From the Houston Chronicle:
Ted Cruz’s campaign took another shot at Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst Wednesday and even offered to purchase a plane ticket from Iowa – where Dewhurst has been campaigning with Gov. Rick Perry – for him to attend a scheduled candidate forum near Austin.
Cruz’s campaign said Dewhurst has been absent from 19 candidate forums, including Wednesday’s Williamson County GOP Senate forum, sponsored by the Georgetown and Williamson County Republican Women, which featured Cruz, Tom Leppert, Glen Addison and Lela Pittenger.
Matt Hirsch, Dewhurst’s campaign spokesman, said Dewhurst, as requested by Gov. Perry, was ”a featured surrogate at the Iowa caucuses yesterday evening and all of the flights back to Austin this morning were booked at the time the decision was made to go.”
In the post accusing Dewhurst of skipping forums, Cruz’s website said there are “two commercial flights that can take him from Des Moines to Austin, arriving at 10:45 AM on Wednesday — with time to spare before the forum.”
The post went on to say Cruz’s campaign would “gladly offer to in-kind contribute the cost of the airline ticket to allow Dewhurst to attend, if he lacks the financial resources to purchase his own ticket.”
Dewhurst, who has been named the front-runner in the Senate race by most pundits, has raised the most campaign dollars in the race so far and was reported to have a net worth of more than $200 million last year.
Sue DeVillez, a member of the Georgetown Republican Women, attended the event and said it was “very civil and well-attended.” She said there was only a small mention of Dewhurst’s absence by Cruz and that she was aware he was in Iowa with Perry.
Hirsch said Cruz and other candidates in the race will get their chance to appear with Dewhurst on Jan. 12, at a debate in downtown Austin sponsored by Empower Texans and the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Also scheduled to appear are Addison, Leppert and Craig James.
Cruz supporters started a “Ducking Dewhurst” crusade last year, complete with a website and mascot, in hopes of prodding Dewhurst to appear with the former solicitor general.
“Instead of working with Congress to create an accountable government, the President continues to choose another go-it-alone strategy that has contributed to gridlock in Washington. I have always been a strong supporter of effective consumer protection. As the only member of the Nevada delegation to vote against the Wall Street bailout, I strongly believe these institutions should be held accountable. There needs to be more sunlight in the way government operates. Creating more transparency and accountability in government should be something this President embraces.”
– Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
Wednesday’s New Hampshire Union Leader has a new Gingrich ad entitled “The Choice” touting that “only a bold Reagan Conservative can beat Obama.” I agree!
Here’s the ad:
Imagine my surprise when I awoke this morning to find an email from RedState penned by Erick saying the Tea Party was at fault for not assessing the race correctly and supporting Rick Perry…
If Rick Perry drops out of the race it will be the ultimate failure of the tea party movement to see the race come down to two or three big government conservatives. Romney and Santorum both hide behind compassionate conservatism to expand the state to suit their purposes. Only Rick Perry has run a campaign to make Washington “as inconsequential to our lives as possible.”
Now, I know Erick has been saying all along that he’s not in the tank for Perry, maybe he is… maybe he isn’t, that’s up to you to decide and personally it really makes no difference to me – but to suggest that somehow the Tea Party is to blame for Rick Perry’s failure to “make his case”, though spending extraordinary amounts of money and boots on the ground, is simply ridiculous.
I think Erick failed to see Rick Perry the way most Tea Party folks do, and rightly so, as a big government – open boarders conservative hiding behind the compassionate conservative label as like George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum.
It’s true as Erickson points out that Rick Perry said he wanted to make Washington “as inconsequential to our lives as possible.” but his record as governor of Texas didn’t bore that notion out, after being properly vetted by the the Tea Party and others Rick Perry was simply not the viable conservative savior some made him out to be… and the fault lies solely with him!
From the Campaign Trail Report:
Yesterday I tweeted that if someone dropped out this week the chances were high that it would be Michele Bachmann. It turns out that was correct as Bachmann just announced she will be suspending her campaign. This after telling her supporters last night that she would indeed continue on to South Carolina.
As I wrote Monday Bachmann doesn’t have a clear path to victory. Bachmann has a unique message and there has been some value in having her voice in the debate. That said, it’s likely that Bachmann would start losing staff and infrastructure through the next two weeks as she has little funds and her closest advisors have no faith in her ability to win. In this scenario the narrative around her campaign would not allow for strong messaging on the issues.
