Romney commits to Florida debates

posted at 11:05 am on January 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Mitt Romney may not look inevitable after tonight’s South Carolina primary results — and that’s why this decision was, well, inevitable:

 Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) said during a visit to campaign headquarters here Saturday morning that he will participate in the debate scheduled for Monday in Tampa.

His chief strategist, Stuart Stevens, told reporters Romney would also participate in Thursday’s debate in Jacksonville.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll be doing the debate on Monday,” Romney said in response to a reporter’s question as he worked the phones calling voters at his Greenville headquarters. “Yeah, I’m in.”

Just four days ago, Romney was “wavering” on committing to more debates, in Florida or anywhere else.  Four days ago, though, he had a comfortable if not safe lead in South Carolina.  Had Newt Gingrich cratered on Thursday with the Marianne Gingrich dish, Romney may have had an opportunity to put an end to both the debates and the race.  Instead, Gingrich predictably used it to go nuclear on the media in the next debate, and lo and behold, Romney needs a way to stop Gingrich in Florida, which suddenly looks uncomfortably like Romney’s firewall rather than his coronation venue.

Speaking of which, Florida still looks pretty solid for Romney, although we haven’t seen any polling there since Gingrich caught his second wind in South Carolina, and a win for Gingrich there tonight will have some impact on the Sunshine State.  Early voting begins today in Florida, though, in sixty-two of 67 counties in the state.  Five other counties started early voting last Monday, due to a loophole in the state law, and absentee voting presumably has taken place this entire month.  Ballots cast while Romney has a 20+ point margin in polling will overwhelmingly favor him, especially since his campaign has the most organization in the state to drive that early voting.  It’s very possible that Romney could build enough of a lead in early and absentee voting, thanks to his huge early polling lead and organization, to make the Florida debates much less impactful than this week’s debates in South Carolina.

Update: Just to give an idea of the scope of the absentee ballot effort, the AP reported this on January 12th, while Romney had a solid 20+ point lead:

Voting is already well under way even though Florida doesn’t hold its GOP nominating contest until Jan. 31. And both Mitt Romney, coming off of back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Ron Paul are aggressively reaching out to voters who have requested ballots.

None of their competitors has been nearly as active even though the victor in Florida would get a huge boost of momentum and all of the state’s 50 delegates to the national nominating convention.

As of Tuesday, 424,000 Republican absentee ballots had been mailed — to military personnel, overseas residents and other Floridians — and about 84,000 had been returned in a state that has 4 million registered Republican voters. Early voting in Hillsborough, Hardy, Hendry, Monroe and Collier counties begins Monday and runs through Jan. 29. Florida’s other 62 counties will hold early voting Jan. 21-28.

By this time those absentee ballots probably are well over 100,000.  In 2008, Republicans cast about 1.5 million votes in the primaries, so the absentees won’t be decisive, but they could make it a lot more difficult for late surgers like Gingrich to gain ground.

Update II: Marc Caputo reported on Thursday that the number of ballots returned has gone well beyond the 100K mark:

More than 138,000 Florida Republicans have cast mail-in absentee ballots already of the 455,622 requested so far and another 5,000 have voted early at the polls in some counties, according to Republican Party of Florida’s spokesman, Brian Hughes.

Republican insiders expect as many as a third of the GOP ballots to be cast early in the effort to choose a nominee to oppose President Barack Obama.

The total of 143,000 would be close to 10% of the votes cast in the 2008 Republican primary.  The early votes being cast starting today and the rest of the outstanding absentee ballots could mean that a third or more of the votes will already be cast before the second debate in Florida takes place.  That will give Romney a very big head start.

Update III: Caputo updated those figures this morning, and now the total is nearly 200,000:

But it could be a different story in Florida, where Republicans have been casting early votes by mail all month. Early voting at special precincts is now underway statewide as well. Only one campain, Mitt Romney’s, has made a concerted effort to target those voters.

So far, 185,435 absentee ballots have been cast and 11,836 early votes have been cast at precincts for a total of 197,271.

Assuming that Romney got 41% of these (80,881) and Gingrich 22% (43,400) as RCP’s polling average would suggest, Romney would have a 37,481 vote lead at this point in time — and that doesn’t take into account Romney’s organization and GOTV efforts on early/absentee voting.  That’s pretty significant, and as the early vote progresses, that advantage will continue to grow.  (via DebitKing)


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The point is you cannot have it both ways saying Romney does not fight and yet he does and call him dirty.

We do know that Obama is going to play cheap shot campaign for the next 6 months. Gingrich’s baggage is TOO EASY and thus will not be a good candidate to represent us.

g2825m on January 21, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Actually we can. Romney mostly fights with his PAC great now as he has the most money but Obama has far more.

