Romney Ready For CNN/Tea Party Presidential Debate in Florida

Here’s the low down on the show down in Tampa tonight…

The CNN/Tea Party GOP presidential debate begins tonight at 8:00 PM EST in Tampa, Florida. Wolf Blitzer (CNN) will moderate:

CNN and the Tea Party Express, along with more than 100 local tea party groups from every state across the country, will team up Monday, September 12 to present a first-of-its-kind debate from the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention: Tampa, Florida. Eight Republican presidential contenders will face questions from moderator and lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer during the two-hour event, which will air live on CNN from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. from the Florida State Fairgrounds. The debate will focus on a wide-range of topics, including the role, size and scope of government, with a specific emphasis on issue number one to tea party members and all Americans: the economy.

In addition to questions from Blitzer, audience members inside the debate hall, made up in part by members from tea party groups in 31 states and the District of Columbia, will be invited to ask questions directly to the candidates. Questions will also be taken live from tea party members at debate watch parties in Phoenix, Ariz.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Portsmouth, Virginia. Online, CNN will solicit questions via comments on CNNPolitics.com, the CNN Politics Facebook page, and by using the #CNNTeaParty hashtag on Twitter.

(emphasis added)

Debate preparation preview:

Tim Pawlenty, Romney’s new National Campaign Co-Chair will be a guest of The Gov’s at tonight’s debate.

DEBATE OPTIONS:
TV
CNN – 8 PM EST- 10PM
CNN replay- 11 PM EST – 1:00 AM

LIVEstream:
Here and here

The debate will be available via live stream in the CNN Apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Expect a ROBUST exchange between Gov Romney and Rick Perry tonight. So, Mitt supporters, pop some corn, pop open your laptop, and pop in right here on MRC chat to join the fun when the debate begins!

Go get ‘em, Mitt!


► Jayde Wyatt

Who Says Tea Partiers Don't Support Mitt Romney?!

Darn straight! I’m a Mitt Romney-supporting, Tea-Partyin’ Utahn …and I’m proud of it!

That’s why I’m confused with headlines flying around the web like the ‘Utah Tea Party Says “no” to Romney‘, and ‘Mitt Romney Feels the Tea Party Heat in Utah‘.

Luke Gunderson at a tea party rally at the Federal Building in SLC. (April 15, 2009)

Luke Gunderson at a tea party rally at the Federal Building in SLC.

I look at the evolution of the tea party and wonder if it has grown beyond me. When I jumped aboard (summer of 2009), it was an ever-growing movement of patriotic citizens that were upset with ridiculous government spending and taxation. The movement back then was a flow of different ideas — centered on fiscal conservatism — that came together in harmonious discontent. Toting homemade banners, colonial hats, and ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ paraphernalia I marched proudly to these events with the understanding that my voice could be heard; and it was.

Fast forward to the current state of the tea party, where (in my case) an individual voice goes unheard. I’m certainly not alone when I say current tea party has left some of us feeling estranged and often disillusioned. What was once a sweeping movement that welcomed the input of any patriot, has become more of a political club with local hierarchies. If you were an early tea party organizer, you are now somehow a spokesperson for the entire group — one that can go as far as deciding which candidates the group will endorse, and which ones you’ll collectively throw under the bus on the grounds of a perceived flaw or two. Granted, there are many factions within the tea party that have branched off and officially formed into advocacy groups that can rightfully assign a spokesperson to represent them… that’s fine by me. The thing that rubs me the wrong way is when somebody assumes a position of superiority in this, a common-man’s movement, and inherently becomes the New York Time’s go-to person when they want to write a story on who the tea party is allegedly going to back in the next race. Enter Utah’s first tea party organizer, David Kirkham.

In 2008, Mitt Romney campaigned on the "Washington is Broken" slogan, a theme the tea party movement would eventually form around.

In 2008, Mitt Romney campaigned on the Washington is Broken slogan, a theme the tea party movement would eventually be formed around.

