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Who can save the Republican Party from itself?
February 23rd, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Who can save the Republican Party from itself?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Republican Party resembles a circular firing squad.

They may manage to lose an election they could win - against a weakened incumbent in a troubled economy.

Which is why many Republicans are dissatisfied with the state of the GOP race for president and the remaining candidates.

There's Mitt Romney, who's been running for six years, has all the money in the world, and still can't get the party to line up behind him. Newt Gingrich seems to have done himself in after a couple spikes of momentum. Ron Paul has rabid supporters, just not enough of them to make a difference.

And of course, Rick Santorum, the current flavor of the month - who has a history of controversial comments, including about Satan, and lost his own U.S.Senate seat in Pennsylvania by double digits.

It's no wonder some Republicans are still looking for a savior.

A new Quinnipiac poll shows New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the top choice of Republicans if there winds up being a "brokered convention." Christie - who gets 32% support - is followed by former Governors Sarah Palin and Jeb Bush at 20% and Indiana governor Mitch Daniels at 15%.

One of the reasons a lot of people like Christie is because he's such a straight talker. Most recently Christie told Warren Buffet to "just write a check and shut up." Gotta love it.

Christie is a Romney supporter who insists he's not interested in running himself. Too bad. You could put the Christie-Obama debates on Pay-Per-View and retire the national debt.

Other Republicans who might still jump into the race include Congressman Paul Ryan, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Here’s my question to you: Who can save the Republican Party from itself?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • Republican Party
Why can't Mitt Romney catch fire with conservatives?
February 13th, 2012
03:16 PM ET

Why can't Mitt Romney catch fire with conservatives?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Mitt Romney's not selling what conservatives want to buy.

His focus on jobs and the economy just isn't connecting with the right wing of the GOP.

Peter Beinart writes in The Daily Beast that the Republican base is more fired up about how to keep government from destroying liberty than how to use government to grow the economy.

Yes, conservatives see shrinking government and boosting the economy as related, but their focus is on greater freedom.

It helps explain the success of many of the GOP candidates who have caught fire this time around - from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and currently Rick Santorum.

All of them have described the 2012 election on some level as a struggle between government tyranny and individual freedom.

Chances are in November, more Americans will want to hear about how the next president can fix the economy and create jobs - which would play into Romney's strengths.

But for now he needs to figure out how to make conservatives like him.

And, here's a hint: His speech at the Conservative Politcal Action Conference is not the answer. In it, Romney described himself as a "severely conservative Republican governor." That's just awful.

Severely conservative?

It once again highlighted his problems on the right.

But Romney did get some good news over the weekend. After the Santorum sweep last Tuesday, Romney narrowly defeated Ron Paul to win the Maine caucuses, and he won the straw poll vote at CPAC.

And there's this: Should Romney become the nominee, conservatives could fall into line faster if they think it means defeating President Obama.

Here’s my question to you: Why can't Mitt Romney catch fire with conservatives?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans
How does Rick Santorum's sweep change the race?
February 8th, 2012
03:54 PM ET

How does Rick Santorum's sweep change the race?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Santorum sweep of Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado once again raises serious questions about why many conservatives can't stomach Mitt Romney.

One, it wasn't even close. And two, Romney failed in places where he was successful four years ago.

Santorum had more than double Romney's support in Missouri.

Romney came in third in Minnesota, a state he won in 2008.

And worst of all for Romney, he was losing Colorado, where he won 60% of the vote last time around.

Writing for the Daily Beast, CNN political contributor Paul Begala points out Romney has more national experience, more staff, more money and "better hair" than Santorum.

Begala described Romney's losses this way, "There's a technical term in political consulting for a performance like that: It's called sucking."

Although Romney is still the GOP's likely nominee, Tuesday’s thumpings will make more people wonder about his electability.

Santorum is now out to convince Republicans that he, not Newt Gingrich, is the strongest conservative challenger to Romney.

And the convergence of recent events is a conservative's dream come true, from the Komen Planned Parenthood uproar to the Proposition 8 ruling in California to President Obama's dust-up with the Catholic Church over birth control.

As for Gingrich, his showing pretty much confirmed that it's over for him.

For Republicans, none of this can be very encouraging. Low turnout in Tuesday’s races suggests Republican voters aren't overly thrilled with any of their choices.

President Obama must be watching all this the way NASCAR fans enjoy a multi-car pileup at the race track.

Here’s my question to you: How does Rick Santorum's sweep change the race?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Rick Santorum
Is Newt Gingrich kidding himself at this point?
February 7th, 2012
03:49 PM ET

Is Newt Gingrich kidding himself at this point?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Another primary/caucus day - and with it, yet another day of bad news for Newt Gingrich. In this case, it looks like three more losses.

For starters, Gingrich isn't even on the ballot in Missouri. Plus, recent polling shows him in third place in Colorado and Minnesota. That’s probably why Gingrich is in none of these states today, choosing instead to campaign in Ohio.

Newt's future doesn't look too bright at this point. There are two more weeks to go before the next debate, where he tends to excel. At the end of the month come Arizona and Michigan. Romney is favored in both.

