Mitt Romney Gets Some Tea Party Love in New Hampshire

Jack Kimball

Jack Kimball

New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman and Tea Party activist, Jack Kimball, had some nice things to say about Governor Romney. Chairman Kimball gives The Gov due credit for finding a state-based solution to a state problem:

From the PoliticalTicker:

It really was an innovative experiment, he’s a very smart man and what he did was he came up with this program geared for the state of Massachusetts, it was never meant to be some model for a national health care program,” Jack Kimball said on CNN’s “John King, USA” Monday.

“And Mitt Romney’s made it very clear and as recently as a few weeks ago to me that he’s in favor of complete repeal of ‘Obamacare’ and that each state should come up with their own plan.”

“It shouldn’t be as big an issue as folks are making it.”

Keep in mind, this is the same tea party-backed Chairman that was voted in by Republican officials at convention back in January. At that same gathering, (very conservative) attendees were invited to participate in a presidential straw poll; the results were very astoundingly in Mitt’s favor: Romney 35.1%, Ron Paul 10.5%, Tim Pawlenty 7.6%, and Sarah Palin at 6.9%.

HT: Revolution 2010

-Luke Gunderson

John Sununu Speaks on Potential 2012 GOP Candidates

Here is a great no holds barred interview from yesterday with ABC’s Amy Walter and Rick Klein featuring special guest John Sununu. Sununu was the former conservative Governor of New Hampshire and former White House Chief of Staff for President George H. W. Bush (#41).

Never one to temper his opinion and, as expected, Sununu doesn’t here, either.

Fast forward to the 3:05 minute mark. (Hear what he has to say about Governor Romney!)

~Update from Ross (3/29/11)

According to sources, the New Hampshire Journal is reporting that Sununu is already helping Romney; wooing Union Leader.

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, 2022)

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 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

Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, Delivers Keynote Speech at GOP Lincoln Day Dinner

It’s full steam ahead for Mitt Romney this weekend.

In what some consider to be the “unofficial start of his Granite State campaign”, Governor Romney delivered the keynote address to an enthusiastic audience at the Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser for the Carroll Co Republican Committee in Bartlett, New Hampshire. The speech was live streamed.

Speaking for the first time in New Hampshire since the midterms, Romney’s speech was anticipated:

The Hill

[...]“Senator Obama campaigned hard in New Hampshire but he apparently didn’t like what he saw. He certainly didn’t learn from it,” Romney will say in the speech. “Instead of lowering taxes, he raised them. He wrapped businesses in red tape, he grew government, he borrowed trillions of dollars, and he made it clear that he doesn’t like business people very much.”

Additionally, Obama will blame the Obama administration for an insufficient economic recovery.

“He created a deeper recession, and delayed the recovery,” Romney continues in the speech. “The consequence is soaring numbers of Americans enduring unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. This is the Obama Misery Index, and it is at a record high. It’s going to take more than new rhetoric to put Americans back to work—it’s going to take a new president.”

Romney also addressed Massahcusetts’ private-market insurance program. Kathryn Jean Lopez from National Review Online immediately posted those particular remarks:

Living in New Hampshire, you’ve heard of our healthcare program next door in Massachusetts. You may have noticed that the President and his people spend more time talking about me and Massachusetts healthcare than Entertainment Tonight spends talking about Charlie Sheen.

Our approach was a state plan intended to address problems that were in many ways unique to Massachusetts. What we did was what the Constitution intended for states to do—we were one of the laboratories of democracy.

Our experiment wasn’t perfect—some things worked, some didn’t, and some things I’d change. One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover.

I would repeal Obamacare, if I were ever in a position to do so. My experience has taught me that states are where healthcare programs for the uninsured should be crafted, just as the Constitution provides. Obamacare is bad law, bad policy, and it is bad for America’s families.

Read more here.

Videos of Romney’s speech:

Full transcript of the Gov’s speech can be read here.

Here’s a fun tweet from the event:

@JimMerrillNH: And @MittRomney just bought a quilt from auctioneer/Speaker Chandler for $350 -proceeds benefit Carroll CO GOP

Romney will also speak at The Club for Growth’s 2011 Winter Economic Conference this weekend.

