Time: Romney’s “disappointing” campaign

Time’s Joe Klein writes today about how “disappointing” Romney’s campaign is:

But there isn’t the slightest hint of courage or conviction in his stump act. It’s a candidacy for the era before 2001, before things got serious. And his success or failure will be a reflection of how serious the electorate is in 2008.

Apparently Klein admits the unseriousness (if that’s a word) of a particular presidential era prior to 2001. Now, however, we need a “serious” candidate – someone dark, brooding, and most of all angry. This isn’t the time for someone with optimism and a sense of humor. We need someone who will agitate and irritate, yell and scream, and generally follow the Al Sharpton/Howard Dean school of politics. No, Klein, I think the American people have rejected that type of candidate again and again – even in the Democratic party.

But what about Romney’s courage and conviction? It’s certainly a hard thing to quantify and is a qualitative assessment. So, I would ask, what do the people who are seeing him think? About the only indicators I know of are polls and endorsements. As people have become acquainted with Romney his poll numbers have increased. Romney also is not lacking for endorsements (although always willing to accept more). So what is it that Klein sees that so many others do not? He faults Romney for being too light on substance and heavy on style, making a jab at Romney audiences: “And because he doesn’t dwell on [policy], his audiences don’t.” But it’s hard to see how that is so when Romney has been so forthcoming on policy proposals (the most recent found here on MMM). Such criticism is not founded on fact, but on fantasy.

Romney on Foreign Policy: Rising to a New Generation of Global Challenges

Haven’t had time to digest this yet, but on intial glance this looks to be pretty “meaty.” We would expect nothing less from the candidate who is laying out more ideas/proposals/policy plans on the table than anyone else in the field.

Rising to a New Generation of Global Challenges

Summary: Washington is as divided on foreign policy as it has been at any point in the last 50 years. As the “greatest generation” did before us, we must move beyond political camps to unite around bold actions in order to build a strong America and a safer world. We must strengthen our military and economy, achieve energy independence, reenergize civilian and interagency capabilities, and revitalize our alliances.

Jeff Fuller

An outlier poll? Or back to reality for Romney in Iowa & New Hampshire?

Hat tip to Race 4 2008 for the results.

New results from the McCain Team’s favorite polling company show that McCain is still ahead in all three early states. These results go against 3 recent Iowa polls and and 2 recent NH polls showing Romney with a lead or tied for the lead. So, are the results from this polling company “real” or are they just “outliers?”

Format below Current results (last month, Dec 2006 result). Click on links for more complete trend lines.

American Research Group GOP Iowa Caucus
  • McCain – 25% (26, 26)
  • Giuliani – 23% (19, 28)
  • Romney – 16% (14,6)
  • Gingrich – 8% (8,8)
  • F. Thompson – 6% (13,ni)
  • Brownback – 3% (1,1)
  • All others – 2% or less
  • Undecided – 10% (13,14)

American Research Group GOP New Hampshire Primary

  • McCain – 30% (29,35)
  • Romney – 23% (24,9)
  • Giuliani – 21% (17,28)
  • Gingrich – 4% (4,15)
  • F. Thompson – 3% (7,ni)
  • All others – 1% or less
  • Undecided – 16% (14,16)

American Research Group GOP SC Primary

  • McCain – 32% (36, 35)
  • Giuliani – 23% (23, 28)
  • F. Thompson – 13% (10, ni)
  • Romney – 10% (6, 5)
  • Gingrich – 6% (6,15)
  • All others – 1% or less
  • Undecided – 11% (12,16)

Now some commentary (from actual comments I made athe Race 4 2008 site.)

IOWA POLL:

I want ARG to explain to me what an “Independant likely Caucus-goer” is? Independants CAN’T PARTICIPATE IN THE IOWA GOP CAUCUS. McCain got nearly half of these independants and they are responsible for a full 2% or slightly more.

This is maybe an obvious sign that this firm isn’t doing the most rigorous polling around.

