Friday, 30 December 2011

Ron Paul drafts in youth

Longtime Texas Congressman Ron Paul has something of a cult popularity amongst the youth of today that fill college campuses up and down the country. Indeed, his popularity on social media platforms is notable even compared to the super-cool Barack Obama and Howard Dean; who was the forbearer of energizing a candidacy through 'nu-meedz.' Yeah, that's right, I'm down with the kids.

Guerilla QR codes. Engaging the urban youth of today?
Photo: ell brown (Flickr)

Friday, 23 December 2011

Perry "Politically Correct"

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, currently lagging behind in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses, has released a new ad entitled "politically correct." The 31-second spot features the former Aggie (Texas A&M alumni) standing in front of some trees wearing a tie-less shirt and suit jacket. Ad to tackle the issues or an ad for Brooks Brothers?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Gov. Nikki Haley endorses Romney

South Carolina Gov. and Tea Party favourite Nikki Haley has endorsed Mitt Romney as the GOP's presidential nomination. The former Mass. Gov. being not a favourite of the Tea Party nor present on the conservative side of the Republican Party's spectrum. Tea Partiers loathe the guy!

Elected as South Carolina Gov. amid a tide of Tea Party support, Nikki Haley has throw her weight behind Mitt Romney's bid for the Presidency. Photo: Albert N. Milliron (Wikimedia Commons)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Gingrich would make John Bolton his Secretary of State

Current hot-shot Newt Gingrich says he would name former U.S. Permanent Representative to United Nations, under G.W. Bush from 2005-2006, John R. Bolton as his Secretary of State. I don't know what is scarier. The possibility that a neo-con's neo-con could perhaps run the most important governmental department or that Newt is now considered current and contemporary. Holy cow!

John Bolton is well known globally for his forthright views regarding issues of national security. Photo: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Paul goes after serial hypocrite Gingrich

Texas Congressman, serving his last term, Ron Paul has released a TV ad in Iowa calling former Speaker and Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich a serial hypocrite. The two and a half minute spot, entitled "Serial Hypocrisy", seeks to show the various positions the former professor has flip-flopped on. Straight up, the ad was cr*p.

Do you want a Ron Paul Revolution? He says he's going to cut $1 trillion in Year 1. Photo: Jayel Aheram (Flickr)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Hot runner Newt throws out first Iowa ad

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is full-swing into his now hotly tipped campaign and he's also released his first TV ad in Iowa; home of the all important Iowa caucuses. The ad buy for the minute long spot cost the campaign $250,000 and was aired across the state on broadcast and cable stations. Who's the Big Dog now Ron Paul?

No that's not Austin Powers in a less than groovy suit! Newt Gingrich as a young professor at the University of Georgia. Go Bulldogs? Photo: awhazlett (Flickr)

Friday, 9 December 2011

Cain suspends then quits

Businessman and radio talk show host Herman Cain has withdrawn from the race to be the GOP's presidential nominee. With deepening revelations concerning his extra-marital conduct the former ballistics worker initially suspended his campaign but then promptly abandoned it all together. Told you this would happen! (self-indulgent tone intended)

Herman Cain perhaps mulling a future in the media? Photography: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Ron Paul - Big Dog

Evergreen Congressman Ron Paul has released a new internet spot entitled 'Ron Paul - Big Dog.' Yes, that's right, you read correctly. The 30 second spot outlines the five government departments he would scrap if elected: HUD, education, commerce, interior and energy. "Gone!"

Well? Photography: Cain and Todd Benson (Flickr)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Gingrich gains Union Leader vote

Current recipient of the hype drive, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, has attained perhaps the most important endorsement the election press, in the early voting states, have to offer. New Hampshire's Manchester Union Leader has officially endorsed the former Georgia Congressman with an editorial featured on their front page. I like your style...

Joe McQuaid believes in Newt. Do you? Photography: VictoryNH: Protect Our Primary (Flickr)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Newt Gingrich rising? Now sinking?

Former Speaker of the House and Representative for Georgia, Newt Gingrich, had some good news last Tuesday when a Quinnipiac national poll showed him at 26 percent; four points higher than second place Mitt Romney. However, the 68-year-old might just have quickly lost hold of his good numbers after his showing at the Republican debate that Tuesday evening. Oh brother…

Gingrich illustrates his point with mandatory hand actions for emphasis! Photo: (Flickr)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Romney goes after Obama in first ad

Former Gov. of Mass. and apparent frontrunner in the GOP nomination race, Mitt Romney, released his first TV spot on Monday night. With six weeks until the start of the Iowa caucuses he somewhat surprisingly aired the ad in New Hampshire where many polls show him well ahead of the chasing pack. Why bother going after the people you have to first beat and instead keep your eyes on the prize! Is he really already presuming he da mon?’ 