Super Tuesday is on March 6, but Gingrich has even given up on getting on the ballot in his adopted home state of Virginia that day.

When Gingrich took a beating at the hands of Mitt Romney in Nevada - much like he did in Florida - he seemed to ignore the results.

Gingrich held a bizarre news conference after the Nevada loss in which he vowed to "find a series of victories which by the end of the Texas primary will leave us at parity" with Romney.

Say what?

The writing is on the wall for Newt - but it appears he's the only one who can't see it. Former candidate Michele Bachmann says she thinks the race will soon be over; and tea party leader Dick Armey says Gingrich is a lost cause for those voters.

Meanwhile, here’s one more sign that Gingrich is losing touch: Wikipedia says Gingrich's communications director has made or requested dozens of edits on Gingrich's behalf. These include factual references to Gingrich's three marriages and ethics charges brought against him while U.S. House speaker.

Here’s my question to you: Is Newt Gingrich kidding himself at this point?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Newt Gingrich
How much will Sarah Palin and Herman Cain help Newt Gingrich?
January 30th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

How much will Sarah Palin and Herman Cain help Newt Gingrich?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the Florida primary comes down to the wire, Newt Gingrich finds himself trailing badly in the polls but getting support from two high-profile Republicans.

The question is whether it will do him any good.

Former presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain endorsed Gingrich over the weekend.

He called Gingrich a "patriot" who is not afraid of bold ideas.

Cain – who pulled off a surprising win in a Florida straw poll last summer – remains popular among grass-roots conservatives.

But he dropped out of the race in December amid allegations of sexual harassment and marital infidelity.

Then there's Sarah Palin. While she hasn't formally endorsed anyone, it sure seems like the former governor of Alaska is rooting for Gingrich.

Palin is calling on Republicans to vote for Gingrich to "shake up" the establishment "if for no other reason to rage against the machine, vote for Newt, annoy a liberal."

Palin has described the establishment Republicans backing Romney as "cannibals."

While Palin says she respects Mitt Romney, she says there are serious concerns about his record as a conservative. Palin says this primary should not be rushed to an end, adding, "we need to vet this."

You mean the way Palin was vetted for the vice presidency four years ago?

Meanwhile, Gingrich may need all the help he can get in Florida.

Four polls in a row there show Romney with a double-digit lead over Gingrich; the latest one shows Romney up by 14 points.

Here’s my question to you: How much will Sarah Palin and Herman Cain help Newt Gingrich?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Herman Cain • Newt Gingrich • Republican Party • Republicans • Sarah Palin
Is it good or bad that Newt Gingrich makes establishment Republicans nervous?
January 26th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Is it good or bad that Newt Gingrich makes establishment Republicans nervous?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Newt Gingrich is sending chills down the spines of establishment Republicans, and it's positively entertaining to watch.

These Republicans say things like it would be "a disaster" if he's the nominee, "There's a reason most people who know him best aren't supporting him" and "Newt means losing 45 states."

They say they're worried Gingrich would bring back the erratic, chaotic and crazy leadership from his time as House Speaker.

What's more, many worry that Gingrich at the top of the ticket would drag down Republican candidates for the House and Senate. In a nutshell, they don't think Gingrich could ever beat President Obama.

So far only 12 sitting Republican lawmakers have backed Gingrich, while more than 60 support Mitt Romney. Many who worry about Gingrich also say they doubt he'll be the party's nominee.

The irony here is that being the anti-establishment candidate could be the best thing Gingrich has going for him. The so-called establishment includes a few hundred of the most powerful and elite Republicans, from lobbyists to senior members of Congress to TV and newspaper pundits.

But Americans are fed up with the political establishment and if the inner circle of Republicans is nervous about Newt, it could actually help him with the average voter. Gingrich also seems to thrive when he's playing the insurgent.

Meanwhile, you can bet the GOP establishment has got a close eye on Florida. They say they're not at DEFCON 5 yet.

But they just might get there if Gingrich wins Florida and presents an even more serious challenge to Romney. I love it.

Here’s my question to you: Is it good or bad that Newt Gingrich makes establishment Republicans nervous?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Newt Gingrich • Republican Party • Republicans
When is the proper time to release a potentially damaging interview with one of Newt Gingrich's ex-wives?
FILE PHOTO: Newt Gingrich sits next to his now ex-wife, Marianne, in a 1995 photo.
January 19th, 2012
12:40 PM ET

When is the proper time to release a potentially damaging interview with one of Newt Gingrich's ex-wives?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

What's that phrase of which Republicans are so fond? "Family values"?

Just two days before the South Carolina primary, Newt Gingrich's second ex-wife is out with some tawdry details about him that suggest he has the morals of an alley cat.

In fact, Marianne Gingrich tells ABC News that Newt lacks the moral character to be president. Married to Gingrich for 18 years, says she's coming forward now so voters can know what she knows about him.

And here's what she knows:

She says Newt asked for an "open marriage" so he could have a wife and a mistress. That mistress has since become his third and current wife, Callista.

