New Gallup Poll Should Have Chicago Sweating…Profusely

SPOILER ALERT: In this post I’ll tell you why polls are looking very good for Mitt, but will also conclude by saying it only matters if we all dig in, do our part to get out the vote. So click the “ComMITTed” link!

I’ve now seen three commentaries on the latest Gallup poll, and they’re telling a consistent story: Chigago is, or should be, sweating profusely about these latest polling numbers. And the evidence is they are.

The Eye Candy: National Polls.

National polls are great and continue to give encouraging news of a Mitt 2-4% lead. The RealClearPolitics average of polls gives Mitt a solid 1% edge. The latest poll in that group, a Rasmussen poll of 1,500 likely voters from October 25 to October 27 (yesterday), gives Mitt a 3% lead. The underlying data show Mitt is winning more Republicans (90%) than Obama is Democrats (85%), but the big news on the national front is that Mitt is leading among independents by 11%. But national polls are really the eye candy of the presidential politics. Fun to look at, but in the end, not what will make the difference.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: State Polls

What’s really important, as we all know, is what happens in the electoral college. So what about those swing states? Well, there’s good news there, too, even if there’s lots of work to be done. Rasmussen’s electoral college map, based on Rasmussen’s own polling in each state, shows Mitt leading or tied in the critical swing states of Florida (50%/48%), Virginia (50%/47%), Colorado (50%/46%), Iowa (48%/48%), New Hampshire (50%/48%), Wisconsin (49%/49%) and, perhaps most importantly, Ohio (48%/48%). Given Mitt was behind in these states a couple weeks ago, and the press’ coronation of Obama as the narrow winner of the last two debates, the trends here are in the right direction: Mitt is gaining when it counts, and Mitt has an ability to improve, while Obama, who the voters have known for four years, is more likely to drop. Other states are also narrowing: Minnesota and Pennsylvania are closer than expected, if still leaning Obama. And no one thought Wisconsin would be tied a few weeks ago. If you don’t like Rasmussen’s numbers, you can turn to RealClearPolitics’ collection of polls and resulting electoral college map. RCP reports similar numbers for each of those states. It shows Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire in a closer race, with Obama having a slight lead in Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio, with Mitt continuing to make inroads.

So national and state polling shows it’s a very close race, Obama has a miniscule and shrinking lead in states he needs to win, and Mitt is either tied or within easy striking distance in all the same states. Very encouraging for a challenger.

But…there’s more.

The Zinger: the Latest Gallup Poll

The real story is that Gallup poll. Neil Stevens of Red State dissects Gallup’s numbers and says:

We always talk about the independent, swing vote in elections because those tend to be the persuadables. But party ID numbers matter as well, because those partisan voters tend to split better than 90/10 for their party.

It is for that reason that Gallup’s new partisan ID split, one that mimics what Rasmussen has been saying all along, predicts nothing less than doom for the Democrats, and a solid, national win for Mitt Romney this year.

…the numbers are brutal. In 2008, the Democrats had a 39-29 (D+10) advantage in hard party ID, and a 54-42 (D+12) advantage with leaners. In 2012 though, we’re in the post-TEA party era. Republicans now show a 36-35 (R+1) hard party ID advantage, and a 49-46 (R+3) lead with leaners. This gives us a range of party ID swings from 2008, from R+11 to R+15.

[Emphasis added.]

What does this mean? In a tight election with key swing states on the edge and voter turnout key, more of those voters self-identifying as Republicans than Democrats this year means things may be better than they look on the surface of the polls. Mr. Stevens then goes further and says what these numbers would mean if plugged into his own electoral college model. It generates an estimate of the electoral college results if more voters self-ID as Republican versus his baseline year. Here’s the picture:

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A DNC Reality Check: Facts to Truth (Are you better off?)

This week during the DNC we will hear all kinds of soaring rhetoric not unlike that of candidate Obama from the 2008 campaign. We will even hear from President Clinton and when you do, remember back to March when he said this of Mitt Romney:

“I don’t think that we ought to get into the position where we say ‘This is bad work. This is good work,'” Clinton said. “The man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.”

