Bruce Ash, the Republican national committeeman for Arizona, tells NRO that representatives for Ron Paul filed the necessary paperwork to appear on that state’s primary ballot yesterday. The primary takes place on February 28.
The Perry campaign has often touted retail politics as Perry’s great strength, and now, with just weeks to go to the Iowa caucuses, is planning to one big, last retail effort. Perry will tour the state in a campaign bus for 14 days, stopping in 44 cities, reports the Des Moines Register.
Once again, without directly mentioning Newt Gingrich, the Romney campaign is pushing hard in this new TV ad the message that Mitt Romney has a long marriage:
Transcript of the ad, as provided by the campaign:
I think people understand that I’m a man of steadiness and constancy. I don’t think you’re going to find somebody who has more of those attributes than I do. I’ve been married to the same woman for 25 – excuse me, I’ll get in trouble – for 42 years. I’ve been in the same church my entire life. I worked at one company, Bain, for 25 years. And I left that to go off and help save the Olympic Games. If I’m President of the United States, I will be true to my family, to my faith, and to our country, and I will never apologize for the United States of America. “I’m Mitt Romney, and I approve this message.
Politico’s Mike Allen reports:
Some Obama aides are exultant about running against a candidate with so much baggage and bad history. They generally view Romney as a stronger, more dangerous opponent, even if the former House speaker is likely to shine in debates. The feeling — or hope — among the campaign’s upper echelon is that the Romney-Gingrich fight just might last until June, as long as Obama-Clinton in 2008, with deeply unpredictable results.
But there’s also a wary recognition that Gingrich may be catching a wave that is both powerful and unpredictable.
They worry that Gingrich would be an erratic opponent, and therefore harder to handle than the relatively predictable Romney. Running against him may prove more difficult than it looks at first blush.
“It would be a nastier, more intense campaign,” said the Democrat close to the White House. “Newt has a history of getting people to rise to his bait. The president would have to stay mellow, steady Eddie.”
The Obama campaign has been pretty consistent about viewing Romney as the likely opponent — to the extent that the Romney campaign has started harping on how “obsessed” Obama is with Romney. It’ll be an interesting shift if they start targeting Gingrich.
Last week, Politico reported that one of the Romney campaign’s strategies was to “highlight his stable family while leaving an unspoken impression about [Newt] Gingrich’s two divorces.”
Via The Hill’s Christian Heinze, Ann Romney was on Fox and Friends this morning, pushing that message, talking about how they had been married for 42 years.
Rick Perry is spending $1 million airtime for his TV ads for the three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, reports Politico. The campaign released another ad today, called ‘Strong’:
Text of the ad, as provided by the campaign:
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again. I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.
It will be interesting to see if the ad gets Perry any traction with evangelicals in Iowa. Perry’s been outspoken about his faith in the past — including his August day of prayer in Houston — but it hasn’t seemed to have translated into any especially high levels of support from evangelicals so far.
Dan Quayle explains his endorsement of Mitt Romney in an op-ed in the Arizona Republic:
[Romney] has proven over and over again that he is a leader. He has demonstrated he is capable of making tough decisions and turning things around. He is a man of integrity. He understands budgets and financial markets. He balanced budgets and met a bottom line. He is strong on national defense and has a deep love of the principles that make America great.
Mitt Romney has what it takes to be a great president of the United States, and that is why I enthusiastically endorse him for president.
Full piece here.
From the Washington Post:
Trump writes that Mitt Romney has been “spectacular” in the debates and that the former Massachusetts governor is “a much different guy” in private than he is in public, describing him as “warm and engaging.”
“He gets criticized for changing his opinions, or ‘flip flopping,’ but over a lifetime I’ve seen many people who don’t change and they always get left behind,” Trump writes. “Smart people learn things, so they change their minds. Only stupid people never change their minds.” …
Trump writes that he found Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be “much different from what you see in the debates.. . .so forceful and strong.” …
Trump describes Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) as “a real worker bee.” He notes that she visited his office “more than once” and that “no matter what happens with her run for the White House she’s got a great political future ahead of her.”
Donald Trump, of course, will be moderating a debate sponsored by Newsmax in Iowa December 27.
Results from NBC News/Marist poll of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers: Newt Gingrich (24 percent), Mitt Romney (17 percent), Ron Paul (16 percent), Herman Cain (9 percent), Rick Perry (8 percent), Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum (5 percent), and Jon Huntsman (2 percent).
Results from NBC News/Marist poll of likely voters in New Hampshire primary: Mitt Romney (38 percent), Newt Gingrich (23 percent), Ron Paul (15 percent), Jon Huntsman (9 percent), Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann (3 percent), Herman Cain (2 percent), and Rick Santorum (1 percent).
Phyllis Schlafly has endorsed Michele Bachmann, reports the Des Moines Register. “Most important, Michele has the courage to be a leader among her peers,” Schlafly said in a statement. “She is a real champion in speaking up for values we care about. Michele is a woman of faith and the mother of a beautiful family. She has a 100 percent pro-life record and is a strong supporter of traditional marriage.”
Mitt Romney issues this statement on President Obama’s comments about Israel:
President Obama, in New York to raise campaign cash, told a group of prospective donors that ‘We don’t compromise when it comes to Israel’s security.’ That would be great news, if it were true. Unfortunately, under the Obama Administration, U.S.-Israeli relations have hit a low not seen since the Jimmy Carter years. It is not merely the way that President Obama has disparaged Israel’s prime minister in public and private. U.S. policy itself is at issue. Whether the question is peace talks with the Palestinians, or defining Israel’s borders, or keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, the administration has repeatedly scanted Israel’s interests. Words uttered behind closed doors in a campaign fundraiser in New York are one thing. Actions that have repeatedly thrown Israel under the bus are another.
Mitt Romney’s campaign advisers insist they’re no more scared of Newt Gingrich than the candidates who’ve surged before — but they’re already rolling out a playbook that shows they know the latest alarm isn’t a drill. …
They’ll point out Gingrich’s past policy shifts which can protect them from attacks against Romney’s own inconsistencies. They’ll highlight Gingrich’s conservative apostasies as a hedge against Romney’s own moderate views. And they’ll highlight his stable family while leaving an unspoken impression about Gingrich’s two divorces.
The plan to increase the attention to Romney’s wife of 42 years and five sons in the hopes of sparking more conversation about Gingrich’s three marriages without raising the topic themselves is one of several subtle offensives. Another is the barrage of surrogate conference calls this week that they meant in part to remind Gingrich of their massive organizational advantage if he decides to lob an attack.
Arguably, Romney got the better of Gingrich the one time the two men sparred directly in a debate — when Romney pointed out that Gingrich had, too, supported an individual mandate at one point in time — and it will be interesting to see if Romney can continue to strike successfully at Gingrich or if a better-prepared Gingrich will be able to play defense formidably.
Newt Gingrich will meet with Donald Trump Monday at Trump Tower, reports Politico. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain have all previously met with the real estate mogul.
And the fallout from Mitt Romney’s interview with Fox News host Bret Baier that aired Tuesday night continues. In an interview with fellow Fox News host Bill O’Reilly last night, Baier said that Romney had complained afterwards that the interview was “overly aggressive.”
Meanwhile, Jon Huntsman’s campaign is out with a web video attacking Romney using footage from the Baier interview:
I’ve written before about Romney’s non-flip-flop on climate change, and as usual, the shortness of these clips makes it hard to tell if there is any context that would be relevant. For instance, if Romney is saying other states should adopt Romneycare, that’s very different than saying the federal government should have adopted Romneycare — but seeing the program as a “national model” could mean either scenario.