Mitt Romney is alarmed by the current state of the economy. Photo: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

DNC retorts Romney and Perry

The Democrats have hit back at accusations, by GOP hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, that President Barack Obama called Americans "lazy". In the web ad they show headlines from outlets, including Time magazine and ABC News, that describe the accusation as being erroneous. Rick Perry - another gaffe. Mitt Romney - another manipulation. Catchy?

I know it's a bit late but this is friggin' awesome! Photo: waywuwei (Flickr)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Gingrich surging up the polls

Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, has suddenly found himself rising up the polls chasing current poll toppers; Herman Cain and Mitt Romney. A Quinnipiac poll has shown the former Georgia representative to be placing third in three battleground states; Florida, Ohio and PennsylvaniaAnd now the hype cycle has found its next stop; I'll give it five weeks at most.

("Sign my shirt please!") The bloke might as well be Matt Stafford. Credit: (Flickr) 

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Perry faltering

Rick Perry dealt himself a heavy blow at the recent GOP debate in South Carolina by embarrassingly stumbling through his policy of cutting government agencies. Commerce, education and... In what is undoubtedly a PR disaster for his campaign, could this spell the end of the Texas Gov.'s dwindling bid to reach the White House? The EPA?

Is 'Slick Rick' falling off his horse on the way to Washington? Picture: DonkeyHotey (Flickr)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

"Scared Mittless"

The Huntsman campaign has released a web spot detailing how presumed front-runner Mitt Romney has been avoiding the press. The 90 second video also lists numerous newspaper headlines describing Mitt's penchant to brush aside questions from both the press and voters. Tip of the cap to Politico for the headline, "Mitt Romney's Mittness Protection Program." 

Romney with a sticker adorned supporter. Photo: alicegop (Flickr)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Touted running mate Rubio taking heat

Possible GOP vice-presidential candidate Marco Rubio has found himself coming under increased scrutiny of late. A PAC, named American Bridge, has released a web spot over a fortnight ago detailing how the Florida Senator has embellished his family story. Essentially, bad man Fidel drove my family out of Cuba and now I'm making it in big-time politics. Can I get a 'long live the American Dream!'

Marco Rubio speaks at CPAC. Photo: Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Perry ads tailored for South Carolina & Iowa

A ‘super PAC’ has been playing a television spot in South Carolina for the last few days entitled “Leadership.” The 30 second ad gives a brief history of Rick Perry’s origins and describes him as a “solid conservative.” Except for that time he was a Democrat. Or can you be both? The return of the ‘yellow dog Democrat?’

Perry the Joker. Credit: eschipul (Flickr)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The fuss over Herman Cain

Businessman and radio talk show host, Herman Cain, is somewhat riding a wave of popularity in the GOP selection process. However, that may be coming to an end as allegations of sexual harassment have started to arise. Bachmann then Perry rode this wave and that eventually fizzled out. Cyclical promotion of candidates by the (Tea Party) GOP to find anyone but Romney.

Herman Cain preaches to the audience at CPAC. Photography by Gage Skidmore (CC via Flickr)

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Paul ads bombard early voting states

Evergreen Republican libertarian Ron Paul has been airing two spots in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The Representative from Texas is targeting these first-in-the-nation states with this multimillion-dollar ad buy as he tries to put himself at the top of the field. This is his last hurrah. Spend like you mean it!

Ron Paul addresses a crowd in Houston, Texas. Photo credit: everett taasevigen 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Is Mormonism a problem?

In the Republican presidential primaries there are two candidates of Mormon faith. Towards the front of the pack is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and languishing at the back, according to most polls, is former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. Religious brothers in arms! They also both contend that they have a better business record than the other. Oooohh! Claws…

A Mormon temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit to Tim Pearce, Los Gatos via Flickr on a CC license.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Bachmann’s New Hampshire staff resign

The pint-sized presidential hopeful from Minnesota suffered a damaging and embarrassing setback when most of her staff in the first-in-the-nation primary state resigned en masse. I’m sorry I couldn’t find anything as witty to follow Newtiny on the Bounty. My bad.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Romney and Perry exchange blows

GOP nominee hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have locked horns once again with both releasing attack ads during the lead-up to the Nevada primary debate. These debates are really not what they are cracked up to be. (#letdown)

Camera phone image of Perry and Romney debating. (I know, we is well hi-tech innit!) Image is courtesy of Maassive via Flickr under a Creative Commons license. 