I mean Mitt actually believes the Obama BS that the economy is getting better. How? Only by using false information. The economy is still bleeding jobs slower now but hardly keeping up with people entering the work force. Inflation is sky high so an increase in GDP is no increase at all and most likely a decrease. That is what Mitt should be explaining but no instead he is helping Obama win. This is the longest recessionary period since the Great Depression but not according to Obamas rep Mitt.

Steveangell on January 21, 2012 at 2:31 PM

spiritof61 on January 21, 2012 at 1:32 PM

And McClellan was spending most of his time running for president and was indecisive. I think you are on to something. If I could just figure out what it is. Hmm Oh yes Obama? or Romney?
I know how about both.

kenny on January 21, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Yup, & the crowd cheered, & Newt’s poll numbers went up.

Conservatives can be stupid, too.

itsnotaboutme on January 21, 2012 at 12:03 PM

well, it’s usually equally and fairly distributed among left and right :-)…

jimver on January 21, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Rovin on January 21, 2012 at 1:22 PM

How come Newt’s name was in the story but not on the list? Did he pay up before the list went public?

Cindy Munford on January 21, 2012 at 2:35 PM

I don’t think there are many people here who started out with Newt as their candidate. For whatever reason, everyone who supports him now has decided that he is the best of the remaining few. You don’t seem to, but some of the other Romney supporters seem to think belittling people who don’t agree with them will somehow win them over to your side. It doesn’t.

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 1:43 PM

What they’re trying to do is collapse Newt’s support base. Essentially what happened earlier in the primaries is that starting with Palin, the tactic used by the estabishment Republicans and Democrats was to immediately unload a big pounding wave of “flood the zone” negative coverage on each candidate that looked to be surging or a threat to Romney. This tactic worked on Palin, then Perry, then Cain, then Gingrich in Iowa.

They do not care about winning us over. What they care about is making Romney the only candidate left so we’re forced to support him. It’s similar to the attitude the Democrats have towards blacks, i.e. “shut up and get in line, who are you going to vote for, a Republican?”

The anger displayed towards Palin in the thread is primarily because she interfered with Romney’s coronation. She was “supposed” to be a good solider and support Romney.

Doomberg on January 21, 2012 at 2:35 PM

The Romney team is experienced from MA, that you have to get your absentee ballots in place. They phone and make sure you have cast your ballot, and if I am not mistaken they ask you if it was you that cast the ballot. This is effective in a state where republicans don’t control the polling places or the town clerks offices. They are then able to challenge funny business. It also is a cushion when democrat poll workers make mistakes that are not in your favor, and you have the absentee ballots already counted, and know them by name, precinct etc.

When you do your phoning, you ask if people need a ballot, and someone can bring it to them.

Then you follow through making sure it went to town hall, and that the town has marked those as voted already.

Are you doing that where you live? it is a good idea. Especially when there is snow…not in Florida obviously, but if weather or the work day might be a problem, it is ok to cast your ballot absentee due to your work schedule.

Fleuries on January 21, 2012 at 2:38 PM

When Romney was surging all the ABR crowd did was belittle his supporters. Now they are getting it back.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Not trying to pick a fight, but when was the Romney surge? Something I don’t think you get is that Romney is the guy who lost to the guy who lost to Obama. (I already know about the Reagan thing, that doesn’t make the situation exactly the same) He has been campaigning for a really long time, and not very successfully. We have had a good long look at Romney. When he announced this time it was not even news because he never stopped running since the last election. In the interim he didn’t do anything to make himself more palatable to conservatives. He actaully seems to disdain us the way Huntsman does. He didn’t take a stand on issues and he spent most of his time sucking up to big money donors. So now it’s his turn and we’re all supposed to line up to support him. The fact that he has the money to outlast everyone else and spend on negative ads doesn’t make me think any better of him. He strikes me as a rich guy (nothing wrong with that) who wants to be President so he can check an item off his bucket list. I don’t fault him for that either, but that doesn’t mean I have to go along.

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Thank you first off. Believe me if you want but MY LDS membership has NOTHING to do with Romney support. It just helps me better understand and explain his abortion (against) and gay marriage stances (against) from a Church standpoint.
g2825m on January 21, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Right.

Do you not know that Mitt achieved what no Governor before him ever had. Free Abortion for most $100 for the rich. Gay Marriage.

Is that what you support? He worked tirelessly to achieve both of these his entire time as Governor. Though after he decided to run as a Conservative Republican he vetoed some bills he knew would be overridden but he never worked against either. He stood by and said nothing when the President of the MA Senate closed the Constitutional Convention called to end Gay Marriage before allowing a vote on it in violation of the State Constitution. He actively derailed a tax decrease from 5.3% to 5%. He raised all kinds of fees while implementing more fees. He raised insurance cost. He did not a single conservative thing as Gov.

All as LDS. I’m sorry but if LDS are for Gay Marriage and Abortion I am not for LDS. But no Mitt is just not LDS in his actions. He is a jack mormon.

