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Tags: The Primary Event

‘Huntsman’s Back’



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Jon Huntsman’s daughters do a parody version of Justin Timberlake’s Sexyback, dismissing the rest of the GOP field as a “circus act” while touting their dad’s candidacy:

Huntsman to Host Twitter Q & A



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Jon Huntsman is trying to a novel approach to reach out to voters: he’ll answer questions on twitter this afternoon. “Trying something new. Will answer your q’s on Twitter tomorrow at 4:45 ET. Ask q’s using #q4jon. Should be fun!” he tweeted yesterday. 

Speaking of Huntsman, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough made an interesting case in an op-ed published yesterday that Huntsman has been more consistently conservative than Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney. 

Romney Nabs Key Florida Endorsements



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Mitt Romney picked up three significant endorsements in Florida today: House Foreign Relations chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, and former long-time House member Lincoln Diaz-Balart. In 2008, all three endorsed John McCain.

“The endorsements of the Miami Cuban-American leaders is a leading indicator that Romney is making a big push in Florida for one of its most crucial voting blocs in the state’s Republican primary,” notes the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo.

Ex–N.H. GOP Chair Slams Perry and Arpaio



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In a piece for NHJournal.com, Fergus Cullen, former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican party, slams Rick Perry for campaigning with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Granite State:

Memo to Perry (and Romney, for that matter): A hard-line, anti-immigrant position is not especially popular in New Hampshire, even among likely Republican primary voters. In 2008, John McCain won the primary with a Gingrich-like position on immigration reform. A June, 2011 UNH / Boston Globe survey asked New Hampshire primary voters, “Would you support or oppose a program giving illegal immigrants now living in the United States the right to live here legally if they pay a fine and meet other requirements?” 42% of likely Republican primary voters supported a path to legal status, as did 54% of undeclared voters and 72% of likely Democratic primary voters.

Social Conservatives Say Bachmann Can Battle On



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Despite being generally ignored in the presidential debates and struggling with deflated poll numbers, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) may still have a shot at winning the Republican nomination — at least, that’s what some social conservative leaders think.

Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of the Family Leader, an Iowa group associated with Focus on the Family, said Bachmann retains an advantage in his state.

“I would argue that she probably has the best state-wide organization right now,” he told National Review. “And the people that helped her win the straw poll in many ways are still with her. The issue is that you’re no longer competing in a 17,000-person straw poll, you’re competing in a 125,000-person caucus. And so the pie got bigger. And not only did the pie get bigger, but you had a couple of candidates get a lot of attention, whether that be Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich or Rick Perry, so this is varsity competition at minimum. And so, I would not count Michele Bachmann out of this at all.”

Rod Martin, a social conservative leader from Florida, agrees. The founder of TheVanguard.org and president of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies considers that there is “still a pathway for her to emerge.”

“I think it’s a long shot, obviously,” he told National Review. “I don’t think she’s completely over, and I hope her career isn’t — I don’t think people begin to realize how brilliant Michele Bachmann is. The more time I’ve spent around her, the more impressed I’ve been.”

In Martin’s view, her future as a candidate rests entirely on how she does in the Iowa caucus.

“She’s gonna have to pull a rabbit out of a hat right there, there’s no question,” he said. “And likewise, probably, as has been the case all through this selection process, Gingrich will probably stumble, and she’ll need to inherit some of his people.”

Gary Bauer, the president of American Values, said he understands the challenges Bachmann faces as an underdog with poor showing in the polls.

“Gosh, having been a long, long, long, long shot myself, it used to irritate the heck out of me when people were inviting me to leave,” he said. “She has been, I think, outstanding in the debates and so forth, and at one point was doing quite well — now seems to have less of that traction, but I wouldn’t really urge anybody to drop out before Iowa and New Hampshire.”

This presidential primary in particular is open to an upset victory, Bauer said, adding that he doesn’t understand why Santorum hasn’t won more support: “There’s so much in the political election cycle that’s hard to logically understand, and I think in this cycle, the chances for surprise or upsets or new developments is even greater than normal.”

And Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family’s vice president of public policy, said Evangelical Christian voters still love Bachmann.

