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Tags: The Primary Event

Gingrich, Romney Lead



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Results from USA Today/Gallup poll of registered voters (Republicans and those leaning Republican): Newt Gingrich (22 percent), Mitt Romney (21 percent), Herman Cain (16 percent), Ron Paul (9 percent), Rick Perry (8 percent), Michele Bachmann (4 percent), Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum (1 percent).

Gingrich Defends Abortion Record



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A day after Michele Bachmann’s campaign attacks Newt Gingrich’s record on abortion, the Gingrich campaign e-mails this account of Gingrich’s record:

Newt Gingrich has consistently upheld a pro-life standard.  He had a consistent pro-life voting record throughout his twenty years in Congress, including his four years as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Gingrich pledges to uphold this consistent pro-life standard as president. Gingrich’s consistent pro-life standard is reflected by the following:

1.    98.6% Lifetime Pro-Life Rating from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).  For the 20 years that Gingrich served in Congress (1979-1999), Gingrich supported the pro-life position in 70 out of 71 votes. (In the one instance that he did not take the NRLC position, it was because the NRLC opposed an early 1995 version of welfare reform because it changed certain welfare payments for mothers with children; NRLC did not oppose the final version of Gingrich’s welfare reform passed in 1996)

2.    Supported the Hyde Amendment. Gingrich consistently voted for the Hyde amendment and other bans on government funding of abortions.

3.    Partial Birth Abortion Ban. During Gingrich’s tenure as Speaker, the House of Representatives twice passed legislation banning partial birth abortions. President Clinton vetoed this legislation both times. Finally, a partial birth abortion ban was signed into law in 2003.  The legislative effort to ban partial birth abortions had a very positive impact increasing pro-life support in the United States.

4.    Signed the Susan B. Anthony List Pro-Life Leadership Presidential Pledge.  In June 2011, Gingrich signed the SBA List Pro-Life Leadership Presidential pledge in which Gingrich pledges to the American people that if elected President he will (i) only nominate judges to the Supreme Court and federal judiciary who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and not legislating from the bench (ii) select pro-life appointees for relevant executive branch positions, (iii) advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, (iv) defund Planned Parenthood; and (v) advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

5.    Pledges to Sign Two Pro-life Executive Orders on the first day of a Gingrich Administration.  

i.    “Mexico City Policy” of Respect for Life.   Reauthorize President Ronald Reagan’s policy – also known as the “Mexico City Policy”— to stop the federal funding of any non-governmental agencies or charities that perform or promote abortions in foreign countries.

ii.    Respect the Beliefs and Integrity of Healthcare Workers.  No American working in a medical environment should be forced to perform any action or procedure that he or she finds morally or ethically objectionable. This protection should include, but not be limited to, abortion and sterilization procedures.  Existing conscience clause protections need to be strengthened. 

Bachmann: Gingrich ‘Has Failed to Uphold a Consistently Pro-Life Stance’



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Michele Bachmann’s campaign sent out a press release yesterday attacking Newt Gingrich’s record on abortion over the years.

“Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has failed to uphold a consistently pro-life stance throughout his career in public life,” the Bachmann campaign said in a statement. “Gingrich has positioned himself as open to watering down the Republican Party’s commitment to the inalienable right to life and failed as the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives to stem the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, the largest U.S. provider of abortions.”

From the campaign’s press release:

Two decades ago, Gingrich portrayed himself as a moderating force on the Republican Party’s staunch pro-life position: A March 1990 column describes Gingrich as “clearly backing away” from the pro- life plank in the Republican Party platform, with Gingrich stating, “there is a continuing evolution of this issue.” “The GOP platform states that the ‘unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed’ and supports a constitutional amendment to outlaw all abortion. … Senate Minority Whip Alan Simpson, who is pro-choice, is the first major GOP figure to predict that the 1992 platform will abandon the current inflexible pro-life rhetoric. … His House counterpart, Newt Gingrich of Georgia, is pro-life but is clearly backing away. ‘We will draw the line to permit fewer abortions than the Democrats,’ he says, shifting the emphasis from banning abortions to merely limiting them. ‘There is a continuing evolution of this issue,’ Gingrich admits.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 3/16/1990)

Gingrich said Republicans “will in fact be responsive to changing circumstances” regarding public opinion on abortion. “‘The Republican Party, I will venture to predict … will draw the line in such a way that we are clearly the party which will have fewer abortions in America than the Democrats,’ [Gingrich] said. … The National Organization for Women and the National Abortion Rights Action League oppose government blocking a woman’s right to choose abortion. They also oppose efforts in some states to require one or both parents’ consent or notification before a minor woman can receive an abortion. ‘We will in fact be responsive to changing circumstances,’ Gingrich said, citing polls that gauge which abortion restrictions are favored by the public.” (Associated Press, 3/9/1990)