Steveangell on January 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM

When Romney was surging all the ABR crowd did was belittle his supporters. Now they are getting it back.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Not trying to pick a fight, but when was the Romney surge?

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Easy to have missed it as it only lasted a few days. Mitt got up to 40% in National polling. But now is back to his 25%.

Steveangell on January 21, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Like in Tennis, pay more attention to the serve and not the server.

timberline on January 21, 2012 at 12:13 PM

duuude, that was deep :-) may I remind you that the serve is indissolubly linked to ummm….the server :-) the serve does not exist in a vacuum, independent of the server :-), so, I’d go the opposite way, pay all the attention to the server, it’s where the serve originates :-)… it doesn’t matter what good ideas Newt might have and all, if he projects the image of someone who is sloppy and disorganized/incoherent and incapable of delivering the message in an organized fashion, it’s all pointless…he will never convince anybody, in politics, the medium is more important than the message (look at how Obama won), and he should know that, as the historian who helped Freddie Mac to ‘shape their public image’ :-)..

jimver on January 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Easy to have missed it as it only lasted a few days. Mitt got up to 40% in National polling. But now is back to his 25%.

Steveangell on January 21, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Thanks, now that you mention it, I do remember!

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 2:49 PM

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 2:22 PM

He won’t care and go right back at them and Obama, versus Romney…

Schadenfreude on January 21, 2012 at 2:50 PM

The anger displayed towards Palin in the thread is primarily because she interfered with Romney’s coronation. She was “supposed” to be a good solider and support Romney.

Doomberg on January 21, 2012 at 2:35 PM

oh come on, don’t be silly…nobody expected someone like Palin to endorse Mitt…I am pretty sure that the Mitt crowd didn’t expect her endorsement at all and can live perfectly well without it… it would actually have been a bit weird if she did endorse him…

jimver on January 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Steve-would you have voted against Reagan back in the day because he signed pro-abortion legislation in Cali ? Mass is the most liberal state going-and because of Mittens management there, the oblamer leftists can’t touch him on that – obummer can’t even go after Bain- or OWS principles that the newtnuts are embracing- because he is right there with Mitt-as much as we pine for a true conservative- social issue matter more in general elections – NOT the purity of a conservative candidate.

FlaMurph on January 21, 2012 at 3:01 PM

They do not care about winning us over. What they care about is making Romney the only candidate left so we’re forced to support him. It’s similar to the attitude the Democrats have towards blacks, i.e. “shut up and get in line, who are you going to vote for, a Republican?”
The anger displayed towards Palin in the thread is primarily because she interfered with Romney’s coronation. She was “supposed” to be a good solider and support Romney.

Doomberg on January 21, 2012 at 2:35 PM

I agree, and that is exactly how I will feel if it comes to that.

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 3:02 PM

You Newt maniacs enjoy your moment in the sun. He will implode sooner or later. He will not be able to sustain a national campaign. The infinate load of baggage he carries with him will sink him… Thank God. He is the least honorable candidate and would be a disaster jf he somehow managed to become the nominee. As the race continues, and he is fully exposed for the scum bucket loser that he truly is, We will see who has the last laugh.

jibjab75 on January 21, 2012 at 3:11 PM

You Newt maniacs Romneyatanycosters enjoy your moment in the sun. He will implode sooner or later. He will not be able to sustain an electable aura through the national campaign. The infinate load of progressive baggage he carries with him will sink him… Thank God. He is the least honorable candidate and would be a disaster jf he somehow managed to become the nominee. As the race continues, and he is fully exposed for the scum bucket loser that he truly is, We will see who has the last laugh.

jibjab75 on January 21, 2012 at 3:11 PM

astonerii on January 21, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Steve-would you have voted against Reagan back in the day because he signed pro-abortion legislation in Cali ? Mass is the most liberal state going-and because of Mittens management there, the oblamer leftists can’t touch him on that – obummer can’t even go after Bain- or OWS principles that the newtnuts are embracing- because he is right there with Mitt-as much as we pine for a true conservative- social issue matter more in general elections – NOT the purity of a conservative candidate.

FlaMurph on January 21, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Regan did plenty of conservative things. After becoming a Republican. He did not change only to immediately start running as the opposite of what he was.

I notice you note not one Conservative Accomplishment.

As far as Bain they donate to the Democrats not Republicans and that record is not as a job creator. Yet Mitt lies that it was. It was NOT. He objective was to make the company mean and lean and succeeded 70% of the time. But 30% of the time he took a lot of money out of companies that eventually failed many lost jobs. At least while Bain controlled them these companies were not hiring a lot as Bain then got out. Now I fully support doing what is necessary to save a company. I just understand that companies like Bain caused an awful lot of pain to a lot of people working for these companies. Obama will never mention the upside. People will see Bain as negative not positive. There are simply not enough people that understand the way this works and Romney has not explained it either. Instead he talks about current employment levels of 120k that counterbalance the 20k jobs Bain cost. By that Metric Carter created 16 million jobs. That is a losing argument Obama will make mincemeat out of it.

