Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More attacks from the Left and Right

Senator Brownback has started in on Mitt already, as he's likely seen Romney as his biggest obstacle to gaining the support of the Christian Right. In an interview in the Christian Broadcast Network's online site (CNBnews.com), Brownback asserted that he was the "solidly-pro life" candidate in the field, and then called out Mitt for past indiscretions, like flip-flopping on social issues. I don't know who reads the CNB news site, but anybody that does probably takes what it says as Gospel (get it?).

Meanwhile, Talking Points Memo, not a Christian or Conservative site, has been covering the story that Mitt made contributions to a Democrat in 1992. Eh, it was 15 years ago, not too big a deal, right? Except that the contibution was to Dick Swett, a fellow Mormon.

Will this unleash the "Romney cares more about Mormons than he does about the Party?" We'll keep a close eye on the wingnuts, er, commentators in the next few days.

The Endorsements Continue

As a governor of Massachusetts, Mitt has been striving for legitimacy in the world of foreign relations, national security, and intelligence. Today, Hotline is reporting that he's revealed the endorsement of Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), the outgoing chair of the House intelligence committee.

It's a good pick up, and coming on the heels of a recently announced endorsement by Denny Hastert, continues to show that Mitt is picking up high profile help.

Mitt is currently in Israel, urging a more hardline UN stance against Iran.

Hoekstra, Iran...that should do the trick, right?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Polls

First, to dispose of it quickly, the national poll, conducted by USA Today/Gallop (http://www.galluppoll.com/content/?ci=26170). National polls don't mean a whole heck of a lot during a nominating season, and I certainly don't think they mean a lot more than a year away from the contests. Maybe money. Trends can be instructive, but I generally don't put a ton of stock into the national polls. We've seen the national polling favorites be shaken up completely after the first round of results in the caucuses and primaries themselves.

That said, here's the GOP lineup today, with trendlines from December and November, respectively:

Guiliani: 31 (28, 28)
McCain: 27 (28, 26)
Gingrich: 10 (8, 7)
Romney: 7 (4, 5)
Pataki: 3 (1, 1)
Thompson 2 (2, 2)


More importantly, Zogby has a new New Hampshire poll out (http://zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1237). This one is much more important, as folks in New Hampshire are the ones that will be voting, and they're also the ones paying more attention at this point than most other places in the country. Trendlines here are very instructive as we watch how this plays out. Important to note, this is a telephone poll and doesn't look like it took online results into account:

McCain: 26%
Guiliani: 20%
Romney: 13%
Rice: 7%
Gingrich: 6%

I'll include trendlines and fix the links soon, this was done on the fly...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Straw poll madness in Arizona

Truly, madness.

The folks in Arizona must really love them some anti-immigration rhetoric: Duncan Hunter won. It was a poll of committeemen in a single county, Maricopa, but that county includes Phoenix and, according to Congressional Quarterly, is home to about 60% of Arizona's population.

This is why Democrats have to love the entry of folks like Hunter and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo into the race. While Bush had made historic gains among Latinos in 2004, the Republican party blew them (and then some, to the tune of 70%) in the 2006 midterms. A silver lining to their utter inability to do anything about immigration reform might have been that, with the issue dying down, they could try to win back some of the Latino vote that they covet. Enter Hunter and Tancredo, bellowing at the top of their lungs about making immigrants into criminals (or worse, insinuating that they already are). Even if they don't win many delegates, having candidates in the debate, making headlines, will be enough to anger Latino voters and organizers who won't likely forget by the general election which party pointed the finger at them. It won't help if Bush goes ahead with his plan to install Mel Martinez as RNC chair and the party has a protracted fight because Martinez isn't as hardline anti-immigration as the party activists.

Romney finished a strong second, besting Gingrich and even native McCain.

Another thing about the Hunter win in Arizona, obviously, is the message it sends about McCain. While formidable in networks, fundraising, etc, the fact that he may have a fight on his own soil doesn't bode well for his chances of assuming a mantle of inevitability, which is obviously his goal at the moment.

The results, according to Congressional Quarterly:

"A total of 458 party officials voted for their preferred Republican candidates for president — and Hunter came out on top with 96 votes. Taking second and third place were former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 82 votes and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, who received 53 votes. McCain ran fourth with 50 votes."


Note: as mentioned above, after deliberation, Tancredo officially launched his exploratory committee today. This carves off another slice of the right, but I'm not sure Mitt was ever going to swing the hardcore anti-immigration voters, which will migrate to Tancredo's camp pretty quickly here.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Conservatives Eager to frame Romney as Massachusetts Liberal

Another hit piece from a conservative commentator, this time from the American Chronicle, written by a no-name columnist (Selwyn Duke) that has a regular gig at Alan Keyes' website, Renewamerica.us, among others.

