BREAKING: ROMNEY TO ANNOUNCE 2012 EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE “EARLY APRIL” [Update: $50M clarified]

Romney Flexing

Romney Begins the Exploratory Flex April 2011 (Photo by Michael Fagans / The Californian)

For Romneyiacs like me this is the biggest news of the year – news we’ve waited to hear for over 3 years now. It seems an official campaign for Romney to seek the presidency is kicking into gear… and sooner than I thought. I had been guessing/suspecting that an exploratory committee would be formed in early May.

Reports from the Wall Street Journal say that during a meeting with 100 fundraisers that Romney mentioned early April as the time he’s likely to launch an exploratory committee. (An exploratory committee is not a full campaign but would allow Romney to legally raise funds towards a presidential run.)

From WSJ:

About 100 fund-raisers gathered at Manhattan’s venerated Harvard Club this morning to hear former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lay out his ambition: Raise $50 million fast.

One Romney fundraiser said the $50 million figure was what the governor wanted to show by early summer, at the time of the first financial filing deadline of what is likely to be his official presidential campaign.
[...]
“Our fundraising will be a knockout blow to anyone who is squeamish,” said one Romney fundraiser, speaking of potential Republican challengers still flirting with a race by early summer. Mr. Romney’s money machine raised a little more than $60 million in the primary campaign of 2008, according to finance records.

Mr. Romney told the crowd this morning that he is likely to announce his presidential exploratory committee in early April, an announcement that would kick fund-raising into high gear. A 15-city fundraising tour that began Tuesday in Washington is now expected to reach at least 30 cities.
[...]
As he did at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington Tuesday, the former governor told bundlers…that the primary season will be brutal. His strategy is to win two or three of the first states, with polling numbers already looking good in New Hampshire, where he has a lake house, and Nevada, where the Mormon vote is strong.

Jayde reported yesterday on a meeting that Romney had with fundraisers on Tuesday in Washington. There are two bits below (also from WSJ) I want to throw out again because they outline what appears to be the strategy of the campaign at this time:

Mr. Romney said he needed to do well in the New Hampshire and Florida primaries and Nevada’s caucuses, while emerging from those early states with enough money to convince undecided voters that he would have the financial firepower to get to the finish line.
[...]
Romney fund-raisers are set to converge on Las Vegas on May 16 for a final push ahead of the first financial filing deadline. The Las Vegas meeting will include a marathon phone-a-thon to reach donors, according to one fund-raiser involved in the plan.

Points I gather, though they are not confirmed:
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“Jimmer/Romney 2012″ Subliminal Campaign Paying Dividends (Plus SI Cover Caption Contest)

Most of the MRC faithful know that Romney has already taken time to vet Jimmer Fredette as a potential VP candidate.  Well folks, due to the popularity of “The Jimmer” and his skill in propelling the BYU Cougars (Romney’s alma mater BTW) into today’s Sweet Sixteen match-up against the Florida Gators, the tables are turning and it may be time to put Fredette at the top of the ticket!

I went out to Denver last week to watch Jimmer and the Cougs win their first two games of the tournament.  I made the sign below. Between visiting with family, skiing, hiking, and basketball games I guess I didn’t realize how popular this sign actually was among reporters and others at the game.

Yahoo Sports named it the #4 best BYU sign in Denver:

“We had a great atmosphere,” Jimmer Fredette said. “To look up in the stands and see all these signs, see us win and have everybody cheering for you at the end, it’s a special moment.” . . .

Here are my 10 favorite from BYU’s victories over Wofford and Gonzaga this week in Denver.

1. “John Stockton is really here to see Jimmer.”

2. “Physics says NO. Jimmer says YES.”

3. “Jimmer Crossing, Brace Yourself.”

4.Romney/Jimmer, 2012. Jimmer/Romney, 2012.”

The sign was also mentioned in the AP article recapping the first game against Wofford, an article which was posted on ESPN and also ran in hundreds (if not thousands) of other print and/or online newspapers nationwide.

