Saturday, January 07, 2012

Latest New Hampshire GOP Poll – Romney Leads by 23%, 36% Like to Change Minds Before the Primary – Welcome to Iowa!!

The National Journal Headline touts “Romney Up Big In New Hampshire”, naming several University polls, the most recent from Suffolk University, the other two: Marist and University of New Hampshire, however, one has to take a closer look at the poll marginals to understand that New Hampshire is as volatile as Iowa.

In the latest poll coming from Suffolk, released the 6th of January – a daily poll taken for the past seven days shows that Romney has a large lead of 40%, with the nearest challenger, Ron Paul at 17%, the balance - Rick Santorum at 11%, Newt Gingrich at 9%, Huntsman at 8% and Rick Perry at 1%. However, perhaps the bigger story is the fact that 2% are very likely to change their minds, 30% are somewhat likely to change their minds, and 2% are undecided – leaving 67% currently solid behind their candidate. The Marginals are here at, with a graphic below.

(click on image to enlarge)

Therefore, between two televised debates this weekend, and the candidates running television ads in the Granite State, one may find that any combination of the above gaining or losing grounds in the final days leading to Tuesday. Should, for example, should those that are undecided or may change their mind, turn their vote to another candidate, Romney’s lead goes to 27% in this poll, still respectable, but with a margin of error (not noted on the marginal, assume generous) 3%, that puts this race in range for one of the other candidates. (Note: as prior polling and competing polls suggest that other candidates range in support.)

Additionally, one must look at the University of New Hampshire poll very closely, as this is the same polling institute that gave Martha Coakley a 15 point led over Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special election of 2009, the weekend prior to the vote. So convinced was the Boston Globe that they had their election eve graphics showing Coakley as the winner. Obviously, off by a 20 point spread, Brown won the election by 5 plus points.
Between the polls and the Beltways constant harping on an established front-runner with only two states having voiced their opinion, one can well imagine that all of the polls, and the results at this point, although of import, are not suggestive of a clear front runner.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Jan. 7 & 8 Republican Debate Reminder - Gingrich Ad Analysis

There will be two debates this weekend, just prior to the New Hampshire primary.

One will take place on January 7th, ABC is the Network, and 9 PM, the time (Eastern). Candidates participating in this debate: Huntsman, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Romney and Santorum.

The second will take place on January 8th, at 9AM - (set your dvr's!), NBC with the New Hampshire Union Leader and Facebook - participants - same as above.

This should be an interesting debate given the fact that the schematics of the race (polling wise) in New Hampshire are similar to the 2008 race in which Romney was favored to win in all polling, a week before the primary, yet McCain pulled out a win. This was due to ads run by McCain right up to the election. A Version of this ad is shown below. Gingrich is following a similar tactic, comparing and contrasting - ad aslo shown below.

Given the fact that both ads contain truths, that McCain endorsed Romney (which is in teh real world: funny), and that Santorum, Perry and Gingrich are all goign to be trying to knock Romney off the "anointed" status, without being as - bluntly put- nasty as the Romney campagin, it should fare well with all three candidates, at current polling Romney Leads, with Santorum 2nd and Gingrich 4th in New Hampshire, Ron Paul is the wild horse, who may upend any one of these candidates in the Granite State.

2007 - 2008 ad run by the McCain Campaign, recycled just in time by the PAC supporting Gingrich

Gingrich ad Running in NH - "Timid" - an Effective Contrast Ad

Joseph P Kennedy Considers Run In Barney Frank’s 4th - District gerrymandered to oust Barney Frank – Worth Watching: Sean Bielat, Tom Wesley

From the Huffington Post: “Joseph Kennedy III Takes Steps Toward A Run For Congress” - the grandson of Robert Kennedy is considering a run at the newly re-districted 4th Congressional District that literally forced Barney Frank into retirement. The district, which was heavily gerrymandered in the past to aid the retiring Frank, with the urban areas of New Bedford and Fall River, has seen those lines redrawn – gone are the urban areas, and in are the small, very conservative, one might say Republican strongholds in the central area of the state, Worcester County.

