Archive for December, 2011

Paul tied with Romney behind Gingrich in new Iowa poll

In a poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers, Ron Paul is now the second choice. He’s tied with Mitt Romney, right behind the GOP field’s newest front-runner Newt Gingrich. Paul and Romney have the support of 17 percent of caucus-goers, and Gingrich has 22 percent according to the poll from the American Research Group.

The surge couldn’t come at a better time for Paul. With Iowa less than three weeks away, organization is key — and Paul is more organized than his counterparts.

In the same poll, Paul leads among Independent voters. Thirty-nine percent of likely Independent caucus-goers say they support Paul. That’s 20 percent more support than the rest of the GOP field.

The margin of error for the poll is ±4 percentage points. The American Research Group, Inc. has been polling since 1985, according to its website.

Perry camp builds on ‘momentum’ in new web ad

In a new ad from Gov. Perry called "Momentum," Perry builds on what many are calling a successful debate performance Saturday night. The ad is a highlight reel of his best moments, interspersed with quotes from the Washington Post, and other media outlets. One of the clips is his argument against the health care mandate, which led to Mitt Romney offering him a $10,000 bet.

You can see the full web-only ad below.

Texas Republicans unhappy with Holder’s message

Texas Republicans had some harsh words for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ahead of his speech at the LBJ Library, tonight. Holder is expected to criticize the state legislature’s redistricting maps as well as voter identification laws passed last session.

Sen. John Cornyn released this statement about voter id:

“Voter identification laws are constitutional and necessary to prevent fraud at the ballot box.

“Facing an election challenge next year, this Administration has chosen to target efforts by the states to protect the democratic process.

“They would do well instead to focus on job creation, the economy, and reducing our national debt.”

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, meanwhile, is calling for Holder’s resignation in light of the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal. In a statement, he said:

"It is clear to everyone that the Obama Administration, specifically Attorney General Holder, has intentionally misled the American people about their knowledge of the Operation Fast and Furious gun running program that has resulted in the death of at least one American. He ought to take the honorable course – apologize to the family of the U.S. Border Patrol agent killed by his department’s malfeasance, and then resign."

Trump drops out of debate; refuses to rule out presidential run

Donald Trump announced today that he will no longer moderate a NewsMax debate in Iowa later this month. Nearly all the Republican candidates had declined the debate invitation. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman made it clear they had a personal problem with ‘The Donald.’ Others expressed concerns Trump would ultimately decide to run as an independent. Today, Trump seemed to confirm those fears.

In a statement, Trump said:

"The Republican Party candidates are very concerned that sometime after the final episode of The Apprentice, on May 20th, when the equal time provisions are no longer applicable to me, I will announce my candidacy for President of the United States as an Independent and that, unless I conclusively agree not to run as an Independent, they will not agree to attend or be a part of the NewsMax debate scheduled for December 27, 2011. It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate. Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the NewsMax debate. The American people are embarrassed by the gridlock currently taking place in Washington. I must leave all of my options open because, above all else, we must make America great again!"

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were the only two candidates scheduled to appear in the debate. It is not clear who will moderate now; or if the debate will even take place.

Perry vows to ‘tell the truth’ in new ad

Gov. Perry continues his attack on Washington in a new ad entitled "Politically Correct". He calls it "a place where double speak reigns, and truth is frowned upon." The 30 second ad will air on national TV and in Iowa.

On the Perry Campaign website, Communications Director Ray Sullivan writes "as president, he will work to break the direct links between Washington, D.C., and Wall Street, start foreign aid decisions for every country at zero, and fix social security."

You can see the ad in the video below.

Holder in Austin amid battle over new Texas voting laws

Redistricting maps hang in the balance. A law requiring certain photo identification be shown before casting a ballot is stalled. And now, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder heads to Austin to speak about the Voting Rights Act at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library.

The speech, entitled "Protecting our Democracy, Protecting the Right to Vote" will center on "the importance of ensuring equal access to the ballot box," according to a press release.

According to a draft of the speech obtained by the New York Times, Holder will tell Americans to "call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success and, instead, achieve success by appealing to more voters."

The Times writes Holder is likely to make the case for overhauls to the election system, which could include automatically registering eligible voters.

The Washington Post reports Holder will specifically go after Texas’ battle over redistricting maps and its new Voter ID law.

