Who Won the Final GOP Debate in Jacksonville Before Florida Votes on Tuesday?

What a day it has been! Mitt’s momentum is very strong and tonight’s CNN presidential debate is a fantastic opportunity to make that momentum unstoppable. Please stay vigilant throughout the debate to show when Mitt is being falsely attacked and when Mitt is correct.

The Debate in it’s entirety

The chat box has been moved back to the sidebar.

Click here to see the Best Tweets of the Night.

A little treat for anyone who hasn’t seen this before.

FInally, watch Larry Kudlow take Newt Gingrich to task below the fold. (more…)

Serious Anti-Newt Backlash

UPDATE: I published this post regarding the intense anti-Newt pushback I saw yesterday before seeing the following Politico article, which covers many of the same topics, and is itself a great read. Here’s a salient quote from Politico, then the main body of my original post:

A top conservative media figure said the flood of attacks reflects a “Holy crap, it could happen” moment in the movement, as Republican leaders began to realize after Gingrich’s South Carolina victory that he could become the nominee, the global face and voice of their party and theology.

“It could happen, and it would be a disaster,” said the conservative, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect private conversations. “All of us who were around and saw how he operated as speaker — there’s no one who’s not appalled by the prospect of what could happen. He thinks he embodies conservatism and if he wakes up one day and has a grandiose thought, he is going to expect all of us to fall in line behind him.

“There’s just so much risk on so many levels,” the official continued. “Everyone’s thinking, ‘It could really happen.’ He could win the presidency if there’s a way to win with 45 percent — a second recession or a third-party candidate. The immediate worry is him winning the nomination and losing the election, tanking candidates down-ballot. In a worst-case scenario, you could see unified Democratic governance, and we’d be back where we were in ’09 and ’10. It’s insane.”

Original Post:

In what can only be called a deluge of anti-Newt news, people seem to be coming out of the woodwork to tell the real truth about the winner of the South Carolina primaries in order to make sure he doesn’t also win Florida. Insiders know that Newt would be a disastrous nominee for the GOP, and even Nancy Pelosi knows he’d never be president.

Here are a few of my favorite headlines up tonight:

From the Drudge Report: “INSIDER: GINGRICH REPEATEDLY INSULTED REAGAN.” The link is to a National Review story in which a former Reagan administration member tells it like it was regarding Newt: he was often standing against Reagan, particularly in Reagan’s approach to the USSR that Newt today tries to co-opt. Why is this relevant? To hear Newt tell it, he and Ronald Reagan worked hand in hand to defeat communism and save the free world. But in reality while Newt would vote with the caucus, Newt worked against Reagan. One of many damning quotes from this inside source:

Here is Gingrich [saying]: “Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.” Why? This was due partly to “his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”; partly to CIA, State, and Defense, which “have no strategies to defeat the empire.” But of course “the burden of this failure frankly must be placed first on President Reagan.” Our efforts against the Communists in the Third World were “pathetically incompetent,” so those anti-Communist members of Congress who questioned the $100 million Reagan sought for the Nicaraguan “contra” rebels “are fundamentally right.” Such was Gingrich’s faith in President Reagan that in 1985, he called Reagan’s meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.”

This article is definitely worth a read. It makes clear that Newt does not deserve any of Reagan’s credit for defeating communism.

Next up: “William Jefferson Gingrich.” This article compares Newt’s and Clinton’s most endearing shared qualities. Self-centeredness and a disdain for the rule of law when it disagrees with their own ego. Here’s a good quote, one of many:

Newt and Bill, as 1960s generation self-promoters, share the same duplicity, ostentatious braininess, a propensity for endless scrapes with propriety and the law. They are tireless hustlers. Now Newt is hustling my fellow conservatives in this election. The last time around he successfully hustled conservatives in the House of Representatives and then the conservatives on the House impeachment committee.

He blew the impeachment and in fact his role as Speaker. He backed out in disgrace. He now says Republicans in the House were exhausted with his great projects. Nonsense, I knew many of them, and they were exhausted with his atrocious leadership. He is not a leader. He is a huckster. Today Mitt Romney has 72 Congressional endorsements. Newt has 11. Possibly the 11 have yet to meet him.

Now he has found his key for hustling conservative electorate. He is playing the liberal media card and saying he embodies conservative values. Like Bill with his credulous fans, Newt is hoping conservatives suffer amnesia. Possibly some do. Perhaps they cannot recall mere months ago when this insufferable whiz kid was lambasting the great Congressman Paul Ryan for “right-wing social engineering” — more evidence of Newt’s not-so-hidden longing for the approval of the liberal media.

After his Ryan moment Newt’s campaign was a death wagon, and it will be so again — hopefully before he gets the nomination. Conservatives should not climb onto his death wagon. He is a huckster, and I for one will not be rendered a contortionist trying to defend him. I did so in his earliest days and learned my lesson.

And perhaps the most important quote of the article, warning us against the same result we can expect if we nominate Gingrich (remember Clinton was effectively rendered powerless during the last portion of his presidency due to his personal indiscretions). At a time the GOP really needs the White House to put the country back on the right track, we can’t afford an October surprise, or a post-nomination or post-election surprise:

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Endorsements Matter, Especially for a Republican

NOTE: Specific Endorsement Count by Candidate & Names: End of Post

Any one endorsement for a presidential candidate, in and of itself, is not generally considered that important in the long-term. However, how that endorser supports the candidate over time and the number of endorsements of stature can have significant influence. Every endorsement is a huge vote of confidence by the person putting their name on the line, in public (consider those who do not endorse candidates at all — there is a reason they don’t step up)

I have been giving a lot of thought to the large number of endorsements Governor Romney has compiled week in and week out. Gingrich sees this “voting” and he attempts to blunt their importance by referring to these as “the establishment” supporting Governor Romney.

