Getting Scary for Mitt!

Actually, Mitt is doing just fine. Its time for US to get SCARY for MITT.

Today is the last day of October. There are less than 75 days until the election. We need to keep pushing.

We ask one thing today: Donate $10 for Mitt. Then pass this message on! It takes two minutes to donate… Imagine if everyone who got this message donated $10 to Mitt today. Send it far and wide!

(also… see our special “NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEMOCRATS VIDEO“)

Thanks for David C for this pic:

Endorsements Update

In previous months we used to spend hours at MyManMitt calculating all of the endorsements that a candidate picks up. Thank goodness we can give this job up to someone else now!

Chris Cillizza reports on the new feature at logging the endorsements of State Legislators.

Here are the grunt numbers for the GOP side of things in the early primaries (they gave us the numbers – we built the chart)

Here are the numbers:

Endorsements are local events and as we get closer to the election we will probably see a lot of these names chiming in for another plug for their candidate. Who knows — the serious SC edge for McCain might make him a contender again :)

Cillizza has this to say about endorsements:

Support from elected officials in Iowa, New Hampshire etc. is crucial — not only does each member bring a political power base of his or her own, but they also serve as important validators for their preferred candidate within a community they know (and knows them) best.

New ARG Polls: Romey on top in IA, NH and SC!

A lot of people don’t like ARG polls. They’ve had problems in the past. But the trends in favor of Romney are undeniable:

American Research Group Republican Iowa Caucus

  • Romney – 27% (22)
  • Huckabee – 19% (4)
  • Giuliani – 16% (21)
  • McCain – 14% (11)
  • Thompson – 8% (16)
  • Tancredo – 2% (1)
  • Paul – 1% (2)
  • All others – less than 1%

Survey was conducted Oct 26-29 of 600 likely Republican caucus goers, and has a 4% MoE. Numbers in parentheses are from their Sept poll.

American Research Group New Hampshire Republican Primary

  • Romney – 30% (24)
  • Giuliani – 23% (20)
  • McCain – 17% (20)
  • Huckabee – 7% (3)
  • Thompson – 5% (8)
  • All Others – 1% or less

Survey was conducted Oct 26-29 of 600 likely Republican primary voters and has a 4% MoE. Numbers in parentheses are from the Sept poll.

American Research Group South Carolina GOP Primary

  • Romney – 29% (26)
  • Giuliani – 23% (23)
  • McCain – 13% (15)
  • Thompson – 10% (10)
  • Huckabee – 5% (1)
  • Paul – 4% (2)
  • Hunter – 2% (1)
  • All others – 1% or less

Survey was conducted Oct 26-29 of 600 likely Republican primary voters and has a 4% MoE. Numbers in parentheses are from the Sept poll.

ACU Chairman: Romney Best Positioned to Win

Dave Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union tells Newsmax that he considers Romney the best positioned to win:

“Romney’s doing it the right way, in my view,” Keene says over lunch at the Palm. “My view’s colored by history, and these other guys seem to be betting that history doesn’t matter, and I’m not sure that’s true. If you win the first contest, and they’re close enough to the second contest, you get an enormous boost. And the idea that the onrush of big primaries makes those early contests unimportant may be 180 degrees wrong.”

The ACU has been around for awhile here in DC. They run CPAC and put out one of the most comprehensive congressional ratings directories.

Keene has also been a major figure at the NRA and looks to take the reins there in the next few years.

He notes this about the polls:

“If you assume for a moment that the propaganda from the Romney camp is accurate and the polls are right, he is in fact in a position that he could conceivably win Iowa, New Hampshire and then South Carolina. In that case, all these national polls showing him behind are completely irrelevant.”

Here’s Keene on the Romney ground game:

“But when you start talking to people out there, you find that while the other candidates are sort of running a national media campaigns, Romney’s on the ground and organizing. That gives him a tremendous opportunity, particularly against Rudy.”

“It’s hard to see Rudy pulling it off, unless he organized as well as Romney, and I don’t see him doing that,” Keene says. As a result, “Romney’s in the best position to get ahead when the contest actually starts. Giuliani has got his poll lead, but I don’t know what else he has.”

