The Republican Field…

In recent months, we have heard a slew of news stories geared toward telling us how disatisfied we are all with the Republican field of potential Presidential candidates. Recently, there was a poll that seemingly confirmed this pessimism.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m tired of the media trying to tell the rest of the country that no matter who the Republican nominee is, that person is unacceptable. This was the same lie they told about Bob Dole. They said he was just the next in line and not the best choice. They told us how unexciting he is. Well, we all learned after the election how funny and charming the guy is. Some people thought this just showed his inability to campaign. In fact, it was the Clinton media machine laying off the guy now that they had quashed him.

So, let me just stand up and say no matter what happens in our Republican Primary, I am proud of our party and I will be delighted to call any of the top notch Republican Candiates President.

Just how fine are the Republican candidates? Well, consider this, Mitt Romney, clearly an extremely competent and intelligent leader, is in the pack of candidates. He is a tremendous person with solid values who respects others and leads with conviction tempered by flexibility. He is working hard. He is gaining momentum. He is slowly, but surely, inching his way toward the finish line. This is no sunshine candidate we have in Mitt. No weekly love-child (is that appropriate to say) of the pollsters. This is the candidate who is going the distance. Yet, he remains just one of several “front-runners” at this point. Why is that? Because Romney’s competition is formidable. He is running against two national heros, as he describes them. And while both of them drive me crazy from time-to-time on some single issue, I respect both of them and am proud to have them in my party.

So, while I know that Romney is the best person to lead us in facing a new generation of challenges, I am done listening to the media tell us we are unhappy with the choices available.

Another Iowa Christian Alliance Pick-up For Romney

Romney picks up another Iowa Christian Alliance Board Member:

Keith Hunter Serves As A Member Of The Board Of Directors With The Iowa Christian Alliance (Formerly The Iowa Christian Coalition), A Position He Has Held Since 2002. He served as Communications Director for the Christian Coalition of Iowa from 2003-2005. He has been a member of the Polk County (Des Moines) Republican Central Committee since 1994, serving on the executive committee from 1995 to 1996, and 2004-present. He resides in Des Moines with wife, Ann, and his son who is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps and has done two tours of duty in Iraq.

Team Mitt Letter on 1Q Numbers

As obtained by Hotline:

To: National Finance Director Spencer Zwick, National Finance Co-Chairs and the National Finance Committee
From: Benjamin L. Ginsberg, Romney for President National Counsel
Katie Biber Chen, Romney for President General Counsel
Date: March 30, 2007
Subject: A Guide to First Quarter FEC Reports

With Saturday’s close of the first quarter FEC reporting period, Romney for President and the other campaigns will be releasing the totals of the amounts they’ve raised. There are sure to be a lot of articles appearing, and it’s important to know whether reporters are measuring apples to apples. Here’s a guide of what to look for.

First, Governor Romney’s totals will be indicative of our extraordinary success in building an organization and stirring excitement among grassroots activists. The number will be quite a tribute to Governor Romney and all of you since the other leading candidates enjoy universal name identification, existing networks of contributors and clear advantages in the national polls.

Second, be aware that some campaigns’ totals will include monies raised for the general election. This money will artificially inflate totals, but it is meaningless in gauging current strength since not one penny of a campaign’s general election funds can be used in the primary. Reports that don’t separate primary and general election contributions will be misleading. As you know, Romney for President has raised only primary funds, but the McCain, Giuliani, Clinton and Obama campaigns have raised both. (While there may be some advantages in raising both kinds of money now, know there are also disadvantages – for example, 100 percent of general election monies raised must be returned if the candidate is not the nominee. This means that all the costs of general election fundraising, including fundraisers’ commissions and event costs must be paid for with primary funds.)