Nonsense.

No matter how you cut it, almost EVERY one of these endorsers knows both Gingrich and Romney; some better than others. Very few of these choose Gingrich. By the way, I have yet to hear any close friend of Gingrich or any colleague of his (that worked closely with him for years), ever say anything positive about the man as a leader (besides his ability to speak well). Why is that? I only hear negative things said of him from those that know him well.

Yesterday’s Opinion section of The Wall Street Journal discusses this important topic:

Do endorsements matter? Politicians certainly think so, and they spend loads of time courting party elites and opinion-makers. So far, though, 2012 has shown how the politics of anointment and appointment can fail.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley flopped mightily in trying to deliver her state for Mitt Romney. Evangelical leaders held a summit to get the Palmetto State to back their new choice, Rick Santorum, but he fared much worse than Mr. Romney. Newt Gingrich knows the feeling—New Hampshire’s supposedly dominant Manchester Union Leader newspaper huffed and puffed for Newt and got him less than 10% of the vote.

But it’s easy to cherry-pick examples to prove the folly of endorsements. In some circumstances, they can make a substantial difference.

Throughout American history, presidencies have been created by the laying on of incumbent hands. Thomas Jefferson effectively passed the presidency to his friend and confidant, James Madison. Andrew Jackson handed his populist democracy off to an unlikely dandy, Martin Van Buren, in 1836. Few would have imagined the studious and portly William Howard Taft as president until Theodore Roosevelt picked him in 1908. More recently, George H.W. Bush might not have been elected president without Ronald Reagan’s blessing. Madison, Van Buren, Taft and Mr. Bush all got their predecessor’s third term—when popular, presidents have extraordinary powers.

What about little-known state legislators and local sheriffs? Even low-level backing can attract the cameras and generate a positive story. But this can backfire if candidates overplay their hands, as Jon Huntsman did when his campaign hinted at a “major” announcement in Florida. Speculation naturally centered on former Gov. Jeb Bush. Not quite. Mr. Huntsman got only his son, Jeb Jr., and the media’s letdown showed in the coverage.
[...]
Even more than Democrats, Republicans typically nominate a candidate that party elites support. In “The Party Decides,” political scientists Marty Cohen, David Karol, Hans Noel and John Zaller analyzed endorsements made prior to the Iowa caucuses in presidential primary contests from 1980 to 2004. They found that the candidate who had won the biggest share of endorsements won the eventual nomination in nine of 10 competitive contests (the exception was Democrat John Kerry in 2004). On the GOP side, the eventual nominees all won a strong plurality of endorsements.

Not surprisingly, given Mr. Romney’s position as the front-runner and the fear that many Republican officeholders have of sharing a ballot with Mr. Gingrich or Ron Paul, the former Massachusetts governor has a long lead in endorsements from elected officials. According to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, Mr. Romney has the backing of 72 members of Congress, versus a combined 17 for the other candidates.

This is good news for Mr. Romney. Mr. Gingrich is attempting to stir the populism of the GOP base by railing against “elites,” but many voters welcome guidance in intra-party contests. In a general election, voters have the invaluable short-hand cue of the party label. But in a nominating contest, all candidates have the same party label. How to choose just one? Differences in personality, background and policy help, but so does a candidate’s association with other well-known party figures. People want to puzzle out which candidate comes closest to their kind of Republican or Democrat.

Non-endorsements can send powerful signals to voters as well. For decades, leading Southern Democrats practiced “golden silence” in presidential years, refusing to endorse their party’s presidential nominees. This was a green light to voters that it was acceptable to support a Republican for the White House. In 1960, President Eisenhower wanted Vice President Nixon to succeed him, but he damaged Nixon’s campaign when asked what major decisions in his administration Nixon had influenced. “If you give me a week, I might think of one,” said Ike. The comment ended up in one of John Kennedy’s TV ads.

Could non-endorsements end up mattering in 2012, too? Despite decades on Capitol Hill and four years as speaker of the House, Mr. Gingrich has only 11 congressional endorsements, five of them from Georgians.

[emphasis added]

CHECK THESE TWO SITES FOR MANY SPECIFICS:

Endorsements for the Republican Party presidential primaries, 2012

RACE 4 2012 — Endorsements as of January 20, 2012
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With Eyes on Tampa, Who Won Tonight’s NBC GOP Debate?


Tonight, we’re all eyes… locked on the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.

Full Debate Video:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Text Romney to 25543 to tell NBC that Mitt won the debate.

VOTE in the following polls for the winner of the debate:
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The Swash
International Business Times
Concord Patch
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Tea Party Brief
WHYN
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Right Turn

When tweeting tonight use hashtage #FLdebate.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

Hosted at the University of South Florida in Tampa, we’ll be recapping tonight’s political event with a roundup of the best live tweets, insights, comments and questions from around social media. We’re planning to update the thread below live throughout the night. If you would like to be part of the conversation, tweet your debate feedback to @PoliticsTBTimes or leave a comment on the Times Facebook page.

I’m looking forward to hearing The Gov punch through Gingrich’s glib gobbledygook.

As usual, Romney supporters are invited to join us on our chat box throughout the evening.

Let the gloves fly, Mitt!


► Jayde Wyatt

The chat box has been moved back to the sidebar.

