(Hamdan Azhar) “I’m handicapped! I need a doctor!” “Sir, this is the chairman!” The Louisiana State Republican Convention descended into chaos Saturday morning, with several delegates being arrested and the convention chairman being thrown to the ground by police. Continue reading →
(CBS) Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign.
Senator Santorum appeared at a hotel room in Gettysburg at 2 p.m. where he announced he was suspending his campaign.
“We were very concerned about our roles as being the very best parents has we can be to our children,” Santorum said. “We made a decision over the weekend while this presidential race is over to for me and will suspend our campaign effective today – we are not done fighting.”
Senator Santorum gained traction in Iowa shortly before the January 3 caucuses and tied former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney in Iowa, before going on to win 10 more states.
“Against all odds we won 11 states, millions of votes,” said Santorum, who said he found more support and a deeper love for this country than he could imagine. “It was a love affair for me, going state to state, and seeing the difference. I care deeply about where this country is going and the people who are feeling left behind or hopeless.”
Santorum became the conservative alternative to Romney – who then picked up speed and gained a delegate lead to pick up wins in Ohio and Michigan.
Santorum’s move to suspend his bid removes the last significant obstacle in Romney’s now all-but-certain march to the Republican presidential nomination.
Stay with CBSPhillly.com for the latest on this developing story.
(Alex Isenstadt) Ron Paul isn’t going to win the Republican presidential nomination, and his long Capitol Hill career is coming to end. But even as he winds down his career in elected office, his voice is being amplified across the country by dozens of House and Senate candidates who are seeking to carry on his legacy.
There’s no exact way of measuring how many Paul-inspired candidates are running this year. But Jared Paine, a Paul supporter who operates a website that tracks the campaigns of libertarian-minded candidates, said he counted around two dozen active Paul backers who are running for House or Senate seats and another 200 or so who are seeking local offices — almost all of them running as Republicans.
It’s a measure of the depth of the passion Paul inspires from his supporters, which is marked by a ferocity and commitment to the cause that few other pols can command.
Many of the candidates have sought to tap into the energy surrounding Paul’s presidential campaign. John Dennis, a San Francisco Republican looking to unseat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, has spoken at Paul rallies and cut a Web video urging voters to support Paul prior to the Iowa caucuses. Florida Senate candidate Mirand Sharma, who has worked as a Paul organizer, has sought to recruit campaign volunteers from among those who also support the congressman. Missouri hopeful Jason Greene, who is running for a House seat, has vigorously promoted his candidacy on Paul-focused online bulletin boards.
To hear those aligned with the GOP presidential candidate tell it, the proliferation of Paul-affiliated candidates underscores a simple truth: Paul, once regarded as a fringe candidate, has gone mainstream. Despite the fact that he has announced he is not running for reelection to Congress, his ideas have established him as an important figure in American politics.
“I don’t think people expected Paul to accomplish so much,” said Scotty Boman, a Senate candidate in Michigan who met Paul in 1988 when the Texan was running for president on the Libertarian ticket. “He’s been able to break a barrier and be heard by the mainstream.”
“He’s activated a lot of people around his message,” added Boman, who includes on his website a picture of himself waving a Paul presidential campaign sign.
The rise of the Paul babies also reflects the increasingly central role of the Internet in political organizing. Paul’s grass-roots supporters have become known for their extensive use of the Web to promote the congressman, establishing sites like the Daily Paul and Ron Paul Forums to bring like-minded activists together. In recent months, Paul’s supporters have also begun using those online bulletin boards to promote their own candidacies.
“I didn’t think it would happen in American politics,” Paine said of the surge of Paul-inspired candidacies. “But it happened with the Internet, which I think changed the game a little bit.”
Paine’s website, one of several that promote Paul-aligned candidates, features weekly fundraising drives for the hopefuls and has regular question-and-answer sessions with them.
Christopher David, a 25-year-old Web consultant who worked on Paul’s 2008 campaign and is now running for a Los Angeles-area congressional seat, said Paul supporters recognized that his presidential campaign was coming to an end and were looking for a new avenue to express their support for him.
“There are a lot of people around the country and the world who identify with the things Ron Paul is saying,” said David, who highlights his work for Paul on his campaign website. “As the presidential campaign winds down, he’s going to have to pass the baton — and I don’t think it should be to just one person.”
Getting elected, however, is another matter entirely. While Paul’s son, Rand, managed to win Kentucky’s open Senate seat in 2010, most of the Ron Paul-inspired candidates are long shots who will need to broaden their appeal if they hope to be competitive. Some are still grappling with the basics of running a campaign.
One of them, Paul activist Dan Stojadinovic, announced last fall on the Ron Paul Forums website that he intended to run for Senate in Florida.
“My plan is to go around Florida and speak about Liberty,” Stojadinovic wrote. “The bad part is that I have no clue what to do so I need some help with paperwork first and understanding the process. I think I can speak well and promote Ron Paul and liberty but don’t understand the mechanics of the process right now.”
A few months later, Stojadinovic said on his website that he was aborting his bid. “Due to the lack of public donations and other needed political support such as media access, the campaign is unable to function and is in a state of suspension,” he wrote.
David said he was energized about trying to unseat California Rep. Henry Waxman, an entrenched 37-year Democratic incumbent, but understood that he had a very tough road ahead.
“I think it’s extremely daunting,” he said.