Steveangell on January 21, 2012 at 3:14 PM

She was “supposed” to be a good solider and support Romney.

Doomberg on January 21, 2012 at 2:35 PM

I was not a Palin fan, not in 2012, that is, but she kept her TEA party soul.

TEA = taxed enough already, yes for you Nikki Haley, you political harlot.

Schadenfreude on January 21, 2012 at 3:17 PM

He won’t care and go right back at them and Obama, versus Romney…

Schadenfreude on January 21, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Well, I think you’re going to see Romney become much more aggressive starting Monday night. He probably wont be very good at it, but he’s got 2 months to perfect his delivery.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Easy to have missed it as it only lasted a few days. Mitt got up to 40% in National polling. But now is back to his 25%.

Steveangell on January 21, 2012 at 2:47 PM

So does anyone but Romney include Obama Steveangell?

V7_Sport on January 21, 2012 at 3:27 PM

The list of real conservatives and tea party members that have endorsed Romney and are now being attacked so disingenously by the ABOs has grown huger and huger. Some people have no clue and no shame, when it comes to admitting they are on the wrong side. Pathetic.

jibjab75 on January 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

i’m rooting for mitt because i live in the berkshires and i afraid
that if mitt loses he’ll come back to MA and screw some more sh!t up
i just love paying my extra fees for weapons increased tolls business enity fees etc and waiting for a primary doctor visit for 6 weeks. mitt blows and we get to live in it

rik on January 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Not trying to pick a fight, but when was the Romney surge? Something I don’t think you get is that Romney is the guy who lost to the guy who lost to Obama. (I already know about the Reagan thing, that doesn’t make the situation exactly the same) He has been campaigning for a really long time, and not very successfully. We have had a good long look at Romney. When he announced this time it was not even news because he never stopped running since the last election. In the interim he didn’t do anything to make himself more palatable to conservatives. He actaully seems to disdain us the way Huntsman does. He didn’t take a stand on issues and he spent most of his time sucking up to big money donors. So now it’s his turn and we’re all supposed to line up to support him. The fact that he has the money to outlast everyone else and spend on negative ads doesn’t make me think any better of him. He strikes me as a rich guy (nothing wrong with that) who wants to be President so he can check an item off his bucket list. I don’t fault him for that either, but that doesn’t mean I have to go along.

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Well, surge is the wrong word. When Romney was in the lead, which has been most of the time except for the flavors of the day which could not maintain support.

A lot of that I agree with, especially his inability to relate to “folks”.

As far as losing to McCain is concerned, Romney has the exact skill set for the dynamics of the issues of the day. Namely the economy. Irrespective of SC, all National polling shows Romney as the most trusted candidate in all areas of the economy. I believe had Romney been the nominee in 2008, he would have beaten Obama. Remember McCain admitting that the economy wasn’t his strong suit? And he was similar to Bush etc.

And let me ask you a question….if our nominee had the money to outlast Obama and run negative ads, would you consider it a reason not to vote?

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Obama just hired an ex- Bain guy for his team- and has a full history of Goldman people in his admin- there is no way Obie opens up that can of worms- Matt Damon is mad enough at Obie- and that is why it can be said that newt has gone left of Oliar on that topic.
Patco , etc. aside, Reagan’s record has more moderate positions than we want history to allow for. And yet the Gipper is the greatest President we have known.

FlaMurph on January 21, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Easy to have missed it as it only lasted a few days. Mitt got up to 40% in National polling. But now is back to his 25%.

Steveangell on January 21, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Nonsense. Romney polls at 30%. Gingrich just barely reached 30% over the last few days.

You’re informing your opinion with a jaundiced eye.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 3:37 PM

He probably wont be very good at it, but he’s got 2 months to perfect his delivery.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

He’s had five years.

spiritof61 on January 21, 2012 at 3:37 PM

If I were the marxist in a debate with Romney, I would say one word, “RomneyCare”, smile and leave the stage.

bgibbs1000 on January 21, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Neil Cavuto made a good point this afternoon on FOX News. Romney could have knocked it out of the park if he had mentioned that Bain Captial, being a private equity firm, used investor funds – NOT taxpayer money – to bring companies back to profitability. That one fact alone would have thrown Obama’s crony capitalism (e.g. Solyndra) back in his face. Another missed oppotunity. Team Romney – wake up!!!

