Mitt Romney

Thomas Sowell on Tim Pawlenty

While Tim Pawlenty is being raked over the coals by commentators for declining to go after Mitt Romney on his disastrous health insurance reform bill that eventually became a blueprint for Obama, Thomas Sowell seems to like what he sees in the former Governor of Minnesota:

Tim Pawlenty cites his track record to back up his statements. That includes reducing Ethanol subsidies when he was governor of Minnesota and cutting the growth of state government spending from just over 20 percent a year to under 2 percent a year.

Governor Pawlenty fought Minnesota’s transit unions over runaway pensions and hung tough during a long strike. “Today,” he says, “we have a transit system that gives commuters a ride, without taking the taxpayers for a ride.”

Some fear that Governor Pawlenty doesn’t have the charisma and fireworks rhetoric that they would like to see in a candidate. Charisma and rhetoric are what gave us the current disastrous administration in Washington. Charisma and rhetoric gave people in other countries even bigger disasters, up to and including Hitler.

Politicians and the media may want a candidate with verbal fireworks but the people want jobs. As Tim Pawlenty put it: “Fluffy promises of hope and change don’t buy our groceries, make our mortgage payments, put gas in our cars, or pay for our children’s clothes.”

The only flaw in Sowell’s argument is that voters, including the conservative base of the Republican Party, tend to flock to candidates that build up a cult of personality.

Romney leads the pack in two new polls

In polls conducted before last night’s debate in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney appears to making gains in among voters in national polls. First up is a new survey from Gallup that shows a 7 point jump in his support, and noticible declines for former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX):

  • Mitt Romney: 24%
  • Sarah Palin: 16%
  • Herman Cain: 9%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 6%
  • Rick Santorum: 6%
  • Michele Bachmann: 5%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Gary Johnson: 2%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Rick Perry: 1%
  • Other: 1%
  • Undecided: 18%

CNN also has a new poll out, though with slightly different dynamics since they included Rudy Giuliani, who is reportedly considering a presidential bid. Unsurprisingly, the opted not to poll former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Like Gallup, the CNN poll shows Romney in the lead, though Sarah Palin is not far behind:

  • Mitt Romney: 24%
  • Sarah Palin: 20%
  • Rudy Giuliani: 12%
  • Herman Cain: 10%
  • Newt Gingrich: 10%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Michele Bachmann: 4%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Rick Santorum 1%

A review of 10 polls by Real Clear Politics shows Romney ahead by 5.2 points over the other prospective Republican candidates. As I said last week, I expect more establishment types to coalesce around his candidacy since they will increasingly view it as his “turn.”

Is Pawlenty on the rise?

Earlier today, I noted the importance of Iowa to Tim Pawlenty’s hopes to capture the Republican nomination. And we’re there is going to be a lot of emphasis on that fact over the next two months, it’s worth noting that he had an excellent week last week:

A successful economic speech, one rival’s campaign implosion and another’s decision to skip an influential Iowa straw poll have given Tim Pawlenty a very good week.

His campaign hopes to keep the momentum going, getting the traction its needs to catapult the relatively unknown former Minnesota governor into a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination.

The mass staff resignations from Newt Gingrich’s campaign, combined with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s decision to skip Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll, gives Pawlenty an opening on which his campaign could capitalize.
The Pawlenty campaign’s gameplan has always relied on seizing moments in the race to help build the Minnesotan’s image and popularity.

Pawlenty was the most immediate beneficiary of the Gingrich implosion. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), who was Gingrich’s campaign co-chairman, jumped to Pawlenty’s campaign following the mass resignations of the former Speaker’s staff.

Conservatives have also been swooning over Pawlenty after his “Better Deal” speech in Obama’s backyard, at the University of Chicago, on Tuesday. The plan, which would eliminate a number of deductions while slashing the top individual and corporate tax rates, won crucial praise from the right, whose support Pawlenty will need in the primaries.

Romney to skip Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll

With Jon Huntsman being a non-starter in the state, Newt Gingrich’s implosion and Mitt Romney announcing that he will skip the Ames Straw Poll in August, some are beginning to question Iowa’s importance in the quest for the Republican nomination in 2012, as noted by The New York Times:

For decades, Iowa has served as the official kickoff for the presidential campaign, providing the first real test for candidates hoping to win their way to the White House.

But there are signs that its influence on the nominating process could be ebbing and that the nature of the voters who tend to turn out for the Republican caucuses — a heavy concentration of evangelical Christians and ideological conservatives overlaid with parochial interests — is discouraging some candidates from competing there.
Mr. Romney’s decision, in particular, suggests that candidates who are viewed suspiciously by the state’s religious conservatives may stand little chance there. Mr. Romney, who was once a pro-choice governor and passed a health care plan that served as the inspiration for President Obama’s, has struggled in Iowa for years.

Some of the state’s Republicans had already been wringing their hands about the outsize influence of the state’s religious conservatives.

“If Iowa becomes some extraneous right-wing outpost, you have to question whether it is going to be a good place to vet your presidential candidates,” Doug Gross, a Republican activist from Iowa, told The New York Times this year.

Weekly Standard: Rudy Giuliani is running for president

Over at the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol reports that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination:

I’m told by two reliable sources that Rudy Giuliani intends to run for the GOP nomination for president in 2012. He may throw his hat in the ring soon.

