Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gingrich: "Madison taught us this is life and death."

A couple of the takeaway lines from Newt's radio interview with CNBC host Larry Kudlow:
The whole team better be on the same side the day after the nomination in order to beat Obama. Madison taught us this is life and death.
Of criticism that he [Newt] is just an ideas guy:
There are a fair number of actual things there that weren't just ideas but were turned into national policies.
The talking up of Newt's accomplishments as Speaker will be a consistent theme -- both to talk up Newt's ability to turn things around and to refute charges that he is just an "ideas guy."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Iowa Poll: Newt 3rd overall, 2nd among 18-24 age group -- by a lot

The latest poll taken of Iowa -- an automated one taken by We Ask America -- shows that Newt ranks third in what should be the first Presidential contest.

The breakdown of the results show good rankings across the board:

Males: 3rd
Females: 3rd
18-24: 2nd
25-34: Tied for 2nd
35-44: Tied for 2nd
45-54: 4th
55-64: 3rd
65+: 3rd

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another piece of evidence that PPP is wrong about Newt's chances

Yesterday, I criticized Public Policy Polling'a analysis that said Newt had no path to the Republican nomination.

Their argument was that Newt had peaked in the polls because everyone knew who he was already, and so had no room for growth. I largely agreed with the point that he had very high name identification, but argued that Newt could persuade -- based on focus groups -- many people who may not be supporters at this moment.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released today puts another hole in PPP's case: it shows that 27% of the overall voting population -- not just Republican primary voters -- do not have an opinion of Newt. That is good news, even if his favorability/unfavorablity rating is negative, at 35-38.

If a person does not have a negative opinion of Newt -- after nearly twenty years of getting badgered in the national press -- then chances are they will not easily form a negative one of him.

If Newt simply broke even on the rest of the electorate, he would have 48-49% support. If the persuasion skills shown in those focus groups hold up, however, he could easily get into the low-to-mid 50s. And of course not every person in the 38% has a very strong negative opinion, meaning they could be brought over as well.

So once again, no one is arguing that Newt is the leader right now, which is the strawman that PPP seems to be attempting to slay. His path to the nomination -- and eventually a general election victory -- is building onto his established core support with enough of the undecided vote and those who have soft negative opinions of him.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Newt "leaning toward a a yes"; the announcement could be in Philadelphia in May

"In a conference call Wednesday with former staffers and supporters former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said 'we are leaning toward a yes' on a presidential run, CNN has learned."

The story on also says, "He revealed he hopes to announce a presidential bid in late May at noon in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall. He asked the group for help building a national audience for that event on the internet and through local media."

Also from the story:
In an apparent reference to the Contract with America that helped make him speaker in the 1990s he told the group 'the campaign I want to build would have a contract in late September of 12' and help 'build the party across the board.'


Several times Gingrich pointed out that 'for legal reasons' he can't say too much -- 'we are still in the exploratory phase,' but he has lined up the beginning of a campaign rollout. He expects former Georgia Democratic Senator and Governor Zell Miller to be a co-chair 'once we put the campaign together.' He says his campaign would be headquartered in Atlanta.

He also said he is talking to and trying to recruit supporters in key states, such as he did in Iowa earlier this week. A Gingrich aide said he's planning direct mail solicitations starting next week and telemarketing efforts beginning this week.

In addition to doing well in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, Gingrich said he hopes to 'seal off Georgia as a favorite son.' He added that given the way primary timing may shake out 'Florida may suddenly loom very, very large.'

One aide on the call said they've seen 'enormous excitement' in response to the website setup last week. And Gingrich himself said donors who can't afford to give too much up front are committing $50-$100 a month. He explained about 25 percent of the initial donations came from Carroll County, Georgia but 'it is gradually changing' with donors from all over the country.


He asked the group on the call for fundraising support and assistance building enthusiasm for his kickoff announcement online and in local media markets. He also invited feedback when there are missteps -- for example, last week's announcement of his plans to start an exploratory phase in his potential run.

Gingrich said, 'I concede last week's announcement got cluttered in ways that were pretty foolish, but we've moved beyond that.'

As he does during public events, the would-be candidate consistently mentioned his wife, Callista. She spoke briefly on the call to thank the group saying 'we can't do this alone.'

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Two Georgia U.S. House members would be Newt supporters

Last week, Jack Kingston (R-GA) announced that should Gingrich run for President, that he would support Newt. Today, Phil Gingrey, another Georgia Republican and whose district is very similar to the one Newt represented in Congress, said he would be behind a Gingrich run.

"There are folks all throughout my district who are still endeared to Newt," Gingrey said. "I don’t think there’s any doubt in my mind that Newt would win Georgia [in the primaries]."

Gingrey: "I really hope he does [run]. He's got bold ideas that will bring, I think, meaningful changes and get us back on the right track.”

Kingston said last week that "I think he would be viewed very favorably by the Georgia delegation and would probably get our support very quickly. I certainly would support him."

The problem with Public Policy Polling's conclusions on Newt's chances

Today, Public Policy Polling (PPP) analyzed some of their GOP Primary poll results and concluded that Newt has a "tough road ahead."

Let me say that I think that PPP's polls are very accurate -- more importantly, the statistics back up their accuracy. And despite being a Democrat firm -- and being the uber-left Daily Kos' polling firm -- I don't think they have a bias; I trust their polling data.

Their analysis starts out accurately, in my opinion: they state that he is generally placing fourth right now in most polls -- "with just the occasional second or third place finish." Their polls and just about everyone else's polling data says that.