Bob in VA on January 21, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Powerlineblog.com has a new article titled Delusional. I doubt if many of you Newtfreaks have the courage to read it, but I challenge you to do so. Its all true.

jibjab75 on January 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Its all true.

jibjab75 on January 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

How can it be true if it’s delusional?

spiritof61 on January 21, 2012 at 3:57 PM

I guess Romneybots dont like the fact that the coronation looks like it is getting derailed

social-justice on January 21, 2012 at 4:01 PM

The Powerline article is terrific re Newt.

Another excellent talking point for Romney in the general: like Reagan, Romney can run AGAINST washington DC – frame himself as the outsider – NEVER WORKED in DC. Neither Newt nor Santorum enjoy this status. This matters to independents.

matthew8787 on January 21, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Neil Cavuto made a good point this afternoon on FOX News. Romney could have knocked it out of the park if he had mentioned that Bain Captial, being a private equity firm, used investor funds – NOT taxpayer money – to bring companies back to profitability. That one fact alone would have thrown Obama’s crony capitalism (e.g. Solyndra) back in his face. Another missed oppotunity. Team Romney – wake up!!!

Bob in VA on January 21, 2012 at 3:39 PM

come on, nobody is that idiot to think that Bain Capital operates with taxpayer money…

jimver on January 21, 2012 at 4:05 PM

The 9 p.m. debate is being hosted by the Tampa Bay Times, NBC News, National Journal and the Florida Council of 100. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams will moderate, with a panel including Times political editor Adam C. Smith.

Now that I read this I am sorry that Mitt said he would do it. This stinks only slightly less than having in Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopolis.

Well, a good chance for Newt to try some more crocodile tears.

And another chance to ask Mitt Romney how we will know he does not get his income immorally or evade taxes, like all the democrats do.

I heard today on the radio that Mitt Romney has a Tax Problem. I wondered if they said that when Charlie Rangel had a real tax problem. Then I heard he has his income offshore in a tax shelter, on a different radio station. I think the media is trying to help Obama, not Newt.

Fleuries on January 21, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Bob – correct re Cavuto.

The only upside to losing tonight is that it will be the wakeup call needed for the Romney campaign. They have been coasting, playing a “prevent” defense and it is not working.

When Newt lashed out at the media – “cheap manipulative indignation” as described by NRO – Romney had no firewall because he hasn’t sufficiently articulated 2 or 3 economic issues as something to vote FOR. The Romney camp must go on offense. This is war, not a student council election. If he wants to be presiden (and I believe he will be an excellent president), show some passion and fight. And I believe he will, starting tonight.

matthew8787 on January 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

The shilling by Hot Air for Romney is getting sooo tedious.

Can’t we get an objective, neutral, balanced post for a change instead of this old “Romney is the only electable one” crap!

Romney is NOT electable against Obama and the voters are figuring that out.

Sparky5253 on January 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

And let me ask you a question….if our nominee had the money to outlast Obama and run negative ads, would you consider it a reason not to vote?

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 3:33 PM

If Romney ends up being the nominee, I hope he kicks Obama’s a$$, and I will vote for him because we will be on the same team. Right now we obviously are not.

I’ve been reading HotAir for years, and I like a flame war just as much as the next guy (except I’m not a guy), but lately it has just been ugly. Liberals are the ones who are the humorless, preachy, self-righteous a$$holes, but you couldn’t tell that by some of the stuff I’ve seen here lately.

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Another excellent talking point for Romney in the general: like Reagan, Romney can run AGAINST washington DC – frame himself as the outsider – NEVER WORKED in DC. Neither Newt nor Santorum enjoy this status. This matters to independents.

matthew8787 on January 21, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Time for Palin to jump in, huh?

Listen, there is only one thing that “matters” to independents: what they personally stand to gain. They don’t care if the candidate was born in the Tidal Basin or the Kenyan Highlands. Will he deliver the goods or not for them–that’s what matters.

spiritof61 on January 21, 2012 at 4:11 PM

When Romney was surging all the ABR crowd did was belittle his supporters.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 2:19 PM

You started the crapfest a long long time ago.

SparkPlug on January 21, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

No kiddin’. But, welcome, anyway.

kingsjester on January 21, 2012 at 4:15 PM

You started the crapfest a long long time ago.

SparkPlug on January 21, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Exactly right.

kingsjester on January 21, 2012 at 4:16 PM

When Newt lashed out at the media – “cheap manipulative indignation” as described by NRO – Romney had no firewall because he hasn’t sufficiently articulated 2 or 3 economic issues as something to vote FOR. The Romney camp must go on offense. This is war, not a student council election. If he wants to be presiden (and I believe he will be an excellent president), show some passion and fight. And I believe he will, starting tonight.

matthew8787 on January 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

I hope you are right about that….
oh, and and it’s actually Mark Steyn who aptly and accurately called Newt’s lashing out at the media ‘cheap manipulative ersatz indignation’… the best part of his article though was this: “more fool the crowd for rewarding him” :-)…

jimver on January 21, 2012 at 4:20 PM

No kiddin’. But, welcome, anyway.

kingsjester on January 21, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Thank You! (I like your blog, by the way)

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 4:20 PM

A good move: Romney has just announced a major economic address on Monday-Tuesday in FL to pre-butt BO’s State of Union address on Tuesday night. Going on offense at last.