Clinton also went on to say that Romney’s time at Bain Capital represented a “good business career.”

As we begin a week of retread promises from Mr. Obama and his smiling surrogates, we need to keep this simple question in mind always:

Are you better off?

This week during the Democratic National Convention (and leading into the election), when you hear words like “invest” or any promised service or lower cost, ask yourself where they plan to get the funds for such “freebies” or subsidies. And remember that Mr. Obama and the Democrat congress currently do not operate from an approved budget, which means much higher deficit spending on top of Obama’s spectacular record deficits since 2009. It is our hope that the following information will serve as a reference guide for you to anchor the DNC words in truth and fact.

  • FACT: No incumbent president ever continued to blame his predecessor beyond the first year of his first term — doing so is a sign of weakness in leadership. President Obama continues to blame President Bush all four years of his term as president, never taking responsibility for any of his failed decisions or actions.
  • FACT: Candidate Obama stated it would take him three years (by end of 2011) to turn the economy around and if he didn’t, his tenure would be “a one-term proposition.” He failed miserably.
  • FACT: Candidate Obama in July 2008 called President Bush “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” for increasing the national debt by no more that $458B per year while Mr. Obama wracked up almost three times that level at $1.35T per year! (Candidate Obama ran on a platform of deficit reduction)
  • FACT: The national debt when Obama took office in 2009 was at $10.6T and currently stands at $15.9T. By the end of Obama’s four years as president, he will have increased the national debt by more than all prior presidents combined from George Washington to George Bush. The highest in world history.
  • FACT: President Bush’s proposed budget increase for fiscal 2009 was 3%; the budget approved and implemented by the Democrat majorities increased spending by 17.9% in 2009.
  • FACT: When Obama took office in 2009 the unemployment rate was 7.8% and in 2012 it is at 8.2%. Obama promised that the stimulus would bring unemployment below 6%; the unemployment rate has been above 8% for 42 consecutive months with 23 million Americans currently out of work. No incumbent president in modern times has ever been re-elected with unemployment above 7.8%. The real unemployment rate is at approximately 16%. Unemployment is also being concealed by the between 3-4 million people who have been added to the Social Security disability insurance program since Obama took office.
  • FACT: Hispanic unemployment is currently at 10.3%; when including those too discouraged to look for work, the unemployment rate is 19%.
  • FACT: Median income when Obama took office was $54,983; three and half years later, median income has fallen by $4,019 to $50,964. There is no indication that median income will rise under President Obama.
  • FACT: Gasoline prices at the time Obama took office were $1.85/gallon. Today, they are at $3.78/gallon.
  • FACT: Average total federal spending as a percent of GDP under President Bush’s eight years was 19.6% (this is also the approximate historical average as well). Obama’s total federal spending as a percent of GDP is 24.4% and if you don’t think that change is much, do the math. This is by far the largest spending since World War II. President Obama’s proposed budget policies would bring the following levels of federal spending as a percentage of GDP to 30% by 2027, 40% by 2040, 50% by 2060, and 80% by 2080.
  • FACT: At the end of Bush’s second term, 24% of households received “means-tested” benefits such as welfare or food stamps. Not only has Obama increased these rolls to 35.1%, he has used marketing methods to encourage many more Americans to apply for food stamps. Additionally, about 50% of all Americans currently receive some type of government support according to the Census Bureau.
  • FACT: Barack Obama has never run even a tiny business and therefore has no business sense at all. Any assertions he makes about business ring hollow. He has no clue how to take a business from concept to long-term profitability, which includes making payroll, month in and month out. Evidence? His completely out-of-touch diatribe of business owners: “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own! . . . If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that! Somebody else made that happen!”
  • FACT: Obama has created over 150,000 new unionized federal jobs with median incomes exceeding $70,000 plus benefits, during a time of astounding unemployment in the private sector and while Republican governors have been cutting back public payrolls.
  • FACT: Barack Obama never intended to keep the many promises he made in 2008. He is a man that has proven by inaction, that he is all talk. Mitt Romney has decades of experience driving to results. If he makes a promise, he will deliver on it. He is known for exceeding expectations relative to strategic goal setting.