And:

Under Newt Gingrich’s tenure as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives 1995-1999, the federal government channeled $587,073,070 to Planned Parenthood components – more than half a billion dollars – and his Republican-dominated House never voted to bar taxpayer funding to this largest U.S. abortion provider. Total federal funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and affiliates, International Planned Parenthood Federation and associations, and the Alan Guttmacher Institute during FY1995 compared with the following four fiscal years budgeted under Gingrich’s speakership: PPFA’s annual federal funding went from $120 million in FY1995, the fiscal year budgeted before Gingrich came to power, to $125.8 million in FY1999, the last fiscal year budget Gingrich negotiated with President Clinton. IPPF and Guttmacher taxpayer funding decreased, but funding for PPFA, the largest domestic abortion provider, remained fairly constant.

 



Gingrich Leads



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A Reuters/Ipsos poll of registered GOP voters released today shows that Newt Gingrich is in the lead at 24 percent. Mitt Romney is right behind at 22 percent. The other candidates polling in the double digits are Herman Cain (12 percent) and Rick Perry (10 percent). 

Forty-six percent of Republicans don’t care that Gingrich was paid up to $1.8 million by Freddie Mac in the 2000s for consulting, while 31 percent do. When all Americans are polled, 20 percent believe that Gingrich didn’t lobby for Freddie Mac (he has said he did no lobbying for them), while 37 percent believe he did do lobbying for Freddie. 

Romney to Fight for Iowa Win



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From the New York Times:

Mr. Romney, who has been cautiously calibrating expectations about his chances in a state full of social conservatives, is now playing to win the Iowa caucuses. Television commercials are on the way, volunteers are arriving and a stealth operation is ready to burst into view in the weeks leading up to the caucuses, the first Republican nominating contest, on Jan. 3. …

Volunteers and a skeleton staff have been diligently reconnecting with the 29,949 people who supported Mr. Romney four years ago when he won 25 percent of the vote. He fell short to former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, but party strategists say the same level of support could be enough for Mr. Romney to win because the social conservative vote is likely to split.

The campaign, which does not want its supporters to go elsewhere just because Mr. Romney did not ask for their vote, is recruiting precinct leaders and focusing its attention on counties he won. But aides are also working to identify Republicans and independents frustrated at the country’s direction who could be persuaded to attend their first caucus. They will receive a nudge suggesting that spending 30 minutes on a January night is preferable to a second Obama term.

In the past few months, Romney has been picking and choosing which Iowa events to attend: he skipped the Ames Straw Poll in August, and more recently, the influential Reagan Dinner held earlier this month in Des Moines. But he has visited the state a handful of times. 

In 2008, Romney fought hard for Iowa — and his campaign was dealt a sharp blow when Huckabee won. With the exception of one poll released Friday (which showed Newt Gingrich two percentage points behind Romney), he has been the frontrunner in the New Hampshire polls, often ahead by huge margins — ten, twenty points. For Romney, an Iowa win, if paired with a New Hampshire win, could make him the dominant candidate. But if he plays hard in Iowa — and loses — it could threaten his secure perch in New Hampshire. 

‘Outsider’



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The Perry campaign releases a new ad that will air in Iowa and nationwide:

Ayotte to Endorse Romney



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Republican senator Kelly Ayotte will announce her endorsement of Mitt Romney this afternoon, reports New Hampshire’s Union-Leader, which also explains why her endorsement is so helpful to Romney: “Although endorsements by top elected officials don’t often sway independent-minded rank-and-file voters in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, the former attorney general is viewed as the most popular elected Republican in the state and is the party’s top elected official.”

Perry Remains Optimistic About Odds



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Asked by Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto about if he still could pull off a comeback in the GOP primary race, Rick Perry said today, “We’re a long way from having the election over with. You can go back and look at history and whether it was the ‘92 election. when Bill Clinton was up and down and back and forth and you go back in time, even in 2008. So a long way before this election is over with.  I will guarantee you, Iowa, South Carolina and even New Hampshire, those states are wide open.”

He also jabbed rival Mitt Romney when the Massachusetts health-care program came up. “He had his staff working with Obama to put Obamacare into place and they used Romneycare as their example,” Perry said. a reference to the fact that some who advised Romney on creating the Massachusetts health-care program also advised President Obama.

Perry continued his anti-Washington message.

 

“They tried to pass a balanced budget amendment today that was a weak bill that frankly didn’t have any teeth to it,” he commented. “When I go to Washington,  I’m not going to make friends. I may step on a few toes. The idea that Washington DC and a congressman or woman makes three times what the average American family makes is really obscene.”