Monday, 10 October 2011

Mitch Daniels to Run for VP?

The Indiana Gov. declared during the early stages of the primary season that he would not be running for the GOP nomination. However, could he be putting his hand up as a possible running mate? What is it John Adams once said? The Vice-Presidency isn’t worth a warm bucket of what?
Cariacture by DonkeyHotey via Flickr on a CC license.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Palin Bottles It

Whilst the biggest news of the last 24 hours has been the passing of the revered Apple co-founder and technology innovator, Steve Jobs, the revelation concerning the presidential race has been confirmation that Sarah Palin will NOT RUN. Told you so...

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Charlie Christie to Enter the Fray?

Is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about to jump into the pool for the Republican nomination? Well if he did he'd certainly cause a big splash... or tsunami? Hype surrounding the possibility of Christie throwing his hat into the ring is rising from the GOP grassroots like Yellowstone geysers.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Bobby Jindal backs Rick Perry

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has thrown his weight behind Texas Gov, Rick Perry’s run for the GOP nomination. The party hot-shot and rising star is touted a future Presidential hopeful and possibly even as a running mate for a candidate this time round. Worth a warm bucket of what again?

Bobby Jindal addresses a crowd. The GOP's answer to Obama? Credit: lagohsep via Flickr under a CC license.  

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Pawlenty: vote for Romney

With Tim Pawlenty now withdrawn from the race and endorsing Romeny the former Minnesota Governor wrote a column for explaining why we should vote for Mitt. Through gritted teeth perhaps…

T-Paw now roaring for Romney. Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr under a CC license.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fallen Pawlenty Backs Romney to Win

The first big-name casualty of the Republican process endorsed one-time rival and once object of personal derision, Mitt Romney, as the man to lead the GOP in the general election against incumbent President Barack Obama. First he was taking swings at you, now he’s giving you a hug… That’s true friendship right there.

Support for T-Paw at the Ames Iowa Straw Poll. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Profile: Rick Perry

James Richard Perry is the 47th Gov. of the Lone Star state and assumed the role in December 2000 after fellow Texan G.W. Bush resigned to become President of the USA. At present he is the longest continuously serving Governor in the country and the longest serving in Texas history after winning three elections.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Perry and the Elderly

Is Rick Perry anti-old people? His book “Fed Up!” has come under fire for some less than appealing remarks concerning pillar issues for senior citizens. He described Social Security as an “illegal ponzi scheme” (hello Bernie Madoff!) and that Medicare was unconstitutional. An American Dream without a safety net for the most disadvantaged and hard-done by? Surely not…

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The True Son of Texas: Bush or Perry?

One would have originally thought that one politically successful son of Texas and his camp would throw their weight fully behind another son of Texas and his camp looking to occupy what was once the former’s ultimate seat of power. What this rather questionable attempt at eloquent writing means to ask is why aren’t ‘Dubya’ and his former administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove et al) getting behind good ol’ Rick.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Now It’s a Two-Horse Race

After the latest televised GOP debate on Wednesday 7th the Republican field seems to have found its frontrunners; former Gov. of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and Gov. of Texas Rick Perry. I’d like to analogise the race as two men grappling with each other in a swimming pool looking to drown the other one; no euphemism intended I promise.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Tim Pawlenty Withdraws

Former Gov. of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty has withdrawn from the presidential race after not receiving the kick he needed from the Ames Iowa Straw Poll. He finished in third place with 13.6% of the vote behind Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul who earned 28.6% and 27.7% of the vote respectively. Ouch... 

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Rick Perry Actually Declares

After lengthy speculation, which we outlined in late July and earlier this month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has finally made a formal declaration of his intentions to run for the presidency. I promise his lengthy bio / profile piece will come within a week. Always ballin’ and never slackin’… or so I like to think. However, if you can’t wait till then you can get briefed on him here.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Perry is Coming

The Gov. of Texas is rumoured to be making his announcement to run for President on Saturday. A couple of weeks ago we told you speculation was mounting that an announcement was coming although, at the time, we were expecting it to come in the second half of August. Means this long and detailed Perry profile is coming soon. As they say: no pain, no gain.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Bachmann’s Husband a Liability?

Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann hasn’t only been suffering from migraines in recent weeks but also suggestions that her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, is a liability to her campaign. With a doctorate in clinical psychology, from Ohio’s Union Graduate Institute, Dr. Bachmann runs Bachmann Counseling which, amongst other things, offers treatment for “shame.” It has also been alleged that his organisation also runs “reparative therapy” to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals. Essentially, the bloke helps you ‘pray the gay away’ and this has caused speculation that he is in fact damaging his wife’s presidential campaign.

Marcus and Michele Bachmann in Raymond, New Hampshire.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Who is Rick Perry?

Although the Gov. of Texas has yet to formally announce his declaration as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination; he essentially has done. By saying his campaign will launch at the end of August he is buying time to start fundraising and fill his war chest. So, this is a little pre-profile snippet of who and what the man from Texas is. I cannot be arsed to write a full profile piece until he actually straps up and formally declares; no declaration = no profile.

Rick Perry speaking at CPAC 2011. Picture by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Rick Perry Eyes Campaign Launch

Texas Gov. Rick Perry seems set to enter the fray as a ‘big fish’ candidate in the next few weeks. With fellow undecided Republican politician Sarah Palin yet to make a decision and, being very quite in recent weeks, perhaps Perry will be the name to shake things up. Ice ages have moved faster than this field of chumps candidates.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Donald Derides T-Paw

Multi-million dollar businessman and star of The Apprentice, Donald Trump, has derided GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty as a wannabe strong man who failed to nail Romney over his association with the polemic Obama healthcare legislation. The Donald is back!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Huntsman Campaign Changes Captain

Struggling with low name recognition, and a perhaps too moderate social agenda, Jon Huntsman, Jr. has ditched his campaign manager Susie Wiles in a bid to change his fortunes. Replacing Ms. Wiles is the campaign’s communications director Matt David and such a move appears to be, for what has been a rather buoyant campaign to date, the first sign of trouble. For a West Wing analogy this is a bit like Matt Santos ditching Josh Lyman for Lou Thornton. Gotta to be a real geek to get this one people.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Ron Paul to Retire from Congress

Regardless of the outcome of the Presidential election the evergreen Libertarian and former obstetrician, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, will retire and not seek re-election next year. “I felt it was better that I concentrate on one election… It’s about that time when I should change tactics.” You never know Ron, it might be third time lucky!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Buddy Roemer Declares

The former Governor from Louisiana, also a former Democrat as it happens, has cast his hat into the ring to be the GOP nominee to take on Obama for the Presidency of the US-of-A. The guy is 67 and had a triple heart bypass in 2005. An old man with health conditions for the GOP nomination? Who does that remind me of?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Is Rudy Giuliani Considering Another Run?

The former Mayor of New York, who presided over the 9/11 terrorist attack clean up, ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 presidency but it seems he may be gearing up for another attempt. He crashed and burned last time around. A combination of being lackadaisical and complacency by not starting his campaign early enough wasted whatever political capital he added by leading New York through the terrorist attack crisis. Since then he has does precious little and, at this moment in time, his candidacy would make jack-all difference to the field.   

Giuliani with groupies supporters. Photo by VictoryNH: Protect our Primary.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Gingrich Campaign is $1 Million in Debt

In what has been a pretty tumultuous and unprofessional campaign, that in many ways ended with the ‘Newtiny’ on the Bounty, it seems things are only getting worse for the former Speaker from Georgia. Love the wordplay, love it!

Picture by Cain and Todd Benson via Flickr under a CC license.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Romney's "The Audacity of Indifference"

Long time GOP presidential nomination front-runner, former Gov. of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney has attacked incumbent President Barack Obama's economic track record. Capitalizing on somewhat of a gaffe by Senior Advisor to the President, David Plouffe, yesterday in a breakfast with Bloomberg reporters the new 30 second ad is voiceover-less and features a five individuals passing comment.

I couldn't help but notice a distinct lack of brothers in the ad or it maybe it's just because we don't vote for people like Romney. (He's a Repu... Mormon.)  

Thursday, 7 July 2011

RNC Attack Ad on Obama Spending

The Republican National Committee released the latest Election 2012 television attack ad on Wednesday seeking to compare Obama’s handling of the economy to violently spectacular car and train crashes; “Don’t let Obama drives us to disaster.” The creative imagination behind this rhetoric is driving me crazy!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Profile: Jon Huntsman, Jr.

