organization will be particularly critical because of changes in the nominating process. In the past, the winner of a state — or, in some cases, the top vote-getter in each congressional district — won all the delegates. But in 2012, most of the 30 states that hold contests before April 1 will award delegates proportionally. The ones that will come after will still be winner-takes-all.”
“That means a candidate could lose a number of states but still remain competitive in the race to gain the majority of the 2,427 delegates at stake.”
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) tells the New York Times that it’s not clear Mitt Romney will be the Republican presidential nominee.
Said Barbour: “I don’t think it’s clear. I think people make the mistake of writing off Rick Perry and believe he can’t come back. He’s got a mountain to get over, but I don’t think it’s impossible. Both Newt and Romney have a lot of support, but I don’t think it’s a two-man race. I think Perry could get back in it with Gingrich and Romney. I can’t look you in the eye and say nobody else can come up. You’ve got to learn your lesson this year not to say that about anybody.”
He added: “I haven’t decided who is the best nominee for the party. I can see how either one of them could be the best nominee. But I think it is premature to write off Perry. He is a very successful governor. This is very unpredictable. I’ve never seen a nomination on our side like this.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman (R), who is leading a group to draft a third-party presidential candidate, is encouraging Jon Huntsman to make an independent bid for the White House, Politico reports.
Said Whitman: “I would hope he would do it, frankly. He’s someone that I would support.”
In an interview earlier this week, Huntsman would not rule out an independent bid.
Donald Trump is teaming up with Newsmax to moderate a presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa on December 27, the New York Times reports.
The debate will be broadcast on the cable network Ion Television and “is sure to be one of the more memorable moments in a primary season that has already delivered its fair share of circus-like spectacle.”
Dan Amira: “This actually seems like a pickle for the serious candidates in the GOP field. Do you attend and risk tainting your gravitas among moderates by answering insane questions from a birther reality TV star? Or do you beg off but risk alienating the GOP base, which reads Newsmax and for some reason doesn’t realize how much of a joke Trump has become?”
Though several recent polls have shown a close race in Florida for U.S. Senate, the latestPublic Policy Polling survey shows Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) leading likely challenger Connie Mack (R) by double-digits, 46% to 35%.
Key findings: “Nelson has two big things going for him in a match against Mack. One is that he wins 14% of the Republican vote, an unusual amount of crossover support for a Democrat. The other is that he has a 42/33 advantage with independent voters. 22% of Republicans are undecided compared to only 13% of Democrats so this race will likely tighten up once the GOP unites around a candidate, but for now Nelson has a healthy lead.”
A must-read piece in Roll Call:
“Fifteen years after coming to Congress, Gingrich was earning more than 60 times the income he reported in the year before his swearing-in. After he left the House, Gingrich leveraged his status as a former Speaker and leading Republican thinker to rise to the ranks of the truly wealthy.”
Dan Amira: “By now, we’ve all become familiar with Newt Gingrich’s habit of using a few choice adverbs to make the things he says sound just a bit more intelligent to his listeners. Profoundly. Deeply. Frankly. But none of them are as vital to the Gingrich lexicon as fundamentally (along with its cousin, the adjective fundamental). While this appears to be Gingrich’s favorite word in the English language, you could also argue that he uses the word so often, and so reflexively, that it’s become virtually meaningless to him. In a single 2008 address to the American Enterprise Institute, he used the words fundamentally or fundamental a total of eighteen times.”
The latest National Journal Political Insiders Poll finds that despite Newt Gingrich’s recent surge to the front of the GOP presidential race, 86% of Democratic insiders and 83% of Republican insiders still say Mitt Romney has the better shot at beating President Obama in 2012.