GOP hopefuls will square off tonight for the second time in a week, this time at a debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express in Tampa, Florida. We’re likely to see fireworks similar to what we saw on Thursday. Rick Perry, who is considered to be the frontrunner, will no doubt be a target again by Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Michele Bachmann join the parade. President Barack Obama is sure to take criticism, and rightly so, over his latest stimulus gimmick.
Before we dive into the power rankings, here is a look at the latest polling in the race.
Rick Perry (even): Perry has become a punching bag for other candidates near the front of the race. Romney is knocking him over Social Security, Paul is taking him to task for being a former Democrat that backed Al Gore and supported HillaryCare and a pro-Bachmann group plans to run ads against him over immigration. Polls indicate that he is still the frontrunner, but he needs to improve in debates and hope at the ramp up attacks don’t stick.
In case you weren’t able to catch it last night, here is the full video of the Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. You’ll notice that the debate was centered around Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, not surprising since the race is largely between the two of them right now.
While Perry and Romney sparred and the former also took heat for laying the blueprint for ObamaCare, they came out of the debate OK. This was also Jon Huntsman’s best debate performance, to the point that I’d say he was a winner (and I’m not a fan of the guy, though his tax reform plan is very good). And as much I hate to say it, Ron Paul came off very bad last night; not that he is a good debater anyway. Michele Bachmann, who was barely noticed, and everyone else were just window dressing.
You can read a fact-check of the debate here.
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.
As Jason noted earlier, the results are in — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has handily taken top honors in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll, edging out Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and obliterating former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Bachmann became the first woman in history to win the straw poll in the home of America’s first caucus, according to the National Journal.
Aside from the various problems with straw polls in a general sense, and how poorly the Ames Straw Poll serves as an indicator of eventual primary winners (note: the CPAC straw poll has the same problem), what does this really mean? Probably not much at all.
But that hasn’t stopped the editorial board at USA Today from getting their digs in while they can.
They editorialize, opining the attention “fringe candidates” receive in Iowa:
Of the candidates actively participating this year, only Pawlenty has any kind of background of centrism, and he has taken a right turn since announcing his candidacy. Much of the attention will be on Bachmann, who has been doing well in recent Iowa polls, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the darling of libertarians.
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.
I’m often told by conservatives that in 2012, they would support literally anyone but Obama. The basic suggestion is that Obama is so terrible, that a sack of oats would do a better job (Oats/Barley 2012!). By not pledging my undying support for whomever the GOP nominates, then, I am in effect endorsing Obama. Of course, many of these conservatives would change their tune if it were Ron Paul against Obama, but that’s not the important fact here. What matters is the idea that any of the primary candidates would be better than the incumbent.
One of these wannabes is Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota. While governor, Pawlenty established a fairly decent record. There are a number of things that make him preferable in my eyes to his principle opponent, Mitt Romney. Leaving aside his often infuriating pandering to social conservatives, Pawlenty, at least up to this point, has been one of the few mainstream candidates that I could find myself able to support.
But some comments he made on Tuesday have caused me to seriously question this position. In speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, Pawlenty continued what has become a very alarming tendency to embrace the same reckless hawkishness that many conservatives have found themselves criticizing in Obama. Perhaps the most troubling quote from the speech is the suggestion that he would only consult Congress as a “courtesy” when engaging in war overseas. This is a position that makes him even more dangerous than Bush or Obama.