Saturday, November 5, 2011

Order 50 flyers of The 21st Century Contract with America

Link on

"Looks like Mississippi might be the long awaited state where Newt has the lead"

So says Public Policy Polling as their weekend polling started. It will be interesting to see if the lead holds.

Iowa poll: Newt in a statistical tie with Romney for second; pollster expects Cain to fall

The poll finds Cain at 30%, Romney with 15%, and Newt at 12%. But -- in addition to the usual disclaimer that a minority of voters have are firmly in any candidate's camp -- the pollster, Matt Towery, found an interesting fact:
“We found most Republican voters in Iowa were unaware of the latest developments in the Cain case,” Towery said after Thursday night’s poll. “There is a great likelihood that his vote will fall off.”


“We have to remember that most Americans don’t read political newspapers or websites and these things take quite a while to trickle down.”

[Towery] said the importance of the Des Moines Register in Iowa cannot be overstated and that paper has not run the scandal heavily.
And remember -- Newt and Cain will be debating one-on-one Saturday, 8 PM EST. C-SPAN TV and will have it live.

"In a dozen interviews, the score was Gingrich 12, the rest of the field 0."

So says Byron York in his recap of the Iowa GOP Reagan dinner from Friday night.

(You can watch the video of the speech here.)

York quotes from five of those interviews:
"It was Newt," said Chad Kleppe of Waukee, Iowa. "I think he's the smartest one in the field."

"Gingrich knocked it out of the park," said Earlene Nordstrom of Fort Dodge, Iowa.

"Newt," said Tim Heldt of Johnston. "The energy in the room picked up. It didn't feel like a stump speech."

"He is so good," said Becky Ervin of Urbandale. "I want to see a debate between him and Obama."

"I would have to say Newt Gingrich might have convinced me to caucus for him," said Eric Johansen of Grimes. "I've been undecided up to this point."
As has been the case several other times in Iowa -- most notably this past Tuesday and the Faith & Freedom event a few weeks ago -- Newt got the best applause from the crowd.

York concluded by writing:
If any frontrunners fade -- and given recent experience, that seems likely to happen -- Gingrich seems poised to make real progress toward a place in the top tier.
Politico, in saying Newt got the best reaction "by far," writes:
Before Gingrich, most got polite applause but no loud cheers or standing ovations at the Ronald Reagan Dinner — one of the top events on the local political calendar. From Sen. Chuck Grassley to town mayors, almost every elected Republican official in the state attended, including many of the 99 county chairs whose opinions are respected back home.
They also write:
But, after the event ended, a relatively small number approached to talk [to Santorum] while Gingrich was swarmed by more than 100 well-wishers who wanted a picture with him and his wife Callista.

“A lot of people are probably giving him a second look,” said Steve Scheffler, one of the state’s prominent social conservatives and the state’s Republican National Committeeman, who has not endorsed.

Among them was Mike McInerney, a 21-year-old senior at Drake University who approached Gingrich to ask after the speech to ask how he can help his campaign
The New York-Times:
A crowd gathered around Mr. Gingrich after the speech. Stephen Quist, head of the 800-member college Republicans at Iowa State University, said Mr. Gingrich helped himself “by far the most.”


Craig Williams, a member of the state Republican central committee who said he hadn’t endorsed anyone yet, agreed, saying the former speaker “hit a home run tonight.”
Iowa State Reprensative Josh Byrnes, who walked through the Iowa State Fair with the campaign back in August and who has been talking up Newt in recent weeks, tweeted:
Rick Perry during his speech has sought out Speaker Gingrich's approval twice publicly! Why else other than the fact Gingrich has experience

Friday, November 4, 2011

Some details on Newt's campaign in South Carolina

Sources close to Gingrich’s South Carolina campaign tell FITS that several new staff announcements are “imminent” – and may include “prominent members” of other 2012 campaigns.


More recently, Gingrich’s South Carolina efforts have been led by Leslie Roper Gaines, an Upstate, S.C. activist (and former Mitt Romney supporter) best known for her fundraising prowess.
The story was later updated:
UPDATE: Looks like one of the operatives Gingrich is hiring is Delinda Ridings, who has been serving as Midlands Field Director for the campaign of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

UPDATE II: Statement from Hunstman’s state director Joel Sawyer: “As part of our campaign’s continued restructuring and refocusing of our resources, DeLinda was let go from her position earlier today. We wish her the best.”