Apparently, running a “brand name” is the Democrats strategy as far as an attempt to win a seat that, for all intents and purposes was a difficult win before the State Legislature chock full of Democrats, re-drew the lines – in 2010 Barney Frank faced opponent Sean Bielat, who was able to defy the beltway pundits and come within points of Frank (who needed help from everyone imaginable, including Bill Clinton.) Now, with the way the district has been withdrawn, it is conceivable that a primary may take place in the Republican Party – one which would also include Tom Wesley, of Hopedale, which is now part of the 4th. Wesley did to Richard Neal (D-MA2 now MA1) what Beilat did to Frank. There has been no formal or informal announcement from either Beilat (who notes an announcement pending in Janaury on his campaign website) or Wesley who contiues to maintain his website, yet there are no mentions as to any Congressioanl races) as to their intent for 2012; however, it would be a natural course, to mount a challenge, especially given the redistricting favoring conservatives.

The two Republican’s, who ran campaigns, with minimal to no help from the Mass GOP may find less now, as the new Chairman apparently was reaching across the aisle to donate to both the Deval Patrick (D) campingas well as other prominent progressives such as New York’s Chuck Schumer. One has to say it, only in Massachusetts can one find a Republican Party so moderate that the State Chair is actively aiding the opposing team! It would continue not to matter – as the state of the nation favors those who appear less affiliated with a party over one that is a “party brand” – especially if that Party in 2012 is Democrat – and that extends to Massachusetts.

This race may be overshadowed by the larger national general election; however, one has to keep an eye on the 4th, another opportunity to add balance to the powers in the State of Massachusetts.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Gingrich VS. Romney (and Romney’s Backers) – Attack Ads So Bad, the SF Chronicle Agrees with Newt! Twilight Zone 2012’s Media and Politics - MA Rant

The Speaker and the Governor - image

As anyone who has not been living under a rock, no matter where they are in this nation, and who has an interest in politics, or for that matter, access to cable shows such as Fox News, or CNN, or MSNBC, understands that the 2012 GOP field has a field of outstanding candidates, all of whom bring something different to the table, all of whom have experience of some sort, and all of whom are being vetted by the American people – through the media and those who look for information on the web. In this process, candidates have supporters, and they have to run advertising, and make comments to differentiate themselves from one another, although they are, for the most part, conservatives, on the same team and running for the same political party nomination, they also are obligated by circumstance and human nature, to win, and do win, one must say a thing or two about one or the other of the candidate records – and every one of them has a record, a record in business, or as a Governor, or as a Congressman or woman.

In the not so distant past, we all would watch the local news, or the CBS, ABC, or NBC evening news and not know that there was a Republican in the United States, in fact, in 2008, so little was said about John McCain, (positive or negative) and so much about then candidate Barack Obama, that some independents did not know much about Senator McCain, there were ads of course, but little news. Suddenly, that has changed – to the point where CBS News on the night of the Iowa Caucus, broke into prime time programming to give an update – and the anchor, was not looking the least apathetic, he, in fact appeared excited to be giving the news about a neck and neck contest taking place in Iowa.

In this GOP nomination process there have been several front runners, the last front runner with a sizeable margin was Newt Gingrich. Mitt Romney is the party choice, the Republican Party Choice. When one speaks about “party” one does not refer to those individuals going to the voting booth, rather those who hold the positions in the party that organize and run the day to day operation of elections. There are also PAC’s these PAC’s may be issues based (focused not on one candidate but on an issue such as anti-war, pro-life, etc.) and they may be candidate based (focused solely on getting one person elected). In Iowa, Mitt Romney’s PAC, (it is only his PAC because his friends run it, but he doesn’t own it – he only can ask them not to do something or to do something, and they are under no obligation to listen.) ran ads so often and so off base about Newt Gingrich that even the San Francisco Chronicle, and this bears repeating, the San Francisco Chronicle, feels that Newt Gingrich has been done a great disservice and should be a bit mad at old Mitt. Being from Massachusetts and not a part of the Republican Party that is considered “elite”, not a politician, not a party “hack”, not a member of a City or Town Committee, just a voter, one has a slightly different view of Mr. Romney than say, some of the others that support him – simply because, some might have lived here and been “fee’d to penury (poverty)” by Romney during his term as governor.