As you listen to the many promises of largess this week, take a minute and reread each of the above bullet points to bring the oratory back to reality. Why should we even listen to Mr. Obama this time around let alone believe any promise or commitment he makes now?

Are you better off?

How does the old adage go? “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Let the deceit, betrayal, duplicity, and hypocrisy end with you. Mitt Romney is one of the most talented and skilled people to ever seek the Office of President of The United States of America. It is time to vote for a proven executive leader and tell Mr. Obama “it is time to go.”

[Sources for above facts: 1) Forbes: President Obama: The Biggest Government Spender In World History (pushing 500,000 views), 2) Fox News: Five things you won’t hear at the Democratic National Convention, 3) CNN, and 4) Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace]

American Values: “In God We Trust” — “Liberty” — “E Pluribus Unum”

Twitter Follow: @VicLundquist — Dedicated to all members of The United States military and their families

Presidents Obama & Clinton Rebuked by Parents of Fallen Warrior

As a father of five, it is unimaginable what it would be like to lose a son or daughter in death. Billy and Karen Vaughn lost their son Aaron Carson Vaughn a little over a year ago in Afghanistan while he served our nation during Operation Enduring Freedom. Aaron enlisted in the Navy in 2002 and became a SEAL in 2004. Relatively few SEALs earn a place in the highly secretive counter-terrorism and Special Mission Unit DEVGRU (SEAL Team Six); Aaron earned a place in the squad in 2010.

We of the MRC team extend our most sincere condolences to Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn in their time of grief and pain.

This week, Karen Vaughn expressed her outrage at Presidents Obama and Clinton for their “audacity” to create a political ad to state how Mr. Obama would have been politically damaged had the Osama bin Laden raid gone south in some way.

Quoting Aaron’s mother Karen Vaughn (referring to Obama and Clinton):

“How out of touch can a human being be?

“He is so out of touch with his insanity!”

“Disgusting insensitivity to the families that have lost warriors on the battlefield!

Clinton: “The downside would have been horrible for him.” [Obama]

President Obama is not much more than a politician that will do or say anything to retain power as President of the United States of America. He will be fully revealed in the next 60+ days and as he is, voters will quickly realize that Mitt Romney will do everything in his power to honor those who serve our country and never with an eye to retaining power.

American Values: “In God We Trust” — “Liberty” — “E Pluribus Unum”

Twitter Follow: @VicLundquist — Dedicated to all members of The United States military and their families

Romney Scorches Obama’s Crony Capitalism / Levin, Portman, Sununu Concur

If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Barack Obama 7/13/12 Roanoke, VA

Governor Romney was on fire yesterday!

The news was a-buzz with his blazing no-teleprompter speech at Irwin, Pennsylvania, which scorched Obama for his crony capitalism, job outsourcing, his belief that business owners didn’t create their businesses, and more. If you missed it, check it out here.

Team Romney today followed up with a new web ad:

President Obama’s time in office has been marked by political payoffs to the donor class and layoffs for the middle class. He showered his friends with stimulus funds and sent millions of taxpayer dollars overseas. If we can’t trust him with our money, why should we trust him for another four years?

Where Did All The Money Go?

Liberal politics don’t make good jobs! – Mitt Romney

Conservative radio host Mark Levin loved what he heard from Romney so much he had to call Neil Cavuto (FOX News):

“What Obama said on Saturday [Friday] was so outrageous – he’s disrespecting the American people. Everybody out there who holds a job and works hard, and applies their skills, and puts in an honest day for a paycheck, or starts a business – he just slapped everybody around – because it has never been about millionaires or billionaires with Obama. He despises the capitalist system.” – Mark Levin

Fox & Friends invited Senator Rob Portman to share his opinion on O’Liarbama’s revealing declaration (July 17, 2012):

Former NH Governor John Sununu was snagged yeterday by Sean Hannity to speak for Romney while Juan Williams did his best to stick up for Storyteller-in-Chief. Guess who won? You’re right. Can-do-Sununu (If the first video gets hung up, click here.):

“All the President has been doing is condemning success.” – Fmr NH GovJohn Sununu

See more Sununu here.