Newt at 12% in new ABC-WaPo national poll; 3 of every 4 donors has been new

Good for third again.

The people giving Newt 2012 money this last month or so are new to the campaign:
The Gingrich campaign raised more than $1 million in October, its best fundraising month.

“We’re seeing steady growth and that’s important,” Hammond said. “We’ve got a growing base and we’re seeing three out of every four donors coming in is a new a person.”
More from ABC:
One interesting note about those polled: When asked about changing their mind on a candidate, 45 percent said there is a good chance they’ll do so.

“Our goal is to make sure that the time for voters to latch onto Newt as their candidate will be when it’s time to vote and caucus,” Hammond said. “As long as we’re seeing steady progress, that means we’re on track, we’re not looking to have everyone on board by a certain date.”

Another hire in New Hampshire

From John DiStaso:
Gingrich's growing New Hampshire team will announce that former Tim Pawlenty staffer Erin Lamontagne (niece of 2012 candidate for governor Ovide Lamontagne) has joined Gingrich to help with social media, recruit volunteers and organize coalitions.

Gingrich will return to New Hampshire on Veterans Day.
Ovide Lamontagne's endorsement is very sought-after, and Newt spoke at a event of his earlier this year, but I don't know if this news means if he is leaning one way or the other.

Newt 2012 will have five Iowa offices -- "and soon"

Link to story:
Today, though, Hammond told Patch that Gingrich will not open just one office, but five of them around Iowa — and soon.

"There are plans for it to happen," Hammond said in a phone interview. "We're in the final stages of interviewing staff."

Gingrich may be sensing a bit of momentum in Iowa from recent events. Last month, speaking at a gathering of evangelicals along with all the major candidates except Mitt Romney, Gingrich's performance was roundly seen as the best of the bunch.

And earlier this week, Patch reported that 32 percent of Iowa respondents in the Patch-Huffington Post survey of influential Republicans said there is a good chance they will endorse the former Speaker of the House.
That's huge news, and it's thanks to the influx of money coming into the campaign.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A few pictures and a recap of Newt's speech in Georgia from Wednesday

(For those reading this in the morning e-mail, you'll have to click on the post to see the pictures as the links may not work.)


The first two were taken by Jacob Hawkins of Newt's campaign. Bryan Jacoutot, a big supporter, took the last one, and also wrote a recap of the event.

Please read the whole thing here, but I'll quote a little from it:
The Former Speaker of the House was introduced to a thunderous standing ovation by a capacity crowd in the Marriott Ballroom, and immediately began outlining his 21st Century Contract With America. He spoke for roughly an hour and highlighted among other things, his “First Day Executive Orders,” his legislative proposals, the consolidation and modernization of the federal government through the application of Lean Six Sigma, as well as his plans to curb rising health care costs by expanding research in the field of brain science.

After listing a couple of the executive orders Newt has planned for inauguration day, including the removal of every White House Czar, he joked that “by the time President Obama has landed in Chicago, we will have abolished 40% of his government.”

Newt at 14% in new national poll from Rasmussen

Good for third place.

"Romney is also essentially even with Gingrich in a two-way race," says the report.

Newt's speech to the 7th District Georgia GOP from Wednesday

Link to video.

Video streaming by Ustream

A Newt 2012 supporter puts together a video on the 21st Century Contract with America


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Newt 2012 compares their plan to reform the Federal Reserve to Romney's non plan

Which is to say Newt 2012 has a plan to reform the Fed, while Romney leaves it untouched.

Newt2012HQ tweeted:
While Romney Ignores the Fed, Gingrich Offers Bold Reforms
The tweet linked to Newt org, where they compare the differences between Newt and Romney on the Fed, exports, and trade.

Read the whole post, but here's an excerpt:
Additionally, Gingrich will demand a full audit and more transparency at the Fed, to ensure that the Fed can never again repeat the mistakes of 2008 and make thousands of secret loans to banks and other large institutions for reasons that are not entirely clear.

Mitt Romney’s 160-page plan for the economy only proposes tentative tax reform, and does not make a single mention of what he would do to improve transparency and responsibility at the Fed – if he would do anything at all. calls Newt the winner at Tuesday's event

Here's the link to the video for those who have not yet seen it. quotes the Des Moines-Register:
Newt Gingrich got the most applause from the audience full of business leaders at this morning’s presidential candidates’ forum sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers.