Looks like the onslaught has already begun:

NOT THE HEADLINES NEWT WAS LOBBYING FOR…
Politico Headline: “Republican Debate: Mitt Romney Mauls Newt Gingrich In Florida”

· Politico: “Romney kept at it throughout the first half of the debate, criticizing Gingrich for having been rebuked by his GOP colleagues in the House, earning money as an advocate for Freddie Mac and teaming up with Nancy Pelosi to talk about global warming.” (Alexander Burns, “Republican Debate: Mitt Romney Mauls Newt Gingrich In Florida,” Politico, 1/23/12)

The New York Times: “In Shift, Romney Pounds Directly And Relentlessly On Gingrich At Debate” (Michael D. Shear, “In Shift, Romney Pounds Directly And Relentlessly On Gingrich At Debate,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)

· The New York Times: “During an answer from Newt Gingrich about his time as a consultant, Mr. Romney pounced. It was the first time that the former Massachusetts governor went after Mr. Gingrich — directly — with fervor. And he wouldn’t let go. The back and forth exchange, with Mr. Romney unloading one after another accusation, went on for several minutes. Mr. Romney accused Mr. Gingrich of being an influence peddler. He accused him of being paid by Freddie Mac. He said Mr. Gingrich had lobbied Republican lawmakers on health issues while getting paid by health care companies. He accused him of falsely claiming that he was paid to be a historian. And he did them all to Mr. Gingrich’s face.” (Michael D. Shear, “In Shift, Romney Pounds Directly And Relentlessly On Gingrich At Debate,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)

Associated Press Headline: “Romney: Gingrich Didn’t Earn Millions As Historian” (“Romney: Gingrich Didn’t Earn Millions As Historian,” Associated Press, 1/23/12)

· Associated Press: “Romney says that companies don’t spend that much money for history lessons and that Gingrich’s time since leaving office has been spent trading on his connections.” (“Romney: Gingrich Didn’t Earn Millions As Historian,” Associated Press, 1/23/12)

Associated Press: “FACT CHECK: Gingrich Flubs History In GOP Debate” (Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: Gingrich Flubs History In GOP Debate,” Associated Press, 1/23/12)

· Associated Press: “Newt Gingrich…flubbed his own history in Congress on Monday night when he claimed the nation ran four consecutive budget surpluses during his time as House speaker.” (Calvin Woodward, “FACT CHECK: Gingrich Flubs History In GOP Debate,” Associated Press, 1/23/12)

Los Angeles Times: “GOP Debate: Aggressive Romney Calls Gingrich An ‘Influence Peddler’” (Michael Memoli, “GOP Debate: Aggressive Romney Calls Gingrich An ‘Influence Peddler’,” Los Angeles Times, 1/23/12)

· Los Angeles Times: “When Gingrich first won a seat in Congress, Romney said he had begun his own career in the private sector. As Gingrich left the House to become ‘an influence peddler,’ Romney said he was running the Olympic Games and beginning ‘a very successful turnaround’ in Massachusetts. And, as Romney said he was ‘fighting cap and trade’ and supporting Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to overhaul Medicare, Gingrich was ‘sitting down with Nancy Pelosi on a sofa’ and accusing Ryan of ‘right-wing social engineering.’” (Michael Memoli, “GOP Debate: Aggressive Romney Calls Gingrich An ‘Influence Peddler’,” Los Angeles Times, 1/23/12)

The New York Times Headline: “Gingrich Releases a Freddie Mac Contract With Few Details” (Trip Gabriel And Mike McIntire, “Gingrich Releases a Freddie Mac Contract With Few Details,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)

· The New York Times: “Newt Gingrich Released A Contract That Is Mostly Legal Boilerplate, And Contains No Details About The Advice He Gave…” (Trip Gabriel And Mike McIntire, “Gingrich Releases a Freddie Mac Contract With Few Details,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)

The New York Times Headline: “Romney’s Relentless Assault” (Michael Shear, “Romney’s Relentless Assault,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)

· The New York Times: “Mr. Romney Accused Mr. Gingrich Of Being An Influence Peddler. He Accused Him Of Being Paid By Freddie Mac. He Said Mr. Gingrich Had Lobbied Republican Lawmakers On Health Issues While Getting Paid By Health Care Companies. He Accused Him Of Falsely Claiming That He Was Paid To Be A Historian.” (Michael Shear, “Romney’s Relentless Assault,” The New York Times, 1/23/12)

Politico Headline: “Newt’s Unforced Error” (Maggie Haberman, “Newt’s Unforced Error,” Politico, 1/23/12)

· Politico: “Gingrich – adamant that he wasn’t a lobbyist as he explained why he only released one year of his Freddie Mac contract, which dated back to 1999 (he uttered something about going through a confidentiality process) – volunteered that at his firm they’d brought in a ‘lobbying expert’ to explain to his team what qualified as lobbying and what didn’t. … But why one would hire a ‘lobbying expert’ other than to explain to staff how to walk up to the ‘bright line’ Gingrich described, but not legally cross it, was not clear.” (Maggie Haberman, “Newt’s Unforced Error,” Politico, 1/23/12)

Politico Headline: “No Debate Applause Hinders Newt” (Maggie Haberman, “No Debate Applause Hinders Newt,” Politico, 1/23/12)

Ron Paul Press Release Headline: “Newt: Lobbyist? Sure Looks Like It. Liar? Yes.” (Press Release, “Newt: Lobbyist? Sure Looks Like It. Liar? Yes.,” Ron Paul For President, 1/23/12)

Politico Headline: “Mitt Bombards Newt With ‘Disgrace,’ ‘Influence Peddler’” (Alexander Burns, “Mitt Bombards Newt With ‘Disgrace,’ ‘Influence Peddler’,” Politico, 1/23/12)

· Politico: “Mitt Romney came ready to fight. The former Massachusetts governor assailed Newt Gingrich from his very first comments in Monday’s debate in Tampa, saying that the presidential election is ‘about leadership’ and reminding voters that Gingrich ‘had to resign in disgrace’ from the House of representatives. … Gingrich’s response: benign neglect.” (Alexander Burns, “Mitt Bombards Newt With ‘Disgrace,’ ‘Influence Peddler’,” Politico, 1/23/12)

