Tags: John Thune

Has Romney Decided? Watch the Campaign Plane.


Matt Drudge is a master of finding the intriguing comment buried in an article and . . . extrapolating big things.

The New York Times, in a profile of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, wrote: “His fate is in the hands of Mr. Romney, a rival-turned-friend, who is on the cusp of announcing his vice-presidential selection. Mr. Romney has reached a decision, his friends believe, and he may disclose it as soon as this week.”

What makes these Romney friends believe he has made a decision? No word.

The Drudge headline: “HE’S MADE HIS DECISION!”

. . . Well, maybe. Or maybe the unidentified Romney friends are drawing the wrong conclusions from whatever they see/hear/sense in their friend.

It does seem plausible that Romney would be close to a decision.

RealClearPolitics concluded a few weeks ago that the officeholders getting the most work as campaign surrogates included Pawlenty, Ohio senator Rob Portman, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. (In the weeks that followed, New Hampshire’s Sen. Kelly Ayotte seems to be getting more work as a Romney surrogate.) There were reports that Florida senator Marco Rubio was not being vetted, and then Romney said in an interview that he was indeed being vetted. The big news this morning is that South Dakota senator John Thune said he has “been to Boston to meet Romney’s senior advisers and has met Beth Myers, who is leading the search for the vice presidential nominee.”

So, barring some surprise, completely under-the-radar choice, the list is (in alphabetical order) Ayotte, Jindal, Pawlenty, Portman, Ryan, Rubio and Thune. (A top Romney source already told Bob Costa it’s “not Condi” Rice.)

The Olympics’ opening ceremony is July 27, and London-related headlines are likely to dominate the following weeks. Mid-August is traditionally America’s vacation time. And then there’s the August 27 deadline. So there’s a short window to announce in the coming two weeks, or sometime after the Olympics end August 12.

My suggestion? Keep your eyes on Romney’s campaign plane at night.

Tags: Bobby Jindal , John Thune , Marco Rubio , Mitt Romney , Paul Ryan , Rob Portman , Tim Pawlenty

Talking Thune, Pawlenty, Romney, and Daniels on MSNBC


In the unlikely case you can’t get enough of me, here’s my appearance on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown this morning:

If you still need to see even more of me after watching it, seek medical attention immediately.

Tags: John Thune , Something Lighter

Sen. John Thune NOT Running for President


John Thune will NOT be running for president.

For months now, my wife Kimberley and I have received encouragement from family, friends, colleagues, and supporters from across South Dakota and the country to run for the presidency of the United States. We have appreciated hearing their concerns about where the country is headed and their hopes for a new direction.

During this time, Kimberley and I and our two daughters have given a great deal of thought to how we might best serve South Dakota and our nation. That process has involved lots of prayer.Along the way, we have been reminded of the importance of being in the arena, of being in the fight. And make no mistake that during this period of fiscal crisis and economic uncertainty there is a fight for the future direction of America.

There is a battle to be waged over what kind of country we are going to leave our children and grandchildren and that battle is happening now in Washington, not two years from now. So at this time, I feel that I am best positioned to fight for America’s future here in the trenches of the United States Senate.

Tags: John Thune

Why Would a Little-Known Senator Be Polling S.C. Already?


This report, that South Dakota senator John Thune or friends or supporters of his are conducting polling in South Carolina, is intriguing, but I wonder why a senator who isn’t well-known would bother conducting polling at this point. How surprising could the survey results be? Conservatives who follow politics closely probably have heard of Thune, and have generally positive feelings about him, and it’s likely that many Palmetto State Republicans have barely heard of him, or don’t know much about him.

If a Republican aspires to build his name recognition in states with early primaries, there are two ways to do this. The traditional way is to travel there and give speeches; a less common method is to accomplish goals that please conservatives across the country.

Tags: John Thune

Where Are the Aspiring GOP Presidents on the Tax Deal?


A reader writes in:

Question: What do Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, and Rick Santorum have in common?

Answer: Apparently, all have been moved to a secure undisclosed location since the announcement Monday night of Barack Obama’s so-called “compromise” tax deal. Not a peep has been heard from any Republican supposedly considering a run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. For more than sixty hours, they have remained silent.

Note to would-be leaders: The first one to go public in opposition to this “deal” is going to be on wall-to-wall cable TV, and — given that Tea Party leaders have announced their opposition to the “deal” — will earn major street cred with some voter groups that are going to have something to say about the 2012 nomination you seek.

In shorter, sweeter terms: If you want to be a leader . . . lead.