There was enthusiastic clapping when Gingrich said he would educate Congress on how legislation needs to be longer term rather than lasting just a year. Several business executives said later they appreciated Gingrich’s thoughts on how to improve worker training for the jobless. He said the 99 weeks a worker collects unemployment is equal to the time it takes to earn an associate’s degree.

“Of this group, I think Newt Gingrich is the most qualified intellectually to take this country the furthest,” said Al Jennings, chairman and CEO of EFCO Corp. in Des Moines. “But keep in mind that we didn’t hear from all the candidates, and that’s disappointing.”
Newt Gingrich: He has shined in all the debates and most forums and this was no different. Prior to the broadcast, the live audience was asked to hold their applause. However, they clapped for Gingrich’s answers three times and laughed a few other times. The former House speaker’s command of the issues, combined with the ability to verbalize that knowledge, is unmatched anywhere in U.S. politics.


Overall Winner: Newt Gingrich received the best response from the audience, so I give him the slight edge. However, I thought the other four participants handled themselves well.

(Audio) Newt talks his tax plan with Larry Kudlow


(Audio) Newt's interview with Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More good news: Newt 2012 "is opening up a number of offices in Iowa in the next week."

So said Newt in an interview today with Iowa radio host Dan Kennedy.

On the fundraising issue:
“Yesterday, we had the best day we’ve had in the entire campaign in fundraising online,” Gingrich said. “I just sense that every day that goes by now people are coming to us from other candidates, and say now that they’ve compared, they really want to be with me and very encouraged by that.”

Newt 2012 had its' best fundraising day of the campaign Monday

From Alex Moe of NBC News:
The Gingrich campaign told NBC News that yesterday was the campaign’s best fundraising day thus far in the campaign.

The campaign raised $113,000 yesterday, spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

“Every day, we inch a little further ahead,” he said. “Always progress, always towards our goal.”

Earlier this month, the campaign announced it raised more in October than it did in all of the third quarter.

How might the field look like if Cain drops off?

In my earlier post, I quoted Public Policy Polling as to why they feel that Newt will be the main beneficiary if Herman Cain -- for any number of reasons -- drops in the polls.

The reasons are: Newt is popular with Cain's voters (he's the second choice of a plurality of Cain supporters) and Perry is simply not very popular with Republican voters right now, with more Republicans viewing it unfavorably than favorably in several polls.

So updating my thought experiment from yesterday, I will take a shot at seeing what the polls might look like if Cain falls off. In the North Carolina poll from today, 46% of Cain's supporters say they are firmly with him. If the bottom really falls out of his campaign, even those people would leave, but let's just give him the benefit of the doubt. That means 54% -- 16.2% -- would leave him. Newt's the second choice of 29% of those, which means he would see a boost of about 4.7%. So his new total would be 26.7%.

Doing the same for the rest of the field in North Carolina:
Newt: 26.7%
Romney: 21.5%
Cain: 13.8%
Perry: 12.4%
Bachmann: 5.4%
That doesn't factor in the undecideds -- which figure to break for Newt as well, based on his favorability numbers and other positives for Newt.

In Maine, only 25% of Cain's supporters are strongly committed to him. Dividing up Cain's supporters gives these results:
Romney: 27.7%
Newt: 23.7%
Cain: 7.3%
Perry: 7.3%
Doing static analysis like this is not perfect, of course, but it gives a decent look at the field might look.

Newt at 22% in North Carolina and 18% in Maine, says Public Policy Polling

North Carolina:
Cain -- 30%
Gingrich -- 22%
Romney -- 19%
Perry -- 10%
Bachmann -- 4%
Paul -- 4%
Santorum -- 2%
Huntsman -- 2%
Cain -- 29%
Romney -- 24%
Gingrich -- 18%
Bachmann --5%
Paul -- 5%
Perry -- 4%
Santorum - 2%
Huntsman -- 1%
Johnson -- 1%
PPP writes: "[T]here's plenty of reason to think that there will indeed be a Cain collapse. Cain may have led in these states over the weekend, but his support continues to be pretty soft. Only 46% of Cain's supporters in North Carolina and a paltry 25% in Maine said they were strongly committed to voting for him. A lot of Cain's supporters were already highly susceptible to abandoning him -- whether the recent allegations cause them to do so is still anybody's guess."

