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Tags: The Primary Event

Romney Touts Conservativism



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Mitt Romney defended his conservative bona fides today, insinuating that some mistook his lack of “outlandish … rhetoric” for a lack of conservative beliefs.

“I don’t know on which issue I’m not conservative,” he told Sean Hannity. Romney cited what he had done as governor of Massachusetts — balancing the state budget annually, increasing school accountability and education choice, and increasing the state’s rainy day fund — as proof he was conservative. “I think my record is as conservative as you’ll find,” he said. Alluding to the health-care program he signed into law, Romney noted that Newt Gingrich had conceded during the last debate that he had supported an individual mandate at one point.

And he pointed out that he had been elected in a very Democratic state: “I think people recognize that when you’re elected in a dark-blue state like Massachusetts … a conservative like me is playing an away  game,” Romney remarked, noting also his efforts on abortion and traditional marriage.

Romney did identify one way in which he differs from some of his GOP rivals: “I may not be as incendiary or outlandish in rhetoric.”

He touched upon how specifically he would repeal Obamacare. If the GOP majorities in the House and Senate are large enough, Romney said he would just push for the legislation to be voted on as soon as possible. If the majorities were slimmer, he would see what “major parts” could be repealed by reconciliation, and then go on to see how the entire bill could be repealed. And if the GOP lacked enough lawmakers to get the legislation through, Romney said he would order the Secretary of Health and Human Services to give every state an Obamacare waiver.

Talking about Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, Romney said, “It sounds nice, but recognize that middle income Americans under that plan pay more taxes. A lot more taxes.”

Romney also said he was now satisfied with Perry’s take on the comments by made by Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress about Mormonism. “His final answer, which came at the debate, when he said he disagreed with the pastor, was what we had been looking for,” Romney said. “I think Gov. Perry has now come to the point where he recognizes that his praise of that introduction … that was the wrong course to have taken.” (After Jeffress’ introduction, Perry had said the pastor had “hit it out of the park.”) But he also criticized Perry for running an ad that selectively quoted Romney’s support for his health-care program being copied across the country, without his follow-up sentence that he didn’t “believe in applying what works in one state to all states if different states have different circumstances.”

Asked if his proposed actions toward China could create a trade war, Romney responded, “We’re already in a trade war. We just don’t know it.” He said that if elected, he would identify China as a currency manipulator and slap tariffs on products that involved currency manipulation or theft of American design. Romney argued that China wouldn’t want a trade war with the United States: “They sell us a lot more stuff than we sell them.”

Paul Raises $2.75 Million



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Ron Paul raised over $2.75 million in the campaign’s latest moneybomb, which went from October 19 to October 24, the campaign announced today. The average donation was $62 and there were 40,494 unique donations. 

Perry Campaign Revamps with New Hires



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Joe Allbaugh, who was George W. Bush’s campaign manager in the 2000 cycle, is joining Rick Perry’s campaign, reports Texas Monthly. Pair that hire (if true — the Perry campaign did not immediately respond to a request to confirm or deny the report) with the hires of Curt Anderson, Nelson Warfield, and Tony Fabrizio, all three of whom helped Rick Scott win in Florida’s gubernatorial race last cycle, and it looks like a significant overhaul for the Perry campaign may be forthcoming.

Perry Campaign Revamps with New Hires



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Joe Allbaugh, who was George W. Bush’s campaign manager in the 2000 cycle, is joining Rick Perry’s campaign, reports Texas Monthly. Pair that hire (if true — the Perry campaign did not immediately respond to a request to confirm or deny the report) with the hires of Curt Anderson, Nelson Warfield, and Tony Fabrizio, all three of whom helped Rick Scott win in Florida’s gubernatorial race last cycle, and it looks like a significant overhaul for the Perry campaign may be forthcoming.

Cain Argues Campaign Viable in Iowa, Despite Lack of Organization



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Herman Cain pushed back on criticisms today that his campaign lacks the organization to be competitive in the Iowa caucuses.

