Thursday, December 29, 2011

Update: Paul Scores in Iowa, Santorum Rises, Gingrich Changes Minds -Raises 9 Million, 1994 Kennedy-Romney Attack ads surface - More

From Politico: “In Iowa, Ron Paul is on time and on message” speaks to the Texas Congressman’s ability to fill a room, on time (literally) and his adherence to his message, anti-war, anti-Fed and pro-Constitution that is managing to attract more than the usual youth vote.

How well is Paul doing in Iowa? Michelle Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman just left for the Paul Camp” (Washington Post). Conflicting polls show Paul either leading or tied with Romney as of this past week. That said, in most polls, over 45 % of Iowa caucus goes are still undecided. This one is just about anyone’s game.

Enter Candidate Rick Santorum who has risen in the polls to a third place, the pollster, Public Policy Polling, shows that Santorum has the favorability rating of any candidate in Iowa (Politico). Santorum has been in Iowa from the beginning, he’s practically lived there, and it may just pay off. One might consider that money is the big decider in Iowa – not so: Recall Mitt Romney’s millions against Mike Huckabee’s thousands, and Huckabee’s win in Iowa in 2008. That said, Huckabee was leading in the polls two weeks out from the contest, and although the theme was he could not win due to lack of funds, it was quickly made apparent that “money can’t buy you love” in Iowa.

Newt Gingrich, the candidate with the biggest “target” on his back due to his front runner status which is now reduced due to Romney’s PAC and Paul’s attack ads, along with Bachmann’s robo-call attacks. Gingrich lost that distinction in both Iowa and New Hampshire, but maintains a lead in both Florida and South Carolina (as of this week). In Iowa however, on the ground, he is swaying voters: from the Spencer Daily Reporter: Regarding a town hall style meet and greet one woman got the media’s attention after telling her story, and receiving Gingrich’s answer:

Williams later said she was surprised by Gingrich's compassion, especially after viewing negative ads about him.
"I was truly touched with how kind he was about it ..." she said, with daughters Mollie and Morgan by her side. "Honestly, I thought he might just gloss over my question and he took a moment to let it sink in and then answered it."
Four years ago, Williams supported President Barack Obama and was leaning toward voting for him again, but does not know who to support following Gingrich's response to her questions.
In the closing remarks of his short stump speech, Gingrich extended an invitation to the crowd.
"I will not ask you to be for me because, if you're for me, you'll vote, go home and say, 'I hope he gets the job,'" Gingrich said. "I will ask you to be with me. We need you to be with us for the next four years. ... This is what America has to do if we want to be successful with our children and grandchildren."


In addition, the AP is reporting that Gingrich, over the course of the past three months has raised 9 million in campaign contributions no mean feat when one considers the negative ads. Again, a note of caution on those millions versus thousands and where that may end. Also, on Gingrich nationally, one pundit noted that Newt Gingrich was still doing well outside of Iowa because the rest of the states had not seen the negative advertising, however, one has to understand that every negative ad has been played on every major news outlet in the nation - making it difficult to believe that those living in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, or Alaska for that matter, have not seen or heard Ron Paul’s or Mitt Romney’s attacks on Gingrich. This lends to the theory that negative ads do not always work as intended.

Speaking of negative advertising, the Romney Camp had better hope they don't work: Red State has uncovered a few ads from the 1994 Romney-Kennedy Campaign, several directly from the Kennedy Campaign and one from the DNC. These ads reference Romney’s platform of “job creation”, the same record he ran on in 2008 and is running on in 2012. The DNC ad shown below never ran, but this is most likely why the Obama Campaign would be set back if another candidate should take the lead - given the fact that they have more opposition research on Romney than anyone. A plus for the Obama campaign: the ad below would be revived, at little to no cost.

Alternately, on the individual mandate: Redstate again, came out with this little ditty on Willard “Mitt” Romney the headline? “TODAY, December 28, 2011, Mitt Romney Calls Obamacare “Conservative”.

Romney continues to defend the Massachusetts model he created (with a little help from Ted Kennedy), the plan which was the model for “Obamacare” and which has those uninsured in Massachusetts scrambling to come up with the cash to pay the Commonwealth for a)not being able to afford one of the three plans offered in the state (four if you count Commonwealth Care, which is not accepting new enrollees (open enrollment only), and is as expensive as the three “private carriers”, b) therefore “assessed a fee” that is equal to the amount one would have paid in premiums!! The money goes to – that’s a question often asked by those paying the Massachusetts equivalent to the IRS, or having their wages garnished in the event they can’t come up with the “fee” on time. There is, to be fair, a provision that allows one who is unemployed, and who’s employer does not offer health insurance (one must work outside the state to take advantage of this), to apply for a “hardship” waiver with the Commonwealth. The fact that the program is the largest portion of the Commonwealth Budget, bypassing Education, is also telling. Conservative – perhaps in its initial concept, whereby those earning more than $75,000 a year having to provide for themselves instead of skipping out on hospital bills. However, as it developed past theory into reality, it would be fair to say that $75,000 in Boston pre-tax is the poverty level. In addition, the lack of competitive programs makes it impossible for those living in the Bay State to buy insurance at a competitive rate – unless the Commonwealth opens the floodgates, and allows individuals to buy across state lines. (They did so with Auto Insurance and there was immediate relief.). Again, the original concept was ok, in theory, however, once put into practice….there are families in the Bay State that are suffering. (One would hazard to guess that if he is the nominee it would be difficult to contrast and compare himself to Obama on that front.)

All in all its a hard driven, dramatic, up and down GOP Contest, one which is on the plus side, getting a great deal of media attention, individual voters are interested (especially former Obama voters), and the roller-coaster of the campaign is nothing new - not as tidy as the GOP would like, but, this may end up being for the best, going down to the wire perhpas with two or three candidates going into the convention. All former bets are off, there's no way of telling at this point in time, who will be up next, who will be down, and who will be out.


DNC Campaign ad from 1994

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