Saturday, April 23, 2011

Newt and Herman Cain tie for 1st in West Georgia straw poll

Two local sons tied for the most votes at last Saturday's Georgia's 3rd district GOP convention. Newt and Herman Cain -- both from Georgia -- both received 39 votes.

Previously, Cain -- a tea party favorite -- has stated that Newt and Senator Jim DeMint, who has since ruled out a run for the White House, "are the two potential candidates whom he could support for president," as National Journal put it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Newt's day in New Hampshire talking with tea party and local GOP groups

Yesterday, Newt met with "[a]bout 15 people" affiliated with tea party and GOP groups in New Hampshire at the Orchard Street Chop House -- a local steakhouse -- and the topics discussed included energy policy and balancing the federal budget.

Newt criticized the current administration's policy of restricting American energy -- while at the same time subsidizing foreign exploration. "Obama praises Brazilians for drilling offshore but stops Americans," the former Speaker said. "We need an American energy policy."

Jennifer Keefe writes:
But foremost on the minds of those in attendance was the need for balancing the federal budget and tackling the country's deficit — tasks Gingrich said are completely possible because he was responsible for doing just that as Speaker of the House under former President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1999.

"We've got to go back to a balanced budget. We didn't raise taxes, we cut taxes," he said of his tenure as speaker. "We wanted to create jobs. I'm the only speaker of the house to balance the budget."


Gingrich echoed the conservative principals of those Tea Party activists in attendance as he denounced the Department of Education as a "centralized bureaucracy" and said power should be given back to the parents. In general, he said, power should be in the hands of local school boards and county officials.
(Another article about the meeting says that Newt called for the abolition of the Department of Education.)

As Newt likes to do, he talked of the larger conservative movement, not -- as most candidates do -- just his campaign:
[Gingrich] said he would be a presidential candidate whose mission is not just to win, but to initiate a political movement and really create a different model.

"An aggressive, confident president who knows what they were doing could get a lot accomplished in a short time," he said.
"Gingrich said the next presidential election will be decided on three issues: values, economics and national security," writes Clynton Namuo. Gingrich added that currently America is failing in all three areas.

This meeting is another example of Newt courting local tea party groups.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More about Newt's Iowa hires: Will Rogers and Craig Shoenfeld

(Update: Rogers has resigned from a paid position with the campaign but will, according to Craig Robinson, stay on in a volunteer role. Politico, writes: "Iowa sources tell me that when the campaign landed Katie Koberg, formerly of Iowans for Tax Relief before a big exodus from that group, Rogers was apparently layered over."

Here is my post about Koberg coming onto the campaign.)

Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register quotes Gingrich's spokesman, Rick Tyler, as saying of Shoenfeld: “He has a winning track record."

Of Linda Upmeyer, who will serve in the volunteer role of chairman of the Hawkeye state effort, Tyler says: “She’s a real leader and she’s been extraordinarily helpful to us over the years."

Jacobs tells a story of Rogers' past with Gingrich and Tyler:
Tyler recalled how a few years ago, Rogers offered to volunteer for the Republicans and was tasked to be Gingrich’s driver on a trip to the Iowa State Fair.

The gig stretched until very late at night.

“I was thanking Will for taking care of us all day long and through the conservation I learned he’d only been assigned to drive for the morning,” Tyler said. “He said, ‘no, no, that’s fine.’ He was there to serve.”

Tyler said they were impressed that Rogers knew Iowa so well.

“Going around the fair he knew everybody. And everybody knew Will. He’s like a one-man chamber of commerce and tourism division.”

The Iowa Republican: "Gingrich Puts Presidential Campaign in Motion -- Announces Iowa Team"

Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican has the scoop on Newt's Iowa campaign staff: has learned that Iowa House Majority Leader, Rep. Linda Upmeyer, has agreed to chair Newt Explore 2012 in Iowa.


Upmeyer, who is the state’s first female House Majority Leader, gives Gingrich a high profile endorsement that he can tout around the state.


Gingrich is also adding two political veterans to his Iowa team. Craig Schoenfeld and Will Rogers will be his Iowa points of contact. Schoenfeld is a long-time veteran of local and statewide Iowa political campaigns. In 2004, he ran the Iowa Victory effort for President Bush, in addition to working on President Bush’s successful caucus effort in 2000.


Will Rogers is a Des Moines native, Army veteran, and Drake University alumnus. For the past 15 years, Rogers has been involved in helping elect Republicans in Iowa beginning with Congressman Greg Ganske’s first campaign. He subsequently served as the Executive Director for the Polk County GOP, worked for Congressman Tom Latham’s campaign in 2004, and served as the Co-Chair of the Polk County GOP during the last election.


