Democrats Unfeeling

So, the Dems have gotten into some trouble for lining their pockets with money from a guy who is a fugitive and wanted in a fraud case. So, they have decided to give the money to charity instead of using it in their campaigns. Sorry, but did anyone ever think that maybe some of this money was from his Ponzi scheme? What about the poor victims who he defrauded? Why don’t they give the money back to the victims of his crimes for goodness sake?

The Romney Journey So Far

Over at the Five Brothers Blog Tagg (Romney’s eldest son) closes out August with a look back at the journey that Romney and crew have taken over the last 8 months (I’ve addd in links for some of the events if you want the details):

… I was recently chatting with a blogger from the Politico and we talked about each of the milestones that my Dad the candidate has hit since entering the race in January. It’s remarkable really, and we have met or exceeded each goal we have set along the way. When he entered, few thought he had a good chance at winning. Then he raised $6.5M in one day in January. He won the CPAC straw poll in DC in February. In March, we won the first quarter “money primary” by raising $21M. In April, we won 10 and came in 2nd in 6 of the 17 total county straw polls in South Carolina. In May, the Gov clearly won the first GOP debate at the Reagan Library as well as the second debate in South Carolina. He also appeared in 60 Minutes, Jay Leno, and the cover of Time Magazine. And the campaign team signed up 30,000 new supporters in only 24 hours during Sign Up America!. In June, we scored another victory in the NH debate, Rudy and McCain both surrender by stating they won’t attend the Ames Straw Poll, and my Dad jumps to first place in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Oh and we raised another $14M, keeping us in first place in total primary dollars raised on the GOP side. In July we launched the Mitt Mobile (and had Gretta do a segment on 3 of the 5 brothers), and hosted a huge 600 person fundraiser at Fenway Park and the Boston Garden (America’s Calling). In August, Dad had another fantastic debate performance in Iowa (one of his strongest, I think), Josh visited his 99th county in Iowa, and then Dad went on to win the Ames Iowa Straw Poll, as well as many other straw polls around the country (e.g. state fairs in Iowa, Illinois, and other states).

Whether it’s the new — creative fundraising methods and Internet contests — or the old — phone banks and bus captains — my Dad and his campaign have shown how the innovation, hard work, and problem solving skills he is famous for apply in a presidential campaign. He has hosted over 70 Ask Mitt Anything Town Halls totally open to the press and the public, made hundreds and hundreds of campaign stops all across the country, and put hundreds of speech clips up for viewing on Mitt TV. He’s added to an impressive list of endorsers. He’s unveiled detailed policy plans on dozens of topics including stopping a nuclear Iran, health care, immigration reform, protecting our children from pornography, tax reform, and other policies designed to keep America’s families, military, and economy strong. As a result, I think he has become an even stronger campaigner and speaker than he was already. Who knows what the future holds, but I’m confident that the next month will be just as good and probably better than the last one.

Was he In or Out?

I don’t claim to understand the inner working of the FEC, but it seems that the complaint that Thompson was breaking fund raising rules by claiming to be testing the waters when he was really running a campaign has legitimacy. Otherwise, why was he accepting contributions for the general election? I am not in favor of all of the rules, but I am in favor of disclosure, and that is what Thompson was apparently skirting. If the FEC should slap down Thompson over this issue, I think it would be a big blow to their campaign’s struggling efforts.

New Michigan Numbers

If Michigan moves up their primary, as is almost certain at this point, Romney stands to be in a very good position. New numbers from Michigan today:

Romney 25%
Giuliani 23%
Thompson 16%
McCain 15%

While the numbers coming out of Michigan have seemed a bit volatile (check out some polling history at UltiMitt), Romney has consistently polled well. With family history and the obvious propsect of having a Presidential Library for Romney in Michigan one day, I think they may very well pull the trigger for him on primary day, or caucus day, whatever it will be.

With states bouncing all over the place with their schedules, the compressed calendar is starting to look more like the extended calendar of years past leading up to Super Tuesday. Suddenly, the Super Tuesday strategy of Giuliani, and potentially of Thompson, is looking like a bad idea (I say potentially of Thompson because his delay seemed to indicate he just wanted to ride whatever national name recognition he has for as long as possible, but he seems to be turning his attention on early states now since he doesn’t really have the ability to run a national campaign).

Romney effectively took McCain and Giuliani’s decision not to compete in the Iowa straw poll and shoved it down their throats, maximizing his exposure there and solidifying his support. He now stands in a great position to win states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Wyoming, and Michigan, and is in a good position to win Florida, South Carolina and others along the way.

News Round-up

First, new numbers from IA (via Jonathan Martin)

Mitt Romney: 35
Rudy Giuliani: 12
Fred Thompson: 11
Mike Huckabee: 11
Tom Tancredo: 9
John McCain: 7
Undecided: 10

Beyond Romney’s lead, it’s interesting to note McCain has been passed by even Tancredo.

Second, apparently Fred is in (or will be on Sept. 6), but waiting just long enough to avoid debating (Sept. 5). I’m sure we’ll have more about this in the near future.

Third, an Iowa judge has decided that marriage cannot be denied to same-sex couples. Mitt’s response:

The ruling in Iowa today is another example of an activist court and unelected judges trying to redefine marriage and disregard the will of the people as expressed through Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act. This once again highlights the need for a Federal Marriage Amendment to protect the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Notes on a scandal

I think Rich Lowry has the right idea:

Once he’s over the momentary embarrassment of his association with Craig, Romney is probably helped by this scandal at the margins. When a party is reeling from scandal after scandal—some of them involving gross sexual misconduct and adultery—the wholesome guy who is loyal to his wife and family is going to look more appealing.

The problem with nominating someone like Giuliani (and to a lesser extent McCain and Thompson) is that it looks like more of the same Washington scandal class (rightly or wrongly). Giuliani’s past just begs for people to draw the easy association to Congressional deviants who are unable to keep their personal conduct under control. McCain and Thompson’s multiple marriages also invite such comparisons, although to a lesser extent than Giuliani. Giuliani’s cries to the press to leave his personal life alone invite more scrutiny from a press who loves to unearth a cover-up, not to mention how precisely they echo a former president’s similar pleas.

Let me make clear that I don’t have any knowledge of personal misdeeds of these men. However, as some candidates have made the “electability” argument against Romney for “flip-flopping”, they miss the beam in their own “electability” eye. If Romney is easily attacked in the general election for insincerity, these men are ripe for attack for scandal. And scandal will be fresher in voters’ minds given its continued permeation in Washington culture.

Rasmussen Looking Good

Romney is looking good in the Rasmussen numbers the past few days.

Giuliani 24%
Thompson 21%
Romney 17%
McCain 10%

For some unknown reason, Rasmussen doesn’t seem to realize that Romney had an uptick after the Iowa straw poll. I watched their numbers every day afterward and he consistently polled ahead of McCain following the straw poll and consistently polled 2-3 points ahead of where he was. Now, 17% may or may not be an anomoly, but I have never seen Romney that high in any national poll, and the fact that it was 16% yesterday shows it wasn’t a complete fluke. This is clearly good news for Romney.

Those skeptics that point to national numbers are quickly losing their footing.