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Tags: The Primary Event

Perry: ‘Shoot, I Might be a Good Debater’ by Primary’s End



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Rick Perry emphasized today that he may not dramatically curtail his debate appearances.

“I don’t know whether we’re going to forgo any debates,” Perry told reporters in New Hampshire today, according to NBC News. “There are a lot of debates. Shoot, I might be a good debater before this is all over. We haven’t made any decisions about what we’re gonna do.”

Talking about his comments earlier this week about President Obama’s birth certificate, Perry said, “I don’t consider making fun of something being a mistake.” He did call the issue a “distraction.” 

Cain’s Plan to Avoid Gaffes



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Newsweek’s Howard Kurtz talks to the Cain campaign about what the plan is to avoid further gaffes:

“We’re trying to slow down a little bit, make sure he’s rested, make sure he’s focused,” says J.D. Gordon, the campaign’s vice president for communications. The goal is to achieve a “more deliberate pace…so we don’t make those kinds of mistakes.”

Gordon says his boss has been doing as many as seven or eight events a day, “and when you do that and don’t use a Teleprompter, sometimes you can make a mistake… People understand he’s not a career politician; he’s very spontaneous, they know how fast he’s going. People give him more leeway than they would someone who’s in Congress or a governor.”

Romney Announces Law Enforcement Advisers



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The Romney campaign announced the names of Mitt Romney’s new law enforcement advisers. Michael Mukasey, attorney general in the George W. Bush administration; William Barr, attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration; Mark Filip, deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration; George Terwilliger, deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration; and Alice Fisher, assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division in the George W. Bush administration, will all serve as co-chairs of the Romney campaign’s law enforcement advisory group.

No Boehner Endorsement Happening in Primary



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John Boehner doesn’t anticipate endorsing any of the GOP presidential candidates this election cycle.

“I don’t see that happening,” Boehner told radio host Laura Ingraham when asked about endorsing, according to the Washington Post. “I think we’ve got a lot of good candidates. They’re out there presenting their ideas, and I think it’s important to allow those who show up in the Republican primary to choose the candidate of their choice.”

In the last cycle, Boehner only endorsed John McCain in February, after it was clear that Mike Huckabee could not acquire enough delegates to win. 

Johnson on N.H. Ballot



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Gary Johnson, who nearly missed the filing deadline for New Hampshire and took an overnight flight to file in person today, made the deadline, reports CNN. 

Will on Romney: Does Conservatism Have to ‘Settle’ for ‘THIS’?



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From George Will’s forthcoming Sunday column, via Politico’s Mike Allen:

Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate: Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the tea party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming. Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from ‘data’ … Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for THIS?

It’s interesting that Will, intentionally or not, is echoing Michele Bachmann’s language: since late September, Bachmann has been urging conservatives not tosettle for a more moderate candidate in a cycle where it looks very promising that the Republican candidate will win in the general election.

Curious Detail



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It’s no secret that Herman Cain is not exactly modelling his campaign after the accepted, tried (and sometimes true) routines that most presidential campaigns rely on, and much of this morning’s New York Times story is just another reiteration of how the campaign is not well-organized. But there’s one curious nugget in the piece:

And then there was that e-mail to the staff about traveling in a car with Mr. Cain: “Do not speak to him unless you are spoken to,” the memo said.

Candidates’ time and energy are valuable commodities, of course, But it’d be interesting to know if any of other candidates have similar rules. 

Bachmann’s New Iowa Campaign Manager



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Michele Bachmann has appointed Eric Woolson, who managed Mike Huckabee’s Iowa campaign last cycle, to be her Iowa campaign manager. 

Romneycare’s Failure to Reduce Costs



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While the individual mandate in Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health-care program has gained plenty of attention, there has been less scrutiny paid to another component of the program: how it failed to curb health-care costs. From Politico

Massachusetts still has the highest health costs in the country — even after the reforms Romney signed into law as governor. …

Romney never touted containing costs as the main objective of his Massachusetts health reform. Rather, he wanted all residents to have insurance.

But on the day he signed the reform plan into law in 2006, Romney did claim that cost containment was one of the goals.

“Lastly, but perhaps most critically, this bill takes bold steps to contain health care costs,” Romney wrote in a letter to the state Legislature. “By putting an end to cost-shifting from the uninsured and from the Medicaid program, businesses and individuals will no longer bear the cost of others’ health care.”

