Eight of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination will square off tonight at the Reagan Library in California. It’s Rick Perry’s first formal debate since joining the field of candidates. All eyes will be on him as he tries to live up to the hype.
What to watch for:
- Ron Paul and Mitt Romney may try to go after Perry on various issues, including support for Al Gore and HillaryCare. Romney may raise concerns with Perry’s electability and criticize his positions on entitlements and immigration.
- Jon Huntsman, who was invited to the debate despite very low poll numbers, may also try to distinguish with Romney on jobs; as he has done with his new ad.
- We’ll see what Michele Bachmann does to try to reestablish her relevance in the race since Perry has and largely stolen her thunder.
We’ve got a shake up in the power rankings this week. With all the polls that have come out in the last week showing Rick Perry really on the way up and Mitt Romney falling back, it doesn’t make much sense keep Romney at the top of the pack. There are different scenarios being talked about now due to the GOP primary calendar still not entirely into place. With that said, a new AP shows that more Republicans are satisfied with the field of candidates and it’s becoming clearer that should Sarah Palin run and win the nomination, that it would be nothing short of a disaster for the GOP.
Rick Perry (): I hinted last week that it was only a matter of time before Perry overtook Romney in our weekly update. In addition to the Rasmussen poll released nearly two weeks ago showing Perry with a double-digit lead in the race for the GOP nomination, Gallup and Public Policy Polling have released numbers showing similar results. Perry is the frontrunner at this point. If he keeps this momentum and wins Iowa and South Carolina early next year, Perry will be the likely nominee.
The race for the GOP nomination for president has really heated up, but there are rumblings that Rep. Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin may be preparing to jump in, candidacies that would dramatically shake up the field. But at least right now, it seems like this is a three way race for the nomination between Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. Polls seem to bear out that conclusion as well, though no one seems to really be the frontrunner.
Here is a look at the current power rankings in the GOP field (and yes, we’ve excluded Thad McCotter on purpose):
Mitt Romney (): If there was ever a question that Romney was on shaky ground as the frontrunner in the GOP field, it has been answered with Rick Perry. That being said, only one poll shows Romney down to Perry; so it’s far too early to say that that Romney has no path to the nomination. Romney still has plenty of arguments for Republicans to get behind him, including that he is the only candidate in the field that really challenges President Obama. However, the worst thing that could happen to Romney would be a Paul Ryan candidacy.
So what do we make of the Republican field after the Ames Straw Poll? It’s a good question, but there are a couple of factors that need to play out; including decisions by Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom could change the face of the race.
I’ve been waiting for Ames to come and go since I anticipated the landscape to change, and it did with Tim Pawlenty’s exit (though I expected Rick Santorum to be out the door first) so I could give some power rankings for the candidates; something I hope to do at least every two weeks from now until the end.
Mitt Romney (even): As far as it goes, Romney is the guy to beat right now. Yes, he is going to have some problems to contend, including continued hits on RomneyCare and frequent position changes. He is, however, the establishment’s candidate. Romney also needs to be careful what he says on the trail, at least limit his points to easily explainable soundbytes. In other words, don’t say “corporations are people,” an accurate statement, but needs explaining to make sense.
Rick Perry (): I’ve already touched on Perry’s campaign today, so I’ll be brief here. Electability in a general election are a question, but there is little doubt that Perry brings a formidable challenge to Romney’s bid for the presidency.
The results are in from the Ames Straw Poll, where several thousand Republicans cast ballots for their favorite GOP candidate. The results may be somewhat surprising given how in the run up to the poll many observers seemed to be writing it off and debating whether it meant anything since Ron Paul seemed to be poised for a strong showing and Mitt Romney had not paid much attention to Iowa.
Well, he had a strong showing, but finished 152 votes behind Michele Bachmann, an Iowa native, in arguably the most important event in the GOP race thus far.
- Michele Bachmann: 28.55% (4823 votes)
- Ron Paul: 27.65% (4671 votes)
- Tim Pawlenty: 13.57% (2293 votes)
- Rick Santorum: 9.81% (1657 votes)
- Herman Cain: 8.62% (1456 votes)
- Rick Perry: 3.62% (718 votes) write-in
- Mitt Romney: 3.36% (567 votes)
- Newt Gingrich: 2.28% (385 votes)
- Jon Huntsman: 0.41% (69 votes)
- Thad McCotter: 0.21% (35 votes)
- Other: 0.96% (162 votes)
The results are obviously good news for Bachmann. Paul’s showing was still very strong, despite finishing second. Pawlenty built off of a better debate performance on Thursday to finish third. Santorum finished ahead of Cain, who is effectively a non-factor in the race at this point.
After serving almost 24 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Ron Paul told The Facts this morning he will not be seeking another term for the District 14 seat.
Paul, 75, will instead focus on his quest for the presidency in 2012.
“I felt it was better that I concentrate on one election,” Paul said. “It’s about that time when I should change tactics.”
His announcement will give enough time for anyone with aspirations for his seat to think about running, he said. Paul didn’t want to wait for filing in the 2012 primary to let people know he wasn’t seeking reelection.