Gingrich reportedly asked Marianne if she would "share him" when he admitted to a six-year affair with Callista, who is a former congressional aide.

Keep in mind this was around the same time that Gingrich was going after President Bill Clinton for his lack of moral leadership during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Marianne says Newt asked for a divorce just months after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Gingrich divorced his first wife while she was being treated for cancer. Family values.

Meanwhile, ABC News will air the full interview tonight on "Nightline." Apparently there was disagreement at the network over the timing of the interview, given its potential effect on Saturday's primary in South Carolina.

The Drudge Report first leaked word of the interview last night –14 years and a day after Matt Drudge broke the Monica Lewinsky story.

As for Gingrich, so far his response to all this seems to be referring the press to ask his daughters about it. It's part of that whole family values thingy.

Here’s my question to you: When is the proper time to release a potentially damaging interview with one of Newt Gingrich's ex-wives?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • Newt Gingrich • Republican Party • Republicans
If Mitt Romney wins South Carolina, should the other Republican candidates drop out and support him?
January 17th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

If Mitt Romney wins South Carolina, should the other Republican candidates drop out and support him?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a saying in politics that goes "Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line."

And it looks like it's about time for the remaining Republican candidates to fall in line behind the dominant front-runner, Mitt Romney.

If Romney wins South Carolina's primary on Saturday - where he's ahead in the polls, he will have pulled off a trifecta - winning the first three nominating contests in a row.

At that point, the other candidates - Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Rick Perry - ought to think about packing their bags and heading home.

It would be a fine time for them to go the way of Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman before them.

In case they haven't noticed, Republican voters for the most part are backing Romney, as he's opened up a commanding 23 point lead in one national poll.

The new Gallup poll shows Romney with 37% support from Republicans - that's a 13 point jump in this poll since just before the Iowa caucuses.

Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are at 14%, Ron Paul is at 12%, Rick Perry is at a measly 5%.

Pollsters suggest that historically, the post-New Hampshire leader in national polls has gone on to win the Republican nomination. Romney is not only leading by more than 20 points, but his margin is growing.

If the other Republicans choose to stay in the race and keep beating up on Romney, they're only giving the Democrats and President Obama more material to use against Romney in the general election.

Here’s my question to you: If Mitt Romney wins South Carolina, should the other Republican candidates drop out and support him?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • Mitt Romney • Republican Party • Republicans
Is the Republican race over?
January 11th, 2012
04:49 PM ET

Is the Republican race over?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If the Republican primary race was a movie, the director might be ready to yell "Cut, print. That's a wrap!"

Mitt Romney is plowing ahead into South Carolina with the wind at his back after becoming first non-incumbent Republican in modern history to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. He may now be all but unstoppable.

Not too bad considering the Republicans have spent the past year trying out a whole roster of other candidates as the anti-Romney.

They've kicked the tires of everyone from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich and, most recently, Rick Santorum. And despite brief spikes in the polls, none of these candidates has been able to present a serious challenge to Romney. And if they're going to, they better start. Time is running short.

John Avlon writes for The Daily Beast that Romney is "ready for prime time" after his double-digit New Hampshire victory.

Consider this: Romney won almost every major demographic in New Hampshire. He won Catholic voters - even though he is a Mormon and ran against two Catholics. He also won evangelical voters and tea party supporters - despite all the talk that he wasn't conservative enough for the right wing of the party.

And the rest of the crowd doesn't seem to get it. Despite weak performances in New Hampshire - especially by Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry - the whole group will stumble on into South Carolina.

There's an old expression that goes, "When it's over, it's over."

Here’s my question to you: Is the Republican race over?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Gov. Rick Perry • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Republican Party • Republicans • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul
What issues will ultimately decide the Republican nomination?
January 10th, 2012
03:45 PM ET

What issues will ultimately decide the Republican nomination?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

What issues will decide GOP nomination? Economy, foreign policy, health care?

As the Republican candidates for president scramble to try to win their party's nomination, they're appealing to voters on a wide range of issues - everything from the economy to foreign policy.

But the candidate that Republicans wind up choosing may say a lot about what issue matters most.

Recent polls show that Americans on the whole are overwhelmingly concerned about the economy, citing issues like high unemployment and the deficit.

Other top concerns include health care, entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare and the threat from terrorism.

Further down the list are taxes, the size of government, illegal immigration, foreign policy and moral issues like abortion and gay marriage. The so-called wedge issues that always play a large role in the primaries.

If Mitt Romney turns out to be the Republican nominee - as many people expect - to some extent, his support could come from voters who see his business background as a strength in turning around the economy.

Of course all the Republicans have been vocal in slamming President Obama's economic policies.

When it comes to foreign policy, Ron Paul has strong views against the wars and a more isolationist perspective than the other candidates. Jon Huntsman also comes to the table with his experience as ambassador to China.

On health care, Romney could have a difficult time opposing President Obama's health care law due to a similar law he supported as governor of Massachusetts.

As for social issues, Rick Santorum is appealing to social conservatives in large part based on issues like gay marriage and abortion.

Here’s my question to you: What issues will ultimately decide the Republican nomination?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans
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