However, then they conclude that Newt will not be able to improve because, chiefly, "his name recognition is already at 70 to 80% in most states." Most people do know him, and so on the surface it might appear has though he has peaked.

But what PPP does not point out is that the three ahead of him currently -- Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee -- either ran for President or Vice President in 2008, and so also have high name identification and more people are familiar with their speeches and policies. After all, Romney and Huckabee campaigned for a year each, and Palin was a huge story for the last stretch of that election.

Newt, on the other hand, has not run for office since 1998, and while most people still know of him, have not watched him on Fox News, read his books (even if they are best-sellers), or read his newsletters. Their recollection of him may be colored by his confrontational Speakership.

Plus, we have evidence that once people actually hear Newt's ideas and the way he presents them, they become supporters, even if they had been fully aware of him before. I once again will quote Matthew Continetti, who wrote in 2007:
Gingrich continues to enjoy a gut connection with Republican voters. Back in 2005, consultant Frank Luntz held focus groups in Iowa and New Hampshire on the Republican candidates. In a report published afterward, Luntz wrote, 'We were genuinely surprised by the strongly favorable reaction' to Gingrich's 'speeches and interviews.' According to Luntz, voters ignored, or in some cases forgot, the controversial nature of Gingrich's speakership. 'The words he spoke were like nothing they had heard from anyone else,' Luntz went on. 'While he didn't start either session with any measurable support, he ended both Iowa and New Hampshire sessions with the most new converts.' Out of office, Gingrich has remained largely insulated from the scandals and debacles of the Bush Republicans. In fact, the 2006 midterm election results could be viewed as confirmation of what Gingrich has been saying for some time: that the Republican party and broader conservative movement have lost their way, and the time has come for a rebirth of the reform impulse that in 1994 brought the GOP to congressional majority status for the first time in 40 years.
More recently, Luntz held a focus group in Iowa:
They liked a video of Gingrich effectively blasting the national debt and the radical fixes proposed by Obama’s debt commission, like ending the home mortgage deduction. One panel member says, 'We want to see him dismantle Obama in the debates, and he can do it.' Luntz’s own conclusion is, 'Principles matter more than pragmatism to these voters, and principles with solid debating skills matter most.'

(Thank you to

Once again, those voters in Iowa assuredly knew who Gingrich was before -- and coming in it was doubtful he had the most support -- but after listening to Newt, Romney, Palin, Huckabee, and every other possible Republican running, he won. (What's remarkable is that Romney was one of the first "eliminated" in the focus group."

Newt's interview with Greta in Iowa (video)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Newt at the Faith and Freedom forum

He details his four proposed executive orders I mentioned earlier today. He also again focuses on 2+2=4.

Most importantly, he stayed on message.

Newt in 1982 railing againist high taxes and high government spending (video)

Another big event in Iowa later this month

On the day of the first multi-candidate event of the 2012 Presidential race, word came out that Newt Gingrich and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour will join, among others, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint at the Conservative Principles Conference March 26th.

The event is being hosted by Iowa Representative Steve King and is being sponsored by groups such as "Tea Party Patriots, the Family Research Council and Citizens United."

Gingrich's proposed executive orders

Four executive order proposals from Newt would, in the words of the Des Moines Register columnist Tom Beaumont, "send a signal to conservatives how quickly a Republican president could set the nation on a different path." Two of the proposals "are aimed squarely at appealing to social conservatives, who form a core constituency of Republican activists in Iowa, expected to host the leadoff nominating caucuses next year."

The four proposed ideas, described below by Beaumont, were released before the Faith and Freedom Forum Monday:

-- "prohibiting funding to international family planning groups that provide abortions"

-- "reinstating a George W. Bush administration rule that doctors and nurses have the right not to participate in abortions"

-- "ridding the White House of a series of so-called czars -- high-level officials who oversee a particular policy who in some cases have received Senate confirmation"

-- "relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel to the capital of Jerusalem, a policy backed by national security conservatives and evangelical Christians" (Israel is the only country that we do not allow to pick where our embassy will be located.)

Gingrich on Greta.

I don't know, but I love that title. Don't you?

Tonight Newt Gingrich will be interviewed -- live from Iowa -- about his possible 2012 run. I would imagine that it will discuss a few of the things he'd do as POTUS, his current state of mind and the progress of his "testing the waters" phase. 

Along with Newt, we should see the likes of Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty, who are also thinking about running. 

It's on like Donkey Kong (I'm trying out these new catch phrases, you see), tonight at 10Pm ET. 

Monday Night's Faith & Freedom Coalition Forum

Five prospective Republican candidates for President -- Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, and Buddy Roemer -- will address the conservative audience.

"The forum will mark the first time that multiple prospective 2012 contenders will share a stage in the nation's first voting state," writes Scott Conroy.

"Of all the potential candidates scheduled to speak at the forum on Monday night, Gingrich's performance will perhaps be the most closely watched."
The Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition has one of the most extensive political reaches of any interest group in Iowa. Organizational director Drew Klein said that the group made over 560,000 individual voter contacts in the state during the 2010 midterm elections.

Although fiscal matters dominated the discourse during the midterms and figured to play a leading role in the presidential race, Klein indicated that his group would work to ensure that social issues remained at the forefront of the discussion in Iowa over the next year.

'We want to see a true conservative candidate. We want a candidate who knows how to manage things financially, as well as someone who has the spine to stand up on moral issues,' he said. 'Certainly we know we're not going to find the perfect candidate, but I don't think we need to water down our message.'
The recent Obama administration decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court is expected to be a major issue at the forum.
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