Rudy’s theory of the race: In the fall of 2007, he decided he couldn’t compete with both Mitt Romney and John McCain in New Hampshire, and disastrously decided to try to pull back there and pitch his tent in Florida. This year, he’ll commit everything to New Hampshire, where he thinks he has a good shot at beating Romney—whom he criticized there earlier this week. He then thinks he can beat whichever more socially conservative candidate(s) is left by winning what are still likely to be winner-take-all primaries in big states like California, New York, and New Jersey.

Rudy’s message: I’m tough enough to put our fiscal house in order and to protect us from enemies abroad. The U.S. in 2012 is in bad shape—like New York in 1993. The budget crisis is as severe—and seemingly intractable—as the crime/welfare crisis was in New York then. Rudy dealt with that when people said it couldn’t be done. He’ll deal with this.

Mitt Romney leads Obama, GOP pack in South Carolina

Despite being ripped yesterday by the Club for Growth - and justifiably so, in my opinion - for his many inconsistencies on economic issues, it’s been a good last week or so for Mitt Romney. It seems that Republicans are beginning to come to his candidacy after other establishment candidacies either never came to be (Barbour, Daniels) haven’t gained traction (Gingrich, Huntsman and Pawlenty) and he is beginning to lineup important donors for his quest to the GOP presidential nomination.

What’s more, Romney is now able to boast that he is the only candidate that can beat Barack Obama; at least according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll (emphasis mine):

Romney appears formidable: In a general-election trial heat in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll he runs evenly with Barack Obama among all Americans, and numerically outpoints him, 49-46 percent, among registered voters — not a statistically significant lead, given sampling error, but a clear reflection of Obama’s vulnerability to a well-positioned challenger.

Romney, though, is the only Republican to run that well; Obama leads all other potential opponents tested in this poll — Palin, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman. Palin fares worst, trailing Obama by 17 points among all adults, 15 points among registered voters.

Club for Growth on Mitt Romney (you’re gonna want to read this one, folks)

Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. They’ve already looked into the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain. Next up is Mitt Romney; and it ain’t pretty.

The Club for Growth, which has received some good press on this release, points out that Romney has had a mixed record on taxes, supporting “fee” hikes, closing tax “loopholes” and tax hikes on businesses as Governor of Massachusetts. However, they do note some positives; such as unsuccessful proposals to cut the state’s income tax and a successful one-year rebate on the capital gains tax; certainly not an easy feat with a Democratic legislature.

But ulitmately, the Club concludes that Romney has been inconsistent on taxes; noting that while he supports keeping the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, he has also opposed pro-growth reforms:

Ron Paul’s latest money bomb brings in another $1+ million

According to his campaign website, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) raised over $1.1 million in the June 5th money bomb. An impressive showing for what I believe is Paul’s second million dollar fundraising event of his campaign.

Paul’s team decided to took a shot at Mitt Romney, who is generally seen as the frontrunner of the Republican field, as the theme of the money bomb; the “rEVOLution vs. RomneyCare.” Paul’s staff noted Romney’s fundraising success since he was able to secure $10 million in commitments during a “call-a-thon.”

Paul money bomb

Whatever, they’re doing on the fundraising side, they’re doing it right. Let’s just hope that that successful translates into votes.

Gary Johnson excluded from CNN debate

CNN and a couple of New Hampshire news outlets will be hosting a debate for Republican presidential hopefuls on Monday, June 13th. Unfortunately, Gary Johnson, who served two terms as Governor of New Mexico, is being excluded; according to a blog post on his campaign’s website on Friday:

CNN, WMUR, and the New Hampshire Union Leader will host a presidential debate on Monday, June 13th in Manchester. Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, and Ron Paul will participate. In addition, unannounced candidates Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum will also take part.

Gary Johnson, however, will not participate. Why? Because he wasn’t invited.

This morning, we learned along with the rest of world that CNN and the other debate sponsors have decided to exclude Governor Johnson from sharing your voice in the debate.
In the latest Gallup poll, released one week ago, Governor Johnson’s level of support registered at 3% nationally. This is competitive with candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum, both of whom have been invited to participate. In fact, I’m not aware of a poll in which Mr. Santorum has out-polled Governor Johnson nationally.

We first heard about this debate from numerous supporters in New Hampshire excited to see Governor Johnson take part. Those supporters assumed that Governor Johnson was invited.

Romney officially announces presidential bid

Mitt Romney made it official yesterday in Stratham, New Hampshire. He’s running for the Republican nomination for president:

Mitt Romney officially stepped into the 2012 presidential race here Thursday by casting himself as the one Republican with the skills to heal the ailing U.S. economy and rein in Washington’s runaway spending.

The former Massachusetts governor, betting that a pitch focused tightly on the economy will resonate with a broad swath of voters, kicked off his second presidential campaign by trumpeting his record as a turnaround specialist in business and as head of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Romney also unleashed a broadside against President Obama, charging that he “has failed America.”

“Turning around a crisis takes experience and bold action,” Romney said. “For millions of Americans, the economy is in crisis today, and unless we change course it will be a crisis for all of us tomorrow.”
“I am Mitt Romney, I believe in America, and I’m running for president of the United States,” he said, with a 250-year-old white barn and American flags behind him.

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