Expecting Jeb Bush endorsement by mid-week. Bushes do NOT like Newt, and Jeb’s FL machine very formidable.

With Perry out of the race, Gov Scott is now free to endorse Mitt as well. Expecting Jindal soon too.

matthew8787 on January 21, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Much appreciated.

kingsjester on January 21, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Just four days ago, Romney was “wavering” on committing to more debates, in Florida or anywhere else. Four days ago, though, he had a comfortable if not safe lead in South Carolina.

This is exactly what causes people to declare Romney electable (in the tradition of Kerry), and exactly why his defeat would be cemented by May.

For five years, his strategy has been to coast on forward momentum and let (ahem) Newtonian physics carry him over the finish line. There is not one issue out of dozens of discrete political issues where he has not totally reversed his stance in the last 20 years, with the exception of a couple where he has merely acquiesced to the other side. He doesn’t believe in anything, therefore he won’t convincingly attack on anything.

He was going to jump out of the debates because there was no angle in it for him. Never mind that even the most ardent Romney fans knew, in their heart of hearts, that his path to the nomination wasn’t going to be traditional and he would have to actually sell himself to Republicans, at least until the winner-take-all states came along. He calculated that there was no angle in debating, so he wasn’t going to — even though Mitt isn’t actually a bad debater.

As a Vice Presidential candidate using inertia to secure a third term (a la G. H. W. Bush), Mitt would be perfect. As a candidate that will have to believe in something and use his conviction to move the national debate, he’s hopeless. It would be six months of defending Bain and complimenting the hopeful bits of wreckage in Obama’s economy — because Romney chooses to do these things. It’s up to Republicans whether they want him to be defeated now or in November.

HitNRun on January 21, 2012 at 4:29 PM

He’s had five years.

spiritof61 on January 21, 2012 at 3:37 PM

And Romney is going to surprise a lot of people because he’s spent those 5 years quietly building a strong base of support. He campaigned for a lot of people in the midterms, his PAC donated lots of money to others, he pressed flesh and whispered in a lot of ears. He has widespread support and endorsements out the wazoo. That’s why so many have endorsed him so early – they were on-board long before the first votes were cast. He even has the endorsement from the Tea Party candidate in DE who turned a heckler into a toad. :)

He has built a nationwide organization with very strong finances that his competitors cannot match. Whether you or I like him is beside the point. The point is he wants this badly, has worked tirelessly to achieve it and will do what he must to win it.

The first step is the nomination and he’s laid a strong foundation for winning it. But politics is fickle. After all that effort he may not. But if he does not win it it won’t be because of lack of effort.

jb34461 on January 21, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Jb: you are correct, Romney is NOT McCain. Romney WANTS to be president. McCain just wanted to be NOMINATED for president and ran the shittiest campaign in GOP history. Plus, McCain had no money, no organization, no discipline, no infrastructure, no message. Like Newt today.

Romney, for all his wealth and comforts, is not spending 6 years of his life just to LOSE in November.

Mitt is a winner in November. He genuinely wants to get the nation back on track. We cannot afford 4 more years of this.

matthew8787 on January 21, 2012 at 4:51 PM

It’s up to Republicans whether they want him to be defeated now or in November.

HitNRun on January 21, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Newt will be defeated far more vigorously in Nov :-) in other words nuked out…

jimver on January 21, 2012 at 4:52 PM

A good move: Romney has just announced a major economic address on Monday-Tuesday in FL to pre-butt BO’s State of Union address on Tuesday night. Going on offense at last.

Expecting Jeb Bush endorsement by mid-week. Bushes do NOT like Newt, and Jeb’s FL machine very formidable.

With Perry out of the race, Gov Scott is now free to endorse Mitt as well. Expecting Jindal soon too.

matthew8787 on January 21, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Do you have any idea how much your bragging about how Romney will steamroll his way to victory by the republican machine p*isses conservatives off?? Do you think it makes us want to get on the republican bandwagon and support him because he has the establishment machine working for him? It only makes him look more and more like he’s buying this election. Total sleeze.

Oh, and I supported Romney in 2008–although for the life of me I can’t see why now.

KickandSwimMom on January 21, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Romney needs a way to stop Gingrich in Florida, which suddenly looks uncomfortably like Romney’s firewall rather than his coronation venue.

I’m sorry, but there should be no coronation before August and there should be no talk of it now. How ever will the media get through 5 more months of primaries otherwise?

