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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
What does Mitt Romney have to do to recapture his front-runner status?
December 13th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

What does Mitt Romney have to do to recapture his front-runner status?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With three weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, the pressure is squarely on Mitt Romney. It wasn't supposed to go this way at all. The Republican presidential nomination was supposed to be a coronation for Romney. But instead, Romney finds himself chasing Newt Gingrich, and Gingrich is pulling away.

In New Hampshire, Romney and Gingrich took off the gloves, throwing direct jabs at each other. Romney can no longer simply remain above the fray. The fray has frayed his lead rather badly.

New Hampshire was once considered a sure thing for Romney. Now it could be a make-or-break contest for him.

One New Hampshire pollster tells The New York Times that expectations are so high for Romney there that Gingrich could lose by 10 percentage points and still spin it as a win.

Gingrich – who is leading in the national polls as well as in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida – has narrowed the gap in New Hampshire to just 9 points in one recent poll.

What's working in Romney's favor is that New Hampshire voters think he's much more likely to beat President Obama than Gingrich is.

But these voters don't appear excited by Romney ... and the momentum is clearly with Gingrich.

For example, Gingrich held a town-hall-style meeting for a 1,000-person overflow crowd at a New Hampshire high school on Monday night. The applause was described as "deafening."

Meanwhile, Howard Kurtz writes in the Daily Beast that it's not time to rule out Romney just yet. Kurtz suggests that Romney is still a plausible president in these tough economic times and that his campaign is financed for the long haul. Maybe so, but remember, Romney already lost this race once. He's the same guy voters rejected four years ago.

Kurtz says Romney needs to demonstrate real passion and can't simply wait for Gingrich to self-destruct.

Oh, and he should probably stop making $10,000 bets.

Here’s my question to you: What does Mitt Romney have to do to recapture his front-runner status?

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 • Mitt Romney • Republican Party • Republicans
GOPers say Gingrich a favorite uncle, Romney a missing father?
December 7th, 2011
02:54 PM ET

GOPers say Gingrich a favorite uncle, Romney a missing father?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In a presidential election, a lot of things come into play when determining the outcome.

Our country is beset with countless serious problems. For starters, we're broke, we're not creating jobs the way we need to and congress and Washington are a divided, dysfunctional mess.

So every four years we get to listen to candidates who come forward with ideas about how to make our lives better. Like the candidates themselves, some of the ideas are good and others are not.

But at the end of the day, it's often the likeability or the power of a candidate to connect with voters that makes the difference.

On the Republican side, the choice increasingly looks like it's between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

And one study found some interesting differences between the two men. Democratic pollster Peter Hart has described a focus group of Republican primary voters done for the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

When asked what relative Gingrich reminded them of, several Republicans said a favorite uncle or a grandfather. They described Romney as a "missing father" or a second cousin. Not exactly warm and fuzzy feelings for Romney.

Just one more strike against the one-time presumed nominee.

Meanwhile, Politico reports on the many reasons why Gingrich might win this thing, including:

Romney being forced to play catch-up; Gingrich's message being perfect for the anti-Washington Times; Gingrich rocking the debates, which are drawing huge audiences; the Obama campaign doing much of the anti-Romney work; social conservatives distrusting Romney, and Gingrich has momentum on his side, with the first four states voting in January.

Here's my question to you: What does it mean when Republicans say Newt Gingrich reminds them of a favorite uncle or grandfather, while Mitt Romney reminds them of a missing father or second cousin?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Republican Party • Republicans
Should Ron Paul launch a third party run if he doesn't win the Republican nomination?
November 21st, 2011
03:55 PM ET

Should Ron Paul launch a third party run if he doesn't win the Republican nomination?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Keep your eyes on Ron Paul...

Because the Texas Congressman could have a major effect on the 2012 presidential race - whether or not he's the nominee.

Paul - who probably has the most passionate supporters of all the Republican candidates - is not ruling out a third party run.

He says he has no intention of mounting a third party bid for the White House, but - and it's a big but - he's not ruling it out.

A recent poll shows Paul getting 18% of the vote in a three-way contest against President Obama and Mitt Romney. And most of Paul's support would come at the expense of Mitt Romney.

That's why some Republicans call it a "nightmare scenario." They worry that a Ron Paul run would benefit President Obama - maybe even securing him a second term.

We've seen it before: When Ross Perot ran as a third party candidate in 1992 - the conventional wisdom was he handed Bill Clinton the election. Without Perot in the race, President Bush would have likely won re-election. Ralph Nader has also made several third party runs.

Plus, it's worth pointing out that our electoral system is stacked against a third party ever winning the White House.

Meanwhile - don't count Ron Paul out of the race for the Republican nomination quite yet.

Some say he could be a real threat in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

One poll shows Paul in a virtual four-way tie for first place in Iowa... and he's polling in the top three in New Hampshire.

Some experts say they wouldn't be surprised if Paul wins the Iowa caucuses and then shakes up the race even further in New Hampshire.

Ron Paul has been talking sense for a long time.... with the country now circling the drain, maybe more people are ready to listen.

Here’s my question to you: Should Ron Paul launch a third party run if he doesn't win the Republican nomination?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

In the GOP race for president, is Gingrich the tortoise and Romney the hare?
November 9th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

In the GOP race for president, is Gingrich the tortoise and Romney the hare?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Newt Gingrich says he's the tortoise - and Mitt Romney is the hare.

The former House Speaker is comparing the Republican presidential horse-race to Aesop's Fable:

"The bunny rabbit runs by and falls asleep. The tortoise just keeps coming. So hopefully in this game, Mitt Romney will be the bunny rabbit and I'll be the tortoise. That would all work out perfectly."