By Chuck Muth
In assessing the Iowa caucus results, we can safely say that social conservatives Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry lost big in this rural, white socially conservative state. They’re out.
Jon Huntsman was never in. And never will be.
Rick Santorum ran on a social conservative anti-abortion/anti-gay platform in a rural, white socially conservative state in which the voters have a far greater interest in those issues than most of the voters in most of the other states. He also darned-near literally lived in Iowa for a year.
And yet….he still only pulled a quarter of the vote.
Santorum claimed in a fundraising email this morning that he is “the only authentic, passionate conservative who can unite the GOP.” Not. He has no national network, and while his fundraising will surely enjoy a bump, it won’t be anywhere near what he needs. I predict his fifteen minutes of fame is more likely to last about seven.
Mitt Romney’s folks did a good job at playing the expectations game. By not seriously campaigning there, the Romney team would have us believe that the Iowa results were terrific news. Not.
This is the guy who is the presumed nominee and has been the presumed nominee for a long, long time – including GOP establishment endorsements up the wazoo. And people in general have a human desire to be associated with winners. Yet, Romney still only received a quarter of the vote despite his surrogates and the Romney super-PAC dumping a ton of money into Iowa.
No matter how you spin the Iowa results, Romney was not chosen by 3 out of 4 conservative Republican voters. His 25 percent ceiling remains in place. I suspect he can and eventually will break through that ceiling, but it’s real and he certainly didn’t crack it in Iowa.
The most significant, positive performance in Iowa was by Ron Paul. He, too, has had a ceiling in the neighborhood of 10-12 percent, but chalked up a strong third-place finish as a pro-life, libertarian isolationist. No easy feat.
Unlike Santorum, Paul also has a national network of grassroots supporters dating back to even before his 2008 presidential run. And he will surely be able turn on the fundraising spigot after his performance in Iowa.
Paul’s problem is on national security – the most important function of the “Commander in Chief.”
While many can accept that Paul is an isolationist, they aren’t willing to accept a pacifist. We all know what Ron Paul wouldn’t use the military for; however, in this dangerous world, under what circumstances WOULD he find use of force appropriate? Inquiring minds wanna know.
Again, Paul is pro-life, so social conservatives can live with him. He proved that in Iowa. And he’s clearly the most fiscally conservative/limited-government guy in the race. But he cannot win the GOP nomination without giving voters a strong sense of confidence that a serious, unprovoked attack on America would result in an old-fashioned royal butt kicking. Voters don’t have that sense at this point, and I’m not sure they ever will.
And then there’s Newt Gingrich.
I don’t look at the Iowa results and compare them to where Gingrich was six weeks ago. I look at the results and compare them to where he was six months ago. And six months ago, the consensus was the man was toast. Stick a fork in him.
Yet in Iowa yesterday, Gingrich defeated two socially conservative candidates – one who won the straw poll there just last summer; the other with a cache of cash. He also defeated Jon Huntsman….but hey, EVERYBODY beats Jon Huntsman. So no big deal there.
Also consider this: Because of his rise six weeks ago, Gingrich had over $9 million worth of negative ads dumped against him in Iowa. Indeed, it’s been estimated that 45% of all advertising in the closing weeks of the campaign were anti-Gingrich ads. And yet he still lost by less than 14,000 votes to both Romney and Santorum.
Unlike Santorum, however, Gingrich has a national network of supporters and donors built up over more than two decades who will carry him forward in all the other states. Unlike Paul, he’s solid on national defense. And unlike Romney, he’s perceived as a conservative. So maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I don’t think anyone should (again) write Gingrich off at this point.
If you’re going to kill the king; kill the king. They didn’t kill the Gingrich campaign in Iowa. He has lived to fight another day. And that’s historically when Gingrich has proved to be most dangerous politically. He campaigns much better as an underdog challenger than as a front-runner.
Prediction: By the time the campaign (finally) makes it to (irrelevant) Nevada, it’ll already effectively be a three man race between Romney, Gingrich and Paul. And after Super Tuesday, it’ll be a head-to-head matchup down the stretch between Romney and Gingrich.
SOWELL’S GOP PREZ PICK
Columnist Thomas Sowell is one of the smartest, most well-respected conservatives in the nation today. As such, his assessment of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination race, inked BEFORE the Iowa results – is well worth considering:
“Barring some astonishing surprise, the contest for the Republican nomination for president boils down to Mitt Romney versus Newt Gingrich. It is doubtful whether either of them is anyone’s idea of an ideal candidate or a model of consistency.