Not everyone faces such long odds. Thomas Massie, local officeholder and businessman who has been a vocal supporter of Paul and his son, is running competitively for a vacant Kentucky congressional seat.
For some of his backers, Paul has begun offering endorsements. Jesse Benton, a Paul campaign spokesman, said the congressman had pledged his personal support for two of his backers , Minnesota state Rep. Kurt Bills, who is running for Senate, and Massie, and had provided financial support to them through his political action committee, Liberty PAC. Benton said more endorsements could come later.
Not all of Paul’s supporters say they’re looking to feature the Texas congressman prominently in their campaigns.
Congressional candidate Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force officer who has written on pro-Paul websites and contributed to a book about the Texas congressman, said she wasn’t attaching herself to Paul. Some voters, she said, didn’t like his isolationist views on foreign policy.
“I’m not running under his banner,” said Kwiatkowski, who’s looking to unseat GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte in Virginia. “He’s not popular in a lot of places.”
And while he said he appreciated Paul’s endorsement, Massie said he didn’t mention the congressman much on the campaign trail.
“Everybody has to run their own race,” Massie said. “You won’t find a Ron Paul clone. Everybody has a different background from a different district.”
(Brian Ross) Newt Gingrich lacks the moral character to serve as President, his second ex-wife Marianne told ABC News, saying his campaign positions on the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family values do not square with what she saw during their 18 years of marriage.
In her first television interview since the 1999 divorce, to be broadcast tonight on Nightline, Marianne Gingrich, a self-described conservative Republican, said she is coming forward now so voters can know what she knows about Gingrich.
In her most provocative comments, the ex-Mrs. Gingrich said Newt sought an “open marriage” arrangement so he could have a mistress and a wife.
She said when Gingrich admitted to a six-year affair with a Congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now married to Gingrich.
“And I just stared at him and he said, ‘Callista doesn’t care what I do,’” Marianne Gingrich told ABC News. “He wanted an open marriage and I refused.”
Marianne described her “shock” at Gingrich’s behavior, including how she says she learned he conducted his affair with Callista “in my bedroom in our apartment in Washington.”
“He always called me at night,” she recalled, “and always ended with ‘I love you.’ Well, she was listening.”
All this happened, she said, during the same time Gingrich condemned President Bill Clinton for his lack of moral leadership.
She said Newt moved for the divorce just months after she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, with her then-husband present.
“He also was advised by the doctor when I was sitting there that I was not to be under stress. He knew,” she said.
Gingrich divorced his first wife, Jackie, as she was being treated for cancer. His relationship with Marianne began while he was still married to Jackie but in divorce proceedings, Marianne said.
There was no immediate comment from Gingrich on his ex-wife’s allegations. Gingrich has said during the campaign he has “no relationship” with Marianne.
While she had been quoted earlier as saying she could end his career, Marianne Gingrich defended Newt’s ethics while he served in Congress and came under several ethics investigations.
“At the time, I believed him to be ethical,” she said in the interview.
The former Mrs. Gingrich says Newt began to plan a run for President at the time of the divorce and told her that Callista “was going to help him become President.”
In a statement to ABC News provided by the campaign, Gingrich’s two daughters from his first marriage said, “The failure of a marriage is a terrible and emotional experience for everyone involved.”
The daughters, Kathy Lubbers and Jackie Cushman said they would not say anything negative about Marianne and said their father “regrets any pain he may have caused in the past to people he loves.”
Marianne Gingrich said Newt has never expressed any such regrets or apologized to her.
(Paul Joseph Watson) From rightly heralding the Iowa primary as a crucial indicator as to who will eventually capture the GOP nomination, the establishment has closed ranks and now decided that a Ron Paul victory doesn’t count and that the focus will be on who finishes second.
A Politico article entitled Ron Paul panic seizes Iowa establishment perfectly illustrates the supreme arrogance of the very political elite Paul is fighting against and goes a step beyond Fox News pundit Chris Wallace’s insistence that the Iowa result “won’t count” if Ron Paul wins.
Despite the fact that two out of the last three winners of the Iowa primary have gone on to successfully capture the Republican nomination, the political class have decided that Ron Paul doesn’t deserve the opportunity to build the same kind of momentum, and that a victory for him in Iowa “would do irreparable harm to the future role of the first-in-the-nation caucuses.”
The hierarchy is so petrified at the possibility of a Ron Paul win that the state’s own Governor, Terry Branstad, has pre-empted the result by urging people to ignore Paul if he secures a first place finish and instead concentrate on who comes second.
“People are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third,” said Branstad, adding, ““If [Mitt] Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire and the other states.”
As we have seen from the Republican race thus far, the identity of the frontrunner has changed several different times. Rick Perry, Herman Cain and now Newt Gingrich all saw their campaigns rise and fall dramatically. Ron Paul is the only candidate to slowly build momentum and not suffer any major setback.
Yes, it’s true that Ron Paul’s national figures are significantly lower than both Gingrich and Romney, but the Texan Congressman would have a very real chance of overturning that deficit if his potential victory in Iowa was treated with a modicum of respect, but the establishment are determined not to let that happen. This is why we are now seeing a deluge of whining “Ron Paul can’t win” articles every day.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The establishment has gone all out to virtually sabotage the credibility of the primary weeks before it even takes place, terrified that a Ron Paul success could upset the apple cart of the two RINO establishment candidates.
