Archive for December, 2011

Perry courting Cain supporters, Paul likens other politicians to shih tzus

With Herman Cain out of the race, Gov. Rick Perry is hoping some of his support will swing his way. In a letter to supporters on the ‘donate’ page on his website, Perry praised Cain as someone whose "appeal was that of a Washington outsider – someone not beholden to the entrenched Beltway interests, and who hasn’t spent his life cutting deals at the expense of conservative principles." Perry says with the Iowa Caucuses just about a month away, he is "truly the only Washington outsider left in the race." Cain has also said he plans to endorse one of the remaining candidates, which could be a boost to Perry’s campaign.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ron Paul is releasing his newest television ad he is calling "Big Dog." The issues-centric ad will start airing today in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first caucus and primary will be held in January. The :30 second asks "What’s up with these sorry politicians? Lots of bark, but when it’s showtime, whimpering like little shih tzus." The ad goes on to talk about Paul’s plan to cut $1 trillion from the federal budget and his proposal to eliminate five government agencies.

Gingrich soars to first place in Iowa Poll, Paul sitting in second

With exactly one month until the Iowa caucus, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is skyrocketing to the top of a new highly anticipated Des Moines Register poll, with 25 percent of likely Republican voter support. That number is substantial, considering Gingrigh stood at 7 percent in the last Iowa poll, which was conducted between October 23-26.

The newest poll is also good news for Texas Congressman Ron Paul who has risen to a solid second place, with 18 percent. Paul National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton issued a statement Saturday evening, saying:

“The rise of Congressman Paul’s poll numbers reflects our hopes for strong, steady growth minus the media- and pundit-influenced volatility other candidates suffer. We want to continue growing our support base incrementally and maintain the faith and trust voters put in us as they carry us toward a respectable caucus finish.”

The poll shows former frontrunner Mitt Romney falling to third place, with 16 percent. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and no-longer-candidate Herman Cain are tied at 8 percent.

Support for Gov. Rick Perry continues to fade. He is currently in a two way tie for fifth place with Rick Santorum. His freefall doesn’t seem to be slowing despite a major ad blitz in the state, including a new faith focused ad released, yesterday. Later this month, more than 600 Texans will head to Iowa to help drum up support for the Governor.

Paul expects ‘circus like atmosphere’ at Trump debate

Rep. Ron Paul says he will not take part in a December GOP Debate in Iowa and it is because of the choice of moderator. It seems Paul hasn’t forgiven Donald Trump for backing out of a keynote speech at a fundraising dinner hosted by the Manhattan County GOP in Iowa earlier this year. Gov. Rick Perry ultimately took his place.

In an email statement sent Saturday, Paul’s campaign called Trump’s selection “wildly inappropriate because of his record of toying with the serious decision of whether to compete for our nation’s highest office, a decision he appeared to make frivolously.” Spokesman Gary Howard blamed Trump for costing the Republican Party of Iowa fundraising money and causing embarrassment when it had to offer refunds.

The Paul campaign is also questioning the legitimacy of the debate. In his statement, Howard said, “Mr. Trump’s participation as moderator will distract from questions and answers concerning important issues such as the national economy, crushing federal government debt, the role of the federal government, foreign policy, and the like. To be sure, Mr. Trump’s participation will contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere.”

Trump responded to Paul’s comments with a jab of his own. He told CNN “As I said in the past and will reiterate again, Ron Paul has a zero chance of winning either the nomination or the Presidency. My poll numbers were substantially higher than any of his poll numbers, at any time, and when I decided not to run, due to the equal time provisions concerning my hit show The Apprentice, I was leading the Republican field."

Candidate Jon Huntsman also declined the invitation because of Trump’s participation. In an email to Business Insider, Huntsman campaign spokesman Tim Miller didn’t hide his disdain, saying “Lol. We look forward to watching Mitt and Newt suck-up to The Donald with a big bowl of popcorn,"

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was non-committal when asked if he would attend, saying there were more than a dozen debates scheduled, and he hadn’t made a decision yet.

Texas GOP presidential candidates react to Cain announcement

Gov. Rick Perry issued this statement on Cain’s decision to suspend his presidential campaign:

"I know this was a difficult decision for Herman Cain, his family and his supporters. He helped invigorate conservative voters and our nation with a discussion of major tax reform. Anita and I wish him and his entire family all the best."

Here is Rep. Ron Paul’s statement:

“Herman Cain brought energy and enthusiasm to the Republican nominating process, as well as a unique perspective on many domestic issues important to voters such as tax code reform and a pro-growth agenda favorable to the private sector.

“In light of his suspension of campaign activities, I want to wish Herman success in his future endeavors.”

Herman Cain’s Plan B: offer endorsement

Before a list of women came forward alleging past relationships with Herman Cain, the former Republican presidential candidate’s message centered on 9-9-9 – his plan to overhaul the current tax system.

Over the past several weeks, Cain has had to instead shift the conversation to his personal life and defend accusations of sexual harassment and one of a 13-year extramarital affair.

In his remarks Saturday afternoon in Atlanta, Cain told a crowd of stanch supporters while he "is at peace with God; at peace with his wife and most importantly, at peace with himself," he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The audience there was none too happy.

Cain cited the strain the accusations have put on his family, primarily his wife Gloria; the pain it’s caused her.