And Gingrich has reason to be hopeful:

He's seen a jump in the polls - along with a spike in his fund-raising - in recent weeks.

Gingrich is now polling in the double digits, which puts him in third place behind Romney and Herman Cain in several national polls. He's also in fourth place in Iowa.

Gingrich believes there's a "big opportunity for an alternative candidate" since Romney seems stuck at about 25% in the national polls. And Cain risks fizzling out with recent sexual harassment allegations. Gingrich thinks there's more room in the race for him.

He has performed well at the eight GOP debates so far, acting the role of the elder statesmen while some of his rivals bickered with each other. He will have another chance when the Republicans again debate tonight.

Gingrich's campaign was left for dead by many in the Spring. Several of his advisers quit after he took two weeks off to go on a Mediterranean cruise.

Meanwhile, this Republican race has been a volatile one - with many conservatives hoping for "anyone but Mitt."

Several candidates have seen temporary jumps in popularity - from Rick Perry to Michele Bachmann and now maybe Herman Cain.

All the while other Republicans held out hope for a candidate like Chris Christie to run.

Here’s my question to you: In the Republican race for president, is Newt Gingrich the tortoise and Mitt Romney the hare?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Republicans
Why are Republicans more likely than Democrats to go to church?
November 9th, 2011
03:43 PM ET

Why are Republicans more likely than Democrats to go to church?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republicans got God.

A new poll suggests they are much more likely to go to church than Democrats.

A Gallup Poll shows that 40% of Republicans say they attend church weekly.

Twenty-one percent say they attend nearly weekly or monthly, and 38% say they seldom or rarely go to church.

Compare that to only 27% of Democrats who say they go to church every week, 20% who say they go monthly and 52% of Democrats who say they seldom or never go to church.

These polls also show that Democrats are less religious than the average American, and Republicans are more religious.

Consider this: Almost one in five Democrats identify with no religious faith compared to only one in 10 Republicans who feel that way.

This might explain why religion often seems to play a more prominent role when it comes to Republican politicians, especially during primaries.

This time around in the GOP horse race for president:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry held a major prayer session in Houston before he announced his candidacy. Perry has also been known to pray for President Obama. In April, the Texas governor designated a three-day period as "days of prayer for rain" in his drought-stricken state.

Faith also plays a large role in Michele Bachmann's candidacy. While giving an economic speech just Tuesday, Bachmann suggested the United States return to its Judeo-Christian roots to bring back economic responsibility, "Cry out to holy God. It's not too late. He can save us."

As for Mitt Romney, it's unclear yet what impact, if any, his Mormon faith will have on his candidacy.

Here’s my question to you: Why are Republicans more likely than Democrats to go to church?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Democrats • Religion • Republicans
Which GOP candidate benefits most from Gov. Christie's decision not to run for president?
October 4th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Which GOP candidate benefits most from Gov. Christie's decision not to run for president?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has shut the door on a 2012 presidential run, saying "now is not my time."

Christie says he won't abandon the commitment he made to his state as governor – you know, unlike a certain half-term dropout governor of Alaska.

Christie put it this way: "New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me."

This also means that whether Republican voters like it or not, they are stuck with the current crop of Republican candidates.

Unless, that is, Sarah Palin decides she'll get in. But it's getting a little late for that. Plus, more than two-thirds of Republicans say they don't want Palin to run for president.

So with Christie out, it looks like Republicans will nominate either Mitt Romney or Rick Perry, who's sinking fast in the polls.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Romney leading the pack at 25%.

Perry is now tied for second place with businessman Herman Cain at 16%.

For Perry, that's a whopping 13 percentage-point drop in this poll.

The Texas governor's stock has been falling after a shaky debate performance and questions about where he stands on Social Security and immigration.

Cain, on the other hand, has been surging in national polls after his surprise win in the Florida straw poll – and a flurry of media attention.

Ron Paul is the only other candidate receiving double-digit support in this survey, at 11%.

With primary season sneaking up on us, it's time for Republicans to pick their poison.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • Gov. Chris Christie • Republican Party • Republicans
Should Chris Christie join the Republican race?
September 26th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Should Chris Christie join the Republican race?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said "no" just about every way imaginable when it comes to a presidential run in 2012.

But with a splintered Republican field and lack of enthusiasm, many GOP donors are hoping that "no" really means "yes."

And this time it might. Former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean tells the National Review that Christie is "very seriously" considering running.

Politico reports that he will decide in about a week.

As Rick Perry seems to be fizzling out, supporters think there's a rare historic opportunity for Christie to jump in.

Here's the thing: Chris Christie is the rare politician who does what he says.

As New Jersey governor, he's made tough budget cuts and taken on teachers unions and other entrenched interests.

Christie is pro-life - but not an ideologue - and he doesn't engage in the more extreme rhetoric of the tea party.

As one top Republican who watched Rick Perry's debate performance put it, Christie "can string a sentence together."

Christie's aides tell the Wall Street Journal that the governor has received a "relentless" stream of calls over the last week urging him to run; but they insist that his answer is still "no."

And there are several reasons Christie might yet decide to sit this one out:

He has no national fundraising apparatus. He's been governor for less than two years - which limits his record.

Christie himself has said he doesn't feel in his heart that he is "ready"... and Politico reports a source close to Christie says the governor doesn't think he's prepared on all the issues and is "leery of learning on the fly."

Here’s my question to you: Should Chris Christie join the Republican race?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Gov. Chris Christie • Republican Party • Republicans
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