The former Governor of Utah entered the race to be the GOP nominee with relatively low name recognition but before his declaration, with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop, he had spent weeks crisscrossing the nation in a ‘get to know me’ campaign.

Photo by Clint Dunaway via Picasa

Friday, 1 July 2011

Thad McCotter Declares

The Congressman from Michigan's 11th District has declared his seemingly long-shot candidacy for the Republican nomination for President. He is the third sitting Congressman to declare his candidacy for 2012 joining Tea Party favourite Michele Bachmann and firebrand Libertarian Ron Paul.

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Profile: Michele Bachmann

The Congressional Representative for Minnesota’s 6th District announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination during the second GOP debate on June 13th. A founder of the House Tea Party Caucus she has drawn some comparisons to another Tea Party favourite and possible competitor, former Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin.    

Photo by theqspeaks via Flickr.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Pawlenty and Gingrich Release Ads

Republican presidential nominee hopefuls Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich have released new ads in the last couple of days with the former being the first to release one in Iowa. The state plays such an important role in primary politics because their caucuses are the first in the Nation and the first credible indicator of how the field is taking shape.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Palin’s Bus Tour in Service Station

Former Alaska Governor and possible 2012 presidential candidate Sarah Palin seems to have taken some sort of rest stop from her “One Nation” bus tour that has been touring several historical sites along the East Coast.

one nation bus
Picture by Photo Gallery via Flickr.

Huntsman Declares

President Barack Obama's former Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman (Jr.), has declared his candidacy to be the Republican nomination for President. The former Governor of Utah, 51, stood in front of New York's Statue of Liberty and told the crowd: "We are a resourceful, ingenious, determined, problem-solving people. ... We choose our destiny." He added: "This is that moment. We’re not just choosing new leaders. We’re choosing whether we are to become yesterday’s story or tomorrow’s."

Photo by zennie62 via Flickr.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The June GOP Debate

The coverage of the second GOP debate in full. The 7 candidates were Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain. Somewhat surprisingly former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was left off the list whilst others like Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry and Sarah Palin are yet to declare and thus not invited. Although Bachmann formally declared her candidacy at the beginning of the show but CNN probably knew that would be the case.

Bit odd to invite the likes of Bachmann and particularly Cain and not Gary Johnson. Guy arguably speaks more sense than both but has fringe Republican values in comparison. He doesn't possess the high profile of fellow Libertarian Ron Paul he definitely deserves to be there particularly when the invited Cain opens his speech with, "I am not a politician." (Then what are you doing here...?)

P.S. - The YouTube embed tool is being a bit problematic so you can find parts 3-9 inclusive above but all parts 1-10 here.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Profile: Mitt Romney

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ran for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008 after sinking $35 million of his own money into the campaign. At the time he was a candidate with low name recognition and surrounded by a fog of uncomfortable doubt due to his Mormon faith. This time around he was the first to declare he was creating a presidential exploratory committee and had early visibility but peculiarly not one of the first to declare his candidacy formally.

In many ways his campaign after 2008 never stopped as he 
maintained much of his political staff in order to continue building their political infrastructure on the ground. You could almost say his invisible primary season started the day after Obama was inaugurated. His activities have included releasing a New York Times best selling book entitled No Apology: The Case for American Greatness as well as campaigning and fund raising at the local grassroots level for many Republican candidates; particularly during the 2010 midterms. He did a lot for Scott Brown who became junior Senator in Romney’s home state of Massachusetts after the death of Ted Kennedy. No doubt this work has won him political favour within the party and its leadership as well as making him more of a known and comfortable quantity with the Republican base who, in 2008, knew relatively little about the Mormon former Governor of a northern liberal state. 
Cartoon by DonkeyHotey
Unlike the other big GOP names in 2008, Huckabee and Palin, Romney has not been so visible on a national level. Palin has so far denied that she is formally running in 2012 despite her book Going Rogue and many public appearances including her current "One Nation" bus tour. She is yet to cite a reason that adequately satisfies the mainstream media but the truth may be that, unlike Romney, she has time on her side. She could well use the next four years to fine tune her political skills and raise even more money so she can lock down the Presidency when she, if ever, runs for it. The GOP has a tendency to nominate the guy who is 'next-in-line' as seen with the likes of John McCain and Bob Dole and in four years Palin is more likely to be that person than she is now.