“I didn’t want to hold off until in December,” he said. “I thought it shouldn’t be any later than now.”
Paul has served 12 terms in Congress. District 14 encompasses a 10-county area along the Gulf Coast.
I saw a few people mention on Twitter that he isn’t running his district was split during reapportionment. I haven’t followed the redistricting process in Texas, so have no idea if that’s true or not (and I haven’t had time to dive into those details). A friend close to the campaign tells me that this insinuation is false. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if that turned out to be the case considering that national Republicans, including then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, targeted him in the past during primaries.
While I don’t always agree with Dr. Paul, I’m sad and disappointed to see his congressional career come to an end. He is a tireless voice for liberty and free markets and that is sorely needed in Congress.
For the last two weeks the media has gorged on a non-stop litany of stories concerning the single most important issue facing our nation. Would that be the “unexpected” reports of almost non-existent private sector job growth and an economy that, despite Obama’s reassurances, may be on the brink of a double-dip recession? No. Is it Obama’s violation of the War Powers Act with our continued “kinetic military action” in Libya? Nuh-uh. Maybe it’s Sixth Circuit’s review of the ObamaCare case (nope) or the Federal Reserve’s warning that the political body must act responsibly in order to stave off an economic collapse? Wrong again.
Based on the 24-hour saturation in the news cycle and the sheer number of stories written and aired, clearly the most important issue facing our nation is that a skinny New Yorker with an incredibly overinflated sense of his own worth had to finally admit, after days of vehement protests to the contrary, that it was indeed he who sent the lewd photographs of his genitalia, as well as sexually charged and explicit texts, to college-aged women. These women, who include a porn star, are young enough to be his daughters.
And so unravels the scandal of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), possibly the most obnoxious and arrogant member of Congress now that former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) was defeated in the last election. Weiner, considered a rising star in the Democrat Party and a likely candidate to be the next mayor of New York, instead is tearfully admitting to the nation his indiscretions which have been going on for several years, and with at least a half dozen women. Watching his fall from glory, a Brooklyn-born Icarus plummeting towards earth, the proverbial wax of his wings melted by his own flaming ego, it is hard not to feel just a little sorry for him…at least until you remember that these indiscretions occurred both before and after his marriage to his wife Huma, who is now pregnant.
If you were able to sit through the entire debate, I think you deserve an award. Seriously, that was rough. There wasn’t much in the way of substantive answers. And outside of Rep. Ron Paul, who is focusing his message on monetary policy and non-interventionist foreign policy, no one really seemed to want to separate themselves from the pack last night. There was a lot of agreement and no fireworks.
CNN’s John King, who served as the debate’s moderator, did a terrible job. He spent most of the evening utting “uh huh” behind the answers given by each question. Just before commercial breaks he asked candidates if they preferred “Conan or Leno,” “Elvis or Johnny Cash” and “Coke or Pepsi.” CNN will be hosting a Tea Party debate on September 12th, let’s hope they workout the kinks between now and then.
Michele Bachmann: Even though she contradicted herself on a couple of occasions - for example, saying that she wouldn’t interfere with state marriage laws, but yet supports a Federal Marriage Amendment; Bachmann, who used the debate as an opportunity to announce her candidacy, actually came across fairly well as far as communicating her message. I’d say she was in top three debate “winners.” By the way, Bachmann’s House seat seems to be up in the air. If she’s actively running for president, she can’t run for re-election. However, she has until June 2012 to make a decision.
We’ll be covering the debate sponsored this evening by CNN, WMUR and the Manchester Union Leader beginning at 7:30pm. The candidates participating this evening are Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Rick Santorum.
Gary Johnson, who served two-terms as Governor of New Mexico, was not invited to the debate even though he met CNN’s criteria.
And before you watch the debate for tonight, here is some suggested reading: Dave Weigel has a report from the Granite State, AmSpec’s Jim Antle has a few quick thoughts on each candidate, The Hill offers five things for us to watch for this evening and a preview of tonight’s debate from The New York Times.
Does Newt Gingrich know what he believes? It’s a serious question. The guy that is often seen as a leading intellectual behind the conservative movement and is hoping to be the Republican presidential nominee is sure making some big mistakes in his first week as a candidate.
Over the weekend, Gingrich slammed the budget plan presented by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for “right-wing social engineering”:
Newt Gingrich’s appearance on “Meet the Press” today could leave some wondering which party’s nomination he is running for. The former speaker had some harsh words for Paul Ryan’s (and by extension, nearly every House Republican’s) plan to reform Medicare, calling it “radical.”
“I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” he said when asked about Ryan’s plan to transition to a “premium support” model for Medicare. “I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.”
As far as an alternative, Gingrich trotted out the same appeal employed by Obama/Reid/Pelosi — for a “national conversation” on how to “improve” Medicare, and promised to eliminate ‘waste, fraud and abuse,’ etc.
“I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options,” Gingrich said. Ryan’s plan was simply “too big a jump.”