Kirkham is on record several times saying, among other things, “we oppose” Mitt Romney. Quite a presumption, isn’t it? He may not know it, but by using the word ‘we’, Kirkham brings myself and many others under his umbrella of opposition, and we go unwillingly. We never signed-up to have somebody tell us who we do and don’t support. Plenty of people in my circle (many from Utah) see in Romney a fresh mind, a Washington outsider that has turned financial monstrosities into smooth-operating, profitable entities. We see him as a freedom loving, bold leader that brings innovation to complex situations; a sound fiscal conservative with a lifetime of experience in spending cuts and turnarounds; a charitable figure who puts sweat into each project out of good will, often refusing compensation for the time he’s put in. Indeed, we see Mitt Romney as the physical representation of everything the tea party purports to believe in. Call me a tea party traditionalist, but I wish we could go back to promoting sound policies and fiscal restraint, instead acting like political king-makers.

Now, I’ll be frank in admitting that Romney is not a mega rock star in national tea party circles (as some have made an effort to become), and he isn’t exactly volunteering to be the movement’s frontman. That said, there is sufficient polling evidence that says he’s definitely present in the minds of many fiscally-conscious tea party activists. Just recently, a poll came out of New Hampshire that indicated strong tea party support for Mitt Romney:

In a new WMUR poll, [Romney's] favorability among supporters of the Tea Party is strikingly high – 77 percent and far exceeds any other [potential] candidate.

Romney advisers have argued that even while Romney may struggle with some of the movement’s activists – in large part because of his health care law in Massachusetts – his fiscal message of reducing taxes and cutting spending would resonate with the Tea Party philosophy.

That appears to be born out, at least in New Hampshire. Among Tea Party supporters, Romney’s favorability numbers were far higher than even candidates who are viewed as closely aligned with the movement, such as Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich.

In September of last year, a McClatchy poll showed favorable numbers for Romney among tea party supporters on a national level:

Voters who call themselves conservative preferred Romney to Palin. So did self-described supporters of the tea party movement; 25 percent preferred Romney and 19 percent Palin.”

Further evidence comes from a Marist poll (released in November of last year) that shows Romney edging out potential rivals with 19% of tea party support, compared to Huckabee’s 17% and Palin’s 16%, respectively.

So David Kirkham doesn’t share the same viewpoint with the participants of these polls… again, that’s fine by me. According to Kirkham, his primary reasons for hanging Mitt out to dry have to do with Romney’s initial support of TARP (a stance that tea party favorites Paul Ryan and Herman Cain share, as well) and for a health care bill that Romney instituted in Massachusetts (constitutionally, at the state level, without raising taxes); a plan that many have dubbed ‘RomneyCare’. I could certainly go into contextual detail about why tea party conservatives shouldn’t overlook Romney because of these issues, but we’ve dissected both issues far too much on this site, and to be perfectly honest we’d really rather have a personal sit down with David Kirkham to discuss them. Why not? …He lives right here in Utah Valley!

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Calling all Mitt Romney Supporting, Utah Tea Party Members!

I guess it’s time for this to happen — if only to show that, as a matter of fact, we DO exist: I am hereby forming a group that we’ll call ‘Tea Partiers for Mitt Romney‘. If you feel like you fall into the category, please go to the newly created facebook page and join my efforts (by clicking ‘like’ at the top of the page). I suspect we’ll be recognized and maybe respected if we can produce a decent turnout there.

Let it be known that Mitt Romney was a tea-partier before tea party was cool. He balanced the budget four years in a row — successfully closing the largest deficit in history without raising taxes in Massachusetts, the bluest of states. His poor veto pen assisted in issuing over 1,000 vetos during his term as Governor, hundreds of those vetoes were on spending appropriations. Romney withheld giving the legislators permanent authority to create new committees or to grant committee chairs pay increases. After repeated attempts by the Massachusetts legislature to increase taxes in order to collect more revenue, Romney boldly declared, “The problem here is not revenues; the problem is overspending”.