The Associated Press Headline: “Heated Charges, Counter-Charges In Florida Debate” (Steve Peoples, “Heated Charges, Counter-Charges In Florida Debate,” The Associated Press, 1/23/12)

· The Associated Press: “Republican presidential contenders Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich clashed repeatedly in heated, personal terms Monday night in a crackling campaign debate, the former Massachusetts governor tagging his rival as an “influence peddler” in Washington…” (Steve Peoples, “Heated Charges, Counter-Charges In Florida Debate,” The Associated Press, 1/23/12)

PolitiFact: “Newt Gingrich Repeats Claim That He Balanced The Federal Budget Four Times As Speaker” (Louis Jacobsen, “Newt Gingrich Repeats Claim That He Balanced The Federal Budget Four Times As Speaker,” PolitiFact, 1/23/12)

· PolitiFact: “PolitiFact.com Rating: False” (Louis Jacobsen, “Newt Gingrich Repeats Claim That He Balanced The Federal Budget Four Times As Speaker,” PolitiFact, 1/23/12)

Exit question: Will Newt’s long pause after one of Gov. Romney’s assertions hurt him?

EXCLUSIVE: Mark DeMoss Remarks to Evangelical Leaders — Houston Ranch, January 14, 2012

Mark DeMoss

Following this past Christmas, reports surfaced of a meeting by prominent national evangelical leaders to be held in Texas sometime in January. You will recall this meeting involved over 150 people at a ranch outside Houston, January 15th. The ostensible purpose of the meeting was to caucus and select one of the presidential candidates behind which all voters could unite — in effect, to choose the one “non-Romney” candidate that they thought could best defeat Romney. Fascinating!

As with any caucus, some were prepared to stand and persuade others to vote for the candidate they believed to be the best to select as the Republican nominee for President.

One of those leaders present that day, at the ranch outside Houston, was nationally known and highly respected Mark DeMoss, a prominent Evangelical. Mr. DeMoss stood for Governor Mitt Romney.

Though I have never met Mr. DeMoss and therefore do not know him, I can only imagine that his remarks to this body required a tremendous amount of courage, especially with the understanding that the vast majority of those present were intent on selecting a candidate they believed could best oppose, and therefore defeat Governor Romney! For this one act alone, I have tremendous admiration and respect for Mark DeMoss. I strongly believe that Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States — if so, I believe that history will hold Mark DeMoss out as a true American patriot in the stature of any this nation’s finest patriots of the past and present.

I am most grateful that Mr. DeMoss granted MittRomneyCentral.com the privilege of publishing his remarks to the group of 150+ Evangelicals exactly one week ago today. When I requested “an editorial” from Mr. DeMoss through our friend, John Schroeder of Article VI Blog, I never dreamed I would receive his remarks to the other evangelical leaders at the ranch that day.

Mark DeMoss’s speech that day is published below in its entirety — unedited.

[Almost exactly one year ago, Nate Gunderson published this outstanding article by Mark DeMoss that received over 2,300 views and 33 comments]

Mark DeMoss founded The DeMoss Group in 1991, and since then he has served some of the world’s most prominent and effective Christian ministries and enterprises. Mark has been involved in shaping some of the largest Christian events and campaigns over the past decade while simultaneously overseeing the growth of his firm. He has extensive media relations experience with both religious and mainstream media and provides particular expertise to clients in crisis/issues management and communications. Mark provides primary public relations counsel and strategic planning for The DeMoss Group. His first book, The Little Red Book of Wisdom, was published in 2007.

Favorite DeMoss Group Core Value > We demonstrate uncommon integrity.

REMARKS to HOUSTON EVENT January 13-14, 2012

By Mark DeMoss

In the summer of 2006 I began a search for the perfect presidential candidate. I’m here to tell you: I still haven’t found him—or her.

But I would suggest, neither have you—because there simply is no such thing. Just as there’s no such thing as the perfect employee, teacher, or pastor. None of us can find another person—including a spouse—with whom we agree on everything.

However, I’ll tell you what I did find that summer of ‘06. I found one of the most remarkable men and families I have ever met or known in Mitt Romney, his wife Ann, and their five sons. Governor Romney was my choice for president in ’08, and he remains my choice today. I didn’t arrive at this decision lightly.

So how did I, as a conservative and an evangelical, land on Mitt Romney? After reading all I could find and talking to people who knew him, I went to see him and told him I’d like to help him. I also told him he couldn’t pay me—ever.

I have a three-part litmus test for choosing a presidential candidate:

1. He/she must share my values (not necessarily my faith or theology)

2. He/she must be competent to lead and govern should they actually get elected.

3. He/she must be capable of getting elected.

So let me talk for a few minutes about values, competence and electability.

VALUES

  • First, while I am not interested in (nor worried about) giving platform to Mormon theology, I think this country would benefit from a good dose of Mormon values. Their overwhelming commitment to marriage, family, hard work, honesty, integrity, morality and character is something to be admired and modeled. Frankly, this church’s record in this area often outperforms ours in many ways. (I was reminded about this again just last weekend while watching one of our fallen evangelical leaders starring in ABC’s reality show Wife Swap.)

    I’ve been in the Romney home numerous times. I’ve been with Mitt in offices, holding rooms, hotel rooms, restaurants, cars and planes all across this country and everything about him is real. I’ve gotten to know dozens of his friends, colleagues and advisors. I’ve even attended his church.

    His marriage of 42 years is rock solid, and I’ll tell you this: I don’t worry about waking up one day to a headline about Mitt Romney like we have been saddened to hear about leaders among our own ranks like Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. John Ensign, Sen. David Vitter, and countless pastors.