With that declaration, Cain vowed to stay relevant in discussing the issues affecting our country and continue to be a "voice for the people." That includes keeping 9-9-9 alive.

It was his next statement that peaked the interest of his now-former GOP contenders. As part of his "Plan B," Cain would be endorsing a candidate for president. He immediately ruled out the current Commander and Chief.

Within moments of Cain leaving the stage, CNN was reading a statement Michelle Bachmann had issued acknowledging Herman’s tough decision to leave the race and wished he and his family the best.

Cain can expect several more public statements, like Bachmann’s, to follow from the seven GOP candidates who remain.

Can the Cain campaign survive?

Word of a major announcement from Herman Cain is stirring speculation he will drop out of the presidential race, tomorrow. In a speech to supporters in South Carolina today, Cain said he would "clarify exactly what the next steps are" for his struggling campaign during a speech in his home state of Georgia. The announcement will come one day after a new Des Moines register poll that shows Cain’s poll numbers nosediving into single digits

The Washington Post is reporting that Cain invited his top supporters and donors to Atlanta. He is scheduled to meet with them ahead of his public announcement. Sources tell the Post he will give them advance word of his decision. One supporter told the paper "he believes that Cain is likely to announce he is ending his candidacy." However, another said Cain "made no decision, but wanted to meet with some of the supporters to express his gratitude."

Since hitting the top of the polls, Cain’s campaign has suffered a series of what can be considered crippling setbacks. First, he was accused of sexually harassing several women while he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Then, this week, another bombshell dropped when Ginger White came forward, claiming she and Cain had been carrying on an extramarital affair for the last 13 years.

Cain has denied all of the allegations, saying he and White were friends and that he gave her money to help with her financial hardships. Cain said his wife was not aware of their relationship and said they would talk face to face about the allegations for the first time this weekend.

Winning back women’s support

Despite speculation that his campaign is a quickly sinking ship, the Herman Cain camp is trying to fix its image. Friday, it launched a new website, called ‘Women for Herman Cain’. The website calls itself "an online national fellowship of women dedicated to helping elect Herman Cain as the next President of the United States."

Cain slipping to single digits

Cain’s newest effort at winning back female support may not be enough, though. With just a month until the Iowa caucus, a new Des Moines register poll shows just 8 percent of likely caucus goers would support Cain. That is down from 23 percent in October. It seems the latest scandal can be tied directly to Cain’s plummet in the polls. According to the Register, "On Sunday, the first day of polling, his support stood at 12 percent. That dropped steadily over the four-day poll to 4 percent Wednesday."

Perry makes Leno appearance

Gov. Rick Perry’s :53 second brain freeze has given late night comedians plenty of ammunition over the past month. Last night, Perry appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

When asked about what happened during the debate when he could only think of two of the three federal agencies he’d eliminate, Perry told Leno, "sometimes, it happens, man." Perry also addressed his flub on the voting age during a New Hampshire speech, saying he "was thinking of the drinking age."

Here’s Perry’s full interview with Leno:

Guest Post: Ron Paul grows up

Commentary: A perfectly-timed communication can be a game-changer. This may be one of those times. Take a look at the new Ron Paul ad attacking Newt Gingrich, if you haven’t already seen it as it virally screams across the interwebz this afternoon:

This ad is a brilliant attack, not over-done, credible, and may be perfectly timed to coincide with the probability that Gingrich, the Republican poll leader-of-the-week, may be wearing thin on Republican primary voters as his record is closely scrutinized, as the record of anybody in the lead would be.

But it’s the fact that it’s a Ron Paul ad that makes it most interesting. Clearly Paul wants to be the next in batting order for leader-of-the-week, and this ad may not only shorten Gingrich’s week, but also signal to voters that Paul is ready to be a grown-up and play with the big dogs.

It will be interesting to see how the tracking polls change trajectory for each man in the next few days. Stay tuned — we may be nearing the end of Gingrich’s 15 minutes of fame, if favor of yet another Republican hopeful’s play to be the Republican alternative to Mitt Romney.

You can find more of Harold Cook’s writing on his blog, Letters from Texas.

Perry willing to ‘step on a few toes’ in new energy ad

A new Gov. Rick Perry ad likens President Barack Obama to former President Jimmy Carter. The ad, titled "Energy Jobs," begins with a split screen of Obama and Carter, both stressing the need for America to decrease its dependence on foreign oil.

Perry points to President Obama and Washington as being "all talk, no action." He says he’s "an outsider" willing to "step on a few toes if necessary to reopen our gas and oil fields."

Here’s the full ad:

Perry also released a second ad this week, taking the opportunity to poke a little fun at his brain-freeze during last month’s CNBC Republican Presidential debate.

Here’s that ad:

600 Texans heading to Iowa for Perry

The Dallas Morning News is reporting 600 Texans are packing up to head to Iowa this month in a last-ditch effort to secure a caucus win for Gov. Perry.

Perry is struggling in the polls there. He’s been in the single digits in several recent samplings.

Our Capital Tonight commentator Ted Delisi will be among the Republicans making the trip. He’s working as National Field Director for the Perry campaign. We’re hoping Ted will be able to bring us live reports, while he is in Des Moines.

In the DMN article, Abbott says don’t count Perry out. He’s quoted saying he plans to talk to caucuses about what Perry has "achieved in Texas and why he’s the right person."