In early 2007, Romney said these words in the same speech he announced his presidential ambitions:

“I do not believe Washington can be transformed from within by a lifelong politician. There have been too many deals, too many favors, too many entanglements — and too little real world experience managing, guiding, leading.”

“We have lost faith in government, not in just one party, not in just one house, but in government. It is time for innovation and transformation in Washington. It is what our country needs. It is what our people deserve.”



-Luke Gunderson

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Romney Endorses O’Donnell, Teaparty Favorite in DE Senate Race – Also Backs Candidates in NE and KS

Loads of news recently from the Free and Strong America PAC: As part of a series of state rollouts of 2010 endorsements, “which are aimed at electing conservative candidates who will work to lower taxes and spending, restore commonsense principles to healthcare and get our economy moving again”, Mitt Romney has thrown his support behind Christine O’Donnell, a Teaparty favorite who is seeking a Senate seat in Delaware.

More info on that endorsement:

O'Donnell Gets Nod from Romney


(CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s rallying around Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell.

The past and possible future Republican White House hopeful Wednesday endorsed O’Donnell, a conservative commentator who upset moderate Republican Rep. Mike Castle in Tuesday’s primary.

Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC endorsed O’Donnell and is sending her a campaign maximum $5,000 contribution.

“Now is the time for Republicans to rally behind their nominee, Christine O’Donnell. She ran an impressive campaign. I believe it is important we support her so we can win back the U.S. Senate this fall,” said Romney in a statement.

Romney’s political action committee has endorsed or donated money to fellow Republicans running for office this year in around 40 states, and the PAC has contributed over $650,000 to candidates and party committees this cycle.

The 2008 White House hopeful is also on a 25-state, ten-week tour on behalf of fellow Republicans running in this November’s midterm elections.

If nothing else, the endorsements, contributions, and traveling 25 states to campaign with GOP candidates are making Romney very visible in the months leading up to the unofficial kickoff of the next presidential run.

Mitt Romney Spreads PAC Support Across the Midwest

In Nebraska:

Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC announced the endorsement of the following eight Nebraska candidates:

Governor Dave Heineman: Dave Heineman serves as the Governor of Nebraska and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.governordave.com.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry: Jeff Fortenberry represents the 1st Congressional District of Nebraska and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.supportfort.com.

Congressman Adrian Smith: Adrian Smith represents the 3rd Congressional District of Nebraska and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.joinadrian.com.

Congressman Lee Terry: Lee Terry represents the 2nd Congressional District of Nebraska and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.leeterry.com.

Attorney General Jon Bruning: Jon Bruning serves as the Attorney General of Nebraska and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.jonbruning.com.

Auditor Mike Foley: Mike Foley serves as the Auditor of Public Accounts in Nebraska and is running for reelection.

Secretary of State John Gale: John Gale serves as the Secretary of State of Nebraska and is running for reelection. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.gale2010.com.

Don Stenberg: Don Stenberg previously served the people of Nebraska as Attorney General, and is now running to become Nebraska’s next Treasurer. For more information about him and his campaign, visit www.stenbergfortreasurer.com.

The PAC also announced that it is sending $5,000 to Heineman’s gubernatorial campaign, and $2,500 each to the Congressional campaigns of Fortenberry, Smith, and Terry.

“At a time when too many of our leaders are more concerned with growing the size of government than getting our economy back on track, it is more important than ever that we elect fiscally conservative candidates who will enact pro-growth policies that will put people back to work. Nebraska is fortunate to have so many leaders committed to working to turn our troubled economy around, and I am proud to stand with them today,” said Romney.

In Kansas:

Prairie Politics Reports: One time presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has jumped into the Kansas political arena. On Tuesday, the former Massachusetts governor formerly endorsed Secretary of State candidate Kris Kobach.