Fees are taxes without being called taxes.

With that in mind, the best example of a changing media-policies relationship appears in the following from the San Francisco Chronicle titled: “Romney Backers Stretch Truth in Advertising Assault on Gingrich”
The body:

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said he faced one "30-second distortion" after another as he saw his lead in Iowa polls diminish to a fourth- place finish in the state's caucuses. He has reason to complain.
A political action committee called Restore Our Future, which supports Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, ran more than $1.2 million of negative ads in Iowa, mostly aimed at Gingrich. The PAC made at least one false statement and several misleading ones over the course of five of its last commercials.
In one ad, a narrator says Gingrich was paid $30,000 an hour by the government-backed home mortgage company Freddie Mac. That's not true; Gingrich's consulting company, the Gingrich Group, received a monthly retainer of $25,000 to $30,000 during one contract he had with Freddie Mac, according to three people familiar with aspects of the business agreement.
Restore Our Future defends the ad in postings on a website at pointing to a later comment Gingrich made that he'd usually spend an hour with Freddie Mac officials a month. The claim that it's an hourly rate for Gingrich "is a ridiculous exaggeration," according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center's nonpartisan,
Gingrich grew so frustrated by the ads that on Jan. 3, the day of the Iowa caucuses, he said "yes" when asked on CBS if he was calling Romney a liar.

Outside Groups

The repeated airing of debunked claims highlights the new role that outside groups with little accountability are playing in the 2012 election after court and regulatory rulings cleared a path for them. All told, so-called super PACs backing specific candidates had spent $5.3 million on ads through Jan. 3, compared with $5.8 million spent by the candidates, according to New York-based Kantar Media's CMAG, which tracks advertising.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, finished first in Iowa, beating former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum by eight votes. Each had roughly 25 percent of the vote. U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas came in third, with 21 percent.
By law, Romney can't coordinate with Restore Our Future. Yet with the independent group financed with unlimited checks from Romney backers aiming at Gingrich, Romney was able to stay above the fray, running $852,370 of positive ads and no negative spots in Iowa through Jan. 3, according to the CMAG data.

Amnesty Claims

Three Restore Our Future ads claim Gingrich supports "amnesty" for illegal immigrants. Gingrich supports a path to legality for certain people with "deep ties" to the community. In a Dec. 15 debate, he gave as an example people who have been in the U.S. for 25 years. The claim in the ad registered a "half true" rating from the Tampa Bay Tribune's nonpartisan PolitiFact site.
One spot includes the claim that Gingrich co-sponsored a bill with Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, that gave $60 million a year to a United Nations program supporting China's "brutal one-child policy." The funding for the worldwide family-planning services program was part of a larger bill that never passed, and the claim is "the most notably misleading" in the ad, according to
The same ad says Gingrich favored "taxpayer funding of some abortions." Gingrich supported the Hyde Amendment, which restricted federal funding of abortions while leaving open exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. The anti- abortion National Right to Life Committee highlights the vote for the amendment as a positive for Gingrich.

'Misleading' Message

"While its wording is accurate, its message is misleading," PolitiFact said, rating the claim "half true."
Restore Our Future spokeswoman Brittany Gross declined to comment. Romney's campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, referred to Romney's comments on Fox News on Jan. 3.
"I understand Newt must be very angry and I don't exactly understand why, but, look, I wish him well," Romney said on Fox, when asked about Gingrich's attack on his veracity. "It's a long road ahead. He's a good guy."
Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker from Georgia, told supporters he's going to start drawing more contrasts with Romney.
"We're not going to go out and run nasty ads," Gingrich said in Iowa. "I do reserve the right to tell the truth. And if the truth seems negative, that may be more a comment on his record than it is on politics."