They also write: "It's no surprise that Gingrich would be the beneficiary of a Cain collapse, because Tea Party voters have been the foundation of Cain's surge and Newt polled second with that group of GOP loyalists on both of our polls over the weekend."

In North Carolina, Newt's favorability with Tea Party voters is 83/14. Romney is just 49/42, with Perry at 48/42.

In Maine, Newt is seen favorably by Tea Party members 75/19. Romney is at 53/36, and Perry is 35/47.

On Perry, PPP writes:
Even more problematic for him than his low level of support is how unpopular he's become with GOP voters -- in Maine his favorability is 34/47 and in North Carolina it's 39/41. He's not going to get back into the race just because other candidates falter -- his image has been hurt too much for that to be the case. He's really going to have to redefine himself in the eyes of the voters to get it turned around.
Newt had similar favorability numbers over the summer -- but by being great in the debates, laying out bold solutions, and not attacking other candidates, his favorability numbers have gone way up.

Perry, on the other hand, does not figure to start doing too great at debates (he may improve, but I doubt he does by too much), has just a fraction of Newt's solutions, and seems intent on attacking Romney and Cain. That's not a recipe to improve how he is viewed.

I'll do another post on the PPP surveys later.

"The Conservative Case For Newt Gingrich"

John Hawkins, who runs the website, wrote the article, which appeared on

He uses the same term -- "pitch perfect" -- that Jarrett Stepman of Human Events used in describing Newt's message.

The biggest challenge this country faces right now is spending. We have roughly a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit, a 14 trillion dollar debt, and 100 trillion dollars in unfunded Social Security/Medicare obligations. This is a problem that dwarfs all others, so much so that even Barack Obama says that our level of spending is "unsustainable."

Well, when Newt was Speaker, he managed to balance the budget. Not on the state level, not theoretically -- Newt actually got the job done on Capitol Hill. There's a lot to be said for that because if we wait another decade or two to seriously tackle this problem, we may not be able to stop this country from turning into Greece. That's why it's important not just to vote Obama out of office, but to replace him with someone who's serious about dealing with the issue. If we could pick only one Republican in the entire country to go to D.C. and tackle this problem, not as a dictator, but as a President who will need the cooperation of Congress to get anything done, Newt would probably be the first choice.
The whole article is worth reading.

(Video) Newt at Iowa forum on manufacturing today

Link to video.

Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines-Register: "How to help Iowa manufacturers? Five presidential candidates offer ideas. Gingrich gets best applause."

(Video) Newt interviewed on Carolina This Week

Link to

Monday, October 31, 2011

(Video) Newt's appearance on The O'Reilly Factor Monday

Link to video.

Public Policy Polling: Newt is the second choice among Cain supporters

PPP teased their Maine and North Carolina polls today on Twitter. The takeaway: "Both our weekend polls suggest Newt would benefit from Cain implosion." (Another takeaway: Perry is under water -- more Republicans view him unfavorably than favorably -- in both states.)

In Maine, Cain's supporters second choice is: "Gingrich 26, Romney 17, Perry 15."

In North Carolina, they are: "Gingrich 29, Romney 16, Perry 15, Bachmann 10, Paul 8."

They didn't say what Cain's numbers in Maine will be, but in North Carolina, he is (was anyway) at 30%.

Based on previous polls, about 70% of Cain's supporters are not strongly committed to him. Let's say all 70% leave Cain, and they divide up just as PPP's numbers suggest.

That alone would give Newt a six point boost. To show what I mean, let's use the North Carolina poll from early October. (Cain was at 27 then, so we can guess that Newt is at about the same level, and he was at 17.)

If the 70% who are soft commits for Cain leave and divide up as the current poll says they would, here is what the rest of the field would look like in North Carolina (and remember, this is purely hypothetical):
Newt: 23%
Romney: 20%
Perry: 18%
Cain: 9%
Bachmann: 8%
Now, who knows how it might actually work. Cain might not collapse -- but I suspect he will, if not for the allegations in the Politico story (which are an unknown, in terms of both substance and polling impact at this moment) then for his abortion comments or his lack of knowledge on foreign policy and other issues.

