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Is a long GOP primary good for the party?
March 20th, 2012
03:06 PM ET

Is a long GOP primary good for the party?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Another Tuesday, another Republican presidential primary.

And if the candidates have their way, there could be many more to come, before it's all over.

But some GOP heavyweights don't see it that way.

They're worried this long, drawn-out, bare-knuckle blood letting may wind up hurting the party in the long run.

Karl Rove, the so-called "architect" of George W. Bush's 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns, told Fox News the "scales have moved from the long process being a positive to being a negative."

And he thinks some of the "worst moments for the Republicans" have occurred just in recent weeks.

Senator John McCain - who knows a thing or two about how ugly it can get on the campaign trail - calls this race the "nastiest" he has ever seen.

He's stumping for Mitt Romney this time around, but that didn't stop him from telling NBC "everyday that goes by" with these candidates attacking each other is "a day that President Obama wins."

Doesn't matter. At this point there's no end in sight.

Romney won big in Puerto Rico over the weekend.

But who can forget last Tuesday's embarrassing losses not only to Rick Santorum, but Newt Gingrich as well in Mississippi and Alabama.

The pundits say Illinois is a "must-win" state for him. Aren't they all?

They said the same thing for Ohio and Michigan, the state where he grew up and his father was governor.

He won, but just barely in those two states.

Santorum, meanwhile, is banking on another big surprise tonight.

He's done it before, but if the polls are right, it might not happen this time.

Oh, and then there are Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

Neither one apparently willing to read the writing on the wall and throw in the towel.

It may be March, but it seems like we've only just begun.

Here’s my question to you: Is a long GOP primary good for the party?

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
Is Rick Santorum suddenly doing himself in?
March 20th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Is Rick Santorum suddenly doing himself in?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some people just can't stand prosperity. Exhibit A: Rick Santorum.

You'd think after last week's wins in Alabama and Mississippi, he'd be on his "A" game in Illinois. Not so much.

On Monday, he said, "I don't care what the unemployment rate is going to be. It doesn't matter to me."

Issue No. 1 for voters, the economy, doesn't matter? That statement goes beyond stupid.

A spokesman later tried to do damage control by arguing that the campaign isn't solely about the economy but also about returning freedom and restoring the country's greatness. And just how do we do that, Ricky, with a $15 trillion national debt, millions of Americans out of work and an unemployment rate north of 8%?

Call it whatever you want, but Mitt Romney - who's already selling the line that his chief rival is an "economic lightweight" - pounced.

Santorum insists that the country doesn't want another "Wall Street financier" like Romney as president, but there are reports that a message focused more on government outreach and wars against pornography than on whether Americans have a job is inspiring fear among some supporters.

And this isn't the first time Santorum has gotten himself into some trouble. Last month, he said he "almost threw up" after reading John F. Kennedy's famous 1960 speech declaring that a president's religious views were private and should not be "imposed by him upon the nation."

Again, he tried to walk it back, but once the words come out of your mouth, it's tough to put them back in.

To quote that great philosopher James Carville, "It's the economy, stupid!"

Here’s my question to you: Is Rick Santorum suddenly doing himself in?

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 • Rick Santorum
What's Newt Gingrich up to?
March 19th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

What's Newt Gingrich up to?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some people just can't take a hint.

It's the eve of the Illinois primary, and Newt Gingrich is still here.

Well, actually, as of Sunday, he was in Washington taking in the cherry blossoms. He was reportedly seen dining at a trendy restaurant with his wife, Callista.

The voters have made it abundantly clear they are not interested in Gingrich being our next president.

He has won two states so far - South Carolina and his home state of Georgia.

He was supposed to do well in the South, but Rick Santorum busted him up big time last week in Alabama and Mississippi.

The leadership of the Republican Party has quietly made it known it would be a good idea for Gingrich to acknowledge what everyone else seems to be able to see so clearly and make his exit. But like an old hoofer addicted to the footlights, he just can't bring himself to get off the stage.

Gingrich has indicated he intends to remain in the race all the way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Dumb idea.

The longer he stays in, the wider Mitt Romney's delegate lead becomes. As long as Gingrich and Santorum divide the conservative vote, Romney gets closer to being the nominee.

Gingrich continues to use his daughters to shill for him, which must be embarrassing for them on some level.

They can read the numbers like everyone else.

Here’s my question to you: What's Newt Gingrich up to?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Newt Gingrich
What's the real answer to rising gas prices?
March 19th, 2012
02:05 PM ET

What's the real answer to rising gas prices?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The gas price saga is like the movie "Groundhog Day."

We've been here before. Many times.

President Obama says gas prices make things harder and Mitt Romney says Obama wants higher gas prices.

When gas prices get to a certain level, it becomes the president's fault.

Happens over and over. The president's response (doesn't matter who the president is - they all do the same thing).

Name a commission to look into speculation, call to release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve. (That's not what that oil is meant for).