“This bill places critical health care cost and quality information in the hands of businesses and consumers. By creating cost and quality transparency, individuals will make more informed decisions about where and how to seek care,” Romney wrote.

In reality, though, Romney’s advisers say reducing costs was an elusive goal that wasn’t at the forefront of the Massachusetts plan.

Full piece here. For those who are concerned that Romney will potentially be at a disadvantage in debating President Obama about Obamacare because he will have to stress the difference between a state-level mandate and one at the federal level, this is another possible weakness: if he argues about how Obamacare failed to bend the cost curve on spending, Obama will be able to point out the Massachusetts program has the same flaw.

Perry May Start Skipping Debates



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Looking at the swamped debate calender in the next few months, the Perry campaign is uncommitted to whether Rick Perry will participate in every debate.

Perry is confirmed for the Nov. 9 debate, but no debates beyond that. “We’re taking each of these as they come, examining the schedule and examining the opportunities and the opportunity costs,” Perry communications director Ray Sullivan told CNN

“We certainly respect the process,” Sullivan added, “but when you’ve got eight of nine candidates and 30 seconds to a minute, it takes valuable time away from campaigning in Iowa, as those elections approach.”

In a Fox News interview earlier this week, Perry complained that the “debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidate.” 

For Cain, a New Emphasis on Foreign Policy



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Herman Cain may have flubbed badly on a question about “right of return” last May, but he is now ready for primetime, he said in an interview last night.

Addressing those who have said he lacks foreign policy knowledge, Cain told Fox News host Sean Hannity, “To those critics, I would say to them, ‘Do you think I’m dumb enough not to study up on these issues?’ I’ve been studying up on these issues for months.”

“I can now explain right of return to any reporter better than they understand right of return because if you get caught off guard, you go to school and you learn,” Cain added.

He said that he been talking to former ambassadors and national security advisers, and speaking to various experts in order “to get up to speed on some of the situations we have around the world.”

“I challenge anybody to say that I wouldn’t know how to approach foreign policy,” Cain continued, “because unlike some of the other people I at least have a foreign policy philosophy, which is an extension of the Reagan philosophy, peace through strength, and my philosophy is peace through strength and clarity.”  Clarity was crucial, Cain explained, because he wanted to see America’s friends and enemies clearly identified as such.

Noting that experts would be available to explain the nitty-gritty details of a foreign policy situation, Cain added, “What a leader must do is be able to state some fundamental principles and a fundamental philosophy, listen to the input, and then make judgments.”

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Cain: Most 9-9-9 Attacks Had ‘No Basis Whatever’



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In the most recent debate, Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan was hammered by the other candidates — something the business mogul didn’t see coming.

“I knew that the bullseye on my back was big, but I didn’t know it was that big until that last debate,” Cain told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview last night. “I did not feel as if I was able to explain their attacks adequately because as you know, you only get 30 seconds to respond.”

“But the good news is I continued to deflect it by saying you haven’t read the plan, you haven’t read the analysis,” Cain added. “During the debate, I didn’t adequately do it, but I have since then been able to explain it to a lot of people as well as ask a lot of questions and I think a lot of people realize that most of those attacks had no basis whatever.”

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Perry: ‘No Doubt’ that Obama Is an American Citizen



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From the St. Petersburg Times

Adam: Jeb Bush said the other day, the Republican candidates should categorically reject the notion that Barack Obama was not born in America. This came after you expressed doubts about that.. what would you say to him?

Perry: ”I don’t think I was expressing doubts. I was just having some fun with Donald Trump. So I…

Adam: Are you comfortable that he’s an American citizen?

Perry: ”Oh yeah. It’s fun to… ya know lighten up a little bit.. “

Adam: So you have no doubt he’s an American citizen?

Perry: ”I have no doubt about it. But here’s the more interesting thing. Let’s lay out our income taxes. Let’s lay our our college transcripts. Mine’s been on the front page of the paper. So if we’re going to lay out all these things, let’s lay them all out. So, whether it’s college transcripts or income tax, lay them all out. Let the people take a look at them.”

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Cain’s Foreign Policy Team



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Herman Cain, of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” fame, now has a team of foreign policy advisers, reports Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog:

In August, consultant and former Navy officer J.D. Gordon was ready to launch a new foreign policy and national security think tank called the Center for Security and Diplomacy…and then he got a call from Herman Cain.