Also, Tommy Thompson at only 2%? All the other polls have him between 4-7% and he’s been working Iowa HARD and it’s been showing in the polls. He’s from neighboring Wisconsin and might just get a top 4 finish at the Ames Straw Poll (depending who participates). Don’ think they screened very well when polling.

Not too sure about the absolute numbers in this poll, but, as always, we may make something of the trend lines.

McCain’s trend is steady since Dec . . . but down since March.

Giuliani’s trend is down since Dec, and way down from Feb . . . but he did have a little “statistical correction” after a 10% loss from March to April

Romney’s had a steady trend up 6% in Dec to 16% now–that’s pretty strong.

Fred Thompson is down big, but this will probably undergo a bit of a statistical correction upwards next month (just like Rudy had).

RON PAUL CONTINTUES TO GET 0% . . . but his folks sure can make a lot of noise online!!

Who are the 6-9 Iowans in this poll who want Gilmore? They should be tracked down and punished.

New Hampshire Poll:

30% Independant’s included (and they should be here in the open primary . . . though many think that many Indy’s will be drawn over into a tight Democratic primary vote that day instead . . . or at least cast their anti-Hillary consciece vote). McCain still leads strongly with Indy’s, but Romney does slightly better than Rudy)

All top three amazingly close among Republicans (25%, 24%, and 24%).

Trends:
McCain: Very stable since Dec. with a recent recovery from 23% to 30%.
Giuliani: Slight downward trend overall, but a recent mild correction/recovery upwards.
Romney: Prety strong and steady upward trend overall
F. Thompson: 3% . . . uh-oh! That’s a LOT of work to do. Don’t see this southerner selling well in NH. Downward trend shows that the initial idea of a of a Fred Thompson candidacy sounds better than the impending reality (same downward trend as in Iowa).

South Carolina Poll:

Trends:
McCain: fairly steady with a slight recent tick downwards
Giuliani: Mild downward trend.
Romney: Moderate upward trend (or just an aberration?) into Double Digits.

Thopmson: Will obviously show strong in the South, but will he hang in if he’s not top three in Iowa and New Hampshire? (which is looking pretty hard for him to accomplish with this late of an entry). The only way he could would be to try to compete against Giuliani for some big states on Super Teusday, but that will be a difficult task. I’m not seeing any strong strategy/plan for them.

Huckabee: ONLY 1% for a southern governor who did well in the SC debate? Not good news at all for the Huckster.

National Poll:

Also, I think this is probably premature, but at least one NATIONAL poll has Romney past McCain and into 2nd place. The immigration issue may be playing strong here. This probably won’t be confirmed by other polls anytime soon, but, again the trends are very positive for Romney.

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures: McCain Campaign Regurgitates MSM & DNC Lies About Romney Record . . . But Romney Never was a Liberal

McCain’s deeply flawed immigration bill has been a recent “flash point” for criticism. McCain has obviously taken the attacks on this horrible legislation a little too personally and has wrongly punched back on the personal level (similar to his personal attack on Romney’s conviction during the 2nd debate that he switches positions “during even numbered years”.)

From a Newsweek article:

Referring to Romney’s stance, McCain said: “Maybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it changes because it’s changed in less than a year from his position before.”

Then followed his “varmint” comment which was an obviously planned line fed to him from someone in the campaign.

So, what’s so desperate about attacking a cheif rival? The attacks, on the surface, speak of an general unease in the McCain camp about their own failings and Romney’s continued successes. But it’s not just the attacks, but the substance of the attacks and the actual accusations being leveled. McCain’s campaign aides are sensing the fear of a Rising Romney and have resorted to DNC-like charges at Mitt’s apparent lack of core convictions.

From Newsweek recently regarding the varmint comment:

To which John Weaver, a top McCain aide replied: “It was a joke and, by the way, Mitt Romney should be mocked! There isn’t a single issue in politics he hasn’t flip-flopped on.