And threaten to remove the subsidies enjoyed by the big oil companies. (The subsidies are never touched.)

Sometimes some oil is released from the strategic reserves. Sometimes this results in a temporary decline in gas prices. Small and temporary.

The commissions looking into speculation don't do anything. They discover there is speculation - super sleuths that they are - but we already knew that. It's like the government commissions to reduce the deficit or cut spending. Meaningless.

And if you think the government is going to get aggressive cutting oil company subsidies in an election year, you're dreaming. You know how much money these outfits donate so their subsidies are left alone?

It's all a three-card monty game designed to lure the sucker citizens (you and me) into thinking the government really cares and is actually doing something meaningful.

Nothing is further from the truth.

We'll pay the higher prices until the market decides they're high enough, and they turn around and come down. That's how markets work - as opposed to the government, which doesn't.

Here’s my question to you: What's the real answer to rising gas prices?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Gas Prices
What does it mean if paying for health care will soon take your entire paycheck?
March 15th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

What does it mean if paying for health care will soon take your entire paycheck?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Taking care of yourself is rapidly becoming an economic issue of staggering proportions. In fact, you may want to grab a salad on the way home and get right on the treadmill when you get there. The day is coming in less than 20 years when health care costs may consume your entire paycheck.

In other words, illness will one day soon simply be unaffordable.

A new report by the Annals of Family Medicine suggests that less than 20 years from now, the average American family's medical costs will surpass their entire income.

It's no secret that health care costs have been growing faster than just about everything else in this country for decades.

And while that trend has slowed somewhat recently, the authors of this study say medical costs are still going up.

In 2009 and 2010, total spending on health care grew at a slower rate than any time on record. But it still grew, and it's going to keep on growing.

Then of course there's so-called Obamacare.

Critics say the president's controversial health care reform plan will only make matters worse.

The doctors who put this paper together say Obamacare is a "great first step, but it's not enough to get us where we need to go."

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Health care
Should campaign fund-raisers be invited to White House state dinners for foreign dignitaries?
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, arrives for last night's State Dinner in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House.
March 15th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Should campaign fund-raisers be invited to White House state dinners for foreign dignitaries?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama invited more than three dozen of his top campaign fundraisers to last night's State Dinner in honor of the British Prime Minister.

Some of the guests included:

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Vogue editor-in chief Anna Wintour along with executives from the private equity company Blackstone, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Microsoft.

Just to name a few.

In total – 47 of the more than 360 expected attendees are campaign bundlers or volunteer fundraisers for Mr. Obama's reelection efforts.

According to ABC News, the group on hand last night raised nearly $11 million of the $250 million President Obama and the Democrats have raised so far for 2012.

Everybody understands election campaigns require money - but is this the proper use of the White House?

These folks are known as "bundlers" and are a big deal in campaign finance. Federal campaign rules limit individual contributions to $2,500. That's where bundlers kick in and raise the big bucks from their associates.

President Obama also invited several campaign donors to a State Dinner for the president of South Korea back in October. Sort of like using the Lincoln bedroom to repay favors, isn't it?

It's not unusual for presidents to reward big supporters by inviting them to dinners with dignitaries. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did it.

But Mr. Obama ran on "the most sweeping ethics reform in history" back in 2008; and he likes to criticize the role money plays in politics.

Except when it's time to raise money for his reelection.

The more things change in Washington, the more they stay the same.

Here’s my question to you: Should campaign fund-raisers be invited to White House state dinners for foreign dignitaries?

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: Fundraising • White House
What's Mitt Romney's biggest problem?
March 14th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

What's Mitt Romney's biggest problem?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Another Tuesday, another failure by Mitt Romney to line up the party faithful behind him.

Not only did Romney lose yesterday's contests in Alabama and Mississippi, but he finished third in both, putting him behind Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

Even though Romney remains well ahead in the delegate count and even though he'll still likely win the nomination, he just can't put those nagging doubts among conservatives to rest.

CNN political contributor Paul Begala writes for The Daily Beast that Romney has gone from inevitable to unelectable:

"Somebody strap him to the roof of one of his Cadillacs and drive him off to one of his many mansions." Ouch.

Begala says the hard truth is the more voters see Romney, the less they like him. Begala calls on Romney to get out of the race.

Of course that's not happening, but Romney isn't doing himself any favors here.

On this very program yesterday, Romney proclaimed Rick Santorum was at the "desperate end" of his campaign.

24 hours later it almost looks like it's the other way around. Romney looks like the desperate one - with Southern conservatives seeing right through his supposed love for cheesy grits and catfish.

And so the race goes on and on and on. It's getting painful to watch. Santorum and Romney are expected to split the next few contests on the calendar.

Which leaves Newt Gingrich, who managed to have an even more embarrassing day than Romney. He's only won two states and failed to deliver in the South yesterday.