 

“They are dead wrong,” Cain said of people who questioned his campaign’s ability to compete on Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends. “We have dramatically increased our staff in Iowa. We are covering the state, not only with paid people for the various congressional districts but also the number of volunteers. We are well organized in Iowa. And for the people who say that we are not organized in Iowa or we don’t have the infrastructure ask them to take a look at the last Des Moines Register poll. I think we would have to have more than one or two people on the ground in order to be able to do that.”

The last Des Moines Register poll was conducted in June, and showed Cain at 10 percent. However, more recent Iowa polls have shown better results for Cain: he leads in the state with about 30.3 percent support, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

Cain also argued that, contra the critics, he is not too gaffe-prone.

“Find a perfect candidate or a perfect person who will not at points in time in a presidential campaign not make a misstatement and I will show you somebody that was hung on the cross 2,000 years ago,” he said.

“You are going to have those moments because of the pace of the campaign, because of how quickly some of the questions come,” he added. “But here’s what they need to know about Herman Cain, if I make a misstatement I am going to say that I made a misstatement, if something is taken out of context I would be happy to explain the context in which it was taken out of and also explain what I meant.”

Romney Leads in Nevada



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Results from a Magellan Strategies poll of likely Nevada GOP caucus-goers released today: Mitt Romney (38 percent), Herman Cain (26 percent), Newt Gingrich (16 percent), Ron Paul (7 percent), Rick Perry (5 percent), Michele Bachmann (2 percent), Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman (1 percent). 

(Hat tip: GOP12.)

Perry Hires Key Rick Scott Campaign Staffers



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The Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog looks at the new hires made by the Perry campaign:

 

Curt Anderson, a partner at OnMessage Inc. and Nelson Warfield will bulk up Perry’s media and advertising operation while Tony Fabrizio will help direct polling. (Mike Baselice, Perry’s longtime pollster, confirmed to the Fix that he will stay on board as well.)

Anderson, Warfield and Fabrizio were the strategic core of Scott’s operation in the last election — a race where the one-time health care executive spent tens of millions on ads that blanketed the Florida airwaves and delivered him a somewhat unexpected victory. (Anderson is also tightly connected to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, an early Perry endorser.)

“Those guys understand messaging and targeting and the complications of running a campaign in Florida, which really ends up being seven or eight separate campaigns under one umbrella organization, since the electorate is so diverse here,” said Sally Bradshaw, a political confidante to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

 

Perry’s Loan Program



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With Republicans busy criticizing President Obama over how much the loans to Solyndra are costing taxpayers, it could prove tricky for Rick Perry to brush over this story that he made bad loans to businesses with taxpayer money in the 90′s. From the Austin American-Statesman:

Over his eight years as Texas’ farmer-in-chief [agriculture commissioner], Perry oversaw a loan guarantee program with so many defaults that the state had to stop guaranteeing bank loans to startups in agribusiness and eventually bailed out the program with taxpayer money.

The state auditor panned Perry’s claims of creating jobs and criticized Perry and his fellow board members at the Texas Agricultural Finance Authority for not following their own lending guidelines.

In some instances, the auditor said, Perry and the authority guaranteed loans to applicants with a negative net worth or too much debt. Citing growing debts, the auditor finally suggested that state officials consider dismantling the program.

Even as the first alarms were sounded, Perry defended the program, saying no taxpayer money was at risk, blaming others and claiming he had fixed it. 

But he hadn’t, the piece argues:

By 2009 … Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, also a Republican, asked the Legislature to pay off the loan guarantees with a $14.7 million appropriation. The finance authority could no longer afford the $541,000 to cover the annual interest on the bad debts, almost all of which dated back to Perry’s tenure. …

In effect, Perry, as governor, signed his own government bailout when he approved the 2009 appropriations bill.

As governor, Perry created the Texas Enterprise Fund, which gives funds to companies that promised to bring jobs to Texas. Ron Paul’s campaign has attacked one recipient of a grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund as a “Texas sized version of Solyndra.” 

‘Welcome to Nevada, President Obama’



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President Obama will visit Nevada today and the Romney campaign is “greeting” him with a video focusing on how the unemployment rate and high number of home foreclosures are hurting those in the Silver State:

Perry Won’t State Obama Definitely Born in U.S.



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Rick Perry called President Obama’s birthplace a “distractive issue” in an interview with Parade that was published this weekend, but refused to say that he was fully confident Obama was born in the U.S.:

Governor, do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States?