“She has wonderful positions on issues that are important to social conservatives,” he said, “but it has always been difficult to rise to the presidency from the House of Representatives, and I think she’s experiencing that difficulty. But we’re very proud of the way she espouses strong positions on the issues.”

But does she still have a chance?

“Yea, she has some chance, certainly.”

IA Social Cons’ Effort to Settle on One Candidate Struggles



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Iowa social conservatives appear to be losing traction in their efforts to band together and back just a candidate other than Mitt Romney. From the Des Moines Register:

 

An apparent effort to craft a unified Republican caucus endorsement among several of Iowa’s social-conservative advocacy groups and evangelical pastors began last Monday, but its prospects already appear uncertain.

A follow-up meeting initially scheduled for today has been postponed, with no indication of when it will be rescheduled, according to a meeting participant.

9-9-9: The Movie



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If you want to slay the “dorky” “tax monster,” Herman Cain is fighting for your vote in his new video about his 9-9-9 tax plan:

Iowa’s King Criticizes Gingrich’s Immigration Views



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There has already been ample speculation that Newt Gingrich’s remarks on immigration last night won’t play well in Iowa, and an interview influential Iowa conservative Rep. Steve King gave today is sure to further fuel that narrative.

“I think that when you give people even a promise that they can stay in the country after they’re here illegally you become more of a magnet and it is a form of amnesty and more people will come in counting on that,” King told Radio Iowa in reference to Gingrich’s comments.

Noting that many illegal immigrants “probably had false identification,” King expressed alarm about “allowing[ing] people to be rewarded for breaking the law.”

However, for a counterpoint, when I spoke to former Iowa state auditor Richard Johnson (who held that post for 24 years) earlier this month about Rick Perry’s immigration remarks and whether they had hurt him in Iowa, he seemed dubious that Hawkeye state voters were particularly interested in a candidate’s immigration views. “An awful lot of people in Iowa, they just aren’t close to the immigration issues,” he said.

Palin to Endorse Gingrich?



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From RealClearPolitics’ Scott Conroy:

While Palin has characteristically kept her cards close to her chest, advisers suggest that the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee is likely to endorse before someone emerges as the inevitable nominee — and that Newt Gingrich appears to be best-positioned to secure her support.

“They speak very favorably of Newt and what they see as his credentials as compared to Perry and Romney,” one member of Palin’s inner circle said of the former Alaska governor and her husband, Todd, who has long served as her unofficial chief adviser.

Full piece here

Thune Endorses Romney



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Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.), who flirted with running for president earlier this primary season, announced his endorsement of Mitt Romney today. The two will campaign in Des Moines this morning, and will hold a tele-town hall with Iowa voters this afternoon. 

Romney Leads by Nearly 30 Points in NH



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Results from Suffolk University/7NEWS (WHDH) poll of likely New Hampshire primary voters: Mitt Romney (41 percent), Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul (14 percent), Jon Huntsman (9 percent), Herman Cain (8 percent), Rick Santorum (3 percent), Rick Perry (2 percent), and Michele Bachmann (1 percent). 

The poll also asked people to speculate why 75 percent of GOP voters weren’t backing Romney. Here are the reasons people gave: because of his Mormon religion (16 percent); flip-flops on issues, his health care plan and too many other candidates right now (all 10 percent); not conservative enough (9 percent); he is boring and people are unsure of him (both 3 percent); and not a real Republican and because he is from Massachusetts (both 2 percent).

Gingrich Leads



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Results from Quinnipiac poll of Republicans and Republican leaners released today: Newt Gingrich (26 percent), Mitt Romney (22 percent), Herman Cain (14 percent), Ron Paul and Rick Perry (6 percent),  Michele Bachmann (4 percent), Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman (2 percent). 

In general election match-ups, Romney comes the closet to beating President Obama (44 percent to 45 percent), followed by Newt Gingrich (40 percent to Obama’s 49 percent) and Herman Cain (37 percent to Obama’s 50 percent). 

‘Believe in America’



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Mitt Romney’s first TV ad, set to air in New Hampshire:

Cain to Allow Filming at Editorial Board Meeting



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New Hampshire’s Union-Leader triumphed: Herman Cain will do a 60 minute interview with the newspaper — and C-Span will film it, tweets publisher Joe McQuaid.