In addition, the Politico piece floats the hoax that a Ron Paul win would ensure an Obama re-election, when in reality Ron Paul has the best chance of beating Obama out of all the Republican candidates.
Isn’t it fascinating that the political class doesn’t consider how Newt Gingrich, who is about as conservative as Mao Tse-Tung, would also cause “irreparable harm” to the reputation of the primary if he won? Their concern for the potential harm caused by a Mitt Romneycare victory is also notable by its absence.
Ron Paul has the most conservative voting record since 1937 – so why on earth should a Paul victory cause “irreparable harm” to Iowa?
His success in the state should be celebrated as a sign that the Republican Party is finally starting to return to its constitutional principles.
(Atlantic Wire) A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows that Ron Paul has taken the lead in the Iowa caucus race, while Newt Gingrich’s support is fading fast. A different Gallup poll shows Gringrich still holding the lead, but slipping, while The New York Times has Paul in the lead as well.
Gingrich has seen his numbers in the PPP poll drop from 27 percent to 14 percent in just three weeks, while his favorability rating is now split at 46 percent for to 47 percent against, the worst of any candidate not named Jon Huntsman. That’s quite a fall for someone who looked to be running away with the state and taking charge on the national level.
Mitt Romney has also seen his numbers tick up slightly (to 20%), putting him just behind Paul (23%) for second place. The poll measured voters who are planning to vote in the Republican caucus.
Perhaps the most telling secondary question was, “Do you think Newt Gingrich has strong principles?” Only 36 percent say that he does, but for Paul that number was 73 percent.
The bad news for Paul, however, is that when asked for their second choice for President, only 9% said they would vote for him after their preferred candidate. That means if supporters of any of the second-tier candidates sense defeat and decided to abandon their choice at the last minute, those votes are more likely to go to Romney. Even if Romney doesn’t win, the stronger than expected showing could be the snowball that starts a primary avalanche for him.
One other tidbit from the PPP poll, the first question about Barack Obama asked if the respondents think he was born in the United States. Fifty-two percent either said he was not or they’re not sure.
(LNN) John F. McManus anaylzes the voting record and actions of former Congressman Newt Gingrich, revealing that Gingrich is not the conservative he portrays himself to be. This is a must see video that touches on Newt’s career and Larry Mcdonald. If you don’t know who Mr. McDonald is please vies his skewed Wikipedia page to get a taste.
(Thomas Dishaw) Video highlight of Ron Paul’s Presidential Debate in Iowa. By far his best performance. Ron makes a lot of sense,unlike the crooks standing to his right. Please re-post this video on Facebook and send this link out to your e-mail list.
(Eric W. Dolan) Speaking to a Current TV panel after the Republican presidential debate on Saturday, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) suggested that Texas Rep. Ron Paul may see a new influx of support.
The post-debate panel included Former Vice President Al Gore, Current TV Anchor Cenk Uygur, and The Young Turks contributors Michael Shure and Brian Unger.
“Ron Paul going into this debate was essentially tied with Mitt Romney, and Newt [Gingrich] of course was ascendant,” Granhold said. “I think Ron Paul may end up seeing a surge as a result of this.”
“But I think Romney, especially with the $10,000 bet, showed that he is completely out of touch.”
Paul, a libertarian, has gained an enthusiastic following for his strong views on limited government, free market economics and non-interventionist foreign policy. In the 2008 Republican presidential primary his views clearly made him an outlier, but many of his economic positions have now been adopted by mainstream Republicans — thanks in part to the tea party movement.
Paul is outperforming Romney in the key GOP primary state of Iowa but trailing behind Gingrich, according to a poll released last week.
(Joe Wolverton) Senator Rand Paul, a self-described representative of the Tea Party, worries that the small progress toward the restoration of limited government may be “set back” by the upcoming Republican presidential nomination.
In a letter to the Des Moines Register, the son of GOP White House hopeful Ron Paul set forth his two goals for striving to protect the “conservative movement” from being hampered by the nomination of a candidate with “a different set of ideas and values.”
The first of Senator Paul’s two goals is to “prevent the European debt crisis from consuming America next.” Although certainly a priority for the Senator, the rest of the letter is devoted to details of his second goal: electing a “constitutional[ly] conservative president in 2012.”
An urgent issue for the Republican Party and the United States is the election of a president who will remain faithful to his Oath of Office from the moment his hand is placed on the Bible on Inauguration Day.
While Senator Paul admits that anyone on the current roster of Republican candidates would be an improvement over Barack Obama, he calls out the two men leading in the polls — Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich — for not representing “the tea party, the conservative movement, or the type of change our country desperately needs….”
In his indictment of the former Governor of Massachusetts and the former Speaker of the House, Paul’s first charge against both is their support for the $700-billion bank bailouts signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008.
Paul quotes the Obama Treasury Department as describing the bailouts, officially called the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), as “one of the most unpopular government programs in American history.”
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
In a debate in October, Romney defended the bailouts as necessary “to keep the entire currency of the country worth something. My experience tells me that we were on the precipice, and we could have had a complete meltdown of our entire financial system, wiping out all the savings of the American people. So action had to be taken.”
As for current “frontrunner” Newt Gingrich, he claims to have changed his mind on TARP after having his ear bent by a number of “very right wing” businessmen. These unnamed advisors convinced Gingrich that the financial meltdown was a “true crisis” and that the bailouts were necessary to prevent the financial system from suffering a “heart attack.”