Thanx, Ed, for starting to talk about how the primaries work and how the voting results affect the delegate allocation because it’s really all about the pledged delegate count. Bachmann, Cain, Huntsman and Perry are on the FL ballot so who knows who votes have already been cast for on absentee ballots or who they’re being cast for between now and primary day.

I heard a rep from Ron Paul’s campaign on FOX today talking about delegates, about how the IA caucus doesn’t officially award delegates, but how each campaign can participate in meetings that will determine the allocation. Currently 3 delegates that had been “soft-pledged” to Perry based on caucus results are now available, so who knows who they’ll eventually go to.

I wish these stupid useless polls would go away, stop making the headlines, stop trying to stop the presses, and people–voters–should stop from buying into them.

This poll crap reminds me of two people sitting on park benches, opposite each other, tossing bread to pigeons. One tosses a handful (one poll comes out), the flock runs over to that side. The other tosses a handful (another poll comes out with contradicting results), the flock flocks to the other side. So this is what we’ve been reduced to: a bunch of squabs, running around like chickens with our heads cut off, squabbling over this moment’s polls crumbs, totally oblivious that a whole new supply of confounding polls crumbs are coming tomorrow.

Do many of us think anymore–or do we just react like headless fowl?

stukinIL4now on January 21, 2012 at 5:00 PM

KickandSwimMom on January 21, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Because he ran as a conservative in 2008. This time he’s running as a moderate. Time will tell whether this is the correct strategy. He doesn’t need all our votes to win the primary thanks to Paul & Santorum. He damn sure will need them in November. So if he wins, what do you suppose he will sound like from the conventuion to the election? A lot more conservative would be my guess.

jb34461 on January 21, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Romney is NOT electable against Obama and the voters are figuring that out.

Sparky5253 on January 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Romney has as good of a chance as Santorum if not better.

Lets start with the fact that both of them, including Paul, have never been accused of unethical behavior. If Gingrich had an ounce of honor in him, he would end his campaign. He already had his chance to prove he can be trusted. It’s bad enough that he engaged in unethical behavior, he did it while he was second in liner to the presidency. He doesn’t deserve to be in the same contest as Romney, Santorum, and Paul. Hell, he doesn’t even deserve to be in a contest with Obama.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Kick, I am not trying to offend anyone and I apologize if you take it that way. My point is this: the 70+ members of Congress + governors around the nation who have endorsed Mitt know something about electoral politics. They recognize that Romney at the top of the ticket either helps them, or at worst, does no harm.

The fact that more governors wwill be coming on board may be not to your taste, but I meant no offense.

I make no apologies for supporting Mitt, because as a veteran of many federal, state and local campaigns over 40 years on the eastern seaboard, the South, and the Midwest, I know a winner. I want to see Obama thrown out of the White House, and defeating any incumbent president is expensive, brutal, and unpleasant business.

This is the problem with primaries: we say thing that offend people with whom we agree 90 percent of the time and who will need each other in the fall.

I will happily vote for whomever is the GOP nominee for president. We can’t have 4 more of this.

matthew8787 on January 21, 2012 at 5:18 PM

He has to go to Florida, unless he thinks there are that many Massachusetts pro-abortion/global warming/open borderss folks left to elect him. I don’t even like his hair and I’m bald….

Don L on January 21, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Liberals are the ones who are the humorless, preachy, self-righteous a$$holes, but you couldn’t tell that by some of the stuff I’ve seen here lately.

Night Owl on January 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Well, if you’ve been reading for years you should know that primary season is always like this. After the primary, we rational folks come together and support the nominee. Those that don’t just go away because the majority of Hot Air jumps their a$$es for not being team players.

As bad as it was for me to support McCain, it will be double tough for me to support Gingrich. He has already violated the public trust and I’m going to have to vote for him in the general if he is the nominee. Every vote for him is a disgrace to that person. And those who refuse to vote for him out of conscience, will have the moral high ground for standing up against the exact behavior that led our founders to establish this great nation.

But, I can always ask God for forgiveness, but I can’t undo 4 more years of Obama. I owe future generations that much if the choice comes to that.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 5:32 PM

I just noticed the results graphic on the side. I wonder what percentage of folks will vote for Cain and Perry? Some might be protest votes, but how many will because they are uninformed?

lol

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Don L on January 21, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Follicular envy?

jb34461 on January 21, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Romney had a lead because he has a specific base, that is the Mormon faith, something like 96% of those will vote for him.
When there were others in the race, they divided up many votes, as each one dropped off the votes were consolidating. Mitt has many more detractors than supporters, so they just waited for the field to clear.
Now that it is down to a few, it is clearer that Mitt’s base, his faithful brothers, and Wall Street guru’s are not enough to carry him. They provide great money, but Mitt doesn’t have what it takes to actually win a national election, that has been born out in the prior attempt. He has enough money backing him (10 of his top 10, and 18 of his top 20 financial supporters are Wall Street TARP recipients) to give it a run, but…he doesn’t connect with the common voter.
Isn’t that obvious? Record amount of money spent on two campaigns and he can’t get over the hump…so close, but so far away.