“The fact that each of the short-lived front-runners in the Republican field gained that position by presenting themselves as staunch conservatives suggests that Republican voters may have been trying to avoid having to accept Mitt Romney, whose record as governor of Massachusetts produced nothing that would be regarded as a serious conservative achievement.
“Romney’s own talking point that he has been a successful businessman is no reason to put him into a political office, however much it may be a reason for him to become a successful businessman again.
“Perhaps the strongest reason for some voters to support Governor Romney is that the smart money says he is more “electable” than the other candidates in general and Newt Gingrich in particular. But there was a time when even some conservative smart money types were saying that Ronald Reagan was too old to run for president, and that he should step aside for someone younger.
“Washington Post editor Meg Greenfield said that the people in the Carter White House were ‘ecstatic’ when the Republicans nominated Reagan, because they were convinced that they could clobber him. Today, it is said that the Obama administration fears Romney, but would relish the opportunity to clobber Gingrich because of his ‘baggage.’ CNN has already started digging into Gingrich’s most recent divorce.
“Much depends on whether you think the voting public is going to be more interested in Newt Gingrich’s personal past than in the country’s future. Most of the things for which Gingrich has been criticized are things he did either in his personal life or when he was out of office. But, if we are serious, we are more concerned with his ability to perform when in office.
“Even some of those who believe that Gingrich would devastate Obama in head-to-head debates on substantive issues nevertheless claim that all Obama has to do is come back with questions about Newt’s work for failed mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac.
“But, even at the personal, point-scoring level, Barack Obama can open up a can of worms by going that route, since Freddie Mac at least never planted bombs in public places, like some of Obama’s political allies.
“There are no guarantees, no matter whom the Republicans vote for in the primaries. Why not vote for the candidate who has shown the best track record of accomplishments, both in office and in the debates? That is Newt Gingrich. With all his shortcomings, his record shows that he knows how to get the job done in Washington.”
In Ohio, where Sherrod Brown votes with Barack Obama a whopping 98 percent of the time, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Brown is going to skip the President’s rally in Cleveland. President Barack Obama will be in Cleveland tomorrow, delivering a speech on the economy at the Shaker Heights High School. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a key Obama ally in Congress, will be a 100-plus miles away, at a couple events in central Ohio. … But with Obama’s approval ratings in the tank, it’s no wonder Brown and other Democratic candidates aren’t eager to re-jigger their schedules to share the stage with the president. It’s a sharp turnaround from the 2008 campaign, when many Democrats hoped Obama’s star power would run off on them. Now, not so much.
- The NRSC quickly rebuked Mr. Brown for ducking another Obama event in the Buckeye State. “As President Obama travels to Cleveland, Ohioans will always remember that whether it was his support of the failed $825 billion stimulus or his crucial vote for ObamaCare, Sherrod Brown has always been at Barack Obama’s side in Washington,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Jahan Wilcox. “With nearly 500,000 unemployed Ohioans it’s clear the Buckeye State can no longer afford Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown’s job-killing, tax-and-spend agenda.”
- Meanwhile, Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine penned an op-ed for the News Herald where he reminded Ohioans that just two months ago 58 percent of voters in Cuyahoga Country – which is hardly a Republican stronghold – rebuked Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown for their job-killing healthcare law. Coincidentally, Obama used his last trip to Shaker Heights High School in July 2009, to rally support for ObamaCare. Just two months ago, 58 percent of voters in Cuyahoga County, hardly a Republican stronghold, supported passage of Ohio’s Health Care Freedom Amendment — a vote widely viewed as a repudiation of the president’s signature domestic achievement. In 2009, Obama told Ohio, “The truth is, is that I am now president and I am responsible.” Responsibility comes through owning up to your mistakes. It’s clear that Obama would do well to listen to Ohio voters and pay attention to the tremendous strides made over the past year by Ohio Republican leaders. This morning, when Obama bounds down the stairs of Air Force One, Ted Strickland, Kevin Boyce and Jennifer Brunner won’t be there to greet him. They represented the first line of liberal politicians to fall victim to the political consequences of Obama’s last trip to Shaker Heights High School. If the present sentiment of Ohio voters persists, Obama, Brown and Betty Sutton are well on their way to sharing a similar fate next November.