Gingrich Describes His Role at Freddie Mac



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I’m rather late posting this, but I think some of what Newt Gingrich said about his role advising Freddie Mac to Fox News host Greta Van Susteren is worth reading, beginning with his account of how often he talked to Freddie Mac people:

GINGRICH: I think less than maybe once a month, they would drop by. We’d spend an hour. It would always start with me listening. I’d always say, What are you trying to solve? What are your concerns? What are you trying to get done?

And I’ve done this with many, many clients. I mean, it’s not at all unusual for us to have folks to come in and say, This is what we’re trying to get done, this is how we’re trying to solve a wide range of problems. Many of them involved health. As you know, we founded — out of Gingrich Group, we founded the Center for Health Transformation. And we ended up publishing books. We ended up with a whole range of things. …

And the value we delivered consistently was listening to people, offering them strategic advice, developing positive public policy positions with a very simple ground rule. I believe what I believe based on a very long period of life. If you’d like to come and have my advice, that’s fine. I don’t change any of my beliefs because somebody drops by and wants to pay me. I have no reason to.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, in terms of Freddie Mac, though, did you spot what was coming in terms of the housing industry crisis? Did you tell them, you know, Look, you know, this is a real problem? You know, this is about to blow up on the nation. Did you see that coming?

GINGRICH: No.

VAN SUSTEREN: And did you warn them?

GINGRICH: Look, you could see in conversations, particularly by 2007, that the loan standards were becoming absurd. That was just — that was patently obvious. What you couldn’t see was that the Federal Reserve would tighten up in a way that you suddenly had a huge credit crunch. And I think that’s a very different part of the problem.

I don’t think anybody, whether the chairman of the Federal Reserve or the Council of Economic Advisers or other folks — there were very few people who saw the intensity of the housing problem as it broke loose.

There were some people. Peter [Wallison] is a good example at the American Enterprise Institute, who had for a long time been warning that these government-sponsored enterprises were too big, that they were too overleveraged and that they need to be reformed. And Peter [Wallison] is probably as good an analyst today of what needs to be done now to repair the system and to get out of the mess we’re in as anybody I know. But he was a relatively rare voice in that period.

Full transcript of the interview here.

Cain Worried about Taliban Influence ... In Libya



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In Orlando today, Herman Cain discussed his answer on Libya to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. From Politico:

“Do I agree with siding with the opposition? Do I agree with saying that Qadhafi should go? Do I agree that they now have a country where you’ve got Taliban and Al Qaeda that’s going to be part of the government?” Cain asked reporters, rhetorically. “Do I agree with not knowing the government was going to — which part was he asking me about? I was trying to get him to be specific and he wouldn’t be specific.”

For Cain, whose campaign recently tried to fight back the narrative that he doesn’t know anything about foreign policy by stressing that he had been studying for months now, this has not been a good week. Next week, AEI and Heritage are hosting a GOP debate that will focus on foreign policy and national security. For Cain, that’s going to be an especially crucial debate.

Gingrich: Romney and I Are ‘Co-Front-Runners’



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From the Boston Herald:

 

“If I can’t survive a few weeks of the news media, then I definitely can’t survive being the president,” [Gingrich] said. “If we can cheerfully get through this and answer in a way that the American people are satisfied with, then I deserve the nomination.” …

“I really see Mitt and I as co-front-runners,” said Gingrich, adding that the nomination battle is “going to come down to Mitt and me.”

“The one consistency is that Mitt has a hard time getting over 24 or 25 percent (in the polls),” he added. “Everyone was looking for the next ‘Not Mitt.’ ”

Gingrich Just Two Points Behind Romney in NH



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One rare constant in this crazy primary cycle has been Mitt Romney’s dominance in New Hampshire polls. Inevitably, he has a double-digit lead over the next closest contender — and often that lead is 20 points or more. Just look at the current RealClearPolitics average of N.H. polls: Romney is first at 40.3 percent, a whopping 27 points ahead of Ron Paul, who is in second place.

But according to an NH Journal poll of likely GOP primary voters released today, Romney is at 29 percent and Gingrich is right behind him at 27 percent. The poll’s margin of error is 3.59 points. The other candidates polling in the double digits are Ron Paul (16 percent) and Herman Cain (10 percent). 

Two Former Gingrich Iowa Staffers Back with Campaign



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Back in June, Craig Schoenfeld and Katie Koberg were two of the sixteen staffers that quit on Newt Gingrich’s campaign. Now both have rejoined Gingrich’s Iowa campaign, reports the Des Moines Register

No More Filmed Editorial Board Meetings for Cain



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There will be no more viral videos of Herman Cain taking questions from newspaper editorial boards: the campaign now has a policy that editorial board meetings will not be permitted to be filmed, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Rivals Never Attacked Gingrich in Recent Debates



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It’s been frequently noted that part of Newt Gingrich’s appeal to voters is his positive attitude toward his fellow GOP presidential contenders at the debate. Turns out Gingrich’s rivals have returned the favor: according to the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog, there have been over 150 attacks in the last seven debates from candidates aimed at other candidates — and not a single one has been aimed at Gingrich. (Even Jon Huntsman’s been a target five times.) In contrast, Mitt Romney has been attacked 59 times, Rick Perry 55 times, Herman Cain 22 times, and Ron Paul ten times. 