From a Mother Jones article another top McCain aid said:

“Mitt Romney has been consistent in one regard: that nearly every position he holds now is opposite of what it was when he was governor of Massachusetts.

That same article also had the following zinger:

He [Romney] previously held all of the same positions as Giuliani — he’s just trying to lie about them while Giuliani is standing for what he believes in.

This is a segue into the deeper theme they are trying to lay. A smattering of recent quotes is enlightening:

Deseret News:

Foremost is the charge that he’s a campaign convert to conservatism after running as a more moderate or liberal candidate in Massachusetts.

Even some conservative commentators like Deroy Murdock (a big-time Rudy supporter), get in on the game from time to time.

Romney is either a true, rock-ribbed conservative who played a Rockefeller Republican to get elected in Massachusetts, or he is a genuine, limousine liberal portraying a conservative to win the 2008 GOP nomination. This fine thespian has lost himself so thoroughly in both these roles that no one really knows where the performer ends and the characters begin.

Bill Maher recently said “If Mitt Romney were a movie, it would be “Say Anything.” (I’m sure he wouldn’t apply that same critical humor to his buddy Bill Clinton, eh?)

The overall image being portrayed of Romney (and don’t ever think these lines of attack aren’t driven by the media moguls of the MSM) is that he’s a man with no convictions, who will say or do anything if it is politically expedient. However, their only other “dig” against Romney is not just his religious affiliation, but that he’s unabashedly a devout and practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints–somehow implying that he’s TOO dedicated and true to his core convictions, namely his faith and his family. It would be in their best interest to decide on one line of attack. If they keep pounding both of these drums even the average American voter will realize they are being sold a false bill of goods. We won’t be buying it guys!

I’ve blogged before (here and here) that Romney was never close to being the liberal that some are claiming. He was actually far more of a conservative than even a moderate. Below I’ll put in the image again of one of his 1994 campaign flyers below and let you judge. Aside from the well documented, AND WELCOMED, shift on abortion he’s been rock solid as a conservative then and now (BTW Romney vetoed the “employer mandate” portion of the MA healthcare plan)

I’d like to see McCain, his aides, and the DNC explain their position that Mitt has “flipped on every political issue” when he’s been consistant on 23 of the 24 (or 96%) issues in this flyer. They’re busy enough spinning their own problems, so I probably shouldn’t “pile on” right now!

To Know Romney is to Love Him?

The biggest headline from this poll is that Romney increased his total poll numbers by 50% (as noted prviously on this blog) from 10% to 15%. However, I find the favorable/unfavorable trends for the GOP top-three to be the real story . . . and they are good news for Team Mitt!

McCain’s “favorables” went DOWN from 39% to 33% and his “unfavorables” went UP from only 20% to 31% while the “undecideds/haven’t heard enough” decreased from 41% to 35%.

Giuliani’s “favorables” went DOWN from 60% to 53% and his “unfavorables” went UP from only 10% to 18% while the “undecideds/haven’t heard enough” stayed pretty stable (decreased from 30% to 28%.)

In contrast Romney’s “favorables” went UP from 20% to 28% and his “unfavorables” were fairly stable (slightly up–9% to 11%).

The real story here is that AS his previously huge “undecided’s/haven’t heard enough” figure of 71% went down to a still very large 60% his favorable/unfavorable percentages broke strongly in his favor (8% higher favorable and 2% higher unfavorable—-NET PLUS 6% for Romney compared to a NET MINUS 17% for McCain and a NET MINUS 15% for Giuliani . . . Put another way, Romney GAINED 23% in net favorability on McCain and 21% on Giuliani). Assuming that this postive shift for Romney represents the opinions of the new 11% that no longer were “undecided/haven’t heard enough” about him, that would mean that 4 out of 5 of these likely Republican voters formed a favorable view of Romney and only 1 out of 5 formed an unfavorable view of him.