From Dayton Daily News:
Ohio Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel told a Dayton business group on Tuesday that he would work to repeal the federal health care reform act if it passes muster with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mandel is one of six Republicans who filed for the March 6 primary. The winner will likely face Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in November. Mandel, speaking at Sinclair Community College to the Ta-Wa-Si Club, said he wants to get rid of regulations he believes hurt small businesses. He also said he supports drilling for gas and oil in Ohio but wants “common sense” regulations that protect groundwater without stopping development of the wells.
“I think that it’s important that we keep an eye on it,” Mandel said.
Mandel criticized Brown for supporting a U.S. Forestry Service decision temporarily withdrawing land in Wayne National Forest from auction for oil and gas exploration until it can be determined if the “fracking” method of drilling will damage the forest.
“These attacks are more of the same from Josh Mandel who has consistently refused to stand up against job killing policies like China’s unfair currency manipulation, bad trade agreements, or against the Republican budget that would gut Medicare for our seniors,” said Justin Barasky, Brown campaign spokesman and press secretary for the Ohio Democratic Party
Club member Jim Matson, vice president of Liberty Savings Bank in Dayton, said he thought Mandel’s speech “was great.” Matson said he liked it when Mandel said that if he is elected he would stand up to higher-ranking politicians telling him how to vote.
“We have way too many people willing to go along in order to keep their jobs in Washington,” Matson said.
Showing that it isn’t worried about the upswell of angst over hydraulic fracking technology, the Chinese government, through state-controlled Sinopec, today struck a deal with Devon Energy to buy into five prospective new exploration areas in the U.S.
The deal, which includes $900 million in cash upfront and a promise of $1.6 billion in the years ahead to cover drilling and development, gives the Chinese a 33% stake in five of Devon’s fields, and a front row seat to what is effectively the second wave of development of U.S. shale assets. The areas in question include the Tuscaloosa in Louisiana, the Niobrara in Colorado, the Mississippian in Devon’s home state of Oklahoma, the Utica in Ohio and the Michigan basin.
This isn’t the first time a Chinese company has bitten off a piece of shale — Cnooc has partnered with Chesapeake Energy in the Eagle Ford and Niobrara in recent years — but it is the first onshore U.S. foray for Sinopec.
Foreigners have been hot for shale in recent months, with Chesapeake also today unveiling its Utica JV partner as Total. Last week SandRidge Energy, run by Chesapeake co-founder Tom Ward, sold a $1 billion worth of its acreage in the Mississippian to Spain’s Repsol. A few months back Aussie mining giant BHP Billiton continued its shale gobble with the $15 billion pick-up of Petrohawk, following its earlier $5 billion buy of Chesapeake’s Fayetteville shale acreage. India’s Reliance Industries, though a JV with Atlas, controls some 350,000 acres in the Marcellus shale. More
Watching the Iowa caucus returns last night, it really hit me again. There is NOTHING like the American way of choosing candidates for our highest office. We subject them to an exhausting trial by gauntlet, testing different areas of vulnerability.
Iowa is the consummate game of retail politics. Why, the people don’t even vote in the traditional no-nonsense, “just vote and go home” primary. The voters congregate and schmooze, perhaps still hung over from New Year’s, and listen to campaign surrogates tout their guy once more. It is pretty involved. Thus, it is a test of each candidate’s ground game and organizing skills.
Mitt Romney, with his Midas-like financial resources, edged out the surging Rick Santorum in a photo-finish. Winning Iowa is a plus for Romney, and the surge is a plus for Santorum. But Iowa’s caucus structure is very distinct. Mitt’s key vulnernability, that 25% ceiling of support, is painfully on display yet again. Santorum’s asset, the base of agrarian Christian evangelicals, does not exist in as potent a form in any other primary state, including the South.
So there was no knockout here. Just a bell signaling the end of one round and the approach of another.
It is the reaction of the losers that may be more significant. After all, with such a politically challenged first tier, any conservative uniter has to come from the second. Newt Gingrich made a classy concessions speech, attacked negative ads, and promised a continuing debate, a message aimed squarely at Ron Paul and Mitt. Rick Perry signaled a possible exit from campaign mode. Bachmann vowed to continue, despite emphatic rejection on her home turf. If they follow through, we are learning worlds about these three people- we have a fighter, a quitter and a very deluded lady.
So our democracy writes another chapter in its astonishing history, a page turner in the making. “Only in America!”, as immigrants of my grandmother’s generation were fond of saying. God bless her!