Paul Attack Ads

Gingrich also faced attacks from others in Iowa. Paul's campaign posted a video almost two minutes long on its website that strings together clips of Gingrich speaking and news reporters and commentators speaking about him. At the end, a voice summarizes Gingrich's record as "serial hypocrisy."
As the Paul ad shows, there's plenty of fodder to attack Gingrich without stretching the truth, said Rogan Kersh, a public policy professor at New York University.
"The irony is that Romney's PAC hardly had to make up stories to damage Gingrich among Iowa's conservative voters," Kersh said. "His own record as speaker is chock-full of the usual array of compromises, side-deals and dealings with Democrats, which -- repeated often enough -- would surely have done the trick."

From this point of view, Romney may feel totally justified in a PAC which supports him, running back to back :30 second misleading ads, in a 24/7 cycle on every station in Iowa that are false and misleading about another candidate (Speaker Gingrich), because he feels that he should use anything he can to get elected. However, there are limits. When such negatives ads are run back to back, ad nasuem, they do damage the other candidate (as witnessed in Iowa where Newt Gingrich went from first to 4th in the finish within a matter of weeks – but remember 4th was the Iowa slot that John McCain had, and he went on to win the nomination, while negative ads were being run against one Mike Huckabee, by groups supporting one Mitt Romney – in 2008).

It is a pattern of acceptance of deceit that is perhaps Mr. Romney’s nature, and perhaps most telling about the type of “leader” he might be.

It matters not that this blog openly supports Mr. Gingrich at this time, and feels that he is the best candidate for this time in this nation’s history – what matters is that Mr. Gingrich is being vindicated in, of all places, the press. This is something one can be fairly certain would not have happened four years ago.

Understanding it is one article in one paper, but there are more, more that are lately pointing out the goods and ills of all candidates, and that’s refreshing to those who may have grown tired of a one-party, one person drumbeat that the media presented over the past 20 years.

In this opinion, we need a leader who will be able to take punches (fairly delivered i.e. based on facts, not exaggerations, and on policy decisions as well, not on one’s personal affairs, religion, or race). We need a candidate and a leader who will defend the constitution, and also be willing and proven to work across the aisle making compromises with the other “team” without compromising their principles – it’s what makes our government work, something that we have not seen in the past two administrations. The only administration that seemed to get things done was the Clinton Administration, and as a reminder, they worked with Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House. Did the Speakers ability to anger both Democrats (who brought usual ethics charges, most of them, in a word bogus) and Republicans (who were glad to be rid of someone who would have the nerve to cross the aisle and go against the party in the interest of the American people) make him an imperfect candidate – hardly. This makes the Speaker a perfect candidate, and any candidate that can prove that they did not change their personal core convictions to get a Government moving, well, then, that’s a good candidate.

Finally, being from Massachusetts, one is used to being in the last place on earth any Presidential candidate, regardless of party, will make an appearance (unless at a fundraiser, where, most of the rank and file are unable to attend due to the price tag). It would be lovely if one or two or all of them dropped in on the Bays State before Super Tuesday. Understanding New Hampshire with its smaller population and fewer delegates overall, is in the spotlight and close enough to do a drive by, but…it would still be nice to see them in Massachusetts, asking us to vote for them, and holding one or two events (one in the East and one in the West (one can assure the world that there are two very different parts of Massachusetts). Since voting for the first time, as this blogger had turned 18, and was a staunch Democrat, and voting for Jimmy Carter to boot, one has not seen a Presidential Candidate of either party do a run through Massachusetts as part of an active campaign. To date, only one candidate in memory has vested time in Massachusetts and that was Hillary Clinton – to her credit. This is an invitation, one that will fall on deaf ears, more than likely, to all candidates to come and stump in Massachusetts – perhaps one will spend a day or two here, making a case for their candidacy, and tell us why he or she is the best person to become the next Leader of the Free World. Without running a slew of negative ads, or having one’s PAC who back them, doing the same.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Breaking: Perry In - Bachmann Out! - Game on for Perry Heading to SC

The tweet:

Rick Perry @GovernorPerry28m
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And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State...Here we come South Carolina!!! Perry Headed to the Palmetto State.