Fredette’s 52-point game, and the buzz that followed, helped cement his legend in the Rocky Mountain West. With March Madness here, he’s looking to become an even bigger star.

On Thursday, there were signs and T-shirts all around the Pepsi Center spreading the word. “Fredette About It.” “I’m going to Jimmerland.”

And, of course, one that crossed out the words, “Romney/Jimmer 2012,” and replaced them with “Jimmer/Romney 2012.”

Jimmer for President?

YOU BETCHA!!!

It also had some random Tweets as well (Twitter Search for “Jimmer/Romney”).  My favorite Tweets:
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Romney Moves to Fortify Fund-Raising Advantage

‘Colossally costly’ are the words being used to characterize the upcoming 2012 presidential contest.

Democrats have been outwardly boasting that Obama will have ONE BILLION dollars in his reelection war chest. Chances are slim that Obama will have to spend money in a primary challenge, so the bulk of the money he raises will be dedicated toward defeating his GOP challenger. As former Federal Election Commissioner Michael Toner told The Financial Times, “Any Republican who wishes to run in 2012 must seriously weigh whether he or she is capable of raising the $700 million or more that will be needed to compete with Obama.”

It’s no wonder that Mitt Romney is proceeding to build a fund-raising advantage:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has quietly launched a 15-city push to secure financial commitments from big-money “bundlers,” hoping to reveal a fund-raising network that would establish him as the prohibitive frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president.

Mr. Romney and top aides will meet Thursday in New York with nearly 100 donors—many from Wall Street— at the Harvard Club. Attendees are being asked to raise between $25,000 and $50,000 for Mr. Romney within 90 days, in an effort to post large fund-raising totals quickly, one person familiar with events said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Romney met with fund-raisers in downtown Washington, where he also gave his view of the early nominating caucuses and primaries.
[...]
Finance meetings are also scheduled for March 30 in Los Angeles, as well as in Detroit, Dallas, Houston and Atlanta, people familiar with plans said. Romney fund-raisers are set to converge on Las Vegas on May 16 for a final push ahead of the first financial filing deadline. The Las Vegas meeting will include a marathon phone-a-thon to reach donors, according to one fund-raiser involved in the plan.

“When the day is done and we’re in the thick of a presidential race, money will not be an obstacle for Gov. Romney,” said Lewis Eisenberg, a prominent hedge fund manager who will attend Thursday’s event.

“By early summer, the world will know what we’ve done,” another prominent fundraiser said.
[...]
More than 90 people are expected to attend the New York meeting Thursday, Among those expected: Mr. Eisenberg; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, Manhattan real estate developer and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, and Emil Henry, a former top Treasury official in the George W. Bush administration.

The list shows Mr. Romney making inroads in courting fund-raisers who worked for Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), the 2008 Republican nominee. McCain’s two national finance chairmen—Mr. Eisenberg and Washington lobbyist Wayne Berman—are now with Mr. Romney. Mr. Johnson, led the fund-raising effort for the Republican National Convention in 2008, was also with Mr. McCain that year.
[...]

At the meeting in Washington, Governor Romney also spoke about the Massachusetts insurance plan. Don’t miss reading the entire article.

The money marathon is on…


Earlier this month, officials of Mr. Obama’s fledgling re-election campaign told about 450 donors to raise $350,000 each before the end of the year, a total of more than $157 million that, if reached, would start the president off on what many expect to be a billion-dollar re-election effort.

While outwardly proclaiming being able to raise a billion dollars in funds to reelect Obama, behind closed doors it’s another story. The President’s handlers are sounding the alarm bell to boost donations. Jim Messina, who will become Obama’s campaign manager next month, has begun presenting a reelection strategy across the country. It consists of a 10-page slide show entitled ‘Change that Matters’ designed to inspire liberal donors. It also details potential weaknesses of likely opponents.

The president’s political aides, people at the meetings said, are trying to establish stronger ties to some of these donors as they navigate what may be a difficult fund-raising environment.

[...]Part of Mr. Messina’s presentation is to caution donors that while Mr. Obama has recovered after the trouncing his party took in the 2010 elections and is well-positioned for 2012, he will face a tough re-election fight that will require substantial donor support[...].