  • Gov. Romney has fought hard for values we care deeply about. For example, he immediately condemned the November 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in his state, and then lobbied hard for a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage.
  • Keep in mind; Mitt had an 85% Democratic legislature in Massachusetts. This is an important point, which I think is either unknown or lost on many conservative critics. An 85% opposition legislature means bills and measures the governor proposed could be changed at will. It also means measures he vetoed could be overridden at will.

    (By the way, Mitt cast 800 vetoes as governor of Massachusetts—that’s one veto every day-and-a-half for four years.)

    Finally, it means he had to know how to work constructively with people on
    the other side, which is something we could use more of today.

    So when you hear Mitt Romney did something as governor you don’t like, take a minute to find out if he did it, or an 85% Democratic majority did it over his best efforts and objections. A fair and honest assessment of his record requires this.

  • Under his leadership, Massachusetts’ public schools began offering middle school classroom programs on abstinence from a faith-based organization.
  • As governor, Mitt Romney vetoed bills providing access to the “morning¬after pill” and for expansive, embryo-destroying stem cell research.
  • He staunchly defended the right of the Catholic Charities of Boston to refuse to allow homosexual couples to adopt children in its care, and filed a bill to protect such religious liberty.
  • National Review political reporter John Miller wrote that, “a good case can be made that Romney has fought harder for social conservatives than any other governor in America, and it is difficult to imagine his doing so in a more daunting environment.”
  • Listen to what one notable Republican had to say about Mitt Romney.

    “In a few short days, Republicans from across this country will decide more than their party’s nominee. They will decide the very future of our party and the conservative coalition that Ronald Reagan built. Conservatives can no longer afford to stand on the sidelines in this election, and Governor Romney is the candidate who will stand up for the conservative principles that we hold dear. Governor Romney has a deep understanding of the important issues confronting our country today, and he is the clear conservative candidate that can go into the general election with a united Republican party.”

    Who said this? Rick Santorum did when he endorsed and campaigned for Mitt just four years ago. Nothing in Mitt Romney’s record, speech, or life has changed since Sen. Santorum offered that endorsement, which, knowing the senator, I believe was offered seriously, genuinely, and as a matter of real conviction.

  • I have concluded that Mitt Romney’s values more closely resemble my own than any president in my lifetime.

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Timothy Dalrymple: Open Letter to Mitt Romney Skeptics, Especially Evangelicals

Thanks to John Schroeder of Article VI Blog for connecting Mitt Romney Central with Timothy Dalrymple. The following open letter is another outstanding endorsement of Governor Romney as the candidate best suited to represent conservative values as our President of the United States. Tim’s three main arguments below are compelling, especially regarding Governor Romney’s moral leadership.

Timothy Dalrymple is the Director of Content for Patheos.com, the largest religion website in the country, and the managing editor of its Evangelical Portal. He earned his Ph.D. in modern western religious thought at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and contributes to Evangelicals for Mitt. Raised in non-denominational evangelical churches in California, Dalrymple has ministry experience in youth ministry, college ministry, prison chaplaincy, teaching apologetics, and leading overseas missions. Formerly of Boston, he is now a member of Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, Georgia. You can follow him at Philosophical Fragments or Facebook.

Timothy Dalrymple

See the just-released ebook from Evangelicals for Mitt for a comprehensive explanation of why Romney is the best positioned to represent evangelicals’ values in the White House.

By Timothy Dalrymple

Dear Mitt Romney skeptics, and especially my fellow evangelicals,

Do you remember how it felt when the economy began to implode in those anxious, waning months of 2008? We were coming down to the wire in the election contest, and the candidates we had to choose between were Barack Obama and John McCain. Given the choices, of course, I supported McCain. I still think he would have made a far better President than Obama has proven to be.

But as the very foundations of the American economy were shaking and falling away beneath our feet, and we faced the very real possibility of a Second Great Depression, how desperately I wished that Mitt Romney had emerged from the primary as the champion of the GOP. The presiding President and his party took the heat for the financial crisis, and McCain worsened the situation when his actions and statements inspired no confidence in his stability and expertise on economic matters. The election turned in Obama’s favor when he gave the impression of solidity and strength in the economic crisis.

Romney, however, had something Obama couldn’t even begin to claim: a brilliantly successful career in the private sector, and a world of experience specifically in the financial sector, where our most intractable problems lay. Between McCain and Romney, Romney was touted by the conservative commentariat as the conservative option, and I remember feeling as though the liberal media, independents and even some Democrats who were able to vote in primaries had shoehorned John McCain onto the GOP ticket. If Romney had been at the top of the ticket instead, I still believe we would have avoided the lamentable Obama Presidency; compared to a business titan, Obama would have looked like the inexperienced pretender that he was, and he could not have stood up to Romney’s economic expertise in the debates.

Well, we’re still in the midst of an incredible mess as a country. Our financial house is in shambles. Tax reform, regulatory reform, streamlining government, changes to our energy and immigration policies, will all help. But the character of the American people, the moral substructure that provides the necessary, nurturing environment for our democratic free market, has also disintegrated. Our problem is not merely political; it is also cultural. I am convinced of this with every bone in my body: We need to rediscover the virtues of the free market, and we also need to rediscover the economic virtues. On the one hand, we need a President who understands how companies grow and flourish, who understands how the economy works and what provides the predictability and clarity and the space for innovation that the market demands; Romney’s experience in venture capital, properly understood, is one of his truest strengths, because the venture capitalist learns a great deal about what kinds of ventures succeed and what kinds of capital they need. On the other hand, we need someone whose personal integrity and whose socio-political principles will strengthen the family, enrich the workforce, and restore our collective commitment to responsibility and initiative, stewardship and thrift, diligence and creativity.