“Needless government regulations hurt the economy and stifle future job growth. The secretary of state’s office can make a difference for businesses that are starting up. I know that Kris Kobach will work hard to cut red tape and limit government regulation to help businesses succeed,” Romney stated in a release.
The two are former political allies as Kobach served, for a short time, as a political advisor for immigration issues for Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“I am honored to receive Governor Romney’s endorsement. Coming from a leader who really knows how to make America’s economic engine run, it means a great deal that he has put his trust in me,” Kobach stated in a response.

Kobach has made his name on immigration. He helped author the controversial Arizona immigration law and has worked with numerous other communities to write their own legislation. He has campaigned hard on voter fraud during the Republican primary election and will now face Democrat incumbent Chris Biggs.

Firsthand Account(s) of the 9-12 March on DC

Before I get to the actual point of this post I want to bring something to your attention that makes me irate. Here is a quote from a FOX News article (this was also reported by ABC):

The White House on Friday claimed it was unaware of the planned rally.

“I don’t know who the group is,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters with a shrug.

This response from Mr. Gibbs can only mean one of two things: A) This administration is unfit to lead because they are completely oblivious to what is going on in the country, OR B) This administration is unfit to lead the country because they are lying through their teeth.

Frankly, I am going with C) BOTH. The nerve they have to feign ignorance of the event bothers me to no end, and only ramps up my efforts to see them booted in 2012.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

The narrative below is from my mother-in-law, Linda, who lives near DC and was able to attend yesterday’s march. She also sent many interesting pictures to us. I think these two that I’ve included best show the magnitude of this event.

Front view from where they were standing

Front view from where they were standing

Rear view from where they were standing

Rear view from where they were standing

Linda’s description of the event:

Today was the 9-12 March on DC. I have to say that it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life! There were reportedly up to 1 million people there and I cannot tell you how exhilarating it was to be surrounded by so many patriotic Americans. There were more than 450 busloads from all over the country. I spoke to people from Hawaii to Alaska, from Texas to Georgia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, California – all of whom had traveled at their own expense and great personal sacrifice to be there today.
I have traveled to DC many times during the peak of rush hour and for special events like the the 4th of July, where millions have gathered, but never have I seen traffic like today. After waiting at the Metro platform while several trains passed that were packed to the brim, we finally had to ride the Metro out from the city to the end of the line, just to get on and travel back in.

Tears came to my eyes as we stepped off the Metro and rounded the corner. We thought we had a 6 block walk to get to the events, but the crowd was so huge that it filled the streets to overflowing all the way back to where we were. And we watched as the crowds kept coming and kept coming. From every direction, by bus, on foot, by 50′s by the 100′s- shoulder to shoulder pressing towards Freedom Plaza.
When we finally got down to Pennsylvania avenue to join the river of people already there, it took my breath away. As far as the eye could see in every direction there were flags, people, signs, moms and dads, old and young, cowboys from Texas, people wearing leis from Hawaii. The feeling was over whelming as we sang God Bless America and shouted FREEDOM! Just like the wave in a football stadium, cries would start at the back of the March and move forward the 6-8 blocks through the crowd, growing in intensity and echoing off of the tall buildings.

When we finally arrived at the Capitol, the view from a flag pole revealed an ocean of humanity, flags, and signs with the majestic white marble buildings all around us. The feeling of patriotism was palpable. We listened to several great speakers, cheering in all the right places. You haven’t heard cheering until you’ve heard a million patriotic Americans pledge their lives and sacred honor to the defense of their constitution.

There were hundreds of different T-shirts – 912 groups, tea party groups, freedom works groups from all over the country. The signs were some of the best I’ve seen. My favorite – Take Pelosis’s plane away – she can use her broom!

Despite the huge crowds, everyone was polite, considerate, and genuinely nice. There was no trash whatsoever (in sharp contrast to the filth and destruction left behind by the crowds on inauguration day)

This day will go down in American history as the day the American people woke up.

If this first account tickled your fancy, you may be interested to read this more detailed one from someone who was also in Linda’s party:
(click the ‘read more’ button to see the rest of the post)
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