President Thingamajig Storyteller’s contribution to America…
By Michael Ramirez – July 16, 2012:

Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer

Romney VIDEO: Obama Promised to End Govt Programs That No Longer Work

ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT has released an excellent new video about one of Obama’s broken promises.


But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy.” – Barack Obama, August 28, 2008

Supporting links:

TEXT:”Taxpayer dollars were squandered” after GSA officials spent nearly $1 Million for a lavish conference for only 300 attendees.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson admitted in a letter of resignation that her agency had made a ‘significant misstep’ and that ‘taxpayer dollars were squandered.’ A GSA Inspector General’s report on the 2010 GSA ‘Western Regions’ training conference in Las Vegas shows the government spent more than $822,000 for the 300 attendees…” (Lesa Jansen, “GSA Head Resigns Over ‘Wasteful’ Las Vegas Seminar,” CNN, 4/2/12)

TEXT: “Obama’s budget projects that the deficit for the current year will total $1.33 Trillion, the fourth straight year of deficits over $1 Trillion.Highlights Of Obama’s $3.8 Trillion Budget, The Associated Press, 2/13/12

TEXT: “Under President Obama, the nation’s total public debt has reached a record $15.6 Trillion.”
U.S. Department Of The Treasury,, Accessed 4/26/12

► Great video! Let’s get it out there; share it anywhere possible.

By Steve Breen - April 21, 2012

By Michael Ramirez - April 20, 2012

► Jayde Wyatt

Noonan: Obama as “Bush League President” — Incompetent, Boring, Scattered, Lacks Joy

To see five reasons Governor Romney will defeat Mr. Obama in November, see article below the political cartoons under the fold.

Bored? Credit: AFP / Getty Images

I can’t believe that I am actually writing about the President of the United States when hearing the jokes at last night’s White House Corresponsdents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C. Consider these selected by Mr. Obama, among many others:

Where he was born (this one starts at 3:20, and he actually winked after saying, “And I, of course, was born in Hawaii.”)…Eating dogs (several jokes on this topic)…His rumored, radical, second term agenda…Hillary Clinton’s beer drinking in Colombia (”she won’t stop drunk texting me from Cartagena.”)…Wait, let’s not forget the toilet flush. Did we really need to envision the president sitting on the toilet, seconds before he was to address the White House Press Corps?

Potty jokes as president? Demeaning the Secretary of State? Okay. We learned after Mr. Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize that he and Michelle and friends were disappointed in how he was perceived:

The trip spurred a thought the Obamas and their friends would voice to each other again and again as the president’s popularity continued to decline: the American public just did not appreciate their exceptional leader.

Is it surprising that some Americans are seriously considering leaving our nation in an Atlas Shrugged manner? Or maybe it’s only those from California, which state Mr. Obama seems to be modeling his economic policy after. BTW, consider this CYA truth by Obama in the Bin Laden operation (one tenet of strong leadership is to credit success to others and take responsibility for failures — Obama never learned this).

Newsmax gave us this earlier in the week:

“They’re a very confused campaign right now,” Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades tells Newsmax. “They’ve had years to build out the infrastructure, and they’ve certainly done that. They say they have 700 people. But campaigns are really won on message and the candidates themselves. And they’re a campaign without a message right now.

UPDATE #1 (hat tip to @Fla4Romney): Obama has held more re-election fundraisers than previous five Presidents combined as he visits key swing states on ‘permanent campaign’

UPDATE #2: From the WSJ: “Obama the Unseemly — A more aggressive press corps might have motivated him to preserve his dignity.”

Peggy Noonan wrote an outstanding opinion piece titled, A BUSH LEAGUE PRESIDENT that is both worrisome regarding Mr. Obama but optimistic regarding Governor Romney:

There is every reason to be deeply skeptical of President Obama’s prospects in November.