“We were a few days away from making CSD’s website public. Now most of the think thank is being absorbed by the Cain campaign,” Gordon told The Cable in an interview. The Cain team saw Gordon on one of his many Fox News appearances, where he served as an expert commentator. He joined the campaign on Sept. 1 as the vice president for communications and senior advisor for foreign policy and national security.

Now, about two months into his time with Cain, Gordon is leading the expansion of the campaign’s national security infrastructure, drawing heavily from the think tank he had been developing before Cain brought him on.

More details, including the names of Cain’s advisers, in the full piece here. And, perhaps with an eye to the two foreign policy debates slated for November, the Cain campaign is making sure Cain gets drilled on some foreign policy details:

And after Cain famously announced this month he did not know the name of the president of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan,” the campaign made up a list of over 20 foreign leaders for Cain to commit to memory.

Romney Leads in Iowa, N.H., S.C., and Fla.



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CNN/ORC released polls from the four early primary states today, all of which showed Mitt Romney in the lead.

Results from poll of registered Republicans in Iowa: Romney (24 percent), Herman Cain (21 percent), Ron Paul (12 percent), Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry (10 percent), Michele Bachmann (6 percent), Rick Santorum (2 percent), and Jon Huntsman (1 percent).

Results from poll of registered Republicans and independents who voted in 2008 GOP primary in New Hampshire: Romney (40 percent), Cain (13 percent), Paul (12 percent), Huntsman (6 percent), Gingrich (5 percent), Perry (4 percent), Bachmann (2 percent), and Santorum (1 percent). 

Results from poll of registered Republicans in South Carolina: Romney (25 percent), Cain (23 percent), Paul (12 percent), Perry (11 percent), Gingrich (8 percent), Bachmann (4 percent), Huntsman and Santorum (1 percent). 

Results from poll of registered Republicans in Florida: Romney (30 percent), Cain (18 percent), Perry and Gingrich (9 percent), Paul (6 percent), Bachmann (4 percent), Huntsman and Santorum (1 percent). 

Gingrich Suggests Perry-Romney Rivalry May be Consultant-Created



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Newt Gingrich addressed the heated back and forth between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in an interview today. From CBS News:

 

“I don’t know how much of that is their consultants advising them and how much of that is real,” Gingrich said on CBS’ “The Early Show on Wednesday. …

“I think people are pretty sick of the lack of civility not just in the debates but they watch Washington and watch gridlock and a president who is more comfortable (on The Tonight Show with Jay) Leno than he is in trying to govern the country and I think people are looking for mature leadership that will help some of these problems,” Gingrich said.

Bachmann Supporter Shifts to Perry



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Former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell has endorsed Rick Perry. Blackwell, as Matt Lewis noted, had helped form a super-PAC to supporter Michele Bachmann’s presidential bid back in August. 

Cain’s 9-9-9 Radio Ad



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Flat Tax Polls Better than 9-9-9



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Washington Post and ABC News have done a poll checking out whether people had a favorable or unfavorable attitude to 9-9-9 and a flat tax plan. Among Republicans, 41 percent had a favorable view of 9-9-9, while 50 percent had an unfavorable view. Poll the entire population, and the reaction is 36 percent favorable and 56 percent unfavorable. 

Regarding a flat tax system (one important distinction: Rick Perry is proposing a plan that has an optional flat tax, not a flat tax that would absolutely apply to everyone, as the poll questions seemed to suggest), 56 percent of Republicans view it favorably, while 41 percent have an unfavorable reaction. Among the population as a whole, 47 percent viewed it favorably and 48 percent viewed it unfavorably. 

Gingrich’s Fundraising Boost



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From NBC News:

While filing papers for the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, Newt Gingrich announced his campaign fundraising totals this month alone have surpassed the amount raised in the entire third quarter.

“As of today, [we] raised more money in October than we raised in the entire last quarter.  And we have more donors as of 2 days ago than we’ve had all the last quarter,” Gingrich said.

Campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond confirmed to NBC News that Gingrich “surpassed the $800,000 mark today.” According to the campaign, they have received 11,200 donations this month at an average of $75. Three out of four donors are first-time contributors.

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