Granted, it’s probably not the best assumption to think that this shift is all just from the new 11% people now feeling informed about Romney. Why? By comparison, that would have been a statistically impossible way to explain the negative shift in the “undecided/haven’t heard enough” numbers for Giuliani and McCain. The only mathmatically possible explanation for the strong negative shift for these candidates is that A SIGNIFICANT PORTION WHO PREVIOUSLY HAD FAVORABLE OPINIONS OF MCCAIN AND GIULIANI FLIP-FLOPPED ON THEIR OPINION OF THEM. Looks like “flip-flops” may be a bigger problem for Rudy and John than for Mitt, eh?

Now, if that’s not over-analysis of one little poll, I don’t know what is. Still, I thing that these figures play into team Romney’s belief and mantra that “those who come to know Romney almost invariably break his way.” His strong move in the early states lends credence to this belief. So, is Romney the political embodiment of the phrase “to know him is to love him?”

Jeff Fuller

Slideshow: Women for Romney Event

Mark Mabry, a professional photographer, was on hand for the Women for Romney kickoff. Here’s his take on the event:

One could ramble endlessly about the embraceable grace with which Mrs. Romney carries herself in a crowd, but I’ve got a unique perspective so I’ll talk about that. Today, I photographed a luncheon as part of the Women for Mitt kickoff. The festivities began and there were about 20 guests invited to be photographed with Mrs. Romney. Photographing the same person 20 times next to 20 different people is a lesson in psychology for one willing to learn it. Here’s what I mean. I watched Mrs. Romney throughout the session (about 25 minutes). She is not a fake laugher or insincere on any level. I occasionally am lucky enough to photograph people with that extreme level of comfort in the person they are, but rarely does one see it in the political arena. Mrs. Romney is gracious and sympathetic and you could feel a “mom” vibe from her too. Photographically speaking, in a posed setting, she comes across consistently confident and in candid situations her sincerity is more evident. No “deer in the headlights” here. Her confidence shows in her ability to go about business not worried about a camera possibly misrepresenting her, because when you’re that real, it can’t.

Here’s the slideshow he put together. Visit his website and blog.

(ht: Five Brothers)

Headlines from the Week

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Romney For President Launches New Television Ad, “Tested, Proven” (May 23, 2007 13:13)
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Ann Romney: Mitt Has Always Been Pro-Life (May 23, 2007 12:48)
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Mitt Romney Outlines Immigration Reforms

Governor Romney Outlines Three Priorities On Immigration Reform.

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: “We’re going to have to secure our border first. Two, put in place an employment verification system to make sure we’re giving jobs only to those people who come legally. And number three, for the 12 million, we can’t allow them to have a special privilege of being able to stay here indefinitely.” MIKE GALLAGHER: “Well, I tell you that’s music to my ears and to the ears of millions of Americans…” (“Mike Gallagher Show,” 5/21/07)

Governor Romney: Border Security Is Number One. GOVERNOR ROMNEY: “[T]he people I speak with as I go to Republican events agree with me that there are three key rules that we have to follow. One is, we have to secure the border. Two is, we have to have an employment verification system to know who’s here legally and who’s not here legally. That’s only fair to the employers to know who is who. And then, finally, for those people that are here illegally today, while it may be fine for them to apply for citizenship and to apply for permanent residency, that they should do so in line with everyone else and they should be given no advantage, no special privilege by having come here illegally.” (Fox News’ “Your World,” 5/24/07)

Watch Governor Romney Here.

Governor Romney: “I believe it’s important to end illegal immigration so we can maintain and encourage legal immigration. Immigration is good for this country; it’s helped us over our history. We need immigration to provide some of the skills that we may miss, migrant workers, cultural advantages. It’s a great source of vitality for America to have legal immigration, but illegal immigration – that we need to bring an end to.” (KCMO’s “Morning Show With Chris Stigall,” 5/22/07)

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