I have no reason to think otherwise. 

That’s not a definitive, “Yes, I believe he”—

Well, I don’t have a definitive answer, because he’s never seen my birth certificate. 

But you’ve seen his.

I don’t know. Have I? 

You don’t believe what’s been released?

I don’t know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night. 

And?

That came up. 

And he said?

He doesn’t think it’s real. 

And you said?

I don’t have any idea. It doesn’t matter. He’s the President of the United States. He’s elected. It’s a distractive issue. 

Perry met Trump for dinner in New York City in mid-September. 

Cain’s Fundraising Boom



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Last quarter, Herman Cain raised $2.8 million.

But his surge in the polls has also created a surge in donations: he’s been raking in over $1 million a week every week this month so far, reports NBC News

Some skeptical about Cain’s ability to stay a top-tier candidate have pointed to Mitt Romney’s and Rick Perry’s significant funds as one reason why Cain can’t remain competitive. (Romney had $14.7 million cash on hand at the end of the third quarter, while Perry had $15 million.) But if Cain keeps raising at this rate, that particular criticism might become moot. 

Newt’s Resurrection?



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Fueled by rhetoric, Gingrich is back:

In June, after his top advisers bolted, Newt Gingrich was supposed to be finished. Four months later, after a series of sharp debates, his poll numbers are climbing and his coffers are stuffed. Behind the scenes, his aides aim to capitalize on the resurrection.

“There is plenty of room,” says R. C. Hammond, the campaign spokesman. He bets that by early January, when New Hampshire and Iowa are blanketed by snow, Gingrich’s “tortoise” campaign will inch ahead.

That optimism is backed up by cash, Hammond says. In the past week, the campaign has raised more money — nearly $200,000 — than it collected in July, the month the campaign nearly collapsed. The capital infusion has enabled Gingrich to hire early-state staffers, such as tea-party leader Andrew Hemingway in New Hampshire, and produce a slew of Web videos.

It is also erasing, albeit slowly, what has been a looming problem: the campaign’s debts. According to federal election filings, Gingrich reported over $1 million in debts through September 30, a figure nearly identical to when his initial senior team departed.

Read the rest on the home page. And below, check out Newt’s latest video. It illustrates the campaign’s scrappy message since June, the month his senior political team resigned.

Forbes Endorses Perry



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Steve Forbes, whose 1996 and 2000 presidential runs centered on his support for the flat tax, has endorsed Rick Perry:

Perry will be introducing his flat tax plan tomorrow in South Carolina.

For one candidate, the Forbes endorsement of Perry may be especially disappointing: Herman Cain served as national co-chair of Forbes’s 2000 campaign. 

Huntsman: I’m More Conservative than Romney



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Jon Huntsman pens a letter to John Sununu, who will officially endorse Mitt Romney today, arguing that he is a more conservative candidate than Romney:

 

Governor Sununu,

Over the course of this campaign you have made it abundantly clear that you would endorse a conservative governor – a laudable criterion.

However, I am surprised that you believe Mitt Romney meets that threshold. Consider some of the fundamental issues:

While Mitt Romney opposed the Bush tax cuts and raised taxes and fees by $750 million in Massachusetts, I signed the largest tax cut in Utah history which helped our state lead the nation in job growth.   

While Mitt Romney implemented government healthcare in Massachusetts – which included an individual mandate and became the blueprint for Obamacare – I signed free-market healthcare reform described as “the other end of the spectrum” from the Obama-Romney approach.  

While Mitt Romney once declared that he does not “line up with the NRA” and pledged to not “chip away” at Massachusetts’ onerous gun control laws, I signed landmark legislation to defend the Second Amendment.  

While Mitt Romney was once ardently pro-choice – stating in 1994 that “abortions should be safe and legal” – I am proud to be a lifelong defender of the sanctity of life.  

While Mitt Romney proudly declared himself an independent during the Reagan-Bush years – even saying during his Senate campaign that he was “not trying to return to Reagan-Bush” – I am proud to have served in President Reagan’s administration which ushered in a golden era of prosperity in America.