The signature achievement of Romney’s political career thus far are the Massachusetts health care reforms he led and oversaw whilst he was Governor between 2003 and 2007. This is largely seen as a resounding success but could also prove to be his Achilles heel as ‘ObamaCare’ operates on a similar, but not exact, model. Obama’s health care legislation is somewhat controversial to say the very least and it is vehemently opposed by fiscal conservatives and the conservative base as a whole. The problem for Romney is that he must find a way to distance himself from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if he is to shore up mainstream Republican support; which is comparatively weaker than the support he receives from the moderate end of the party.

Romney is not the darling of the conservative base like Palin so if he does not manage to disassociate himself from ‘ObamaCare’ during the invisible primary and spends the rest of primary season trying to do so then he won’t be anywhere close to being the Republican nominee for President. A lot of that may be out of his hands and may depend on how much his opponents try to tarnish him with the ‘ObamaCare’ brush as well as to what extent commentators decide play up the association.

So far, Romney has come top, or near the top of various polls in the last year or so including the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll and most recently the New Hampshire Straw Poll. The National Journal released a poll of political insiders in April that found the majority of Republicans thought Romney would be the nominee and a plurality of Democrats thought he would be too. 

Of course it is still early days in the build up to primary season but what you are seeing now is prospective nominees jockeying for position so they can get the best start possible once the full glare of the American media is upon them and the race starts proper. In the case of Romney he knows that 2012 is his window of opportunity because he, like every other Republican politician the wrong side of 50, knows that Palin will attempt to run one day in the future and nobody commands the adulation of the grassroots conservative quite like The Barracuda at the moment. Although she herself may struggle to maintain her limelight as the stars of state Governors Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley rise.

Whilst Romney would seemingly be one of the established candidates and the ‘next in line’ the primary season has in the past derailed the surest of campaigns and brought people out of obscurity to national prominence. Whether it be a former beauty pageant participant Governor of a politically lightweight state or a basketball mad first-term junior Senator who alludes to rap music in his speeches. We can only hope that 2012 will prove to be as exciting.

Article first published as Mitt Romney: The Republicans' safest bet? on The Commentator. 

Saturday, 11 June 2011

A 'Newtiny' on the Bounty

Newt Gingrich is in trouble. The resignation of much of his senior staff, a include his campaign manager, campaign spokesman, media consultant and three top advisers has left a gaping chasm in the leadership foundation of the former Speaker's campaign. “There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run,” Gingrich said in repost to reporters. “We’ll find out over the next year who’s right.”

The charge levelled at Gingrich is his chronic lack of commitment to the campaign and it's hugely taxing nature both on the candidate and his family. Examples have included attending the Opera instead of 'pressing-the-flesh' at a Memorial Day parade. The vast array of extra-political commitments Gingrich has committed to has prevented the campaign from getting going and perhaps the most damming charge is levelled at Gingrich's wife, his third, Callista.

It has been said she's been micromanaging his day-to-day diary and been persistent in ensuring that his days are not totally consumed by the campaign and instead prioritise his attendance at film premieres and book signings. Her intrusion has appeared to be unwelcome as one senior staffer commented: "His spouse has demands on his time that are not practical for a candidate running for president."

The rigours of running for President are well known and frankly Callista should have known she'd be taking a bit of a back seat. After all, the excuse of family reasons has been used in this primary season to justify not running a la Mitch Daniels et Haley Barbour. Curtains now for Newt after this 'Newtiny'?

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Rick Santorum Declares

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum officially declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination on Monday. He told followers: "President Obama took that faith that America gave him and wrecked our economy and centralized power in Washington, D.C., and robbed people of their freedom."  

Well know for his conservative positions both socially and fiscally he is no stranger to controversy. His views on the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court case in 2003 drew the ire of the LGBT community to the extent where he became the subject of a rather amusing neologism; which you can find here. Find the rest of his speech below and expect a full profile to come shortly as well as a development of the website on the whole (in the coming months). Enjoy!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Mitt Romney Declares (finally..)

We all knew it was coming and now the day has come when Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, has declared his intention to run for the Presidency - or, more specifically, to be the Republican nominee for President.

In front of supporters the multi-millionaire businessman, 64, said: "We know we can bring this country back. I'm Mitt Romney, I believe in America and I'm running for President of the United States."