Republicans feel an understandable anxiety about Mr. Obama’s coming campaign: It will be all slice and dice, divide and conquer, break the country into little pieces and pick up as many as you can. He’ll try to pick up college students one day and solidify environmentalist support the next, he’ll valorize this group and demonize the other. He means to gather in and hold onto all the pieces he needs, and turn them into a jagged, jangly coalition that will win it for him in November and not begin making individual demands until December.

But it still matters that the president doesn’t have a coherent agenda, or a political philosophy that is really clear to people. To the extent he has a philosophy, it tends to pop up furtively in stray comments and then go away. This is to a unique degree a presidency of inference, its overall meaning never vividly declared. In some eras, that may be a plus. In this one?

She mentions the power of incumbency and continues and nails it, spot on. She so perfectly describes what you can see in his eyes and demeanor, as she admits that what she is about to write is rude: Click here to continue reading

Axelrod Axes Obama: Makes Case for Mitt Romney, The Obama Road…

David Axelrod
Communications Director for re-elect Obama campaign

The once-Senior Adviser to Obama, now Communications Director for the President’s re-election campaign, David Axelrod, really did a blue ribbon job of communicating this morning…

He told the truth.

On FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Axelrod made the case for electing Governor Mitt Romney:

The choice in this election is between economy that produces a growing middle class and that gives people a chance to get ahead and their kids a chance to get ahead, and an economy that continues down the road we are on . . . ”

The Romney campaign, quick-as-lightning, released a video of Axelrod’s comments:

Obama adviser David Axelrod makes case for Mitt Romney for President

Couldn’t agree more.

Thanks, Dave!

The Obama road – where it has taken us… For a few reminders click on link below.

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NBC Covers Up for Newt as the MSM Tries to Keep the Gingrich Campaign Alive

Looks like the Main Stream Media is carrying President Obama’s water again. Since much of the media wants to re-elect President Obama, and Newt Gingrich has more baggage than the airlines, it’s not difficult at all to figure out why Newt is getting a free pass. Newt’s campaign is being virtually kept afloat by one billionaire (who might be doing some shady things in Nevada, but that’s for another story) and the rest of the Main Stream Media. Newt’s Super PAC has been slandering Gov. Mitt Romney for weeks now while the networks have turned a blind eye and had no problem running those ads, but now that Mitt’s momentum is back on the rise, the media is getting nervous.

Mitt’s latest campaign ad in Florida is a very simple 30 second ad showing the beginning of Tom Brokaw’s show in the 1990’s on the night Speaker Gingrich was reprimanded and fined by Congress for his ethics violations. Now, NBC is trying to prevent this ad from getting on the television sets of Floridians.

Brokaw, whose statement noted he was speaking on his behalf, said, “I am extremely uncomfortable with the extended use of my personal image in this political ad. I do no want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign.”

“The NBC Legal Department has written a letter to the campaign asking for the removal of all NBC News material from their campaign ads,” NBC News said in a statement.

The laughable assertion that Tom Brokaw’s role as a journalist hasn’t already been compromised aside, ads like this have been used in campaign after campaign without a complaint because they fall under Fair Use. Just in case the ad is pulled off Youtube, I’ve uploaded it to another channel so you can see the ad Newt Gingrich and the MSM don’t want you to see.

It is disgusting that the same media outlets that had no trouble running these ads, which have been condemned by Politifact and others, complain about an ad which is 100% accurate.

I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but it’s astounding how many people still don’t know that Mitt Romney is the candidate President Obama fears. A recent study has illustrated this point with the headline “TV News Bashes Romney, Boosts Horse Race

Mitt Romney was the only major candidate to receive a majority of negative evaluations by sources and reporters, on both the broadcast network nightly news and FOX “Special Report.” … On the broadcast networks, evaluative comments of Romney were 78% negative vs. only 22% positive. By contrast, on-air judgments of Ron Paul were 73% positive vs. 27% negative, evaluations of Jon Huntsman were 71% positive vs. 29% negative, Rick Santorum’s evaluations were 56% positive vs. 44% negative, and comments about Newt Gingrich were 52% positive vs. 48% negative.