 

When you look at his past statements, positions and voting record, the idea that Mitt Romney is a principled conservative is an impossible conclusion. It is more than his one term dealing with a liberal legislature; it’s a lifetime and record of inconsistent and liberal positions.

One last thing I almost forgot to mention: while we both served President George H.W. Bush – you as Chief of Staff and me as ambassador to Singapore – Mitt Romney supported and voted for Democratic presidential candidate and potential Bush opponent Paul Tsongas.

Mitt Romney and I have two very different records and visions for America’s future, which I look forward to sharing with voters in New Hampshire and across the nation. I even look forward to sitting down with you at some point if you ever care to learn the truth.

Sincerely,

Jon Huntsman

Romneycare Funded Health-Care for Illegal Immigrants



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Mitt Romney, who has called government-funded programs that offer assistance to illegal immigrants “magnets” that draw more illegal immigrants to the country, allowed a health-care program that helps illegal immigrations to be included in the final version of his health-care program that he signed. From the Los Angeles Times:

The Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.

Uninsured, poor immigrants can walk into a health clinic or hospital in the state and get publicly subsidized care at virtually no cost to them, regardless of their immigration status.

The official the Romney campaign pointed the LA Times to denied that it was designed to help illegal immigrants:

The Romney campaign referred questions to Tim Murphy, who served as Romney’s state health and human services secretary. Murphy said the governor never intended the Health Safety Net to serve undocumented immigrants.

“Our view when we signed the law was that all benefits would be for people in the commonwealth who were here legally,” Murphy said, noting that the regulations implementing the program were written after Romney left office in 2007.

But Massachusetts officials involved in crafting the healthcare law said there was broad understanding when Romney signed it that at least some people who would benefit would be in the country illegally.

Full piece here.

Sunday Shows



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Over at the Corner, coverage of Michele Bachmann’s, Rick Santorum’s, and Ron Paul’s interviews on the Sunday shows this morning.

Sununu to Endorse Romney



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Former New Hampshire governor John Sununu will endorse Mitt Romney tomorrow, a decision made after a serious look at Rick Perry. From the New Hampshire Union-Leader:

In exclusive interview, Sununu said he narrowed his choice to Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but was won over by what he views as Romney’s conservative approach to pressing domestic and national security issues.

He said the final component that persuaded him to back Romney was the former Massachusetts governor’s early October foreign policy speech at The Citadel in South Carolina.

“That showed me that he understands that the principal role of the President of the United States is the security of the country and participating in trying to stabilize the world,” Sununu said.

But while he’s endorsing Romney, Sununu still has kind words for Perry:

Sununu had strong compliments for Perry.

“He’s a good friend,” Sununu said of the Texas governor. “He’s a good Republican and a very good governor and, frankly, would make a good President just as Mitt Romney would make a good President. I don’t have any negative feelings toward him at all.”

Cain’s Abortion Comments Attacked



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It’s unlikely that Herman Cain’s comments on abortion will blow over as soon as he would like. At the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition dinner last night, someone (it’s unclear what organization, if any, is behind this) put fliers on cars attacking Cain’s abortion comments, reports CNN:

The leaflets, one of which was left on the car of a reporter, accuse Cain of being “pro-choice” and question his opposition to abortion.

“Herman Cain threw the babies under the bus,” blares the flier, which features a headshot of Cain next to a picture of a tiny aborted fetus.

Nevada Moves Caucus to Feb. 4



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The Nevada caucus is now scheduled for Feb. 4, reports the Las Vegas Sun. Nevada had been slated for Jan. 14, but New Hampshire had been pressuring Nevada to move, threatening to holds its primary as early as December 6 if Nevada did not comply.

So it looks like the early primary calendar will be Iowa first (Jan. 3), then New Hampshire, South Carolina (Jan. 21), Florida (Jan. 31), and Nevada (Feb. 4).

Cain Leads in Iowa



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Results from a University of Iowa poll of likely GOP Iowa caucus-goers released today: Herman Cain (37 percent), Mitt Romney (27 percent), Ron Paul (11.5 percent), Newt Gingrich (7.7 percent), Rick Perry (5.9 percent), Michele Bachmann (3.9 percent), Rick Santorum (3.1 percent), and Jon Huntsman (1.2 percent).

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