I’ve written responses to some common misconceptions about Romney and his candidacy – and a long, specifically evangelical case for Mitt can be found in this ebook. The purpose of this letter is simply to set forth, in broad outlines, why I think Romney’s the right guy at the right time for this country. The Presidency is a position of enormously important economic, global and moral leadership. In all three of those areas, I firmly believe that Mitt Romney is the leader we need. He also, not coincidentally, stands the best chance of defeating Barack Obama — and if there’s one thing conservatives agree upon right now, it’s the profound importance of installing new leadership. As the country staggers toward decline, we need someone who can pick us up, rally the American people behind a positive and hopeful vision, and deploy all of his intelligence and experience and skill to move us toward a better future. That’s Mitt.

Economic and Global Leadership

Those who know him personally attest, without exception, that Romney is an extraordinarily intelligent, boundlessly competent, and thoroughly hard-working man. He built a towering reputation in the business world, accomplished a near-miraculous turnaround of the Salt Lake City Olympics (which was mired in scandal and red ink and on the verge of collapsing), and took an extremely liberal state (Massachusetts) that was deeply in debt and restored it to fiscal health and a budget surplus in the course of four years.

In the business world, Romney specialized in turning around failing companies, and he did so with great success. Sometimes, yes, that means eliminating jobs — but in most cases you’re eliminating jobs in order to avoid eliminating a company in its entirety. You make companies more profitable, more competitive, and thus more sustainable. You eliminate jobs now so that you can keep paying the salaries of those who remain, and ideally add more jobs again later. In other words, sometimes the most pro-jobs thing you can do is cut one job and save the company that employs ninety-nine more.

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Who Won the Final South Carolina CNN Debate?

Today has been called the campaign’s wildest day by Politico and this was before the debate had even started.

The chat box has been moved back to the sidebar.

The campaign must be feeling good about this debate because they’ve already released a video with footage from tonight’s debate.

Here’s an interesting take on the overall debate, and I like this take as well.

UPDATE: click here to watch the debate in its entirety.

Marianne Gingrich Grants ABC News Exclusive Interview — Scooped by Drudge Report

Photo Credit: Drudge Report


Drudge announced breaking news with an exclusive report early Wednesday evening, stating that ABC News had conducted an interview with Newt Gingrich’s second wife Marianne Gingrich for a program to be aired in the future. Following is that initial report:

**Exclusive**

Wed Jan 18 2012 18:47:14 ET

Marianne Gingrich has said she could end her ex-husband’s career with a single interview.

Earlier this week, she sat before ABCNEWS cameras, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

She spoke to ABCNEWS reporter Brian Ross for two hours, and her explosive revelations are set to rock the trail.

But now a “civil war” has erupted inside of the network, an insider claims, on exactly when the confession will air!

MORE

ABCNEWS suits determined it would be “unethical” to run the Marianne Gingrich interview so close to the South Carolina Primary, a curious decision, one insider argued, since the network has aggressively been reporting on other candidates.

A decision was tentatively made to air the interview next Monday, after all votes have been counted . . .

[emphasis added]

According to this first report, the breaking news stated that the interview would first be aired next Monday after the South Carolina primary. It was later reported that ABC News would air it on Friday. Then the Associated Press reported that ABC News would air it Thursday night. Sure seems confusing!

Contrary to what Gingrich keeps telling reporters this week (that Governor Romney will resort to “dirty tricks”), don’t believe any of it. This is between Ms. Gingrich and ABC News. According to Drudge, Gingrich cancelled a news conference yesterday to deal with the breaking news. What is there to “deal with” anyway? There is no new information except that she granted an interview.

Photo Credit: Drudge Report


Of course, without excerpts of the interview, it is difficult to know if what Marianne Gingrich discussed in the interview is revealing at all or just some additional insight into what is already known about the former congressman. But here’s a guess. Based on the fact that ABC News first intended to release it Monday, then moved it to Friday, and again to Thursday (“tentative”) seems to point to big news. Interviews with his second wife are rare in recent times. And if what she talks about is in fact big news, it is unlikely good news for Mr. Gingrich. Since we are precluded from publishing the AP short, click here to read the published report directly. It is hard to imagine Marianne Gingrich revealing anything more damning than what she said in August 2010.

Marianne Gingrich granted an interview to Esquire in 2010 in which she said of her former husband, in part,

“Newt always wanted to be somebody,” she says. “That was his vulnerability, do you understand? Being treated important. Which means he was gonna associate with people who would stroke him, and were important themselves. And in that vulnerability, once you go down that path and it goes unchecked, you add to it. Like, ‘Oh, I’m drinking, who cares?’ Then you start being a little whore, ’cause that comes with drinking. That’s what corruption is — when you’re too exhausted, you’re gonna go with your weakness. So when we see corruption, we shouldn’t say, ‘They’re all corrupt.’ Rather, we should say, ‘At what point did you decide that? And why? Why were you vulnerable?’ ”
[…]
Though Gingrich had made history and achieved extraordinary power, he still felt like an outsider, and the hatred touched something primal inside him. “All he wanted was to be accepted into the country club,” Marianne says. “And he arrives at the country club and he’s just not welcome. ‘Yeah, but I belong here,’ he said. ‘I earned my way to this. I earned it.’ ”

Next came the government shutdown of late 1995, which so alarmed the country that the poll numbers for Republicans went into a steep overnight decline. “Newt’s shocked, doesn’t know what to do,” Marianne says. “He’s like, ‘Whoa, wait, wait! This isn’t just my fault! We need to work this out!’ ”

Greta Van Susteren weighed in on Drudge’s “siren” with this in her GRETAWIRE:

This is not to say that news should be suppressed (it should not) but news should also not be used to ambush. Thus…in light of the close time to the South Carolina primary…if I were ABC, I would hold this interview until after the polls close on Saturday (or I would have showed it a week ago.)