Schoenfeld provides Gingrich with an understanding of how Iowa caucus campaigns operate. Rogers brings a wealth of activists’ contacts with him to the campaign. His extensive work in Polk and Story Counties could pay huge dividends at the Iowa Straw Poll this summer. The two have also worked on the same campaign before. In 2004, they both worked for Ganske’s U.S. Senate campaign against U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.
Last week I linked to a tweet by Kathie Obradovich that Upmeyer would be joining the campaign in some capacity.

Back in March, CNN had this to say about Rogers:
Will Rogers, the former chairman of the Des Moines-area Polk County Republican Party, told CNN that Gingrich is certain to run 'a high level campaign operation here' if he decides to move beyond the exploratory phase.

"My feeling is that he looks like his somebody who is going to run," said Rogers, who has known Gingrich for six years and plans to work for him if he embarks on a full-fledged candidacy. "He is doing the things that people need to do in order to become a frontrunner in the state of Iowa."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Politico once again omits facts about Newt's fundraising

Once again, a Politico reporter writes a story in which they make it appear that Newt's entire fundraising success is due to millionaires writing checks to his groups. While he has received such contributions, those are the exception, not the norm.

This time, it is Ken Vogel who alleges that because Newt will not be able to accept contributions above $2500 that he will struggle to raise enough money. What Vogel -- and his colleagues Andy Barr and Zachary Abrahamson -- either does not know or is willfully omitting (and for alleged hard-news journalists, either is a damning statement) is that Newt's 527, American Solutions, received 300,000 contributions of $200 or less.

The source of that? The Washington Post, which talked of Newt's "fundraising prowess." CNN recently said that Newt would likely be the only possible GOP candidate who could match up with President Obama in fundraising.

The reason for those two mainstream outlets talking up Newt's ability to raise cash is obvious: the aforementioned 300,000 contributors, the roughly two million names and e-mail addresses of members of American Solutions, and the names and contact information from the numerous fundraising letters that different groups that have asked Newt to help them raise money over the years. (The groups, as part of the agreement with Gingrich, allow him to use the list of names that respond to his fundraising pitch.) A question for Politico: If Newt is such a terrible fundraiser, why do so many groups ask him to help them raise money? Is it because they wish to have as little money as possible?

Vogel also raises the question of why Newt's American Solutions PAC raised a comparatively little amount in the first quarter of 2011 -- then proceeds to give the answer: that the PAC started to wind down its fundraising push as Newt inches closer to becoming a Presidential candidate. So, by giving the reason that the PAC raised the amount it did, Vogel clearly shows that he understands the reason. However, the headline alleges that Newt is "struggl[ing]" raising money. If Vogel was being honest, he would have stopped writing the article once he realized that the PAC started to wind down. And he would never have started the article if he either did his homework or stopped misleading readers.

Barr did not reply to my question two months ago about his omission, and I asked Vogel tonight on Twitter. I have yet to hear from him. If I do, I will post his reply.

Iowa Poll tells a familiar story: Newt helped if Huckabee and Palin stay out

As numerous previous polls have shown, Newt -- having not run for President previously -- would be boosted should Mike Huckabee (a 2008 Presidential candidate himself) and Sarah Palin (the 2008 Vice Presidential candidate) do not run.

My guess is that Newt would be able to eat into the support of Huckabee and Palin even if they do decide to run -- meaning his candidacy is not doomed if one or both run -- but it would save a lot of time if they decide to not get into the race.

Here are the numbers from Public Policy Polling:

With Donald Trump, Huckabee, and Palin:
Huckabee: 27%
Romney: 16%
Trump: 14%
Gingrich: 9%
Without just Trump:
Huckabee: 30%
Romney: 18%
Gingrich: 12%
Palin: 12%
Without Huckabee and Trump:
Romney: 25%
Gingrich: 15%
Palin: 15%
Ron Paul: 15%
Without Trump, Huckabee, and Palin:
Romney: 28%
Gingrich: 19%
Paul: 16%
Michelle Bachmann: 15%
Trump is being hammered over some of his very liberal positions in the past by the Club for Growth, and now after Huckabee defended Trump against the pro-market group, Huckabee's past record of tax increases may get more play.

Romney also figures to drop in the poll as PPP found that just 11% of Iowa Republican caucus-goers would support someone who passed a state-level insurance mandate.
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