It’s important to remember that Obama raised $779 million from almost 4 million donors during the 2008 campaign. That’s more than the combined totals raised by both Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and President George Bush during the 2004 presidential race. From CQ MoneyLine:

…Should he crack the $1 billion mark, Obama in one cycle will have raised roughly as much as the top Democratic and Republican candidates from the 2000 and 2004 cycles combined.

Romney’s impressive conservative credentials and values, life experience, and sharp intellect uniquely qualify him to lead our nation. It’s going to be a high-stakes 2012 presidential race and the GOP is facing a determined, union-backed, incumbent President.

Romney’s got the right message. Now, he’s getting the money.

If you care about who gets elected in 2012, you’d better be prepared to open your wallet. Donate to Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC here.


UPDATE (3/24/11): Governor Romney sat down with donors today in New York City’s Harvard Club:

The Wall Street Journal reports that Romney has met with big donors in big cities across the country in recent days, including 100-donor meeting at New York City’s Harvard Club today. Romney is urging his backers to raise “to raise between $25,000 and $50,000″ in the next 90 days. That will give Romney a nice financial foundation to launch a campaign from.

Read more here.


► Jayde Wyatt

Mitt and Ann Romney Attend ‘Points of Light’ Gala Honoring Volunteerism, Pres and Mrs. George H. W. Bush

Mitt and Ann Romney attend the 'Points of Light' Dinner honoring President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush. Washington DC, March 20, 2011

Mitt and Ann Romney attended the prestigious Points of Light gala honoring President George H. W. Bush. Held in the Kennedy Performing Arts Center (Washington D.C.) on Sunday, March 20, 2011, the All Together Now: A Celebration of Service event was a historic night celebrating the essential role volunteerism plays in strengthening America.


Along with 2300 attendees, three of the four sitting presidents were present (Obama was traveling in South America; he taped a video tribute to President Bush.) Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire, and Carrie Underwood were among the entertainers.

Points of Light blog:

[...] Tonight we honor President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush for their leadership in founding and advancing the modern-day service movement in the Tribute event All Together Now: A Celebration of Service in Washington, D.C.
[...]
This historic event was created to celebrate the power of voluntary action and its essential role in solving our national challenges and to recognize everyone around the nation who are positively changing the lives of others. The audience is made up of many of the Daily Points of Light Award winners along with those who are closely connected to the service movement.

In a Fox News interview earlier this month President George H. W. Bush discussed the importance of volunteering and specifically Points of Light Institute saying: “I keep repeating there could be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others. That is what the whole concept of Points of Light is about and volunteerism.”

President George H. W. Bush encourages everyone to get involved in civic service: “Get in the arena in doing something, making something happen, trying to benefit others, and that’s noble.”

Geroge H. W. Bush served as Pres Reagan's Vice President. In 1989, he succeeded Reagan in the presidency.

Neil Bush, son of the elder President Bush and Points of Light Board Chairman, said that his father helped launch the Points of Light Institute in 1990 “to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.”

Bush’s commitment to public service dates back to World War II, when he became the youngest fighter pilot in the U.S. military. He followed his father, a Connecticut senator, into elective office as a Republican congressman from Houston from 1967 to 1971. Among the other lines on his long résumé: U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Republican National Committee chairman, U.S. envoy to China, CIA director, vice president and president.

Read more here.

Honoring President Bush: The Event

According to son Neil, the ever-modest elder President Bush needed a little arm twisting to go along with the celebration[...]. But he agreed to attend, given that the night is also about so many others who volunteer their time to their communities.

Not to be overlooked, former First Lady Barbara Bush has been a powerful advocate for family literacy:


The Points of Light gala will be broadcast for all to watch on Monday March 28th from 8-9 p.m. on NBC.

Thank you, President George H. W. Bush, for championing volunteerism. We greatly appreciate the exemplary service you and Mrs. Bush continue to give our nation.

UPDATE: It was an honor to see this article mentioned on the Points of Light Institute website!