Politico released a letter by Gingrich’s two daughters in their “Marianne Gingrich Speaks” article along with this,

But Drudge’s siren-headlined bulletin – his splash came a day after the 14-year anniversary of him breaking word of the Lewinsky scandal — ensures much more focus on [the] interview by the rest of the press.

The New York Times, in its “Gingrich Camp Responds to Ex-Wife’s Interview” article published the following,

Marianne Gingrich, the second of Mr. Gingrich’s former wives, was married to him for 18 years. After they divorced, Mr. Gingrich married his current wife, the former Callista Bisek, with whom he admitted conducting a lengthy affair while he was still married.

Word of the interview was leaked to The Drudge Report, which reported on Wednesday afternoon that a debate was taking place within ABC over whether it was fair to broadcast it so close to the crucial primary in South Carolina on Saturday.

An ABC source confirmed there was disagreement over the timing of the interview, which was conducted by Brian Ross of the investigative unit, which operates separately from the political news division.

The push-back on ABC from the Gingrich campaign was in the form of a letter signed by Mr. Gingrich’s two daughters from his first marriage, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman, who regularly accompany him on the stump.
[…]
An ABC News spokesman confirmed Wednesday night that “Nightline” will broadcast the interview at 11:35 p.m. Thursday; excerpts will be released earlier in the day, before a Republican debate sponsored by CNN on Thursday evening.
[…]
At ABC’s competitors like CBS and CNN, executives scrambled to figure out if someone at their own shop had scored a big scoop.

Just after 7 p.m., as the evening newscasts ended, the Web site revealed that it was ABC that had interviewed Ms. Gingrich.

The Drudge Report declared that there was a “civil war” inside ABC News about when to run the interview, though if there was, it was a short and bloodless one.

[emphasis added]

NOTE: It is the hope of the Mitt Romney Central team that ABC News will take a very responsible, fair, and truthful approach to their editing of anything Ms. Gingrich said. Reports indicate the interview lasted two hours. After accounting for TV commercials, the net broadcast time of the Nightline show is approximately 23 minutes total (normally divided among three segments). Even if ABC News takes the entire 23 minutes for this broadcast, they will edit out over 80% of it. With so little time left before voting in the primary, Team MRC hopes that whatever ABC News chooses to report is fair and not taken out of context.

Just prior to publishing this post, National Review Online reported this in “The Corner,” that the Gingrich campaign “will fight back” and then also later they “predict that Gingrich will likely ignore the story.” This is the last paragraph of the NRO post:

ABC News wanted Gingrich to come on Nightline to offer a rebuttal of sorts but Gingrich’s advisers declined. “This is a sideshow, a distraction,” the third source says. “Is it helpful? No. But is it a game-changer? No.”

Obviously this story will be all over the news today. Stay tuned. There is a very good chance that there is nothing new in the interview and that any hype associated with the Thursday teases will be nothing more than teases. In typical Matt Drudge style though, he gotten a lot of people to sit up and pay attention.

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keler

“Nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable than fidelity. Faithfulness and truth are the most sacred excellences and endowments of the human mind.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

,

‘Weekly Standard’ Magazine Debunks the Myth that Romney is a “Moderate” – Romney is “More Conservative Than You Think”

There is a lot of talk these days about how Mitt Romney is a so-called “Massachusetts moderate” and how other candidates are trying to be the “conservative alternative” to Gov. Romney. Some even compare Mitt Romney to John McCain’s candidacy of 2008.

One very conservative and influential magazine called ‘The Weekly Standard,’ whose editor (Bill Krystol) is a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday, looked into the issue. The conclusion that they found is that Romney is “no moderate,” in fact:

“Romney is at least as conservative as his GOP rivals on jettisoning Obamacare and more conservative than some on entitlements, national security, and immigration. He’s no match for Gingrich on taxes, but that’s about it. Overall, he’s to the right of Gingrich.”

The article goes on to say that in regard to the top four most pressing issues of the day (namely Immigration, Tax Reform, Health Care, and Military Defense spending), Romney is “anything but moderate.”

“On four of the biggest issues in 2012, Romney is anything but moderate—or timid. He gets no special credit for advocating repeal of Obamacare. That’s Republican dogma. But he’s been the most specific among the GOP presidential candidates in backing the Ryan budget in all its parts, including its remake of Medicare. It was House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s plan that Gingrich zinged as “right wing social engineering” before reversing himself under duress.

When Romney announced in November his own proposal for cutting spending and reforming Medicare and Social Security, Paul Ryan was thrilled. “Look at what he put out!” he told Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post. “This is a great development.” Ryan said Romney’s package of spending cuts “tracks perfectly with the House budget,” which Ryan had drafted.”

Further Evidence

Further evidence of Romney’s conservative credentials is the fact that Romney made history in New Hampshire’s vote last week. Not only was he the first non-incumbent Republican to win both Iowa and New Hampshire, but in New Hamphire Romney got more votes from self-identified Republican voters than any other Republican candidate in history. Here is a brief summary on how New Hampshire Republicans voted:

“Mitt picked up 49% of GOP voters. Romney’s 49 percent is the highest mark among self-identified Republicans for any presidential candidate since New Hampshire moved its primary forward in the calendar.

Contrast that with John McCain, with whom he’s often compared as a squishy moderate with problems with Republicans.

McCain is the only candidate since 1980 to win New Hampshire even as he lost among self-identified Republicans.