Further evidence of the necessity for the bailout of financial institutions was provided to Gingrich by the fact that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Secretary of the Treasury agreed “that the global financial system was on the edge of total failure” and so Gingrich changed his position and favored passage of the legislation.
The next charge leveled by Senator Paul at Romney and Gingrich is their “outspoken and unapologetic” support for the individual mandate of ObamaCare.
The individual mandate provision of the Obama health care requires that all residents of the United States purchase a qualifying medical insurance policy or face tax penalties and possible imprisonment. This mandate is the first time in history that the Congress of the United States has passed a law forcing citizens to purchase a commodity regardless of personal preference or financial ability.
Neither candidate can run from their record as both have for years ardently advocated the government-mandated purchase of health insurance.
As Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney signed a health care plan into law that contains an individual mandate provision nearly identical to that included in the ObamaCare legislation.
In the case of Newt Gingrich, in an interview in 2005, Gingrich said that if a person earning over $50,000 a year did not have health insurance, then he was in favor of the government forcing that person to either purchase a policy or post a bond.
While serving as a Congressman in 1993, Gingrich made similar comments advocating a national healthcare system supported by an individual mandate. “I’ve said consistently we ought to have some requirement you either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way indicate that you are going to be held accountable.”
Senator Paul’s letter is his way of making sure Gingrich, Romney, and all of the potential Republican nominees are held accountable for their policy positions and that they are truly dedicated to principles of freedom as enunciated in the Constitution.
So seriously does Paul take the support of these two men for TARP and the individual mandate that he argues that it “disqualifies” them from receiving the support of the Tea Party.
Beyond their support for two programs that must be undone if the American Republic is ever to return to within its proper, constitutional bounds, Rand Paul points out that both men cannot sincerely commit to accomplishing that critical goal in light of their irrefutable promotion of expansive government intervention in the lives of citizens and of corporate welfare.
Briefly, Paul describes Romney as a “moderate, northeastern, don’t-rock-the-boat Republican” and that everyone in the party gets that.
As for Gingrich, however, Paul is concerned that the rank and file of his party are “being sold a bill of goods” that doesn’t represent the truth about Newt Gingrich and his philosophy and policies.
Paul proposes that despite Gingrich’s multiple “flip-flops,” his heart remains with the left wing of the Republican Party. Says Paul, “His record features ‘highlights’ such as global warming commercials with Nancy Pelosi, support for cap-and-trade, funding Planned Parenthood, and, recently, announcing that life does not begin at conception.”
All those acts are certainly antithetical to the positions taken by the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
The list of sins against the Constitution for which Newt Gingrich has never repented is long, according to Senator Paul’s opinion piece.
Next, there is Gingrich’s work as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac — one of the agencies whose malfeasance precipitated the nation’s economic meltdown.
Gingrich, Paul says, “took in nearly $40 million promoting big-government ideas….”
Then there is Gingrich’s alleged capitulations on “right-to-work laws” and the Second Amendment, both critical components of the conservative agenda.
And, as opposed to calling for the abolition of the Department of Education, Gingrich actually voted to create it.
When push comes to shove, Paul warns, Gingrich will put party above principle, as he did in the congressional race in New York in 2009 when he supported the “liberal” Republican candidate who eventually lost and threw her support behind the Democrat in the race.
So, Paul ably presents the case for the prosecution against the two men at the top of recent Iowa polls.
The conclusion drawn is that neither man is a conservative and that if the Republican Party is to “continue the work [it] resolved in 2010 to undertake” then it must not elect a nominee who has a track record of advocating the expansion of government and the concomitant abandonment of the Constitution and the small federal government of limited and enumerated powers created by it.
( Seema Mehta) Texas Rep. Ron Paul slammed Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney on Sunday, saying they were inconsistent politicians who represent the status quo.
“They come from the same mold,” he said on “Meet the Press.” “They’re about the same. They’re both on the defensive, they’re both explaining themselves … Why should we have a nominee that is going to spend most of the their time explaining themselves and deciding what position they were on and when?” (Watch video below.)
“I think if you are consistent it speaks for itself,” Paul said. “You know nobody ever challenges me and I don’t have to brag about it either because everybody knows exactly what I’m going to do and exactly what I’ve done for 30 years.”
Paul called Gingrich working for Freddie Mac and being paid more than $1 million “immoral,” and he said Romney had a more “diplomatic” style than Gingrich.
Pressed by David Gregory on whether Paul would consider a third-party run if his bid to win the GOP nomination is unsuccessful, Paul declined to definitively say he would not pursue such a course.
“I have no plans to do that,” he said. “I’m not going to rule anything out or anything in.”
(John Thorpe) It is my belief that, in one month, Ron Paul will shock the world and win the Iowa Caucuses.
Granted, that belief goes against all the polling data and all the money data and all the common sense in the world. Mitt Romney has all the money in the world, and has the national party secretly/silently pulling for him to win. Newt Gingrich has the lead in the polls and seems to have caught fire at just the right time. Michele Bachmann is from a neighboring state, and, well, you never know.
Even Rick Santorum has an outside shot at a decent showing, based on his practically living in the state this year.
But Ron Paul has the one thing that you cannot buy, you cannot fake, and you cannot manufacture: genuine enthusiasm and a team of dedicated volunteers. His team on the ground in Iowa is one of the best that has ever been assembled. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad doesn’t think Paul will win outright, but sees him finishing in second place with a very solid 15 to 18 percent of the vote.