right2bright on January 21, 2012 at 6:26 PM

But, I can always ask God for forgiveness, but I can’t undo 4 more years of Obama. I owe future generations that much if the choice comes to that.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 5:32 PM

I had the same feeling about Romney…but what I want is for all three to stick it out and hold each other accountable…Make Mitt more conservative, calm down Newt, and Rick needs to “man-up”…I said it last election, if Mitt spends the next two years honing his conservative policies he would be elected…but he didn’t, so if he is going to win, he needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat…a conservative rabbit.

right2bright on January 21, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Good to see Ed’s still in for Romney…

Heres a clue: look at the past 5 days SC momentum, change and accurate results.

The moment Romney shows up and speaks, kiss 20 points goodbye.

Odie1941 on January 21, 2012 at 6:53 PM

Gingrich won over SC voters by pompously scolding the media for bringing up his serial dirty laundry.

SC = Seriously Chuckleheaded.

profitsbeard on January 21, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Romney is NOT electable against Obama and the voters are figuring that out.

Sparky5253 on January 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Romney can’t even get over the 25% threshold over his Republican competitors, have no idea why anyone would even think he can get over 25% in the general. He failed in 2008, he is failing so far in 2012 even with all the help from RINO establishment. Romney is NOT electable. Numbers don’t lie.

riddick on January 22, 2012 at 12:55 AM

*Romney supporters commit suicide over Florida debates….

MTLassen on January 22, 2012 at 2:33 AM

Every vote for him is a disgrace to that person. And those who refuse to vote for him out of conscience, will have the moral high ground for standing up against the exact behavior that led our founders to establish this great nation.

But, I can always ask God for forgiveness, but I can’t undo 4 more years of Obama. I owe future generations that much if the choice comes to that.

csdeven on January 21, 2012 at 5:32 PM

You pompous, self-righteous piece of sh1t. I want to punch your straw-man face right into the back of your false-flag poop-chute.

MTLassen on January 22, 2012 at 2:42 AM

But this wasn’t a grassroots youth movement rooted at the University of South Carolina. No, many of the students cheering on the candidate told BuzzFeed they were actually BYU students and young Mormons from D.C. and Virginia who traveled to the Palmetto State to give their coreligionist’s presidential effort a much-needed jolt of energy.

Soooo, if evangelicals don’t vote for Romney because he’s a Mormon, that means evangelicals are bigots, because you shouldn’t vote for someone based on religion.

But if Mormons overwhelmingly campaign and vote for a Mormon candidate, that’s wonderful.

Interesting.

There Goes The Neighborhood on January 22, 2012 at 3:11 AM

Gingrich won over SC voters by pompously scolding the media for bringing up his serial dirty laundry.

SC = Seriously Chuckleheaded.

profitsbeard on January 21, 2012 at 11:09 PM

And it worked so well that Gingrich won. The the fact that Romney won’t reveal his income taxes and essentially was the lynchpin behind the blueprint for Obamacare in Massachusetts, is apparently less immoral, conservatively speaking, than Gingrich’s sins of the flesh.

My supposition is that you’re incorrect.

Perhaps Newt spoke to the solutions that would bring jobs back to SC instead of politicians who sold out their own constituents for a campaign contribution. This is the reason, I suspect, that most conservatives fear and loathe Romney. He just doesn’t articulate that well at all and he doesn’t relate well enough.

What other hang-ups do you have?

DevilsPrinciple on January 22, 2012 at 10:50 AM

A good move: Romney has just announced a major economic address on Monday-Tuesday in FL to pre-butt BO’s State of Union address on Tuesday night. Going on offense at last.

Expecting Jeb Bush endorsement by mid-week. Bushes do NOT like Newt, and Jeb’s FL machine very formidable.

With Perry out of the race, Gov Scott is now free to endorse Mitt as well. Expecting Jindal soon too.

matthew8787 on January 21, 2012 at 4:24 PM

A “good move” by flip-flopping RINOs sucking up to each other? Where are all those off-shore oil-drilling platforms you vetoed, Ol’ Jeb?
“Brazil for €2,000, er $1,500, Alex” …

Make no mistake, Jeb Bush is as RINO as they get.
He and Mittens both want a share of the Oval Office.
(nudge, nudge, wink, wink)
‘Tis rather nauseating to this “paleocon” / “conservatarian”.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Barack Obama?

Mitt Romney?

Mr. Joe on January 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Mitt is in the Florida debates because newt leaped ahead. He was saying he might bypass the state thinking he had carolina in his bag but was counting votes before they were cast. Only democrats can do that because of big time vote fraud.

dunce on January 23, 2012 at 4:38 PM

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