While much of the media actively assists in the re-election of President Obama, others care only for their ratings which necessitates a competitive republican primary. Those media organizations deceive their audience as much as the others and are doing the country just as big of a disservice. I’m sure these media company executives and DNC members are giddy every time Newt or his Super PAC lob another nefarious accusation at Gov. Romney. It’s unfortunate that we live in the media world we do, but I’m grateful more than ever for the opportunity to share the truth and for people to find the truth at places like this blog, the Drudge Report, and others. We’d be captive to media bias without them. Twenty years ago, without the internet, Gov. Romney might have been doomed, but the truth is on our side. 2012 is when we take our country back!

More on Mitt’s Memorable Performance

I just can’t resist. Mitt’s performance in Jacksonville is being so widely hailed as a success I just had to update my prior post.

CNN’s Bill Bennett: Mitt is “No Shrinking Violet”

In an opinion piece, CNN’s William Bennett used as his title a line rumored to have been heard uttered by Mitt as he came off the stage in Jacksonville, that if he’s attacked, he’ll attack back, and that he’s “no shrinking violet.” Much of what Bennett says was already covered in my prior post, so I’ll let you go there to catch the rest of his message. But the drum beat is becoming clear: if the GOP is looking for someone to beat Obama, and if they believe Newt that the ability to debate Obama is key to doing so, Mitt is every bit as capable as Newt, if not more so since Newt relies much more on emotion and crowd participation while Mitt can succeed with or without both.

Politico’s Martin and Burns

In perhaps the strongest of the articles I’ve seen today, in Politico authors Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns called Newt’s debate a “no-show.” Their opening shot:

With Florida and perhaps his presidential hopes in the balance, Newt Gingrich turned in an oddly passive debate performance that left his supporters scratching their heads and illustrated his unpredictable and even whimsical style.

It served as a reminder of the essential trait of the Gingrich campaign: It is entirely dependent on the candidate’s impulse or mood…

All told, Gingrich’s performance was more a throwback to the last days of his Iowa campaign — a floundering, listless, message-free affair — than an extension of his Palmetto State victory tour.

One unaligned commentator viewed this as evidence of Gingrich’s overall lack of discipline:

His somnolent showing left other November-minded Republicans with a mix of shock that the famously hard-charging politician would go soft at such a high-stakes moment and relief that he may not be able to capitalize on his South Carolina win.

“Speaker Gingrich showed everyone tonight that he does not have the discipline to run a presidential campaign,” said unaligned GOP strategist Curt Anderson. “He clearly came into this debate with no plan and no strategy to win it. If he had won this debate tonight, he would have won Florida, and pandemonium would have set in within the Republican Party.”

Even Newt’s supporters were at a loss as to why he was so flat:

“I can’t answer those questions, you’d have to ask him,” said Bill McCollum, Gingrich’s Florida chairman, when asked why his candidate wouldn’t highlight his differences with Romney …

Former Sen. Fred Thompson, a recent Gingrich endorser, offered the same answer to the same question.
“I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him,” said Thompson….”

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond was more succinct when pressed about why Gingrich didn’t reprise his aggressive performance from last week.

“I don’t know,” he said.

Meanwhile others, not just Romney supporters, pointed out this is evidence of Newt’s inconsistency. How could he lead the party if he performed as poorly against Obama?

“He looked deflated to me,” crowed Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom. “He’s an erratic personality. He bounces around from pillar to post. I think over the last 24 hours he’s become more and more unhinged.”

“Newt’s campaign has lived and died by debates and the adoration of a casino billionaire,” said Nick Ryan, who heads a pro-Rick Santorum super PAC. “When Newt has an easy moderator as a foil, he can attack the media and win. When Newt has to defend his own record or ability to articulate a conservative message, he loses, even to Romney. Tonight both Santorum and Romney took Newt to task, and he looked like the wounded and flawed candidate that Iowa voters saw. It makes one wonder if Juan Williams and John King had more effect on South Carolina voters than any ad or any campaign.”