Keene had this to say about Thompson:

“Thompson could get back in it if he gets his act together,” Keene says. On the other hand, the idea of a resurgence for John McCain is totally unlikely, he says. “McCain is just coming up to a level of support he had in the past,” Keene says. “He can’t get beyond that.”

Lastly, Keene had some interesting things to say about the race against Hillary:

“Given the current state of attitudes about President Bush and the Republicans, Hillary ought to be 15 to 20 points ahead,” Keene says. “The fact that she’s just four or five points ahead and is hovering mostly below 50 percentage points in the polls means she’s in deep trouble. She can win, but it’s not going to be easy for her. And that means that the Republican nomination is worth a lot more than what the common wisdom would suggest.”

Judd Gregg Endorsement is HUGE News

Please note these two items:

  • No GOP candidate has ever lost New Hampshire and Iowa and gone on to win the primary nomination.
  • No GOP candidate has ever won both of these states in a primary election.

With Romney’s lead in Iowa dropping jaws across the political spectrum (one recent poll has him up on Rudy by 23% pts) does the Gregg endorsement seal the deal in New Hampshire?

First, Gregg is very respected in the New Hampshire GOP with an 82% approval rate among Republicans.

Second, the Gregg family has deep roots in New Hampshire. His father Hugh Gregg served as Governor in the 50s. Judd was elected to Congress in 1980 and served 4 terms before winning the race for governor in 1988 and then winning his current Senate seat in 1993. He has been re-elected twice now, most recently in 2004

Second, Gregg had previously indicated that he would not be endorsing anyone until the primary. Today, he said: “never thought I’d endorse a governor of Massachusetts for anything, but, I never though the Red Sox would win the World Series twice in my lifetime, either.”

In short, these type of endorsements are seriously prized in the political world. And if the endorsement happens to be in New Hampshire…

One quick question: Gregg indicated that he has “tremendous respect for John McCain and although I don’t know Rudy Giuliani, I respect what he’s done.”

Did Rudy not even approach Gregg? Or meet with him?

Huckabee’s OTHER missing leg

I responded to Kyle’s “Huck’s Missing Leg” blog entry below with the following comment (which I’ve expanded and added links):

Who said Huckabee is only missing one leg of the stool?

Sure, he does offer a solid “strong families” leg to the stool as a faithful social conservative . . .

Sure, he’s the weakest GOP candidate on fiscal issues and therefore has a non-existent “strong economy” leg to his stool.

But we can’t give him a pass on leg #3 “strong defense” . . . now I’m sure he doesn’t want a weaker and less potent military (though he does seem to be a little off on his foreign policy.) But also a sizable part of the “strong defense” leg is issues such as being tough on crime and tough on immigration. On these issue, Huckabee is laughable as a GOP candidate. He’s been reluctant to openly support the death penalty, he granted many pardons to criminals, and (and this will be the deal breaker for most social conservatives) he has a horrible record on immigration (here, here, and here) being about as pro-amnesty as you can be.

Looks like Mike’s stool is actually only a pogo-stick . . . he may bounce around and attract some attention, but there is no solid foundation for his campaign.

P.S. Here are a few paragraphs shedding some light on Huck’s crime/immigration record:

By far, Huckabee’s most glaring mistake goes by the name of Wayne DuMond, a paroled rapist who murdered a woman after being released. DuMond’s story is Southern Gothic, the Dukes of Hazzard meets John Grisham. He was a Vietnam veteran with a violent past and six children. In 1984, he was accused of raping a high school student in Forrest City, Ark., a town named for a founder of the Ku Klux Klan. The student happened to be a distant cousin of then-Gov. Bill Clinton, and the daughter of an influential local mortician. While DuMond was awaiting trial, two men broke into his home, hogtied and castrated him. The local sheriff, Coolidge Conlee, later displayed the testicles, floating in formaldehyde, for visitors to his office.