“Ron Paul has got probably the best organization and has a very loyal following. He’s got more yard signs and bumper stickers than anybody else,” he said to Politico. “I don’t think he’ll win, but I think he will get 15 to 18 percent. The person who wins is going to probably get 25 percent plus.”
That very well may be the case, and much will depend on the next two debates and – oddly enough – the weather on caucus day. One, if he can continue to hammer down Gingrich’s support, he can drive the race down to where the winner will be in his 15 to 18 percent range. If he does this, it will be by convincing Iowans that Gingrich is not the conservative he claims to be. (And, of course, Ron Paul would be correct — Newt Gingrich is actually to the left of Mitt Romney on many, many GOP issues).
Two, this will have the added effect of adding supporters to his own drive, as Gingrich’s supporters literally have nowhere else to go. They want a conservative, and it seems that the only true conservative left in this race is Ron Paul. He could pick up a few more points here, which would push him over the top.
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Third, as I mentioned, the weather can have a tremendous impact on the Iowa Caucuses. Unlike a primary election, where one’s commitment to the process is only as long as one’s line to vote, a caucus can last all night long. Iowans have to travel to someone’s home or a small, local center (like a church or a rec center) to engage in an hours-long debate on who to support. There are rounds of voting, eliminations of candidates, and tedious speeches. It’s a long, drawn-out affair. It is one thing to support a candidate; it is quite another to go through THAT process to support the candidate.
If you add to that process a snowstorm, or just plain bad weather (and really, Iowa in January, is there anything other than bad weather?) you change the game significantly. You make it such that only the most dedicated supporters will show up, drudging through a foot of snow and subzero temperatures to deal with the caucuses. Those supporters? Ron Paul fans.
More than just an analysis of how I think things will play out is my hope, for the future of this nation, that Ron Paul is the nominee. As I have said before, I am not a Republican – though I used to be. I believe some things need to be socialized. I believe big business is too big, too powerful, and its powers are a harm to liberty. I believe the wars are a mistake and the military is too big.
Ron Paul and I would disagree on many issues. I don’t feel the gold standard is an acceptable monetary policy, and cutting government back to the extreme he’s advocated is not workable. However, these are policy differences. They can be negotiated or legislated into a compromise.
But on liberty, on human rights, and on the Constitution, Ron Paul is the only candidate who gets it. Without liberty, all the socialized medicine plans (things I would support) mean nothing. Without liberty, tax cuts or tax hikes, balanced budgets or deficits, clean air or pollution, mean nothing. Liberty is where we begin and end the conversation in America.
For far too long, government has chipped away at the rights of Americans. Ron Paul would reverse that trend. Whatever else he does is secondary to that prime directive. That is why I hope I am correct in predicting Ron Paul’s victory in this January’s Iowa Caucuses.
(Kurt Nimmo) The establishment media campaign to ignore Ron Paul despite his immense popularity received a blow this week when the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released the results of a new study.
PEJ looked at 20 million Tweets about the race for president and found that Ron Paul “fared far better” than any other Republican candidate on Twitter.
Paul was referred to positively in 55 percent of the 1.1 million assessments studied by PEJ. “That is a differential for Paul of 40 points on the positive side,” notes Pew.
“This treatment of Paul stands in contrast to that of most of the GOP field, for whom Twitter has been a tough neighborhood,” the study concludes. “Five of Paul’s seven GOP rivals have had negative opinions on Twitter outstrip positive ones by roughly 2-1 or more.”
In addition to his favorability on Twitter, Ron Paul dominates the blogosphere according to Pew.
Paul’s popularity on the internet is due primarily to his youthful base. “Ron Paul has managed to do what no libertarian organization or electoral candidate ever has: Energize the masses of young Americans, all throughout the nation’s college campuses, including its most leftist, and get them interested in the politics of freedom and peace,” writes Anthony Gregory. “Ron Paul’s young supporters attend his campus rallies cheering for the gold standard, the Constitution, and a Jeffersonian foreign policy.”
This was apparent in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday when Paul drew a standing-room-only gathering of more than 1,000 college-age students. “Paul traditionally draws a great deal of enthusiasm from young supporters. A speech at Louisiana State University in September drew an estimated 1,200 people and a speech at Webster Hall in New York that same month pulled in an even larger crowd. Paul will hold another youth rally Friday night at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls,” writes Jason M. Volack for ABC News.
Newt Gingrich is flying high. The former Speaker of the House has rocketed to the top of the Republican polls, taking a 30-point lead in Florida and giving one-time GOP front-runner Mitt Romney a run for his money in New Hampshire. What’s more, the competition around him seems to be collapsing. Herman Cain is history; Romney has slowly but steadily lost support nationwide; Rick Perry is still making fun of himself for a gaffe everyone else stopped talking about last month; Michele Bachmann fell in a crowded primary forest and never made a sound. Gingrich, for one, is ready to declare victory. As he told ABC’s Jake Tapper on Thursday, “I’m going to be the nominee.”
Well, Gingrich may be on a roll, but he’s overlooking the one truly formidable candidate who stands between him and the nomination: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He is in many ways the perfect foil for the current GOP front runner. Here, in 13 episodes, is much of the baggage you’re likely to see aired soon in anti-Gingrich attack ads. For him, it won’t be Christmas in Iowa.