This in the same time frame that Michelle Bachmann held a press conference to announce she was out of the 2012 GOP race for the nomination. (ABC News)

Iowa Caucus – Romney Squeaks by with 8 Votes, Santorum 2nd, Ron Paul 3rd, Gingrich 4th – Perry 5th, to Texas to Reconsider - Analysis

Rick Santorum, the Iowa Surprise - "Game On" as the Anti-Romney heads to New Hampshire -image ABC News

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts Governor and businessman has won the 2012 GOP Iowa Caucus by 8 votes with Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania Senator, finishing second in one of the most interesting GOP races in recent memory. Romney, who received 25% of the vote, along with Santorum, has yet to break out - away from the field of candidates and that 25% margin – a position he has held consistently through two attempts at a GOP nomination. Santorum, who had practically lived in Iowa for the past year, won a decisive victory for his efforts, while Ron Paul who has been repeatedly dismissed by the media and pundits came in third. Paul, who addressed his volunteers in Iowa appeared more than gratified with the results, and noted that the campaign was changing the way people viewed the value of the Fed and specifically noted a poll that was taken on the Gold Standard. It was difficult to tell what made Paul, a Texas Congressman and Libertarian, more satisfied, the finish in Iowa or the outcome of the poll, conducted in November by Rasmussen polling, which suggests a majority of American’s would prefer a return to the gold standard. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House during the Clinton administration, finished with a respectable 4th in Iowa, the same position held by John McCain in 2008. Gingrich, who had run a positive campaign to date, was bombarded by negative and often misleading advertising by Romney Super PAC’s and Ron Paul’s campaign, managed to sustain the 4th place finish, coming in ahead of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who flew to Texas to reassess the campaign.
The candidates are now headed to New Hampshire, where the nations’ first primary will take place in less than one week.

Articles of Note:

Before speaking last evening, Romney’s Campaign removed a teleprompter so that Romney could “speak from the heart”. (Politico) Additionally, Romney received the endorsement of 2008 GOP Nominee, John McCain , a move which is not in the least surprising, considering both men are considered to be part of the more moderate, “establishment” wing of the GOP.

Newt Gingrich will be taking the gloves off running ads in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, that will contrast his more Reaganesque stance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts moderate liberalism. Gingrich, who has to date, run only positive messages, would be better served by contrasting himself with Romney, who’s Reputation as Governor of Massachusetts is a far cry from Conservative in nature. The fact that negative ads have not deterred nor banished Gingrich, gives him the distinction of being the only candidate in the bunch to survive an onslaught, which was described by Iowa’s CBS Affiliate, KCCI’s team as results were coming in - there were three to four negative ads on Gingrich at every break for television advertising. (Paraphrased). The coverage provided by C-Span included two caucuses as well as local coverage by KCCI.

It is still anyone’s game at this point, with the biggest prize prior to Super Tuesday being the State of South Carolina, which as accurately produced the GOP nominee in its primary for the last 20 years.

The one poll that came the closest to calling the race, was from the 4 day rolling Final Iowa Poll by the Des Moines Register - being correct in the order of the candidates placements especially as the results changed in the final two days of polling –giving Santorum the edge over Paul – the percentages of the vote projected within the margin of error.

Santorum is, for now, the Anti-Romney, which in this bloggers mind, trumps the anti-Obama vote – a sentiment that is contrary to conservatives who have bought into the Romney as “anointed” front runner. That said, having lived in Massachusetts, have knowledge of the Romney message and inconsistencies over the years, there is little solid difference (including now the use of teleprompters) to suggest a contrast between the President and the former Govenor of Massachusetts. Of course, it is an option hat Romney has changed – again, and is a conservative in the vein of Olympia Snow, John McCain, etc.
Suggest reading impeccable research by South Coast Conservative (formally Massachusetts for Huckabee)

To Recap:

Romney cannot appear to pull more than 25% of the vote;

Romney needs a teleprompter

Santorum, with the backing of the former Huckabee Team, is now a serious contender

Ron Paul, do not discount Ron Paul, he has a following that may be as large or larger than the 2008 Obama Campaign (see this blogs article with links to Ron Paul’s Organization here. The man simply deserves respect.