A mangled DuMond was eventually sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. But the distant Clinton affiliation soon turned his case into a cause. Right-wing radio hosts and columnists decried the severe sentence. They raised questions about the lack of DNA evidence, and railed against the small-town justice system, which never prosecuted DuMond’s attackers. During the 1992 presidential campaign, while Clinton was traveling out of state, Tucker commuted DuMond’s sentence to allow for the possibility of parole. When Huckabee became governor, he publicly announced that he intended to commute DuMond’s sentence to time served. “My desire is that you be released from prison,” he wrote DuMond in a letter. Before Huckabee signed any papers, the state parole board approved the prisoner’s release. Two years later, DuMond murdered a woman in Missouri and later died in jail.

The case presents Huckabee with a clear problem, along the lines of Willie Horton, the furloughed rapist who helped sink the 1988 campaign of Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis. The attack ad almost writes itself: Huckabee, egged on by right-wingers, worked to free a rapist who murdered again. When I bring up the issue, the former Baptist minister becomes defensive and tries to place the blame elsewhere. “Jim Guy Tucker commuted this guy’s sentence to make him parole eligible,” Huckabee says, as we sit in the back of the minivan. “Clinton knew it, Tucker did it, and now they try to blame me for it.” In 2002, several members of the parole board told the Arkansas Times that the governor had actively advocated for DuMond’s release behind the scenes. Huckabee calls this a lie, but he acknowledges he made a public appeal for the parole. “And I certainly regret that, in light of what happened,” he says.

But the DuMond debacle also provides a window into Huckabee’s approach as he begins his run for president. He has refused to take the predictable path by talking tough on crime to deflect the DuMond criticism. Instead, he campaigns on a compassionate approach to wrongdoers, especially those whose crimes are the result of drug or alcohol addiction. At Philly’s Finest, he condemned the “revenge-based corrections system,” sounding every bit the sort of squishy liberal that the Bill O’Reillys of the world long ago scared into the shadows. “We lock up a lot of people we are mad at rather than the ones we are really afraid of,” he said. “We incarcerate more people than anybody on earth.” As governor, Huckabee pushed for drug treatment instead of incarceration for nonviolent offenders. He pushed for faith-based prison programs, and was critical of governors who “gladly pull the switch” on death penalty cases, an apparent knock on President Bush, who was criticized as governor of Texas for being cavalier about capital punishment.

On other issues as well, Huckabee refuses to toe the traditional conservative line. Wherever he goes, Republican audiences ask him about illegal immigration, and he answers with a meandering metaphorical anecdote about why the nation’s borders should be as rigorous as airline security. But there is little doubt that Huckabee stands closer to President Bush, Ted Kennedy and John McCain on the issue than he does to the send-them-back-to-Mexico base of his own party. He speaks of creating a new process for receiving immigrants “who do want to come here, do jobs that we need them to do, do them in an orderly legal way.”

Fred Barnes Weekly Standard Article: The Two-Man Race—Only Rudy and Mitt have credible scenarios.

This article by Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard has boiled things down to Romney vs. Rudy.

After praising the Ron Paul revolution . . . Barnes then bashed that campaign for having no strategy for winning the nomination; i.e. they lacked a credible scenario of success.

Scenarios matter. They offer a way to judge the presidential race. Strong candidates can outline a sequence of likely victories or impressive finishes in the caucuses and primaries that would lead to the nomination. Weak candidates can’t. And, to be clear, a strategy and a scenario aren’t the same. A scenario is a vision of a candidate’s path to victory.

At this point, with the first voting just nine weeks away, only two candidates–Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney–have credible scenarios.

In that sense, the Republican campaign has become a two-man race, Rudy vs. Mitt. John McCain and Fred Thompson may not like this. They have scenarios, too, but theirs aren’t terribly credible.

This means just what you think it does. More likely than not, the Republican nominee will be Giuliani or Romney. I remember the old Ken Murray television show in the 1950s that would cut to Hollywood and Vine, where, it was said, “anything can happen and usually does.” That’s true of politics as well. Still, the best bet is Rudy or Mitt.

Hmmm . . . where have I seen this predicted before? Maybe some smart presidential candidate sees things shaping up this way too. That AP article starts off with . . .

Mitt Romney says the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination will come down to Rudy Giuliani and a more conservative challenger. Like Mitt Romney.