Floridians should notice: if job one is to defeat Obama, the polls continue to show Mitt performing best against him. And Newt’s only argument, that he can debate Obama, has been completely deflated.

Mitt’s Debate Strengths, Newt’s Weaknesses On Display

Last night’s debate highlighted Mitt’s debate strengths and Newt’s weakness.

Mitt’s Strengths

Preparation: No one on the stage is ever more prepared than Mitt for a debate. In 19 debates, topics have covered issues as varied as contraception to moon colonies. Last night Mitt was fully prepared not only to make his points, but to anticipate the counterpoint and to respond with strength. Case in point: the Fannie Mae lobby question. As Mitt made his point that Newt was for all practical purposes a lobbyist, I watched Gingrich, who could barely hold in his glee as he anticipated his response. He thought he had Mitt where he wanted him. Newt then leveled his accusation that Mitt had investments in both entities, thinking he’d just scored the zinger of the night. Mitt coolly explained that the stock he owned was through a blind trust over which Mitt does not have investment control, through mutual funds. Mitt then countered with the point that Newt, too, has investments in these entities. OUCH! Newt’s only counter was that his investments were much smaller than Mitt’s. Not terribly satisfying.

Discipline: When Mitt is asked a question he knows how he wants to respond. Often he has 3-4 points he wants to make, and methodically goes through that list. Newt does not show this discipline. In the NBC debate this week it was clear that Newt thrives on emotion, not mental discipline, in his performances. He relies on the audience’s response to pump him up, and when he’s on defense he glowers and fumes. When Mitt’s on defense you can see him take notes and prepare his counter. And Mitt gets energized when needed: last night’s response to Newt’s negative immigration ad was widely praised as a glowing moment for Mitt. See more on that point below.

Strength of Ideas: It’s been widely noted now after the NBC debate that Newt was very flat without the crowd. Meanwhile, second to perhaps last night, Mitt’s performance at the NBC debate was his best. It was idea vs. idea. Newt’s “grandiose” ideas vs. Mitt’s disciplined ideas, and Mitt won. And that’s the format that the debates against President Obama will be: reduced, if any, audience participation, one on one, idea vs. idea. In that context Newt floundered, Mitt prospered. The last two debates have indisputably made clear Mitt’s the man to debate Obama.

Presence: Debate success requires presence. CNN’s Todd Graham, national championship and award-winning debate coach, wrote today in an article entitled “Romney beats Gingrich at his own game”:

No matter how good your argument is, your delivery must be convincing. Romney made his stand in Florida. He changed his demeanor. And that one change was more important than all the other improvements combined. I believe Republicans in the South Carolina primary rejected Romney because he didn’t look or act like a winner in the debate there. He does now. He bested Gingrich on attitude in front of a raucous crowd — Gingrich’s usual “comfort zone.” In other words, he beat Gingrich at his own game.

The first example was when he told Gingrich to stop calling him “anti-immigrant.” Romney stared down the former House speaker and said, “The idea that I’m anti-immigrant is repulsive. Don’t use a term like that.” What followed next was telling. Gingrich looked away and actually mumbled (almost inaudibly) “I’ll tell you what … ” And trailed off. The lecturer (Gingrich) got lectured! It wasn’t the slick Mitt with the professional style anymore. It was a man-to-man stare-down. And Newt blinked. Romney was indignant and believable. That one debate moment might have shifted the balance permanently in his favor.

Newt’s Weaknesses

Riding the crowd: Even in the debate last night, in which the crowd was not hushed but was just plainly pro-Mitt, Newt was, again, flat. Said Politico:

Gingrich was never totally able to find his groove with this crowd, which was sitting in Jacksonville, a Romney stronghold. He seemed to try to tailor some of his statements at different points to the crowd, but it was never a perfect fit.
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