His supporters might leave him at even greater numbers if his campaign looks like a lost cause and they decide their main goal is to stop from nominating the moderate/liberal Republican Romney. Bachmann's supporters might do the same, as her campaign is having trouble in several areas.

I'll stop with hypotheticals and fortune telling. But I hope it gave a general idea on how the race would look if that scenario occurred.

When the full polls are released (probably tomorrow), I'll post them and an analysis here.

Human Events: Gingrich dynamic at Freedom and Faith event

I didn't see it until now, but Jarrett Stepman of Human Events wrote a terrific article about Newt's speech at the Iowa Faith & Freedom event. (For those who haven't had a chance to see it, here's the video of Newt's speech and the Q&A session that followed.)

Under the headline "Gingrich Dynamic at Faith and Freedom conference,:" Stepman writes:
Gingrich stood out because he stated clear and concrete policy ideas, discussed his opinions about the latest events in foreign affairs, and sprinkled in a healthy dose of history and beliefs about American Exceptionalism as well.

Putting the 2012 presidential contest in focus Gingrich marked the 2012 election as the most important since 1860.

“Next year we will decide whether the disastrous policies of class warfare, bureaucratic socialism, radical judges, and bureaucrats who treat us like as subjects rather than citizens will continue in office, or we will decisively repudiate an eighty year drift to the left,” said Gingrich.
And later in the article:
The setting for Gingrich seemed perfect and he received a far greater applause than the previous speakers. He demonstrated knowledge, ideas, and pitch-perfect political rhetoric that won the crowd over and will perhaps help his campaign on its slow climb to top-tier status.
Here's the link to the full article again.

Tony Lee of Human Events interviews Newt

Newt will be on the cover of the paper edition of Human Events. In it, Tony Lee, who is covering the 2012 race for the conservative publication, interviews him.

His answer when asked what his first three steps to fix the economy would be:
Within the first few weeks of my administration, I will work with Congress to repeal the job-killing ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley acts, eliminate the death and capital gains taxes, lower the corporate rate to 12.5%, and put forward a budget that dramatically scales back spending and returns power to the states. In terms of items that we can do on day one: 1) I will immediately sign off on the Keystone XL pipeline, which will create jobs from North Dakota to Texas and bring almost a million barrels of oil a day, 2) I will immediately direct my Secretary of the Interior to reauthorize all permits in the Gulf of Mexico and get thousands of Americans back to work, and 3) I will direct the NLRB to immediately halt all investigations so that it ends its assault on job-creators.
The whole interview is great. Here's the link again.

Newt's "CNN Red Chair Interview"

Link to video.

C-SPAN2 and will air Iowa GOP Reagan dinner on Friday

Jennifer Jacobs:
C-SPAN2 will broadcast live the speeches of five GOP presidential candidates at the Republican Party of Iowa’s Ronald Reagan Dinner in Des Moines.

Speakers include Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvaia.

Also speaking at this annual state party fundraiser are Iowa’s own U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, U.S. Rep. Steve King and Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will not be able to attend, but one of his five sons, Josh Romney, will work the crowd on his dad’s behalf.

Live coverage of the 90-minute event begins on C-SPAN2 and at 7 p.m. Friday Iowa time at the Iowa Events Center’s Hy-Vee Hall, said Craig Caplan, C-SPAN’s senior political producer.

A look at the full Des Moines-Register poll results

For Newt and the other candidates besides one, Sunday was a slow day. The full results of the Des Moines-Register poll did come out, however. What they show has been reflected in other polls: those who will be voting in Republican primaries simply view Newt more favorably today than they have in a long time.

I think a lot of it is that Newt has been able to go speak directly to the American people through debates and other venues. Whatever the reason, though, Newt's favorability ratings have gone very high. A good way to describe the relationship between favorability ratings and actual voter support is to think of the former as leading indicators and the latter as lagging indicators.

Cain was seen as a breakout candidate for much of the summer because while his actual poll numbers were not too impressive, his favorability numbers were quite impressive. Newt, at this moment, has much better poll numbers than Cain did -- and his favorability numbers are nearly as good.