To cheers and whistles he declared: "Barack Obama has failed America." Then, in what will most likely be the central cannon of his campaign he took shots and Obama's handling of the economy saying: "Over 16 million Americans are out of work." He added: "It breaks my heart to see what is happening to this great country."

Expect a full profile of Mitt Romney in the next couple of days as well as an updated candidates page. Until then you can watch the full speech below.


Monday, 30 May 2011

Campaign Tour or Book Tour?

Rolling in on the back of a Harley the former Vice-Presidential nominee has been travelling throughout the East Coast appearing at several events but seemingly without talking anything political. She joined thousands of other leather-clad Harley-riding Americans in tribute to war veterans on Memorial Day as they rode from the Pentagon to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Historically Republicans have always fared well with military veterans and on the day, with Palin surrounded by many who looked upon her favourably, many encouraged her to run. When one asked if she was going to run she replied: "Don't know."

Palin remains a question mark as to whether she would be willing run and the smart money says she won't when she can spend the next 4 years preparing and honing her skills without missing her window given age is on her side. Whilst this tour has certainly caused a stir in these early days of the Republican primary season it does not look or feel like she is teeing up an announcement of her candidacy for the nomination. Instead it would seem she is taking advantage of the circumstances and suspense surrounding her decision by broadcasting herself a bit more and getting her book out there. She isn't in Iowa which is where she should be if she is seriously considering a run so spending time in D.C is really a waste of her time; unless it's a book tour.

Photo by Fred Dunn via Flickr.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Tim Pawlenty Declares

The former Governor of Minnesota, 50, declared via YouTube that he has decided to seek the Republican nomination for President. Echoing the style of a previous video, in which he announced that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee, he said: "I believe with all my heart that the challenges we face can be overcome."

Making direct attacks at the Obama administration he said: "The truth is; our country is in big trouble. We have far too much debt, too much government spending and too few jobs." He then moved to personally criticise the sitting President saying: "We need a President who understands that our problems our deep and who has the courage to face them. President Obama doesn't. I do."

He continued his speech by attempting to identify himself with the average working American (a proud label) saying: "I grew up in a blue collar town. My Dad worked as a truck driver, my Mom died when I was a teenager and I was the first in our family to graduate from college." He then pronounced his continued belief in the American dream adding: "I know the American dream because I lived it and I know for it to be there for the next generation."

After which he took another shot at Obama's style of politics: "We're going to have to do more than give fancy speeches. We've had 3 years of that and it's not working."

Pawlenty's video announcements are remarkably different in style to the ones we have seen so far from Newt Gingrich et al as they don't take the approach of looking at the camera and speaking for 2 minutes. (You can find these in the video tab at the top.) Instead the Pawlenty campaign - and their PR guys - are adopting the approach of mixing stills, videos of a skyline, home videos and other types to create a montage which, for some, puts them head and shoulders above anything we have seen so far. In terms of the backing music, over which the candidate speak, Pawlenty's music was more sober and moving rather than Gingrich's more sombre and placid piano backing.      

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Mitch Daniels is Out

Like his close friend Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi, Mitch Daniels, the Governor of Indiana, has decided not to pursue the Republican nomination for President in 2012. He joins an increasingly large list of Republican politicians who have surprisingly declined the opportunity to run. Mike Huckabee, in particular, looked like a lock and possibly the race's biggest heavyweight given the relative success of his attempt in 2008 and his activities since then including a TV show on the Fox News Channel and books he has written.

Daniels is widely seen as a rising star in the GOP having been re-elected by an 18 point margin in 2008 and has made his name as a potent cost-cutter, budget-balancer and, to a lesser degree, as a limiter of abortion. David Brooks of the New York times described the Governor as the "Party's strongest [would be] candidate," adding that he "couldn't match Obama in grace and elegance, but he could on substance."

In an e-mail sent out in the early hours of Sunday morning to his supporters he told them: "I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all." Daniels expressed concern at the strain a national campaign, and the glare of the national media it entails, could have on his wife and 4 daughters.

In finishing his e-mail he wrote: "If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry. If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise.  I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached."