The reader isn’t quite right. I notice that on Twitter, Palin has retweeted a link to an interview by Sen. Jim DeMint expressing skepticism of the deal, and a comment from Jedediah Bila, saying, “Thank you, @JimDeMint - DeMint comes out against tax deal, says GOP must do ‘better than this’ - .’ That’s not explicit opposition, but certainly seems to lean that way.

John Thune said he has some concerns, but said on Hannity there’s a lot to like for Republicans in the deal:

I see nothing about this issue yet on the site for Romney’s PAC, nothing on, nothing on the site for Tim Pawlenty’s PAC, nothing on Huckabee’s site, or Santorum’s site.

Having said that, keep in mind that only Thune actually as a vote on this. And if these aspiring GOP figures like the deal, they may calculate that the endorsement of several aspiring Republican presidents might be enough to drive Democrats away from it . . .

UPDATE: This comment from Huckabee on Twitter today suggests he supports the deal: “If House Democrats end up blocking this tax deal – it proves AGAIN, they just don’t get it. Hurry up January.”

Tags: Haley Barbour , John Thune , Mike Huckabee , Mitch Daniels , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum , Sarah Palin , Tim Pawlenty

Barbour, Thune, Shuler, and Boren Meet the NRA


Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi, achieved a rare balance in his address at the NRA convention today. His speech concentrated on telling the crowd to stay focused on 2010 while he sounded very much like a 2012 candidate.

While he included the almost-standard hunting stories, he veered pretty far into economic topics of taxes and spending, and delivered lines that would be catnip at any Tea Party rally: “The Constitution set up a government that is a limited government . . . It’s not just anything that you can get a majority to vote for.”

When Barbour referred to being chairman of the RNC during the victories in 1994, a member of the audience yelled out, “Let’s do it again!,” triggering a round of applause. Barbour noted that “the political environment for conservatives and Republicans in spring of 2010 is better than it was in 1994. That’s just a fact . . . We can’t wait for 2012 to start taking our country back.” Barbour quoted FedEx CEO Fred Smith that ”the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing,” and explained that for gun owners and conservatives, the 2010 elections ought to be the main thing. “The most powerful weapon in American politics is when you say to someone who respects you, ‘I’m voting for this candidate.’ It’s more powerful than any TV ad or anything that comes in the mail.”

He was followed by a guy who looks the part of a presidential candidate, South Dakota senator John Thune. His speech was less rah-rah; he noted recent successes in the Senate for gun owners on the District of Columbia, national parks, and Amtrak trains, and addressed the seeming contradiction: “How can we have this success when we have the most liberal President in history and the most liberal Congress in history? The answer is people like you.” He, too, made a pitch for November being a choice between “more government and less freedom” and “more freedom and less government.”

Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat, avoided much reference to his party, beyond “whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, one of the most important things we can do is protect our Second Amendment rights.” Instead, he turned the folksiness up to 11, talked about how his first piece of advice as a candidate was his father telling him to always stand for hunters, and said he was departing early to make his son’s ninth birthday.

Former Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell wowed the crowd moments ago: “The phrase ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’ is the way the Founders could say, ‘Any knucklehead should be able to understand this.’”

The second in-person Democrat to address the audience, Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, was introduced by the NRA’s Chris Cox as the right kind of Democrat: “As a Democrat, he’s an important ally reaching out on his side of the aisle. He’s not afraid to stand up to Nancy Pelosi. He said no to cap and trade, no to health care, and hell no to gun control.”

Of course, his first vote every two years is to make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House.

UPDATE: I mentioned earlier today that the NRA was still reviewing the Florida Senate race. Take a look at what just arrived in my e-mailbox:

As he looks forward to attending the Southern Classic Gun And Knife Show in Orlando on Saturday, U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio today announced his campaign’s 2nd Amendment Coalition.  Comprised of Florida’s most respected and ardent defenders of the Second Amendment, this committee will serve to advise Rubio and educate Floridians about his strong record of protecting this constitutional right. 

“The Second Amendment is a cornerstone of our democracy, and its protection is essential for the safety of our citizens,” said Rubio.  “I am honored to have the support of Florida’s most respected proponents and defenders of the Second Amendment, whose counsel I trust on this important issue.  I look forward to working with them to ensure all Floridians know where I stand on protecting the right to bear arms that our Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution.”

“Marco Rubio is a friend of all who believe the Second Amendment guarantees our citizens the constitutional right to bear arms,” said Bill Bunting the coalition’s chairman. “Marco Rubio has a strong Second Amendment record, one that should give Floridians complete assurance that he will continue to stand up for this constitutional right in the U.S. Senate.  We are proud to stand with him and will work tirelessly to ensure his strong Second Amendment record is clear to all Floridians.”