UPDATE - In the likelihood Mitt will run for POTUS, two influential New Hampshire Republicans endorsed Mitt on the eve of his return to The Granite State:

Veteran Executive Councilor Raymond Burton of Bath and state Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro told the Primary Status they will endorse the former Massachusetts governor should he run, as is expected.

They cited his background in the private sector and experience as governor as the best formula for growing the economy, creating jobs and reducing the deficit. Neither endorsed in the 2008 presidential election.

H/t to Zeke @RightSpeak for videos.

► Jayde Wyatt

~Update from Ross

First I just want to highlight the fact that Mitt addressed entitlements head on in this speech. Gov. Christie and many others have said that no one was talking about entitlements, so we can point to this speech whenever people say that (Mitt’s book “No Apology” talks about entitlements extensively as well).

Also, the following line was one I’ve been dying to hear Mitt say for quite some time: “You may have noticed that the President and his people spend more time talking about me and Massachusetts healthcare than Entertainment Tonight spends talking about Charlie Sheen.”

Finally, check out this interview from right before Mitt’s speech.

Romney Talks Jobs in Atlanta, Supports GOP Efforts to Cut Spending, Hires New Communications Advisor

What was Mitt Romney doing in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday?

A whole lot of listening and a little talking.

Romney met privately with business leaders to discuss jobs and the economy. Though Romney hasn’t announced his intentions to run for president, he presumably was also strengthening his fundraising network. During the last presidential race, he came in 3rd place in the GA presidential primary with 30% of the vote.

Romney made another important stop in Atlanta and tweeted about it:

Mitt Romney: Just got a Trim at Tommy’s in Atlanta

Unbeknownst to the Gov, his tweet dispelled a brief false notion bandied about in Twitterville a few weeks ago that he spends hundreds of dollars on John Edwards-like haircuts. (We know that isn’t true - he’s Mr. Frugal!)

Politico 3/2/11

Mitt Romney stopped by Tommy Thomas’s barber shop in Atlanta on Tuesday for a trim.
Thomas charges $16 for a trim, but he offered to give Romney a cut for free — but the well-coiffed former governor refused and gave Thomas a $20 bill, telling him to keep the change.

Romney tweeted this picture of himself on Tuesday in Atlanta and said: “Brave Tommy, taming the beast with clippers and a comb.”

“He’s got a nice head of hair. He’s got the hair, he’s got the looks, got the whole package,” Thomas told POLITICO.

“We talked about just what’s going on in the economy and things like that,” he added. “Then we cut up about the weather.”

Romney’s unexpected stop lasted about 15 minutes, and he took pictures and talked politics with all of Thomas’s patrons.

(my emphasis)
Good job, Tommy! Looks like the ‘beast’ got a proper shearing…


Sam Olens, Georgia’s Attorney General, tweeted this today:

samolens: I had a great time at lunch today with our next President, Mitt Romney.

An interesting note… Olens won his election last November, but he had to break through one of the oldest barriers in Georgia politics to do so. He was the first Jewish candidate to win a statewide, partisan race in Georgia. Congratulations to Sam Olens! (Mitt endorsed Olens last fall.)

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Romney was busy yesterday!

We know the Gov is a master at cutting budget waste, staunchly advocates cutting government spending, and wants to stuff Uncle Sam’s credit card in the shredder. To put muscle behind supporting GOP efforts in Washington to cut spending, his Free and Strong America PAC contributed a walloping $83,500 to 40 U.S. Senate and House leaders.

Romney’s statement:

“It is important that we stand with our Republican Members of Congress and show that we support their pro-growth agenda and their efforts to reduce the size of government,” Romney said. “Now is the time for all of us to send a powerful message that Americans will no longer tolerate the Washington culture of higher taxes, higher spending, and higher debt.

To see the substantial list of those receiving donations, click here.

In addition, Romney donated $124,500 to 50 additional U.S. Senate and House Republicans in January. In just two months, his PAC’s total year-to-date generosity comes to over $200,000. Let’s keep up our support for Free and Strong America.

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News today points further to a presidential run for Gov Romney. He has hired a new Communications Director:

Andrea Saul, a veteran of political campaigns in the western US, is joining Mitt Romney’s political action committee as the Republican readies for a second presidential campaign.