Third, reporters should be telling readers if candidates are planning on taking federal matching funds for the primary. Governor Romney has decided against using the primary matching funds, as have the McCain, Giuliani, Clinton, Obama and Edwards campaigns. Candidates who take matching funds will receive up to a $20 million check from the U.S. Treasury next January – but in return will be limited to spending about $40 – $50 million through the Conventions in late August. By contrast, President Bush and Senator Kerry each raised and spent more than $250 million through their parties’ conventions in 2004. Thus, it’s difficult to see how any GOP candidate taking the primary matching funds can remain competitive against the Democratic candidate from the time the nominee is decided through late August. (Those who remember Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign struggling against the Clinton machine have a taste for what this is like.) In other words, look for the GOP field to start to split between a top tier that can be competitive against the Democratic nominee and a second tier that will be tethered to the federal match and its spending limit.

In summary, we hope this Memorandum gives you a better understanding of what you’re reading in the news reporting this weekend and early next week about the first quarter FEC reports.

Mo-Mitt-em

Mitt Romney on taxesThe recent meeting hosted by the “Club for Growth” (the same event that someone panned McCain for dissing) proved to be a very successful event for Mitt.

Momentum is his according the WSJ (actual excerpts can be found here):

The guy with the momentum is former entrepreneur and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He’s signed an anti-tax pledge, bemoaned excessive regulation, called for cheaper energy with domestic drilling, and laid out (in detailed Power Point presentations) the coming fiscal disasters that are Social Security and Medicare. He took another plunge yesterday, unveiling a broad-strokes tax agenda.

While short on details, he laid out a marker for the field, calling for lower marginal tax rates, a more competitive corporate tax and the end of the death tax. This isn’t necessarily a surprise, given Mr. Romney’s economic team is largely made up of the Bush tax-cut brain trust, including former Council of Economic Advisers chief Glenn Hubbard, his successor, Greg Mankiw, and Brian Reardon. Mr. Romney also scored a coup with economist John Cogan, who knows budgets inside-out, and is a tax-cutter to boot.

What attracted many of these economists to the Romney team was the former governor’s success, in a liberal state, of beating back big-tax proposals and instead choosing to erase deficits by hacking away at spending. Mr. Romney’s challenge will now be in convincing economic conservatives that his tax plan, and other pro-growth talk, is more than just election rhetoric. In particular, he’ll need to do some explaining about his Massachusetts health-care plan, which Mr. Romney touted as a market-based reform, but was more about new government regulation.

The team least happy with this early Romney tax marker is surely John McCain’s. The super-senator has been unable to get much traction with this second bid for the White House, thanks in part to conservatives’ distrust of his economic credentials. The maverick was born out of the old austerity wing of the GOP, tough on spending, big on balanced budgets, grave about the need for entitlement reform. These were the traits Mr. McCain stressed in his last run, and by the look of his new team, little will change this time around.

Ramesh at NRO’s The Corner had this to say:

Almost everything is off the record at the Club for Growth’s “winter” conference, but I can say that the dozen or so attendees to whom I spoke after Mitt Romney’s speech were impressed.

Since the campaign issued a press release about the speech, I can also comment a little about its contents. Romney hit every one of the club’s buttons. He came out against most trade barriers, for reductions in marginal tax rates, against the “death tax,” for cuts in corporate tax rates to make our rates comparable to those of other countries, for federal tort reform, and for scaling back Sarbanes-Oxley. He repeated his call for federal spending to shrink by one percent in real terms every year.

A few attendees complained about the vagueness of Romney’s proposals. While he has come out for more detailed and substantial tax cuts than Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, or Fred Thompson, he didn’t say what corporate and personal income tax rates he wanted, or offer an estimate of the budget impact of his tax cuts. On Social Security, he spoke against tax cuts but otherwise merely offered a list of options—with personal accounts the last one on the list.

All in all, it seems like a perfectly fine economic plan if you’re looking for a conventional conservative platform and a smart businessman to sell it. I don’t think it is a great tax plan for the general election, however, and Republicans need one.