"With the presidential campaign heating up, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will deliver a speech Tuesday expressing concerns about the voter-identification laws, along with a Texas redistricting plan before the Supreme Court that fails to take into account the state’s burgeoning Hispanic population," the Post writes. The newspaper interviewed Holder Monday.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted a stay, requested by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop interim redistricting maps from being implemented.

YNN will be at the speech. You can read the text of the entire speech here.

Leppert in offensive drive thanks to ‘America’s Team’

U.S. Senate candidate–and former Dallas Mayor–Tom Leppert scored some endorsements from former Dallas Cowboys greats. In POLITICO’s Morning Score Tuesday, Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach and others are coming out in support of Leppert.

“As a businessman, Tom went the extra mile and made the hard calls in order to grow companies and create jobs," Aikman writes. "As mayor of Dallas, Tom helped turn around the city by making tough decisions that weren’t always popular. In the NFL we call that leadership, and it’s exactly what we need in Washington.”

Staubach, Cliff Harris, Daryl Johnston and Lee Roy Jordan are also backing Leppert.

In GOP debate, Perry doesn’t take Romney’s bet

Gov. Perry did not get a lot of talk time in Saturday’s ABC debate, but a back and forth between him and Mitt Romney is getting a lot of attention.

In an exchange over Gov. Romney’s book, Perry said Romney altered his book in its second edition, taking out a piece about individual mandates for health insurance. Perry has made the claim before.

"You’ve raised that before, Rick. And you’re simply wrong," Romney said. When Perry insisted his claim was true, Romney laughed. "Rick, I’ll, I’ll tell you what. Ten thousand bucks? Ten thousand dollar bet?" Perry replied he was not a betting man.

On Fox News Sunday yesterday, Perry capitalized on the exchange. He said it is further evidence that Gov. Romney is "out of touch."

"I was taken a little aback. I’m driving out to the station this morning," Perry said. "I’m pretty sure I didn’t drive by a house that anyone in Iowa would even think about that a $10,000 bet was possible."

You can watch Saturday night’s exchange in the video below.

SCOTUS ruling puts candidates’ districts in limbo

The Supreme Court ruling issued tonight puts a temporary stay on all three interim redistricting maps drawn up by a three judge panel in San Antonio. That means the district lines for the State House and Senate, as well as the US Congress are not finalized for the March primary. It’s not clear what repercussions this will have for candidates who have already filed in the districts laid out by the court.

Attorney General Greg Abbott issued this statement following the ruling:

"The Texas Attorney General’s Office is committed to protecting the integrity of Texas’ elections by ensuring they are conducted based on legally constructed redistricting maps, and the Supreme Court’s decision today is an important step in that direction. We look forward to presenting oral argument to the Supreme Court on January 9, 2012. We understand the need for speed for Texas voters as well as those who wish to run for office,and will work to resolve this matter as quickly as possible."

Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri issued this statement:

"The Supreme Court’s action in staying the recently drawn maps issued by the three-judge federal district court panel in San Antonio, is a clear indication that the concerns we raised last week concerning the panel’s actions, have merit. It has been the RPT’s position that the majority of the district court panel exceeded their judicial authority and attempted to usurp the rightful duties of the Texas State Legislature. It has also been our position that the maps approved by the Legislature did comply with the Voting Rights’ Act and did protect the interests of minority voters, particularly the interests of Hispanic voters in Texas. I applaud Attorney General Greg Abbott and his legal team for their quick action in appealing this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court and congratulate them for winning the first round before that court in obtaining a stay on the panel’s maps. We are hopeful that the Attorney General and his team will be able to demonstrate to the Court the necessity of throwing out the panel’s maps. Further, we hope the Court will either restore the original district lines of the Legislature, or at the very least, make revisions to the district court panel’s maps which are more in tune with the legislative intent. We do not have information at this time as to what effect, if any, the Court’s stay will have on the filing period or primary dates. As soon as we receive further instruction from the Court, we will advise the public."

As of this update, no Democrats have responded to the court ruling.

Dewhurst officially files for Senate bid

We have known for nearly a year that he planned to run, but Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is now an official candidate for US Senate. He filed his paperwork today at the Republican Part of Texas’ headquarters.

Former Solicitor General Ted Cruz and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert are Dewhurst’s main opponents for the nomination. Cruz and Leppert both filed for places on the ballot earlier this month.

Funeral Director Glenn Addision is also running for the seat.