The gist, basically, is that Romney is more similar to Al Gore and Barack Obama than he is to real conservatives.

"While he now claims to be pro-life, he supported legalization of the “morning-after” abortion pill, RU-486.

-snip-

Of course, Romney says that his views have "evolved." But I strongly suspect his adaptation relates more to the evolution of political ambitions than that of conscience. Call me cynical, but unless you’ve been cloistered in an ancient monastery for the duration, I’m very suspicious of deep personal growth occurring between ages 55 and 59.


Romney really screwed up with his "I'm more liberal than Ted Kennedy" schtick in his 1994 race for Senate against Kennedy, and the national conservatives aren't likely to let him forget it any time soon.

Mass Resistance has been holding his feet to the fire for some time now on gay marriage issues, and conservative columnists like the one above have been using the Mass Resistance material about Romney as opposition research against Romney. MR has promised to release an updated version of their "Mitt Romney Deception Report," on January 18th.

Today, Romney's folks lashed out at Brian Camenker, the leader of Mass Resistance, in what is likely a preemptive strike against the January 18th report.

This may be the most important period of the entire campaign for Camp Romney's spinners. If their guy gets ground out by conservatives before he can get his legs under him, it'll be a tough climb to the top. It seems like the next few months will be a heads-up race between Romney establishing credibility (See: winning straw polls, raising $6.5 million in one day, flouting endorsements) versus the efforts of conservatives on the right to paint him as a liberal. With folks like Brownback and now Ron Paul in the race, Romney needs to sew up the right wing as quickly as possible.

Mitt wins first straw poll in South Carolina


Hotline
is reporting that the county executive committee in Aiken County, SC took a straw poll and gave Mitt the win.

The voting, according to Hotline, went as follows:

Of the 30 members, 11 voted for Romney, 5 voted for Tom Tancredo, 4 voted for Newt Gingrich, 3 voted for John McCain, 2 voted for Tom Coburn, two for Mike Huckabee, and 1 (each) for Pataki, Giuliani and Duncan Hunter.

Aiken is located on the western edge of South Carolina, and had a population of roughly 143,000 as of the census in 2000, and a median household income of $38,000.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hmm...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hotline White House Rankings: Mitt is runner-up to McCain

Mitt continues in the number two slot in
National Journal's White House 2008 rankings
, which combine factors of "organization, money, buzz and polling." He was second to McCain in the last rankings as well.

National Journal seems as fascinated with Mitt's rise as we are:

How did a Massachusetts governor who is a Mormon, passed universal health care and used to be a social libertarian become the darling of elite conservatives who can't stomach McCain? The transformation is remarkable -- and we bet it will become a hurdle. News last week that Romney's chief of staff Beth Myers is joining the PAC suggests Romney wants the mechanics of his pre-presidential bid to run smoothly. But isn't there a vacuum in the GOP field if, a year from now, the final two are still McCain and Romney?

Backpedaling on Stem Cells?


Mitt Continued to Bash Stem Cell Research
.

Calling it "Orwellian," Romney criticized the practice of creating embryos for study crossed a "very bright moral line," and noted that it was "almost like the movie the Matrix."

Well, at least it was high-minded debate.

Toby Barlow.notes that Mitt is picking the wrong fight. The debate today isn't over the creation of embryos, it's about the use of existing cells.

But, always conscious of presidential run position-shifting, I have to wonder if, in addition to posturing, this is a move to the right in order to appease conservatives. The
Boston Globe
. noted in February, when Mitt began to reverse course on stem cell research, that he had proclaimed himself a supporter of the research during his campaign for governor in Massachusetts, and that as recently as January 2006 had stated that he supported the Massachusettes legislature's promotion of the research.

Hmm...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Environmental Mitt?

Conservation? Biofules? Wind and biomass powered public buildings? Incentives for customers who reduce energy consumption? Not your run of the mill Republican platform from which to be launching a presidential campaign, but it looks like Mitt Romney will be competing with NY governor George Pataki for the early corner on the environmental front in the GOP nomination fight.
Romney introduced a comprehensive plan in Massachusetts this week
, and I'd wager he'll use it as a test run for a portion of his national agenda.

If the 2008 GOP fight is about competence and not just security and terrorism, this may be a smart move. At the very least, it provides a good avenue for him to brandish his record as a governor, one that the likes of McCain, et al. are unable to highlight.