► Jayde Wyatt

Huckabee, Romney Neck and Neck in National Polls

RCP logoMike Huckabee holds a very slight edge over Romney in the national poll averages as tabulated by RealClearPolitcs.com The most recent results from 8 different polling outfits show Huckabee at 19.8 percent and Romney at 19.1, each of them about 4 points over Palin at 15.5 percent.

Though I’m a little concerned with Huckabee having a slight edge I’m comforted by the fact that Huckabee currently has much more exposure with his FOX show right now, and that Romney will have a huge fundraising advantage in the primaries. Still a 4 point spread between 1st and 3rd place shows there is no designated front-runner by any means and that this race is wide open. What that means to us is we have a lot of work to do help Romney to victory. Time to redouble efforts… and that means you!

Below is the data as it currently stands. Table date source: RCP

Poll Date Huckabee Romney Palin Gingrich Spread
RCP Average 1/13 – 3/14 19.8 19.1 15.5 10.5 Huckabee +0.7
Pew Research 3/8 – 3/14 20 21 13 11 Romney +1
PPP (D) 3/10 – 3/13 18 17 16 14 Huckabee +1
NBC/WSJ 2/24 – 2/28 25 21 12 13 Huckabee +4
Gallup 2/18 – 2/20 18 16 16 9 Huckabee +2
Newsweek/DB 2/12 – 2/15 18 19 10 7 Romney +1
CNN 1/21 – 1/23 21 18 19 10 Huckabee +2
Rasmussen 1/18 – 1/18 17 24 19 11 Romney +5
ABC/WP 1/13 – 1/16 21 17 19 9 Huckabee +2

I abbreviated to the table to make it fit on our page – cutting it off after the top four contestants. Rounding out the results are Paul 6.5, Pawlenty 3.8, Daniels 2.6, Barbour 1.6, Santorum 1.6, and Huntsman 1.0.

~Nate Gunderson

Nevada Representative Joe Heck Endorses Mitt Romney For 2012

Then-NV Republican state Senator Dr. Joe Heck greets presidential hopeful Gov Mitt Romney. (Henderson, NV Jan 17, 2008)

Although Mitt Romney hasn’t announced his candidacy yet, people are already lining up to endorse him for 2012. Nevada Rep Joe Heck has announced that he is endorsing Mitt Romney:

“Heck is playing it safe with Romney, who won the Silver State’s caucuses in a landslide in 2008. The other major Republican presidential contenders didn’t focus on the heavily Mormon state.

Heck was a very early Romney backer that year, and Romney helped Heck campaign extensively during Heck’s competitive House race.”

Mitt Romney is no stranger to Nevada.

He won Nevada during the 2008 Presidential primaries. He made a whopping five stops to the Vegas area on his No Apology book tour back in March. He also gave a speech to the 2,500 members of the International Franchise Association in Las Vegas. Furthermore, Mitt endorsed a handful of Republican candidates in Nevada and came out to stump for them during the 2010 midterm elections.

Representative Joe Heck adds to the serious name recognition Mitt Romney already has in Nevada –enough to help him secure the vital swing state. In fact, a poll from Public Policy Polling showed Romney as the only person who would be a real challenge to President Obama in Nevada.

Nevadans are smart about who they select as their candidate. They voted for Mitt in 2008 and he will be their choice again in 2012!


Romney at NRO: What I would do about ObamaCare if I were President

National Review Online

Romney published a short op-ed at the National Review Online just a couple hours ago. The title: If I Were President: Obamacare, One Year In

If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states.

[...]

the ultimate goal is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with free-market reforms that promote competition and lower health-care costs.


Click here to read the his post at the NRO.

It is interesting to me that this is such a brief article by Mitt Romney. Perhaps the reason is because he wants the main points to come through clear and not be lost in details. There is no plainer way that he can get across the point that were he president he would seek to repeal ObamaCare. There is no long text for anyone to twist, no excessive wording to bumble his meaning.