So while we have no idea how the allegations of Cain will play out, we do know that Newt has plenty of room to grow given the present polling data. On top of that, Newt will have a chance to debate Cain one-on-one this upcoming Saturday. Then, on November 9th, a regular debate. Then -- and this will be a strength for Newt -- a foreign policy debate on November 15. As some have noted, this will be the last impression for many voters before the holiday season begins.

So within 11 days, Newt will be in three high-profile debates. I am going to bet that those will only help him. And some candidates may look very foolish during the foreign policy debate especially.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"It is time for the Republican primary voters to rediscover Newt Gingrich."

(This was written a while ago, but I only now got a chance to post it because of all the news lately.

Steve McCann writes, in part, on
Of the remaining viable candidates, there is only one who is not a part of the establishment, has laid out a viable plan to rescue the country, is not intimidated by the mainstream media or the Democrat smear machine, is knowledgeable of how to get drastic changes through the congressional legislative meat grinder, is more than capable of overwhelming Barack Obama in a debate, is experienced in foreign affairs, has a record of conservative legislative accomplishments, and can articulate to the American people as to where he will take the country. It is time for the Republican primary voters to rediscover Newt Gingrich.

Having been on the national stage for over 20 years and subject to nonstop vilification by the media, as well as seeing exaggerations about his personal marital matters splashed across the front pages, many know Newt only by the caricature of him painted by the media and his adversaries. Further, in a career spanning such a long period, he has naturally angered some on the right by his previous stances on various issues or by appearances with various left-wing Democrats. But no one questions his intelligence, willingness to buck the establishment, or accomplishments as Speaker of the House, when under his leadership America enjoyed not only a balanced budget, but surpluses used to pay down the debt. Further, he has been accused of being abrasive in his dealing with politicians and the media -- but isn't that what the country now needs?

The next president of the United States must be audacious, experienced, and above all capable of achieving dramatic change. Ronald Reagan once reminded the Republican Party that its core tenets must be painted in bold colors and not pale pastels. Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain are the bold colors, while Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are cloaked in pale pastels. It is clear that in the final analysis, the nomination will come down to Mitt Romney and the anti-establishment candidate; within the present field, the person best suited for the latter role is Newt Gingrich.

Terrific video by Noah Green

Link to video.

A terrific piece wrriten by Princella Smith about Newt

Princella Smith used to work for Newt at American Solutions, and actually, I had a short phone conversation with her back in 2007 (I believe) about the Platform of the American People.

After nothing that John McCain was in a similar position in the polls at this point in 2007, Smith writes:
Newt should never ever be underestimated.

There is a reason that Newt is the only candidate who hasn’t been openly criticized by the rest of the GOP field and why several of them publicly stated that he’d be their choice for Vice President. There is a deep reverence for his intellect. They know that he’s the “GOP godfather”.

Most political figures, whether by election or as insider staffers, are either policy wonks or savvy strategists. Newt is a very rare combination of both.

Newt balanced the nation’s budget and passed welfare reform during his tenure as Speaker —an impressive resume to bring to the 2012 primary job interview considering the voters’ woes over federal spending. That’s why he knows what he’s talking about when he says: “The best social program is a job.”

He knows how to win and how to put together a ground game. He created the 1994 Contract with America and used it to usher in the first Republican majority in the House of Representatives in 40 years.

Newt was largely behind the anti-card check fight of 2009, and during the 2008 election cycle, he penned the phrase: “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” (DHDN) which he developed into a book on energy independence policy. Literally millions of people signed his DHDN pledge and mobilized across the country calling on the U.S. to end its dependence on foreign oil.

Newt has no lack of specificity in public policy, and America has discovered that every aspect of it is tied back to the economy from energy production to health care to social security, to immigration, to job creation and taxation.

Whether in his books, his legislative record, or in many of his policy initiatives, Newt is the only person running who has provided thorough analyses on those issues. He even publicized the Executive Orders he would issue on his first day in the White House.

No doubt, I am grateful to have had a privilege given to very few in politics: I sat at the feet of one of the greatest thinkers in modern-day political history– or, as anyone who has been in the former House Speaker’s inner circle knows, he prefers to just be called: “Newt”.

During the time I worked for Newt, I was amazed at how often elected officials from all over the country sought out his guidance. One of whom was Rep. Paul Ryan, and another was then Wisconsin GOP Chairman and now RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus.