Smart Politics does note that Romney and Gingrich had a testy exchange over Gingrich’s past support for the individual mandate in the Oct. 20th debate, but chose not to qualify that as an attack. 

Gingrich Health-care Think Tank Raked in $37 Million



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From the Washington Post:

A think tank founded by GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich collected at least $37 million over the past eight years from major health-care companies and industry groups, offering special access to the former House speaker and other perks, according to records and interviews.

The Center for Health Transformation, which opened in 2003, brought in dues of as much as $200,000 per year from insurers and other health-care firms, offering some of them “access to Newt Gingrich” and “direct Newt interaction,” according to promotional materials. The biggest funders, including firms such as AstraZeneca, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Novo Nordisk, were also eligible to receive discounts on “products and workshops” from other Gingrich groups.

The health center advocated, among other things, requiring that “anyone who earns more than $50,000 a year must purchase health insurance or post a bond,” a type of insurance mandate that has since become anathema to conservatives.

The Center told the Washington Post that neither the Center itself nor Gingrich had done any lobbying as part of their work on health-care. But it does paint a fuller picture of how Gingrich’s post-Speaker endeavors were both profitable and policy-oriented. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Gingrich was paid $840,000 for consulting by the Chamber of Commerce for seven years’ work beginning in 2001. 

Secret Service to Protect Cain



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Herman Cain will start getting Secret Service protection, reports the Associated Press. No other GOP candidate currently has Secret Service protection.

Perry’s Fundraising Woes



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From the Houston Chronicle:

 

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign fundraising has gone into a tailspin as a result of poor debate performances and plunging poll numbers, jeopardizing his position as the best-funded Republican presidential candidate of 2012.

Perry’s associates and supporters say his campaign has redoubled its money-­raising efforts in the past week to ensure that his campaign will have enough money to survive the first three contests of the 2012 election calendar: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

But Perry’s loyal backers are running into resistance from Republican donors. One Perry fundraiser, who asked not to be named, said he received 15 RSVPs for a recent event from potential donors saying they might attend. But after a gaffe-marred Perry debate performance, none showed up. …

Another Perry fundraiser said he expects the Texas governor to raise between $3 million and $5 million in the final three months of 2012 — less than one-third of what he generated in the first six weeks of his candidacy.

For Perry, whose fundraising prowess has been key in maintaining the perception of him as a top-tier candidate, even as he’s fallen dramatically in the polls, this poses a problem that goes beyond finances. 

Romney on Romneycare: ‘I Am Not Going to Walk Away From That’



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Don’t expect Mitt Romney to backtrack on his Massachusetts health-care plan at any point this election cycle.

“I am sure there are many people who have calculated, and perhaps correctly, that the healthcare plan I put in place in Massachusetts is not good for me politically, and if I want to encourage my political future, I should say it was a mistake and walk away from it,” Romney told Fox News host Neil Cavuto in an interview set to air later tonight. 

“You have seen a lot of candidates look at their biggest vulnerability, call it a mistake, and ask for forgiveness,” Romney continued. “In my case that wouldn’t be honest.”

He affirmed that he believes the health-care program was the “right thing” for Massachusetts then, although he conceded that it hasn’t “worked perfectly.”

“If it hurts me politically, it’s a consequence of the truth,” Romney added. “I am not going to walk away from that. It’s right for states to come up with their own solutions. I doubt other people are going try and follow the one we put together. Maybe learn from our experience. Maybe come up with something better. But the wrong course is to have the federal government impose its will on the entire nation.”

Asked if Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the Obamacare case, Romney said he was unsure at this point.

“I will take a look at her involvement,” he responded. “Typically a justice must recuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest; I don’t know what her conflict might be. My view is this is a pretty clear cut case, where the federal government has intruded on the rights of states.”

Cain Defends Libya Answer



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Talking about his answer to a question on Libya to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel earlier this week, Herman Cain said today in New Hampshire he was confident his supporters weren’t deterred by the uproar after the video was released.

 

“I know that’s a novel idea,” Cain said, according to Politico, of his decision to muse for a moment before answering the question about Libya. “And sometimes I have to stop and gather my thoughts.”

“The people that get on the Cain train, they don¹t get off because of that crap,” Cain added. “Who knows every detail of every country on the planet? Nobody!”

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