The front seat: It’s a testament to Herman Cain’s utterly catastrophic collapse that Gingrich has emerged as a palatable alternative for family-values conservatives. But it won’t last. Gingrich had a six-year affair with his third wife while he was still married to his second. He had an affair with his second wife while he was still married to his first wife. And as we previously reported, during his 1974 campaign, a former aide described “approaching a car with Gingrich’s daughters in hand, only to find the candidate with a woman, her head buried in his lap.” Another former aide alleged that Gingrich had attempted to seduce her, Chaz Reinhold-style, after the death of a relative.
The back seat: On the flight back from Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral in Israel in November 1995, Gingrich was asked to sit in the back of Air Force One, rather than up front with President Clinton. As a result, Gingrich upped his demands in the budget fight, leading to a historic government shutdown. “It’s petty, but I think it’s human,” Gingrich explained at the time. The New York Daily News put Gingrich on its cover dressed in a diaper, holding a bottle and crying.
Newt’s complaint about sitting in the back seat of Air Force One did not sit well with the New York tabloids. Yes, that’s a milk bottle.: Courtesy of the New York Daily News
(AlterNet) The Couch: Have you seen the advertisement in which Newt sits in a love seat with Nancy Pelosi, on behalf of Al Gore’s non-profit, to call for Congress to take action on climate change? Well, you will—Rep. Ron Paul has already featured the clip in an online ad. Although he maintained at the time that “our country must take action to prevent climate change,” Gingrich now says he doesn’t think the science is settled and it’s not the government’s role to involve itself with climate change.
He calls the ad his single biggest regret in life. Which brings us to…
The hospital bed: In some ways, the fact, first reported in MoJo, that Gingrich hammered out the details of his first divorce while his wife was in the hospital recovering from cancer isn’t even the most damaging revelation from that story. But it’s certainly damaging. One longtime Gingrich aide recalled: “Newt came up there with his yellow legal pad, and he had a list of things on how the divorce was going to be handled. He wanted her to sign it. She was still recovering from surgery, still sort of out of it, and he comes in with a yellow sheet of paper, handwritten, and wants her to sign it.” It’s a damaging enough story that he feltcompelled to mention it in his new fight-the-smears, site, “Answering the Attacks.”
The smoke-filled room: Since leaving Congress in 1998, Gingrich has reinvented himself as the epitome of everyone’s worst stereotypes of a Washington insider. His consulting firm has brought in more than $100 million in contracts since 2000, including $1.6 million from government-backed housing giant Freddie Mac—a payment Gingrich said initially was for his analysis as “a historian.” Although never a registered a lobbyist, he certainly fit the definition.
The inglorious exit: It almost seems like an afterthought given everything he’s done before and since, but Gingrich left Capitol Hill in disgrace, resigning from the House of Representatives after being slapped with a $300,000 fine for ethics violations. The only reason this hasn’t appeared in a Mitt Romney campaign ad yet is that, up until recently, it didn’t seem necessary.
The border: On immigration, Gingrich boldly went where Rick Perry had gone before, telling GOP voters that they should think twice before indiscriminately deporting all undocumented residents. To put it mildly, that’s heresy among social conservative voters in Iowa, where Gingrich hopes to win big. It’s a big reason why Perry is currently polling in single digits.
The dog house: Gingrich rose to the top of his party in the ’90s by eating his own. He publically rebuked the leader of his own party, then-president George H.W. Bush, on taxes. He aggravated senior members of his party like Bob Dole, who famously chewed him out for trying to have it both ways on spending, calling Gingrich and his cohorts “young hypocrites.” Rep. Peter King (R-NY) was just as dismissive: “He also has this incredible sense of exaggeration. Like, I don’t know how many times he’ll say, ‘This is the most corrupt act in the history of Western Civilization,’ or ‘the most despicable.’ You can only say that so many times.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), a former congressman, told Fox News Sunday that “I’m not inclined to be a supporter of Newt Gingrich’s having served under him for four years and experienced personally his leadership.” After Gingrich criticized Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan in June, the Wisconsin Rep. said, “with friends like that, who needs enemies.” Newt’s got plenty of enemies.
Planet Earth: Gingrich was a dues-paying member of the Sierra Club, as Mike Mechanicnoted, from 1984 to 1990. During that period, he publicly opposed drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, calling it a “180-day quick fix.” In the name of preventing global warming, he also supported the 1989 Global Warming Prevention Act, which called for global population control—hugely problematic for social conservatives, who conflate family planning programs with contraception and abortion. In 2009, he called for “mandatory carbon caps,” a position he now derides it as an “anti-energy, big bureaucracy agenda.” It goes much, much deeper than a one-time-off appearance on a couch with Pelosi. Speaking of large, gaseous spheres…
Planet Newt: When he tried out for his high school football team in the 1960s, the equipment manager had to order acustom-made helmet to accomodate his head. This, it turned out, was a metaphor: Newt Gingrich is arrogrant. It’s not a cheap shot to say that. He said it himself, many times over. To read through Gingrich’s log of quotes is to hear a politician perpetually talking about himself. “If you’re not in the Washington Post everyday, you might as well not exist,” he said in 1989. “I’m unavoidable,” he said in 1985. “I represent real power.” In 1989, he explained why he fought with his second wife: “It’s not even that it matters to me. It’s just the habit of dominance, the habit of being the center of my staff and the center of the news media.” It’s not just off-putting; it’s often disastrous. As conservative columnist George Will argued on Sunday, Gingrich “embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive…His temperament—intellectual hubris distilled—makes him blown about by gusts of enthusiasm for intellectual fads…”
Mandate, mandate, mandate: Have you heard of this thing called Obamacare? It’s a pretty big deal on the political right, mostly because it contains an individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance if they can afford it. Gingrich has been characteristically outspoken in his opposition to the mandate recently. But there’s one little problem: Before he decided it was an unconstitutional, tyrannical abuse of power, he was all for the individual mandate. In a 2007 column, he called on Congress to “require anyone who earns more than $50,000 a year to purchase health insurance or post a bond.” He made the same pitch in 2005. Hey, there’s even a video of it—and, what do you know, he’s sitting just across from conservative favorite Hillary Clinton:
Odds of this appearing in someone else’s campaign ad? 1-1.