In a statement today, Romney said Saul will serve as a communications adviser to the Free and Strong America PAC.

Review Saul’s substantial credentials here.

Eric Fehrnstrom has been Mitt’s right hand man in taking care of most of Romney’s communications in the past. According to the article, his focus will be more on helping Mitt develop advertising strategy and television commercials (another good Romney candidacy sign!).

Fehrnstrom tweet this morning:

Welcoming Andrea Saul to Romney PAC! Fun fact: Andrea first met Mitt when she was running surrogate ops for McCain-Palin.

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Looking ahead, Governor Romney will continue his listening tour in Florida and New Hampshire this Saturday.

► Jayde Wyatt

Romney Meets with Business Owners at ABI in Manchester, New Hampshire

Not content to rest up on the day before his television marathon tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb 1st), and keeping his experienced ear-to-the-ground on America’s unacceptable unemployment rate and problems the entrepreneurial community is facing, Governor Romney privately met with business owners today at ABI (Amoskeag Business Incubator) in Manchester, New Hampshire:

ABI press release:

Governor Romney Looks to NH Entrepreneurs for the Pulse of
Small Business

Manchester, NH – January 31, 2022 – The Amoskeag Business Incubator (ABI) today welcomed and hosted former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Romney toured the ABIs nearly renovated and modernized 15,000 square foot facility that is home to over 30 of New England’s most innovative companies. Romney proceeded to meet with about 10 business owners in a private session. “What I really wanted to do was come here today and get a sense of entrepreneurship in New Hampshire and for the nation; what is working and not working for you as business owners,” said Romney.

For more than an hour Governor Romney listened and shared his perspective on the need for entrepreneurship and his desire to create efficient capital markets that support the small business owner. Romney’s visit is at the ground floor of a growing entrepreneurial movement in the region that is being led by the ABI. The ABI is set to launch an exciting rebranding and strategic plan focused on a new vision that will elevate its relevance and attract the most innovative minds, ideas and businesses in New England. “There has been a lot of chatter about what we have been up to at the ABI. The energy is contagious and I think Governor Romney wanted to see for himself the new entrepreneurial landscape we are creating,” said Jamie Coughlin, VP of Strategic Initiatives at the ABI.

More from the

MONDAY UPDATES: MITT’S QUIET STOP. Mitt Romney visited the non-profit Amoskeag Business Incubator in Manchester’s Millyard while in New Hampshire today.

The Granite Status reported last Friday that the former Massachusetts governor and likely 2012 presidential candidate would be in the first-primary state today for private meetings with Republican activists.

Word of his meeting with business owners came this afternoon in a press release from the incubator. It said that Romney toured the incubator’s renovated 15,000-square-foot facility that hosts more than 30 of “New England’s most innovative companies.”

[...]ABI’s helps develop technology-based start-up companies.

► Jayde Wyatt

New Hampshire GOP Straw Poll Results: Romney Wins Big Time!

Some of us here at MRC have been watching twitter feeds with much anticipation this morning, waiting for the results to come in from the New Hampshire GOP presidential straw poll. The straw poll (sponsored by ABC News and WMUR-TV) took place moments ago in Derry, NH and was the first-ever straw poll of state Republican officials. Reportedly, the turnout at this state GOP gathering was “highest in memory“.

The results leaked in the form of a tweet from Amy Walter’s Twitter page:

Results of NH GOP Presidential Straw Poll

Excellent showing for Romney, whose whopping numbers are greater than the sum of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th place finishers!

Interesting side notes from Nate Gunderson: One significant point to make about this is that convention delegates are strong conservative voters. Throw in the fact the indies also vote in the primary (and Romney has an even bigger lead amongst them) the actual primary voting margin would be higher. ALSO, the NHGOP selected a Tea Party backed candidate for NHGOP Chair — these same Tea Partying members selected Romney as their candidate of choice. In summary, Romney has widespread appeal amongst indies, mods, and cons alike. That is a recipe for success!

-Aaron Gundy- Follow @AaronGundy on Twitter

Update: reports say 273 of the 493 attendees participated in the straw poll, but the original percentages posted by WMUR only come to whole integers if there were 278 votes. Here are the results as I’ve tallied them. ~Nate (HT BOSMAN and RightSpeak for the graph)
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