Did Gingrich Lobby?



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The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney reports that Newt Gingrich, while not technically a lobbyist, did on at least one occasion push Republicans to vote a certain way:

 

Three former Republican congressional staffers told me that Gingrich was calling around Capitol Hill and visiting Republican congressmen in 2003 in an effort to convince conservatives to support a bill expanding Medicare to include prescription-drug subsidies. Conservatives were understandably wary about expanding a Lyndon Johnson-created entitlement that had historically blown way past official budget estimates. Drug makers, on the other hand, were positively giddy about securing a new pipeline of government cash to pad their already breathtaking profit margins.

One former House staffer told me of a 2003 meeting hosted by Rep. Jack Kingston where Gingrich spoke. Kingston would regularly host “Theme Team” meetings with a few Republican congressmen and some of their staff. Just before the House vote, Gingrich was the special guest at this meeting, and he brought one message to the members: Pass the drug bill for the good of the Republican Party. …

Two aides to other GOP members who had been resisting the bill told me their bosses were lobbied by Gingrich over the phone, sometimes citing politics, sometimes citing substance. And it worked. “Newt Gingrich moved votes on the prescription-drug bill,” one conservative staffer told me. “That’s for sure.”

Gingrich Wowed at Iowa Forum



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Newt Gingrich apparently impressed the audience at the Iowa forum held Saturday night. From the Des Moines Register:

 

[The Family Leader's Bob] Vander Plaats was particularly complimentary of Newt Gingrich’s performance in the two-hour forum, which focused mostly on social issues and how religion shapes the candidates’ world views.

“He’s very good, he’s very articulate and he puts it in such a historical, constitutional, world-view context,” Vander Plaats said. “He’s a great teacher.”

Vander Plaats said Gingrich stood out in a focus group that moderator/pollster Frank Luntz conducted after the forum with Christian conservative women.

“Newt blew it out of the park in the focus group,” he said.

Romney: Individual Mandate ‘Was a Conservative Concept’



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In a testy debate exchange last month, Mitt Romney reminded Newt Gingrich that he had backed the individual mandate previously. Now, with Gingrich surging in the polls to frontrunner status, Romney is reminding the electorate about Gingrich’s record on health-care.

“Don’t forget, this health care plan was something we learned about from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank,” Romney said on Fox  News Channel’s Hannity in an interview to be aired tonight. “Even Newt Gingrich supported the idea of an individual mandate, insisting on personal responsibility.”

“Now, what we did isn’t perfect,” Romney added. “Some parts of it worked, some didn’t, some things I would change. But it’s not like it’s a liberal idea. It was a conservative concept.”

Romney, who used to be pro-abortion, explained how he altered his views while governor of Massachusetts.

“I changed my position on abortion back when I was governor,” he said. “The first time a piece of legislation reached my desk that dealt with the issue of life and abortion, I came down on the side of life. I wrote an op-ed and said I am firmly pro-life, I simply cannot support a piece of legislation which would have created new embryos for the purpose of testing them and destroying them.  So I came down on the side of life while I was governor some years ago.”

Noting that an Obama adviser had “said their strategy will be to kill Romney,” Romney predicted that the general election race will be ugly. “He can’t talk about his record and get reelected,” Romney said of Obama. “So what he’ll do is try and assassinate, on a character basis, his opponents and –or his opposition. I’m hoping that’s me, but I’m not looking forward to those attacks.”

“Newt Was Right on the ‘Super Committee’ ”



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The Gingrich campaign would like to remind you that back in August, Newt Gingrich called the super committee a “dumb idea” (hat tip: Politico’s Morning Score):

Romney Returns to NYC



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Mitt Romney returns to the Big Apple on December 14, when he’ll attend a breakfast reception at Cipriani, according to an invitation obtained by National Review Online. Among the event’s co-chairs are former gubernatorial candidates Tom Foley, Rick Lazio, and Bill Weld, indicating the ex–Massachusetts governor’s strength in the tri-state area.

Bass Endorses Romney



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Right after nabbing Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s endorsement, Mitt Romney gained another influential New Hampshire endorsement today: Rep. Charlie Bass, who served as a congressman from 1995 to 2007, and who returned to the House in the 2010 election.

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