It's time for Newt to go - but he won't. Gingrich seems to think he's running against the "elite media," which may be why he keeps losing to the other candidates on the ballot.

Here’s my question to you: What's Mitt Romney's biggest problem?

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 • Mitt Romney
What does it mean when 1.5 million American families live on less than $2 a day per person?
March 14th, 2012
02:47 PM ET

What does it mean when 1.5 million American families live on less than $2 a day per person?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's something that should make you count your blessings:

Nearly 1.5 million American families live on $2 a day - or less - per person. $2 a day.

The numbers include some 2.8 million children.

We should be ashamed of ourselves.

The national poverty center reports that households living in "extreme poverty" surged by 130% in the last 15 years.

It's estimated that more than half of these families are run by a single woman. More than a third are headed by a married couple.

Almost half were headed by whites, one-quarter by blacks, and less than a quarter by hispanics.

The center used the $2 a day measure since that's one of the world bank's main indicators of poverty in developing countries. Pretty sad commentary on the state of affairs in our own developed country.

Researchers didn't include food stamps in this measure. Once you factor in food stamps as income, the number of households in extreme poverty drops by almost half to 800,000.

Overall, a record 46.2 million Americans are living below the poverty line.

The federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars on programs to feed, shelter and house the poor.

It's estimated 1 in 6 Americans rely on public programs - with food stamps and Medicaid being the largest.

Mitt Romney recently came under fire for saying he's not concerned about the "very poor," saying: "There's a safety net there."

Not exactly the voice of a compassionate conservative.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when 1.5 million American families live on less than $2 a day per person?

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: On Jack's radar
Do Mississippi and Alabama represent Newt Gingrich's last stand?
March 13th, 2012
03:24 PM ET

Do Mississippi and Alabama represent Newt Gingrich's last stand?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Today's Southern primaries - in Mississippi and Alabama - might be Newt Gingrich's last stand. Or not. But they probably should be. He's not going to be our next president.

The former House Speaker has staked much of his campaign on the South. His only two victories so far were in South Carolina and his home state of Georgia. And he's hoping to deliver two more today.

He should have an advantage in the South. But the polls say he doesn't. They show him virtually tied with Romney in both Alabama and Mississippi.

A piece in The Daily Beast suggests that even if Gingrich wins today it won't matter. Patricia Murphy writes that historically Republicans who won in the South alone were doomed - candidates from Barry Goldwater to Mike Huckabee.

She describes a Southern strategy as a "recipe for disaster... not a path to the nomination."

CNN's Howard Kurtz also writing in The Daily Beast suggests that the media drumbeat for Gingrich's exit is growing louder because we want the race to go on longer. If Gingrich and Rick Santorum keep splitting the conservative vote, Romney is likely to wrap things up sooner, rather than later.

One top Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham, already says the race is "about over." Graham says that it's Romney's to lose due to his commanding delegate lead. CNN estimates that Romney has 459 delegates compared to 203 for Santorum and 118 for Gingrich.

But back to Newt. He says even if he doesn't have a "good day" today, he will stick around until the convention in Tampa. Maybe not.

If Gingrich loses in one or both Southern states today money might become harder to get; and without money, he goes nowhere.

Here’s my question to you: Do Mississippi and Alabama represent Newt Gingrich's last stand?

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 • Newt Gingrich
In light of recent events, what's the point of staying in Afghanistan?
Afghan protestors shouted anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration in Jalalabad today.
March 13th, 2012
03:23 PM ET

In light of recent events, what's the point of staying in Afghanistan?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

How much is enough?

The United States has been in Afghanistan for more than 10 years. And President Obama insists we will remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2014.

Why?

What will be accomplished by staying in that godforsaken hellhole for another 20 months that hasn't been accomplished in 10.5 years?

Events are beginning to conspire against the U.S. mission there. We had pictures of U.S. Marines urinating on dead bodies. We had the accidental burning of copies of the Quran, which further inflamed the hatred of the American presence there.

And now we have a U.S. soldier allegedly massacring 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children. The Taliban are threatening to begin beheading U.S. soldiers in response to this latest outrage.

Yet the Obama White House is insisting that none of this will deter us from our mission, which is what exactly? I have no idea what the hell we're doing there anymore. Isn't Osama bin Laden dead?

The Karzai government is a puppet regime that is barely friendly to our government, and the rest of the country hates our guts. Not unlike the way we might feel if an army of occupation had taken up residence in the United States and begun desecrating our dead, burning our Bibles and massacring our women and children.

Not to be cynical, but it's my nature. The one thing that might hasten our departure from Afghanistan is if Obama's re-election campaign is in trouble come Labor Day.

Suddenly with his second term in doubt, my guess is he might decide to move up the timetable for bringing our troops home. Hey, whatever it takes.

I don't know about you, but I've had a bellyful of Afghanistan.

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: Afghanistan
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