Gingrich, is in the same spot as John McCain coming out of Iowa, and with Rick Perry reassessing his campaign in Texas, should the Texas Governor remove himself from the race, those votes may very well go to Gingrich, especially in South Carolina, setting up a 2008 scenario that has Santorum and Gingrich with Paul running well after Super Tuesday. If Mitt Romney cannot garner at least 25% of the vote in SC, the writing and the southern Super Tuesday States, expect a 2008 result.

Finally, are we living in the twilight zone? If anyone else notices, there has been a tremendous increase in the coverage of the Republican race, compared to prior general elections –so much so that it is anticipated to be part of the news at 6, news at 8 news at 10 and news at 11 - the comments received have indicated shock and the thought that either the media is finally understanding that there are actually two parties in the nation and by covering them equally, allows for more viewership, (knocking down Fox, which has become painful to watch, CNN is now the best election coverage), and better odds for advertisers. Will print catch on? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Game On? Insider Advantage – Last Poll Iowa 2012 – Romney-Paul-Santorum Tied – Gingrich Stable - Support Shows Uptick – Anyone’s Game

Romney, Paul, Gingrich, Santorum - any combination of wins possible - image from

The headline fromthe Southern Political Report via Inside Advantage: “Iowa: Romney and Paul Neck and Neck; Santorum Surges; Gingrich Stable: Others…Gone” shows exactly how up in the air the Iowa Caucus is at this late date – in a statistical tie. This particular polling firm has called Iowa correctly in 2004 and 2008, the poll of 729 registered Republican voters taken after the Des Moines Iowa Register Poll has a margin of error of 3.5% gives the following results with a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5%: Romney 23, Paul 22, Santorum 18, Gingrich 16, Perry 10, Bachman 6, Huntsman 2, Other 1, and No Opinion 2. If this is the case, the ground game is going to come into play heavily today – giving those candidates with the most organization the edge – Santorum’s rise is, according to the firm, at the expense of Michelle Bachmann, which may be the result of Santorum’s endorsements from evangelical leaders.

What is most telling is that New Gingrich not only remains steady at the 4th position, but has gained points in this poll, given the amount of negative and misleading advertising placed on behalf of PAC’s in Iowa – the majority coming from Mitt Romney, followed by Ron Paul’s organizations. Gingrich, who had been last, in the middle, first, and then 4th has the opportunity in this particular year to capitalize on the Southern and Midwestern States, where Romney again, remains steady in the 20’s, and Paul’s rankings are dismal – Santorum will remain the wild card, along with Perry going into the South.

In Virginia, where Romney and Paul will remain the only candidates on the ballot, Paul trounced Romney in 2008 – Virginia, a Super Tuesday State, saw its AG at first attempt to change the Commonwealth’s primary rules, allowing all candidates ballot access, however, changed his mind a day later. As the states are proportioning delegates up through Super Tuesday, this will give Ron Paul an edge going forward. Should Paul upset Romney in Virginia, and the balance of the delegate heavy states put Gingrich and Santorum in the lead (as they head into the South) Romney may be out of the race by March – there is little that suggests he can, at this point, go the distance in the primary, with polling continuing to give him numbers steady in the 20’s.

The 2008 polling data from the same firm, gave Huckabee the lead, followed by Romney, Thompson and McCain with Paul coming in 5th above Giuliani with a larger margin of error at 5% (approximate), McCain who finished 4th in Iowa went on to win the nomination. The IA poll numbers 2007: Huckabee 30, Romney 24, Thompson and McCain both at 11%, and the final Iowa rankings were: Huckabee: 34.4, Romney: 25.2, McCain: 13.0, Thompson: 13.4, Paul, 9.9, and Giuliani: 3.4.

A big factor to consider in this race as in 2008, Romney remains at 23 to 25% in all polling, suggesting a repeat performance of 2008 – given the fact that Romney in 2008 not only outspent Huckabee by a wide margin but also was behind a barrage of negative advertising aimed at the former Governor of Arkansas, he could not rise above what is the Romney Benchmark.