The Exodus: Gingrich’s political aggression and impulsiveness sometimes pays off. It also frequently ends in disaster—as it did last June, when his entire Iowa campaign staff quit en masse over complaints that (among other things) he lacked discipline and frugality. To the extent that many of those staffers then went on to work for Perry, you could say that Gingrich had the last laugh. But the consequence of that is that Gingrich didn’t even have an Iowa campaign office until late last week. Organization is everything in the caucuses, and with just a few weeks to go, Newt doesn’t really have one.
(AP) Texas Rep. Ron Paul is emerging as a significant factor in the Republican presidential race, especially in Iowa. He’s been long dismissed by the GOP establishment, but the libertarian-leaning candidate is now turning heads beyond his hard-core followers – and rising in some polls – just weeks before the state holds the leadoff presidential caucuses and four years since his failed 2008 bid.
Paul’s sharp criticism of government spending and U.S. monetary policy hasn’t changed since then.
And while his isolationist brand of foreign policy may be a non-starter for some establishment Republicans, its appeal among independents is helping Paul gain ground in a crowded Republican field. His boost is an indication of just how volatile the Republican presidential race is in this state and across the country.
“The good news is the country has changed in the last four years in a way I never would have believed,” Paul told about 80 Republicans and independents at the Pizza Ranch restaurant in this town on Friday. “In the last four years, something dramatic has happened.”
What has helped Paul rise here has been more methodic than dramatic
His campaign here is a stark comparison to the shoestring, rag-tag operation of four years ago that attracted a narrow band of supporters.
This time, he has built an Iowa organization with the look of a more mainstream campaign. He has raised more money and started organizing his campaign earlier than before. Paul was the first candidate to begin airing television ads this fall, and has maintained the most consistent advertising schedule in Iowa.
“We have a more structured, methodical, traditional campaign with Ron Paul here in Iowa more often,” said Drew Ivers, an Iowa Republican Party central committee member and Paul’s Iowa campaign chairman.
Paul is better-known this time, and has spent almost twice as much time in Iowa at this point in the 2012 campaign than in his bid for the 2008 caucuses. Paul finished in fifth place, closely behind Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson in Iowa in 2008.
The intense focus on Iowa this time may be working, with surveys showing Paul is reaching deeper into the caucus electorate.
A recent Bloomberg News poll showed him in close second place in Iowa, behind Herman Cain and narrowly ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Two weeks earlier, The Des Moines Register’s poll showed Paul in solid third place, behind Cain and Romney.
But it’s unclear whether Paul can cobble together a broad enough electorate to win the caucuses with a plurality of the vote. At the very least, he will impact the results of the Jan. 3 contest. But to what degree is anyone’s guess.
The one thing that hasn’t changed from four years ago is Paul’s style.
He remains the mild-mannered, professorial former obstetrician, delivering long explanations of the history of U.S. monetary and trade policy.
In Vinton, he stoked the audience when he called for cutting $1 trillion from the federal deficit his first year in office, primarily by vastly reducing U.S. foreign aid.
But he also called for shrinking the military budget by reducing the U.S. military presence around the world, arguing that Congress and military contractors are too closely tied together.
“Yes, we have to have national security, but we don’t get it by bankrupting our country and being in everyone’s face constantly,” Paul said.
The sentiment rings true with Charles Betz, a 47-year-old network engineer from nearby Tama, Iowa. He has typically been an independent voter, but is registered as a Republican so he can caucus for Paul on Jan. 3.
It’s Paul’s foreign and national security policy that has drawn fire from establishment Republicans. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who is competing with Paul in Iowa for the outsider vote, has been vocally critical of Paul’s stance.
So has Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican who has been courted by most of the GOP candidates.
“I gave Paul credit for having the most ambitious plan to reduce the debt, which he does,” Branstad told The Associated Press. “But I don’t agree with him on foreign policy, at all. I’m real concerned with his views on that.”
Paul’s rivals have particularly criticized his view that Iran does not pose a serious threat to the U.S., a point Paul made again Friday.
“Think about how the war drums were beating to get into Iraq. None of it was true, and I don’t believe the stories now about why we should be shaking in our boots over Iran,” he said. “They are absolutely incapable of attacking us.”
Paul was traveling from small-town Vinton to equally small Anamosa Friday, before capping the day with a major rally in metropolitan Cedar Rapids, where he was to be endorsed by the founder of the Cedar Rapids tea party.
His focus isn’t limited to Iowa.
