Quotes of the day

“As a result, the new Romney is now de-emphasizing social issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and illegal immigration. He has made no public comment, for instance, about last week’s announcement that top military leaders intend to end the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, has scrupulously avoided association with the Tea Party movement, and has refrained from backing conservatives that other presidential hopefuls have endorsed, such as Doug Hoffman in New York or Marco Rubio in Florida…

“But if the populist conservatives are a tough crowd for Romney, they’re nothing compared with the Christian conservatives. After courting them doggedly without success throughout the 2008 cycle, it appears that, in 2012, Romney is going to try to win without them. That, in effect, means skipping the South

“‘I just can’t fathom the South not playing a role in picking the GOP nominee,’ says LaRaja, adding that, if Romney were to win without the South, ‘It would be a phenomenal strategic success story.’…

“To win the Republican nomination without the South, Romney needs a blue-state strategy. By sweeping winner-take-all delegate primaries in the Northeast, the West Coast, and the industrial North, he could capture the GOP ticket.”

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“Palin has many detractors, even within the GOP. They deride the content of her tea party speech as being long on grievance but short on substance. They mock her for the notes scribbled on her palm during that appearance and what they see as inconsistencies in her statements.

“But as one GOP strategist, who declined to be identified in order to speak more freely about her, put it, ‘Palin has a following that is thoroughly uninterested in experiences on issues and instead is completely motivated by attributes. They’ll take her authenticity over her ideas every day of the week.’…

“But the others should be paying close attention, Castellanos said. ‘Mitt Romney, Pawlenty and every other Republican contender ought to be worried,’ he said. ‘An authentic, populist voice has emerged as the anti-Obama and that voice doesn’t belong to the Republican establishment. It belongs to Sarah Palin.’…

“‘Her challenge is to fill in the substantive blanks in a way that demonstrates that capacity, without losing her uniqueness and her role as provocateur,’ said Tom Rath, a GOP strategist who has been part of Romney’s political team. ‘Not easy.'”