Trying to call Iowa in 2012 is, as of this point, impossible – given the fact that there is no one candidate that has a lead outside the statistical margin of error in the top 4. For example, the final numbers could end up with Paul, Santorum, Perry, Gingrich, Romney, or Santorum, Paul, Gingrich, Perry, Romney - (Mindful of the fact that 41% of the Iowa Caucus participants are capable of changing their minds in Caucus – See article on the Des Moines Iowa Register final poll- here) The above reflects a tight race, giving credit to ground games and adding media attention now being shown to Santorum – and the possibility of Romney being pushed back, as Gingrich and Santorum combined have been seen as the “anti-Romney” to Conservatives. Should Romney remain at 22-24% he will place in the top four, however, should the Gingrich, Santorum or Perry supporters on the ground in Iowa, convince a portion of those 41% to change votes from Romney or Paul, the 24% could fall 10 points. It is a statistical nightmare. It is anyone’s guess – and tonight, the world will know the results, and the focus will be on New Hampshire.

This blog believes that Gingrich, given all the polling data will remain steady, and going forward into New Hampshire, will compare and contrast his record with that of Mitt Romney’s, specifically Romney’s time as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, his only hands-on experience in Governing and working with Legislators. From a Bay State Perspective, Gingrich would have the edge would he use simple examples of Romney’s tax policies, while Governor, alone. Romney may blame the Democrat Legislature but it is the Governors’ office in the Commonwealth that has the final say – and a line-item veto. Should Gingers compare and contrast without going dark and negative in the Romney style, he may do much better than expected in New Hampshire, and one must not, in any way shape of form, discount Ron Paul in the Life Free or Die State.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Mitt Romney Raises Taxes & Fees by $700 Million Partial Term as Governer of Bay State

Mitt Romney Signs Massachusetts Health Insurance Mandate (notice the players?) - Image and article Southcoast Conservative

Although the candidate, Mitt Romney, is a "fiscal conservative" who "creates jobs", and improved the business climate as well as personal income growth in Massachusetts, the actual Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney was a different story. Understanding that Mitt changes his mind on a dime, he may not longer feel that increases in fees for gun permits, marriage permits as well as hikes in corporate taxes, and the like are the stuff of which Presidential candidates are made - however, once President, would he keep the promises to the U.S., the same promises he made to the unwitting citizens of the Bay State?

During the 2008 Presidential primary process, one blog (out of many) for candidate Mike Huckabee (who like Gingrich and anyone else standing in front or near to the front of the "Romney Machine" has been and will be the subject of massive attack ads - by Romney PAC'S and/or the Romney Campaign. So to those who are about to change the direction of our country in Iowa and New Hampshire (crediting the South Carolinian's with a bit more sense), perhaps a trip down Mitt Memory Lane maybe in order.

From South Coast Conservative: (Formerly Massachusetts for Huckabee) comes a plethora of interesting articles on then Governor Romney. (This is well researched Political Intelligence)

"He did not have any broad-based tax cuts in his four years as governor," said former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci, who preceded Romney in office.

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation: More Than $700 Million Per Year In Increased Fees And Taxes Under Romney. "Fees and taxes have increased more than $700 million a year under Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a leading budget specialist said yesterday. Michael J. Widmer -- president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which closely tracks state finances -- said the state has raised roughly $740 million to $750 million per year by increasing fees and corporate taxes gained from what the Romney administration describes as 'closing loopholes.'(Brian Mooney, "Analyst Puts Increase In Fees, Taxes At $700m," The Boston Globe, 9/27/06)

Massachusetts homeowners paid a steep price for Romney's shell game. The average single-family property tax bill statewide rose from $3,015 in fiscal 2002 to $3,799 in 2006, a 26 percent increase, or $784 a year.4 During the same period, the residential property tax levy (that is, the total amount collected) increased by $1.8 billion statewide, or a staggering 35 percent from fiscal 2002 to 2006.
(Massachusetts Municipal Association Research Bulletin, 4/3/06)

Romney’s Claim That He Didn’t Raised Taxes Is “Mostly A Myth.” “Romney will likely also be eager to push the message that he was a governor who stood by a no-new-taxes pledge. That’s mostly a myth. His first budget included no general tax increases but did include a $500 million increase in various fees. He later proposed $140 in business tax hikes through the closing of ‘loopholes’ in the tax code.” (Stephen Slivinski, “Fiscal Policy Report Card On America’s Governors: 2006,” Cato Institute, 2006, p. 26)
(go here to read additional posts that outline exactly how Mitt Romney "helped" Massachusetts

As there was so little difference between Romney and most Progressives, it made sense for the poeple of Massachusetts to elect Deval Patrick, mentored by David Axelrod, and friend to the President, Barack Obama.