From Jeff Emanuel at Redstate

Two things:

(1) Thanks so much for supporting our effort over here. When it comes down to it, we’re all on the same team, and none of us benefit from letting disagreements blow up into bigger problems. We at RS are extremely grateful to y’all for endorsing our effort to get the Iraq story straight from the source, and I’d like to extend you a personal “thank you” for that, as well as to thank you on behalf of our community.

(2) I’m sorry that it seems that we’re 100% anti-Romney at RS. However, I think that the perception is worse than the reality. The above commenter asserted that “[Erick] Erickson has come out as an arrogant, disrespectful hack w/regard to Romney.” In truth, though, while Erick is sticking with his principles and refusing to sway from them (something we try always to do at RS), he has repeatedly said – this week included – that, were the primary held today, he would vote for Romney.

That’s not being an anti-Romney hack, in my opinion; however, the unwillingness to let what he sees as a weak and obfuscatory argument from Mr. Hewitt about the illegitimacy of even considering Mr. Romney’s religion as being a part of him is simply Erick doing what he feels is right, and taking a stand on his principles, regardless of who might be the person going astray.

As I said above, at the end of the day, we’re all on the same team here. I’m from Georgia, where last year a GOP primary (in which a religious body was a large participant) tore the state GOP apart and left it in tatters. Let’s not allow differences or disagrements over candidates do that on the national level in ’07-’08, please.

Again, thanks so much for supporting our Iraq effort, and best of luck to the Romney campaign in the future. We’re all on the same side, and if we make sure that we don’t lose sight of that – as Justin has demostrated with this post – we can make sure that we are successful.

-Jeff Emanuel, RedState.com

Romney and Thompson Talking?

Rumorville has it that Romney’s big Media Consultant Alex Castellanos and Fred Thompson were spotted having dinner:

Lamar Alexander and Fred Thompson are close … really close. If anything disqualifies Thompson from running for President, it’s Lamar’s soft committment to Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign. The prescence of Alexander staffers at Romney events in Tennessee before talk of Thompson entering the fray popped up signaled his soft support. So there may be something big to this tidbit that Thompson was spotted at dinner with Romney strategist Alex Castellanos. Can we say most valuable Vice Presidential candiate? (Link- bottom of page)

Now what does this mean?

1. Alex is jumping ship? I can confirm from 2 top sources that this is definitely not the case. Alex is very happy with his job and Romney. Also as a consultant, Castellanos knows that loyalty is number one in his business.

2. Two old pals having dinner? Alex worked for Fred in his Senate runs in TN. Could just be catching up?

3. Alex doing some recruiting for his boss and Thompson considering.

Alex has a lot of sway in all things political and an incredible amount with southern politics. Alex worked for Strom Thurmond and in case you missed it, yesterday Thurmond’s son Paul joined Romney’s South Carolina grassroots leadership team. Is this the work of Alex?

Thompson looking to for a top spot with Team Mitt (Future AG???) could easily be the case when you consider that as popular as Thompson is at the moment, he is not fond of politics in general and knows building a credible ground game at the moment is a momentous task with the most of the big players going to McCain, Giuliani and Romney already.

Ohio Finance Team: The Insiders Look

From Cincinnati.com:

Every four years, Republican presidential candidate compete for the support of Cincinnati’s Lindner family, because having them on your side can draw millions in campaign contributions.

For the past 20 years or so, you had a leg up on the competition if your name happened to be George Bush — father or son.

This time around, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is the lucky winner.

Romney’s campaign announced Wednesday that S. Craig Lindner, co-president of American Financial Group and CEO of Great American Financial Resources, will be co-chair of Romney’s Ohio fundraising effort, along with Ames Travel Service president Nancy Donovan.

Not terribly surprising, since Lindner hosted a fundraising event for Romney at his Indian Hill home earlier this month.

The pater familias, Carl H. Lindner Jr., will serve as the honorary co-chair of the Ohio finance committee and the co-chair of the national finance committee.

Locking down the Lindners is a pretty big score for the Romney campaign, since there are untold numbers of other corporate-types in this part of the world who generally follow the Lindner family’s lead when it comes to campaign contributions.

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