Paul will be in New Hampshire early next week, where he finished fifth four years ago.
This time, Paul’s fiscally-conservative profile combined with his anti-interventionist foreign policy could help him do better.
As in Iowa, he established a paid Iowa staff in New Hampshire earlier, and larger than his 2008 campaign. He was the first candidate to run ads in the state this time.
(Paul Joseph Watson) Despite being given just 89 seconds of speaking time during Saturday’s Republican debate, Congressman Ron Paul is in a dead heat with fellow top tier candidates Cain, Romney and Gingrich for the highly influential Iowa caucuses, placing second just one percentage point behind Cain amongst likely voters.
“A Bloomberg News poll shows Cain at 20 percent, Paul at 19 percent, Romney at 18 percent and Gingrich at 17 percent among the likely attendees with the caucuses that start the nominating contests seven weeks away.”
Paul is undoubtedly in the strongest position going into the race, because his support is “more solidified than his rivals,” a key factor given that 60 per cent of respondents in the poll said they could still be persuaded to change their vote.
32 per cent of Paul’s backers say they are sticking with the Congressman, whereas only 25 per cent of Romney supporters and 17 per cent of Gingrich voters say the same.
Being the first event of the electoral nomination process, taking place this year on January 3, the Iowa caucuses are traditionally seen as a highly influential in determining the final GOP nominee. If Ron Paul takes Iowa he can no longer be ignored by the establishment media and will have a genuine shot at building momentum for a victorious campaign.
The results of the poll vindicate the Paul campaign’s angry response to CBS News’ treatment of the Congressman when he was afforded just 89 seconds out of a 90 minute debate on Saturday night in South Carolina.
It subsequently transpired that Paul and other candidates had been the victims of a deliberate CBS policy to restrict questions to so-called lesser candidates, despite the fact that Paul’s figures have consistently proven he is a top tier performer.
As Reason’s Seth McKelvey highlights, even candidates with significantly lower polling figures than Paul were given more time.
Despite his embarrassing faux-pas in the previous debate when he failed to remember the name of the federal agency he wanted to abolish, Rick Perry, whose support has been sinking for weeks, was given the most time out of all the candidates during the CBS News debate.
(Paul Joseph Watson) Congressman Ron Paul was a victim of what later transpired to be a deliberate policy on behalf of CBS News to restrict the air time of certain candidates during last night’s Republican debate, after he was afforded just 90 seconds of speaking time during the course of the event in South Carolina last night.
Paul’s campaign reacted furiously to the Texan being limited to 90 seconds in what was a 90 minute-long debate, with Campaign Manager John Tate blasting out an email entitled “What a Joke,” in which he stated, “It literally made me sick watching the mainstream media once again silence the one sane voice in this election. The one dissenter to a decade of unchecked war. The one candidate who stands for true defense and actual constitutional government. Ron Paul was silenced, in perhaps the most important debate of the cycle.”
A scientific study undertaken by the University of Minnesota last month confirmed that Ron Paul had been given the least speaking time out of all the Republican candidates during the debates, even less than the likes of John Huntsman and Rick Santorum, who have routinely been beaten by Paul in national polls.
As Marc Fortier points out, an email inadvertently sent to Michelle Bachmann’s campaign clearly indicates that certain candidates were given less air time as a result of a deliberate CBS policy.
When a CBS staffer referenced how Bachmann’s campaign had made representatives available for an after-debate webshow, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson responded by saying, “Okay let’s keep it loose though since she’s not going to get many questions and she’s nearly off the charts in the hopes that we can get someone else.”
Dickerson’s admission that CBS had deliberately ensured Bachmann was “not going to get many questions” during the debate indicated “a planned effort to limit questions to Michele Bachmann at tonight’s CBS/National Journal Debate,” the Bachmann campaign said in a statement.
Obviously, that policy of limiting air time to certain candidates was also applied to Congressman Ron Paul, despite the fact that he has consistently won straw polls and proven himself as a top tier candidate in national polls.
As we have documented, despite his popularity the establishment media has deliberately downplayed and sidelined Paul’s campaign.
After Ron Paul finished a close second to Bachmann in the highly regarded Ames straw poll, and was subsequently blacklisted by the corporate press, Politico’s Roger Simon said the reason for him being ignored was that “the media doesn’t believe he has a hoot in hells chance of winning the Iowa caucuses, the Republican nomination or winning the presidency, so we’re gonna ignore him.”
“We are in the business of kicking candidates out of the race,” CNN host Howard Kurtz responded.
( Trevor Lyman) While the online poll conducted by CNN shows Ron Paul as the clear winner with 75% of the votes, CNN reporters pull a fast one by citing a lesser known poll hosted at National Journal claiming Ron Paul came in at 0%.
CNN discards their own poll in favor of another poll that shows results more to their liking.
This is overt propaganda.
The National Journal poll cited by CNN now shows Ron Paul in the lead with 33% of the vote.
Call CNN: 404-827-1500
(Jay Root) Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced Friday that he will run for the GOP nomination for president in 2012, the third attempt for the man known on Capitol Hill as “Dr. No” for his enthusiasm for bashing runaway spending and government overreach.
“Time has come around to the point where the people are agreeing with much of what I’ve been saying for 30 years. So, I think the time is right,” said the 75-year-old Paul, who first ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988.
Paul made his announcement in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” from New Hampshire, where he planned his first event for his presidential campaign on Friday.
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