The notion that Newt was “against the Ryan plan” was nonsense. Perhaps it was a bit ill-timed, but Newt showed his classic political prowess when he called for a plan that could pull in conservative Democrats as well as Republicans. He never said to eliminate the conservative tenets of the plan. He encouraged the House GOP to wait for the appropriate time to introduce it and thereby ensure its passage. Newt knows how to get bold, sweeping pieces of legislation passed when you don’t control the White House, and he was trying to drop some knowledge on some of the “2010 rookies”.

As it turns out, Newt was right. He usually is.

That incident bruised his campaign, but it didn’t kill it. The Daily Beast’s Matt Latimer wrote a few weeks back that if Newt could just “…erase his campaign’s first two weeks from voters’ memories, Men in Black–style, he would be in an enviable position…”

Since Matt’s comments, Newt has indeed begun to erase the first two weeks of his campaign from voters’ memories—hence the recent poll climb—and the media has taken notice.

GOP grassroots activists have proven that regardless of who the media elite crowns “frontrunners”, they will catapult their preference to the top (see Herman Cain). Saying that you “can win the general election” is not going to be enough. America’s economy is so hurt that the frustration from both sides of the aisle (see: Wall Street protesters and the Tea Party) is reaching a boiling point.

Tossing political grenades is great. (Newt knows it and is quite good at it.) However, unless there is substance behind it, it will quickly fail, and in a “contest on substance,” I’d place my bets on Newt.

Newt has famously reinforced to Republicans that the United States is a center-right country.

After leading the GOP to the “House Majority Promised Land”, he said: “It’s not a Republican victory. It’s not a Democrat victory. It is the American people making a set of choices.”

No one since his Speakership has really capitalized on that and/or used it to promote policies in the way that he did. In this manner, Gingrich is the closest candidate to former President Ronald Reagan of the entire current GOP field.

His current ideas, including the 1994 and 2011 Contracts with America, are backed by extensive research and polling among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents which conclude that the majority of Americans agree with those policies.

The 2012 cycle still needs a “big idea”, and no one knows this better than the GOP-coined “ideas man of the right”, Newt Gingrich AKA the “GOP Godfather”.

Looking at the race

As most Saturdays are, the news was pretty slow. The one bit of news the new Des-Moines Register poll, which placed Newt in a statistical tie for 4th place.

The poll, which is almost seen as gospel by some people, does not have a great track record lately, but let's say it's a 100% accurate snapshot of this moment.

It's the same story as the other polls lately: Cain is the conservative alternative to Romney at this moment, Ron Paul is guaranteed to get 10-12% (and won't move up or down from that range), and Newt and Perry are vying to oust Cain as the anti-Romney.

I am not going to write off Perry at all, because he does have a ton of money and, when retail campaigning, is a good candidate. But I don't see his debate performances improving much; he's never been a good debater, going back to Texas. And he has so far been much too negative toward Romney. While Perry's attacks will probably hurt Romney -- though I think Romney is a little like Paul in that he has reached his ceiling but probably has hit his basement too -- they will not help Perry.

A Perry-Romney ad war, millions of negative ads, guarantees one thing: Perry is not going to be the nominee. This is what happened in the Democrat Primary in 2004. Heading into Iowa, Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt were seen as the two favorites. They ripped into each other so much, though, that they destroyed each other's chances, allowing John Kerry to slip in, win Iowa, and eventually the nomination.

Romney could possibly survive such a scenario if conservatives do not coalesce around a single candidate. But honestly, if conservatives do get behind a single candidate -- not splintering their vote five ways -- Romney is probably done no matter what.

So if the media tries to spin this poll as being ultra-negative for Newt, don't fall for it. They are the same people who two months ago said Perry-Romney were the only two candidates who mattered. And two weeks before that they were saying Bachmann was a front-runner.

Only about 30% of Cain's supporters say they are strongly committed to him, so this race is incredibly fluid. Newt, while not attacking Cain, is starting to draw contrasts on tax policy, experience -- and next weekend is the one-on-one debate between the two. Followed by a regular debate on November 9th. And a foreign policy debate soon after that.

This wasn't a ground-breaking post, but it was meant to fight back against the media declaring a winner based on a poll two months before votes are cast, before Newt has fully built an organization in Iowa, and before he gets to debate Cain one-on-one.

The full results of the Des-Moines Register poll will be released later this morning, and I will have more on it then.
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