That means McCain was essentially the worst winner with Republicans in New Hampshire over the past 30 years, while Romney was the best.”

As the Weekly Standard and polls from New Hampshire show, Romney is no moderate. He is a solid conservative. Strikingly, Romney is getting equal support from both conservatives and moderates among the voters and also from among congressmen and Governors who have endorsed Romney. Part of Romney’s strength is that he is a conservative that also appeals strongly to independents. That sounds like the kind of candidate we need running for the White House. 

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SC: Romney Endorsed by Leaders, Gov Nikki Haley Weighs in on Debate

Mitt Romney greets enthusiastic supporters while walking to his campaign bus after holding a rally in Florence, SC. Jan 17, 2012 (Photo/Reuters/Jim Young)

SC Governor Nikki Haley and former SC GOP Chairman Barry Wynn weigh in on last night’s presidential debate in Myrtle, South Carolina:

Tonight, Mitt Romney once again displayed his vision, leadership, and grace under fire. He showed why he is without question the right man to end the chaos in Washington, D.C. and put America back to work. Neither our state nor our nation can afford four more years of President Obama, and it is critical that we nominate someone with Mitt Romney’s history of results. We need a president who has a record of not just talk, but of actually getting things done, and Governor Romney is that man.” ~ SC Gov Nikki Haley

“Mitt Romney came out ahead in tonight’s debate because he again showed that he is the best candidate to both take on President Obama and fix our economy. President Obama spent his life outside the private sector and it shows. Mitt Romney spent his life outside of politics, working in the real economy. In order to create private sector jobs in this tough economic environment, we need a president who worked in the private sector.” ~ former SC GOP Chairman Barry Wynn

Before South Carolinians vote on Saturday, Governor Romney has one more chance to show them his dynamic, determined, delightful self. CNN is hosting a debate on Thursday, Jan 19th in Charleston. According to most of the reports I’ve gathered, pundits say Newt Gingrich had a great night last night and Romney was winged. I agree that it wasn’t his best debate, but he held his own. I’m hoping we see more of the agile-smiling-sparring-superior Romney we know so well. And, the next time Newt or Rick Santorum interrupt The Gov, I hope he boldly says “chill” … then, charges in for checkmate.

More great news:

MITT ROMNEY ANNOUNCES SUPPORT OF SOUTH CAROLINA LEADERS

Boston, MA – Mitt Romney today announced the support of key South Carolina business leaders, elected officials, veterans, and conservative activists.

The wide range of support from conservatives across South Carolina proves that my message of a ‘Simpler, Smaller, and Smarter’ federal government is resonating with voters concerned about the direction of our country,” said Mitt Romney. “I’m happy to earn their endorsement and look forward to working with them for the vote of every South Carolinian.”

“The voters of South Carolina have an important choice to make regarding the future of this country,” said former South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bob Faith. “We need a conservative candidate who will defeat President Obama and reverse his failed policies. That man is Mitt Romney. He is committed to getting rid of failed government programs like Obamacare. He is against government entities like the NLRB interfering with free enterprises like Boeing who want to invest in South Carolina and create jobs for South Carolinians. He is for restoring conservative principles to government, so that Washington will stop spending and start letting this country’s entrepreneurs and business leaders get back to creating jobs.”

“Our nation is at a crossroads, and Mitt Romney is the best choice to lead our country through these challenging times,” said Greenville County Council Chairman and retired Brigadier General Butch Kirven. “He is a strong leader who we can trust to restore limited government to Washington, cut spending, grow our economy, and get our nation back on the right track. I was looking for someone who reflects my values, is strong on national defense, and knows how to get the economy going again. Mitt Romney is the leader who can positively do that, and he can win in November.”

It’s really simple, the only person of either party running for President who has created significant private sector jobs is Mitt Romney,” said retired executive Bill Hewitt. “He will implement the policies necessary to turn the economy around, start of story, end of story.”

(emphasis added)

South Carolina Leaders Supporting Mitt Romney:

Upstate
State Representative Don Bowen, Anderson
Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill
Greenville City Councilwoman Amy Ryberg Doyle
George Dean Johnson, Jr., Chairman, Johnson Development Associates, Spartanburg
Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven
State Representative Phil Owens, Easley
Rick Pennell, Metromont Corporation, Greenville
Specialist John Snyder, U.S. Army, Ret., Greenville
Greenville Mayor Pro Tempore David Sudduth

Midlands
John H. Burriss, Owner of Gold’s Gyms of Columbia
Former York County GOP Chairman Henry Eldridge, Rock Hill
Richard J. Gaton, Columbia
Richard Jackson, CEO, C.R. Jackson, Inc., Columbia
Leighton Lord, Former Chairman, Nexsen Pruet, Columbia
State Representative Ralph Norman, Rock Hill
Former York County GOP Executive Committeewoman Karen Walto, Rock Hill

Coastal
Sally and Richard Coen, Mount Pleasant
Former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon, Charleston
Former South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Robert A. Faith, Chairman & CEO, Greystar Real Estate Partners, Charleston
Rear Admiral, James Flatley, U.S. Navy, Ret., Charleston
William B. Hewitt, Retired Executive, Charleston
Former Bluffton Mayor Hank Johnston
Former South Carolina Secretary of Transportation Buck Limehouse, Charleston
Brigadier General Cliff Poole, U.S. Army, Ret., Charleston
Bill Prezzano, Charleston
Charleston County Treasurer Andy Smith
Jonathan Zucker, President, The InterTech Group, Charleston

*Company/business names are provided for identification purposes only.

Endorsers are retired or not on active duty. Use of military rank and job titles does not imply endorsement by the Department of Defense or any department thereof.

Love to see the endorsements rolling in from across the state… Now, let’s win this thing!

► Jayde Wyatt