It’s no surprise that Giuliani is doing well in national polls of Republicans, Romney said Friday, because candidates with more conservative views on social issues such as abortion and gay rights are splitting the support of like-minded voters.

At some point, the former Massachusetts governor said, the party’s conservative base will coalesce around a single candidate, making it tougher for Giuliani

(another spin on Romney’s two-man race insinuation can by found here.

Back to Barnes . . .

There are three things to keep in mind when evaluating the presidential race in 2008. First, national polls don’t matter at all. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and John Kerry polled at 13 percent or less nationally before the primaries, then locked up the Democratic nomination a few weeks later [EDITORIAL INSERT by Jeff: All three of those came from SMALL STATES and didn’t enjoy widespread national name recognition until some early wins . . . much like the Romney camp forsees things]. State polls provide a better clue of what may happen. Second, the primaries are a dynamic process. Win in the early states and you have a far greater chance of capturing the later primaries–and the nomination. Third, money is more important than ever in 2008. If a long shot like McCain or Thompson or even Mike Huckabee wins in Iowa (January 3) or New Hampshire (January 8) or South Carolina (January 19), there won’t be enough time for him to raise the funds needed to compete effectively in Florida on January 29 and the 20-plus primaries on February 5. Television ads are expensive, but necessary.

Romney has an early-primary strategy aimed at Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. He’s poured money into those states, broadcast TV spots, and built organizations. Fox News polls show him leading in Iowa and New Hampshire and a close second in South Carolina.

If he wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, he’ll have history on his side. No presidential candidate in either party has failed to win the presidential nomination after finishing first in Iowa and New Hampshire–that is, since 1972 when Democrat Edmund Muskie managed the dubious feat of winning both but not the nomination. Romney also has the best shot to win the Michigan primary on January 15. He grew up in Michigan and his father George was governor. The other Republicans have all but ignored Michigan.

So the Romney scenario is obvious. He wins early and takes off like a rocket. His name identification soars. Just as significant, he’ll have the money–his own, plus funds he’s raised–to compete fully on February 5, Super Tuesday. I think this scenario is believable. Of course it’s just a scenario, nothing more.

Then Barnes moves onto Rudy’s plan:

Contrary to reports, Giuliani is not ignoring the early states. Well, Iowa maybe. He’s campaigning aggressively in New Hampshire and leads in the Fox poll in South Carolina. If he stayed out of every state until the Florida primary, that would be fatal. The early winner would gain all the media attention and swamp him.

But Giuliani’s focus is on Florida and then on the big-state primaries on February 5 in California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey. He, too, has the funds to compete. His scenario–breaking out in Florida and blowing away the field on Super Tuesday–is credible in my view [Editorial insert by Jeff: “credible” but never tried/accomplished . . . history is definitely on Mitt’s side, not Rudy’s].

However, he could do well on Super Tuesday and still not lock up the nomination. The same is true for Romney. Should that happen, the Romney scenario sees conservatives drifting to him as the alternative to the more liberal Giuliani. Former congressman Vin Weber, a Romney adviser, says there’s a ceiling on how many Republicans will back Giuliani, one that will keep him from winning the nomination. We’ll see.

Barnes then mentions the McCain campaign’s strategy of NH and SC wins to get momentum, but reasons:

It’s conceivable, but he lacks the money he’d need on February 5.

Of Fred Thompson, Barnes is forced to conclude:

his strategy of running as the only “consistent conservative” hasn’t stirred enough support to produce a credible scenario leading to the nomination.

All in all, Barnes gives a pretty fair analysis of the GOP race as it stands right now. I would add that it’s becoming more and more clear that if Romney wins 3 or 4 out of the first 5 earliest states (IA, NH, NV, SC, MI–something that’s looking more likely than not) that the social conservative votes will stop being split between the many candidates who showed they couldn’t put together a victory in ANY early state. Social Conservatives and other “base” voters will coalesce more and more around Romney in order to avoid a pro-choice nominee that will bring out the 3rd party scenario ensuring Hillary will be POTUS . . . YUCK!!

Jeff Fuller