1 – Mitt Romney will seek to repeal ObamaCare.
2 – Since that process takes time, he will begin immediately to give power back to the states by means of an executive order.

Hugh Hewitt Asks Mitt Romney About Obama’s Libyan Policy, Presidential Plans

Governor Romney was a guest today during the first hour of the Hughniverse (Hugh Hewitt’s radio program). Romney was asked about Obama’s foreign policy in Libya, the future of nuclear power, and his presidential plans for 2012:

Monday, March 21, 2011
HH: Joined now by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Governor, always a pleasure, welcome back.
MR: Thank you. Good to be with you today.

HH: What is your reaction to President Obama’s announcement of air strikes on Libya?
MR: Well, first, I support military action in Libya. I support our troops there and the mission that they’ve been given. But let me also note that thus far, the President has been unable to construct a foreign policy, any foreign policy. I think it’s fair to ask, you know, what is it that explains the absence of any discernable foreign policy from the president of the United States? And I believe that it flows from his fundamental disbelief in American exceptionalism. In the President’s world, all nations have common interests, the lines between good an evil are blurred, America’s history merits apology. And without a compass to guide him in our increasingly turbulent world, he’s tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced. And as a result, I think, he says, for instance, he’s committed to our success in Afghanistan unless it means commitment beyond 2011. He stands with our ally, Israel, but condemns its settlement policy even more forcefully than he condemns Hamas’ rockets. And he calls for the removal of Muammar Gaddafi, but then conditions our action on the directions we get from the Arab League and the United Nations.

HH: Did he wait too long, Governor Romney, to strike against Libya?
MR: There’s no question but that his inability to have a clear and convincing foreign policy made him delegate to the United Nations and the Arab League a decision about our involvement there. And I happen to have a very personal concern. I mean, 270 people were killed as a result of that tragedy over Lockerbie. We now know that that was ordered directly by Muammar Gaddafi. One of my colleagues at Bain & Co, and a friend, named Nicholas Bright, was killed in that flight. And the President had every piece of information he needed to be able to take action in America’s interest.

HH: Does he appear weak?
MR: You know, I think one of the comments I’ve heard from individuals abroad is that in the past, America has been feared sometimes, has been respected, but today, that America is seen as being weak. We’re following the French into Libya. I appreciate the fact that others are participating in this effort, but I think we look to America to be the leader of the world. You know, the cause of liberty can endure the mistakes that are inevitable consequences of human fallibility. But liberty’s standard can’t prevail if it’s not proudly, decisively and consistently held aloft.
[...]

At the end of the interview, Hewitt mentioned Tim Pawlenty’s exploratory announcement today and asked Romney about his plans:

HH: [...] Last question, Governor Romney, we’ve got about 45 seconds. Former Governor Pawlenty announced his exploratory committee today. Do you have any idea when you’ll be deciding whether or not to do the same thing?
MR: I have an idea, Hugh, but I’d tell you quietly, but I’m afraid you’d let your listeners know, so I’ll have to be giving that some thought, but no definitive plans right now.

HH: Are you going to the Reagan Library debate that Politico wants to hold in May?
MR: Well, that depends on when we get things organized, and that’s not something I’m ready to come out with right now. But I can tell you that I’m doing what I’ve got to do to make sure that if we decide to go ahead, that we’ll have a successful effort.

HH: Mitt Romney, always a pleasure, Governor, thank you for joining us.

(my emphasis) Read the entire transcript here.

UPDATE: Here’s an audio portion of the Romney/Hewitt interview:




I’m giving a shout-out to 16 year old Tyler Keegan for creating this new video
Mitt Romney – Common Sense for America:


Although I trust Mitt’s timing on when to get in the race, I’m getting excited for a Romney candidacy! Are you?

H/t to Sam for audio


► Jayde Wyatt

Mitt Romney’s Time Has Come: Obama Gets an “F” on the Economy

The number of voters nationwide who give President Obama good or excellent marks for his handling of economic issues has fallen to a new low.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters show that just 31% rate Obama’s handling of economic issues as good or excellent.