If this makes a Conservative, fiscal or social comfortable, then surly we are living in a Rod Serling episode that never ends.

Obama Signs Bi-Partisan Defense Act – Does not apply to U.S. Citizens – Read the Bill - HR 1540

HR 1540 – (Final Version, Passed by the House (controlled by Republicans) and the Senate (Controlled by Democrats) and Singed by the President (A Democrat)
( via Thomas (Library of Congress)

Under subtitle D - Counterterrorism
(a) IN GENERAL.—Congress affirms that the authority of the
President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to
the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40;
50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority for the Armed Forces
of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection
(b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
(b) COVERED PERSONS.—A covered person under this section
is any person as follows:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided
the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001,
or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported
al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged
in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners,
including any person who has committed a belligerent act or
has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy
(c) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR.—The disposition of a
person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may
include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until
the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for
Use of Military Force.
(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States
Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009
(title XVIII of Public Law 111–84)).
(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent
tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country
of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.
(d) CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section is intended to limit
or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the
Authorization for Use of Military Force.
(e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed
to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of
United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States,
or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United
of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application
of the authority described in this section, including the organizations,
entities, and individuals considered to be ‘‘covered persons’’
for purposes of subsection (b)(2).
H. R. 1540—266
(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (4), the
Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described
in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities
authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force
(Public Law 107–40) in military custody pending disposition
under the law of war.
(2) COVERED PERSONS.—The requirement in paragraph (1)
shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under
section 1021 who is determined—
(A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an
associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant
to the direction of al-Qaeda; and
(B) to have participated in the course of planning or
carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the
United States or its coalition partners.
(3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR.—For purposes of this
subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war
has the meaning given in section 1021(c), except that no
transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that section
shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section
waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the President submits
to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is
in the national security interests of the United States.
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain
a person in military custody under this section does not extend
to citizens of the United States.
(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—The requirement to detain
a person in military custody under this section does not extend
to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis
of conduct taking place within the United States, except to
the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 60 days after the date
of the enactment of this Act, the President shall issue, and
submit to Congress, procedures for implementing this section.
(2) ELEMENTS.—The procedures for implementing this section
shall include, but not be limited to, procedures as follows:
(A) Procedures designating the persons authorized to
make determinations under subsection (a)(2) and the
process by which such determinations are to be made.
(B) Procedures providing that the requirement for military
custody under subsection (a)(1) does not require the
interruption of ongoing surveillance or intelligence gathering
with regard to persons not already in the custody
or control of the United States.
(C) Procedures providing that a determination under
subsection (a)(2) is not required to be implemented until
after the conclusion of an interrogation which is ongoing
at the time the determination is made and does not require
the interruption of any such ongoing interrogation.

Key points in this Act: The requirement to detain
a person in military custody under this section does not extend
to citizens of the United States.

Also in this section it does not increase or decrease the powers of the Office of the President, rather everything appears to be status quo with a good deal of reporting due by the Office of the President to the Congress.

The actual contents of the Bill do not specifically match the President’s statements made from Hawaii –

From Infowars:

Today I have signed into law H.R. 1540, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.” I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide.

The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists. Over the last several years, my Administration has developed an effective, sustainable framework for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected terrorists that allows us to maximize both our ability to collect intelligence and to incapacitate dangerous individuals in rapidly developing situations, and the results we have achieved are undeniable. Our success against al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents has derived in significant measure from providing our counterterrorism professionals with the clarity and flexibility they need to adapt to changing circumstances and to utilize whichever authorities best protect the American people, and our accomplishments have respected the values that make our country an example for the world.

It’s a campaign time, let’s blame the Republican’s, let’s blame the Democrats.
Enough said.

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