Photo by Adam P Schweigert/WFIU via Flickr.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The First Ad of 2012

The first political attack ad of sorts has been released by pressure group Priorities USA. Although not formally linked to the White House or the Obama re-election campaign it does have links to the White House through former deputy press secretary Bill Burton. The ad latches onto possible Republican nominee Mitt Romney's position on Medicare, which he has yet to clearly define, and it is suggested that he is flip-flopping on the issue given his background. He is the former Governor of Massachusetts and during his tenure he instituted widely acclaimed healthcare reforms that became the basis of 'Obamacare.' The ad levels criticism at Romney for saying that he is on "the same page" as Congressman Paul Ryan who composed the plan to essentially abolish Medicare; a programme hugely popular amongst the country's elderly beneficiaries.

Romney's campaign team dismissed the ad as part of a "smear campaign." Romney is now off to South Carolina for a visit and is likely to make a decision on his candidacy in the next couple of weeks although it seems virtually certain that he will run.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Profile: Newt Gingrich

With an announcement on Twitter and a video on YouTube the former Speaker of the House and Congressman from Georgia, Newt Gingrich, has declared his candidacy to be the Republican nominee for President in 2012. In the video he told viewers: "There's a much better American future ahead with more jobs, more prosperity, a better health system, longer lives, greater independent living and a country that is decentralized under the 10th Amendment with power once again back with the American people and away from the Washington bureaucracy."
In a not-so-veiled shot at the Obama administration and the Democratic Party he said: "there are some people who don't mind if America becomes a wreck as long as they dominate the wreckage." The author and historian, 67, is most famed for regularly locking horns with then President Bill Clinton and engineering the 1994 Contract with America which gave the Republican party control of the House for the first time in 40 years. However, just 4 years later after a disastrous performance by the GOP in the mid-term elections Gingrich resigned and has been working as a campaigner, as well as author, ever since. With his long career in Washington politics he has developed strong ties with several big GOP donors and party operatives; so a strong well-structured and well-funded campaign is expected.
Gingrich does however face questions about his family values and fidelity as he is already onto his third wife, Callista, who was a Congressional aide that he had an affair with whilst still married to his second wife. He blamed his aberration on his love of country and the stresses of congress. He has also recently converted to Catholicism and now has to work hard to win the religious, and protestant, socially conservative base. To do so he has associated himself with a rather controversial pastor the rather evangelical John Hagee who said on radio in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that New Orleans suffered the "judgement of God" due to its "level of sin." (No doubt a dig at the perceived culture around Bourbon Street in New Orleans although Hagee later retracted his words.)

Gingrich's campaign has however got off to a bit of a rocky start with the right of the party with his approach to the possible reformation of Medicare. In an interview on NBC's 'Meet the Press' he labelled a GOP plan to overhaul the long-standing legislation as "right-wing extremism." The comments were seen as a rebuke to the orchestrator of the plan, the party's conservative rising star, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. A lot of the criticism levelled at Gingrich has come from the socially conservative and Tea Party embraced members of the GOP. South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley commented: "Here you’ve got Representative Ryan trying to bring common sense to this world of insanity, and Newt absolutely cut him off at the knees." Haley's endorsement is very much sought after as she governs the state that holds the primary season's third contest.
Later, Gingrich mentioned that he felt somewhat blind-sided by 'Meet the Press' presenter David Gregory's line of questioning despite appearing on the show 35 times. He has also drawn fire for his position on Obama's healthcare legislation as he didn't completely denounce it, initially, which is something widely expected of GOP members as not a single Republican in either House or Senate voted in favour of the bill. Regarding the individual mandate to take out health insurance, whether government or private, a key tenant of 'Obamacare' and opposed by Republicans he said: "I agree that all of us have a responsibility to pay — help pay for health care." He later tried back-tracking on this by stating that he flatly opposed the law and backed it up signing a pledge to repeal it.
Photo by ajagendorf25 via Wikimedia Commons.
On top of this, Gin­grich then encountered the latest hiccup regarding his personal life. A report by Politico stated that he previosuly owed approximately $500,000 to iconic jewellery store Tiffany and Co. The accounts were apparently filed by his latest wife Callista and when ever pressed for details about them Gingrich has continually declined to comment.
As it stands, Gingrich's support amongst GOP voters has been somewhat weak. In recently published polling; CNN showed only 10% support amongst GOP voters and 5% in a Quinnipiac poll. This once Republican heavyweight may not wield the power he once did just over a decade ago but his access to the party's largest financial backers is unmatched and the envy of his competitors except for maybe Mitt Romney who has of course the many millions in his pockets he could dig into should his fundraising river dry up.

Article first published as Profile: Newt Gingrich on Blogcritics. Also as Who is Newt Gingrich? The man who would be president on The Commentator.