Members Of The Marco Rubio For U.S. Senate 2nd Amendment Coalition Charlie Amaral (Pasco), Chairman, Friends of the NRA, West Pasco County Dennis Baxley (Marion), Former Speaker Pro Tempore of the Florida House, NRA Defender of Freedom Award Winner, Author of the “Castle Doctrine” legislation Victor Bean (Okaloosa), Southern Classic Gun and Knife Shows Charlie Berrane (Miami), Charlie’s Armory Bill Bunting (Pasco County), Certified NRA Instructor for Concealed Weapons Permits John DiGaetano (Pasco), President, 2nd Amendment Club of AmericaBruce Dow (Dade City), Dow’s Arm RoomTed Everett (Washington) Hard Labor Creek PlantationFitzhugh K. Powell Sr. (NE Florida), Chairman, Scottish Rite Masonic Fraternity, State of Florida; Chairman, Public Education and Citizenship of the state of Florida Mike Jones (Pasco), Patron Member of the NRA, Past Chairman and Co- Chair of the Friends of NRA Senator Steve Oelrich (North Central Florida) Frank Reinstine, Jr. (Jacksonville), President, Jacksonville Skeet and Trap Club Ron Shultz (Lakeland), Member, Lakeland Rifle and Pistol Club Laurie Townsend (Palm Beach), President, Sun Coast Gun Shows Representative Charles Van Zant (Keystone Heights)In addition, over 500 grassroots 2nd amendment supporters are standing with Marco Rubio on Facebook, a group administered by Brent Shryock of Jacksonville.

Tags: Dan Boren , Haley Barbour , Heath Shuler , John Thune , Ken Blackwell

Gunning It


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In past years, some cities have faced a bit of controversy about hosting the National Rifle Association’s annual convention. Of course, those who hesitate cut off their noses to spite their wallets: “Organizers say they expect at least 70,000 visitors. Hotels are booked, restaurants will be packed, and the entire event is expected to pump $20 million into the local economy.” So far, from the crowds I’ve seen in the neighborhood around the convention center, it’s younger than you might picture — a lot of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, I suspect — and more women than you might expect. I’m told some folks make this their family vacations.

Cam had told me it was a big event, but the scope of it is really expansive; more than 500 booths with every possible product, service, and business relating to firearms, hunting, and personal protection. If you’re not a diehard gun guy, the sheer volume and variety of firearms and related equipment at the NRA convention is jaw-dropping. For example, there are booths for African Elephant Hair Bracelets, “The Concealment Shop,” Hillsdale College, and the “North South Skirmish Association,” booths dedicated entirely to “custom-fit hearing protection,” booths devoted entirely to binoculars, safaris to every corner of the world imaginable, and of course, an NRA Wine Club. (Perhaps you’re looking for a vintage of a higher caliber.)

While I’m not a diehard gun guy, I am a diehard 24 guy, and tomorrow in Booth 701 I can check out the model that is Jack Bauer’s gun, the Sig Sauer P229. I suspect each time you fire it, a voice shouts, “Who do you work for?” and the round tortures answers out of your target.

Sarah Palin is the headline speaker tomorrow; and no, she’s not taking a fee for this address. The other current and former GOP officials who are speaking — and whose appearance gives off a whiff of 2012 ambitions — include Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who appears Sunday. As far as I can tell, Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat, is the lone representative of his party speaking. Sean Hannity was also scheduled to speak this weekend but had to cancel at the last minute; fellow Fox News host Glenn Beck will appear in his place.

By the way, for those mainstream-media folks looking for a quick and easy way to demonize all conventiongoers and NRA members as dangerous insurrectionists, an ad in the program for the new Benelli Vinci 12-gauge shotgun shows a masked man in camouflage holding the product beneath the slogan “LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN.” Of course, they pretty obviously mean a revolution in their product, and the ad print says “the new Benelli Vinci places the shotgun revolution in your hands.” But the facts have never meant much to those determined to paint gun owners as dangerous extremists, so I wanted to give you a heads-up on the next smear coming down the pike. The guy’s eyes look like they could belong to Texas governor Rick Perry, anyway.

Ironically, Charlotte is going to use its performance hosting this convention to help bolster its bid to host another big convention, a perhaps ironic subsequent event: the Democratic National Convention in 2012. Maybe Wayne LaPierre will leave a note at the convention center podium for President Obama.

Tags: Haley Barbour , John Thune , Mike Pence , Newt Gingrich , NRA Convention , Sarah Palin

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