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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
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
How much faith do you have in an online betting site to pick the winner in the Republican primary?
January 4th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

How much faith do you have in an online betting site to pick the winner in the Republican primary?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While some of us obsess over the polls, maybe there's a better way:

In Ireland there is an online betting parlor which boasts stunning accuracy in predicting the outcome of elections.

Intrade is a website which lets users swap contracts on events and its users are amazingly good at getting election results right.

In the 2004 presidential election Intrade bettors correctly picked the winner of every single state. In 2008 - they missed only two.

And, not to discourage the gaggle of GOP wannabees this year, but according to Intrade they have no shot. None.

Intrade pegs Romney at an 80% chance of winning the nomination. The next closest candidate is Newt Gingrich at 5%.

Which means the crop of Republican hopefuls can probably go home now and dream of what might have been.

Granted some of them will now that Iowa is over - see Michele Bachmann - and especially after New Hampshire is over, where Romney is expected to win by a landslide.

But there will likely be a few who refuse to recognize reality and instead stumble forward into South Carolina and beyond, spending other people's money, banging their jaws together in a never-ending quest to avoid what in their heart of hearts they know is going to happen anyway: They're going to lose.

And according to Intrade, if their name isn't Romney, they've already lost.

So wouldn't it be better if they just went away? Yes, it would. For all of us.

We're one week into the election year and I'm already tired of it.

I remember the national root canal that was Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton... as the two of them lurched from one primary to the next in a vicious knife fight for delegates that I thought would never end.

In the end, the country has a clear case of political fatigue.

If you believe Intrade, we can avoid all that.

Here’s my question to you: How much faith do you have in an online betting site to pick the winner in the Republican primary?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party
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
Which GOP candidate – Romney or Gingrich – is more likely to beat Pres. Obama?
December 1st, 2011
03:55 PM ET

Which GOP candidate – Romney or Gingrich – is more likely to beat Pres. Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's a high stakes game the Republican nominees for president are playing. If the election was held today, President Obama would likely lose. At this moment he is vulnerable and then some.

A recent Gallup Poll puts President Obama's approval rating almost three years into his first term lower than any other president in modern history...including Jimmy Carter. That's being vulnerable and then some. Jimmy Carter?

Gallup has President Obama's approval at 43%. The only other president in modern times with an approval rating almost that low was Lyndon Johnson - 44%... and he didn't run for a second term.

Over on the Republican side, Newt Gingrich has to be scaring the hell out of long-time presumed nominee Mitt Romney.

Gingrich has jumped to the top of the pack in national polls - and he's leading in key early voting states like Iowa and South Carolina.

And check out these numbers in the critical swing state of Florida:

A new American Research Group poll shows Gingrich with 50% to Romney's 19%. That's a 39-point jump for Gingrich since last month. If numbers like these hold in a state like Florida, it may be difficult for any of the other candidates to touch Gingrich.

Actually at this point it's probably safe to say the Republican nomination boils down to a race between Romney and Gingrich.

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 40% of Republicans think Romney has the best chance of beating President Obama. 21% say Gingrich. But maybe this particular poll didn't ask you... so we will.

Here’s my question to you: Which Republican candidate – Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich – is more likely to beat President Obama?

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.

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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