Related to the economy, I came across this depressing map called The Decline: The Geography of Recession. It was last updated on January 12, 2011 with labor statics taken from the U.S. Department of Labor. It shows the deteriorating transformation of the U.S. Economy.

Take a look:

A larger, more impressive,  MORE DEPRESSING version of the above map can be found HERE and is really worth the look.

I would not expect the economy or job growth to improve much over the next two years. This is what will make the 2012 Presidential election one of the most important in the history of our country.

Mitt Romney’s time is now!

There are some good choices on the horizon among the 2012 Presidential hopefuls but only one GREAT CHOICE for what needs to be done to put America back on the road to economic recovery. That candidate is Mitt Romney. Not only would he bring his success as a Governor to the United States Presidency but he would, more importantly, bring his business savvy.

Here are some highlights of Romney business success taken from Wikipedia:

PLEASE NOTE: Several links to back up the claims in the highlights below, can be found HERE.

1977- 83 Bain & Company – Romney proved adept at learning the “Bain way”, which consisted of immersing itself in each client’s business, and not simply to issue recommendations, but to stay with the company until they were effectively changed for the better. With a record of success with clients such as the Monsanto Company, Outboard Marine Corporation, Burlington Industries, and Corning Incorporated, Romney became a vice president of the firm in 1978 and within a few years one of the its best consultants. Romney became a firm believer in Bain’s methods; he later said, “The idea that consultancies should not measure themselves by the thickness of their reports, or even the elegance of their writing, by rather by whether or not the report was effectively implemented was an inflection point in the history of consulting.



1983 – 90 Bain Capital – A spinoff of Bain & Company, Romney founded the company with Bill Bain. At first, Bain Capital focused on venture capital opportunities. Their first big success came with a 1986 investment to help start Staples Inc., after founder Thomas G. Stemberg convinced Romney of the market size for office supplies; Bain Capital eventually reaped a nearly sevenfold return on its investment. The firm’s successfully invested in or acquired many well-known companies such as Accuride, Brookstone, Domino’s Pizza, Sealy Corporation, Sports Authority, and Artisan Entertainment, as well as lesser-known companies in the industrial and medical sectors. Bain also was involved in leveraged buyouts which sometimes led to layoffs. Of these, Romney later said, “Sometimes the medicine is a little bitter but it is necessary to save the life of the patient. My job was to try and make the enterprise successful, and in my view the best security a family can have is that the business they work for is strong.”

1990 – 92 Bain & Company – Romney returned to Bain & Company which was facing collapse as a favor to his mentor Bill Bain and was named CEO taking only a symbolic salary of one dollar. Romney managed an effort to restructure the firm’s employee stock-ownership plan, real-estate deals and bank loans, while rallying the firm’s thousand employees, imposing a new governing structure that included Bain and the other founding partners giving up control, and increasing fiscal transparency. Within about a year, he had led Bain & Company through a highly successful turnaround and returned the firm to profitability without further layoffs or partner defections. He turned Bain & Company over to new leadership and returned to Bain Capital in December 1992.

1992 – 99 Bain Capital – Romney left Bain Capital in February 1999 to serve as the President and CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee. By that time, Bain Capital was on its way to being one of the top private equity firms in the nation, having increased its number of partners from 5 to 18, had 115 employees overall, and had $4 billion under its management. His experience at Bain & Company and Bain Capital gave Romney a world view that was business oriented – centering around a hate of waste and inefficiency.



I’d like to hear about similar experiences of other candidates in this area. I don’t believe there are any. This is why I believe Romney is unique and that HIS TIME IS NOW!

UPDATE by Jayde: Is Romney Winning the Base?

(H/t Paulee)

BREAKING: Tim Pawlenty Announces 2012 Presidential Exploratory Committee

Looks like Tim Pawlenty is taking the official plunge. Embedded is the “exclusive” video you’re only supposed to see if you are a fan of his facebook page…

But Nate, aren’t you worried some people will jump ship for Pawlenty if you show the video on this site?

No, not really.

I wish good luck to T-Paw and his team.

~Nate G.

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