Are Rick Perry's 15 minutes up?
September 26th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Are Rick Perry's 15 minutes up?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Turns out Rick Perry may be all hat and no cattle.

Opponents lobbed the same criticism at another Texas governor and pretend cowboy, George W. Bush.

Watching Perry's most recent debate performance, it looked like he got his cowboy boot stuck in his mouth.

The Texas governor may be fading out of the Republican race as quickly as he shot to the top of the polls last month.

The signs of trouble are stacking up everywhere around Perry, starting with Mitt Romney closing the gap in the national polls. Although Perry is still at the top of the pack, Romney polls stronger against President Obama.

On the state level, Perry is losing one straw poll race after another:

In Florida, businessman Herman Cain pulled a surprise landslide victory. Cain's 37% win topped Perry and Romney combined. Perry was expected to win the Florida straw poll at the start of the weekend, but his underwhelming debate performance put him a distant second.

In Michigan's straw poll, Perry also finished second, this time to Romney, a native of Michigan.

And last week, Perry placed a distant second to Ron Paul in a California straw poll.

These straw polls are only mock elections and don't necessarily reflect how the primaries will go. But, if you are the Republican front-runner, there is an expectation that you win some of them.

An adviser to Jon Huntsman's campaign suggests it is becoming increasingly clear Perry can't perform, saying he has a case of "electile dysfunction."

Perry's people claim the Florida straw poll is a big loss for Mitt Romney, who has been in the campaign for much longer.

Here’s my question to you: Are Rick Perry's 15 minutes up?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Gov. Rick Perry • Republican Party • Republicans
What does it say that most of the 10 poorest states are Republican?
People wait in line for lunch at a soup kitchen.
September 22nd, 2011
05:00 PM ET

What does it say that most of the 10 poorest states are Republican?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the Republican race for the White House heats up, here's something the GOP can't be too comfortable with:

Most of the 10 poorest states in the country are Republican.

Mississippi is the poorest... followed by Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama and North Carolina.

And the list doesn't even include Texas, where Rick Perry is governor and one in five people lives in poverty.

In a piece on CNN.com, Roland Martin writes Republicans expect to win all 10 of these states in 2012, although President Obama won North Carolina by a slim margin in 2008 and West Virginia is usually considered a Democratic state.

Martin points out that despite the red-leanings in these states, you don't hear so much from Republicans about poverty.

In fact the word "poor" has barely come up at the GOP debates thus far. The only exceptions were:

- Rick Santorum discussing welfare reform

- Ron Paul suggesting the U.S. get rid of the minimum wage

- and Mitt Romney using the phrase "energy-poor."

Overall, Republicans believe their economic agenda is the best way to get people back to work - and many in the GOP are quick to blame President Obama for the rise in the poverty rate.

But how about addressing the root causes of poverty more directly - especially when millions of people in these so-called red states are suffering.

The Census Bureau reports a record $46.2 million Americans are living below the poverty line - which translates to about $22,000 a year for a family of four.

Minorities are especially hard hit - with 27% of blacks living in poverty and 26% of Hispanics compared to about 10% of whites.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say that most of the 10 poorest states are Republican?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Posted by
Filed under: Republican Party • Republicans
Does Rick Perry's lavish lifestyle match his country boy image?
September 12th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Does Rick Perry's lavish lifestyle match his country boy image?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Rick Perry would have us believe he's a country boy at heart, a down-home cowboy who can relate to the plight of ordinary Americans.

But there's another side to the Texas governor.

Politico reports that for years, Perry – who makes $150,000 a year as governor – has enjoyed additional lavish perks and travel, mostly funded by wealthy supporters.

Texas donors have paid for the governor and his family to travel around the world, sometimes on private jets; stay in luxury hotels and resorts; vacation in Colorado ski towns; and attend tons of sporting events and concerts.

Perry has also accepted a wide range of expensive gifts over the years, including 22 pairs of cowboy boots, some costing more than $500 a pop. Somebody even pays his cable TV bill.

Also, the taxpayers are paying the rent, at $8,500 a month, for Perry's 4,600-square-foot Austin mansion. The governor and his family have been living in the five-bedroom, seven-bath mansion since 2007 while the governor's mansion undergoes repair. Four years? What kind of repairs are those?

But it's all copacetic in the Lone Star State, which has some of the loosest ethics and campaign rules in the country.

Nonetheless, it's hard to imagine that supporters aren't buying influence when they lavish all these perks on the governor.

Some donors have wound up with appointments to state commissions or million-dollar state grants to businesses they're involved in.

Perry's camp insists that this is all on the up and up. A spokeswoman tells Politico that the governor fully discloses all gifts and travel in his financial disclosure statements.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • Gov. Rick Perry • Republican Party • Republicans
August 9th, 2011
04:47 PM ET

Is another religious, conservative Republican governor from Texas the answer to our prayers?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The great Yogi Berra said, "it's like deja vu all over again."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/08/09/art.rick.perry.jpg caption=""]
What we have here apparently is another religious, conservative Republican governor from Texas who wants to be president.

Only this one's last name isn't Bush.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to strongly signal his intention to run for president in a speech in South Carolina on Saturday.

Perry's announcement is timed perfectly to upset the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames which is also on Saturday. Although Perry's name isn't on the ballot in Iowa, supporters are waging a write-in campaign.

After the speech in South Carolina, Perry is off to New Hampshire and then to Iowa to headline a fundraiser Sunday night.

The tea party favorite already has a certain appeal among conservatives who are looking for more options in a pretty sad Republican field. Working in Perry's favor, the Texas economy is doing better than most. Almost 40% of all the new jobs created in the U.S. since the recession started are in Texas. The state also has a balanced budget.

But Haven't we been here and done this? We already lived though eight years of a Christian evangelical governor from Texas in the White House... and we're still in therapy from the trauma of that little experiment gone awry.

This past weekend, Perry addressed believers at an all-day prayer vigil in Houston. Perry asked God to help comfort Americans stung by the troubled economy. He also prayed for President Obama.

He did all this in a stadium that was less than half full. And what about that separation of church and state thingy?

Here’s my question to you: Is another religious, conservative Republican governor from Texas the answer to our prayers?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Conservaives v. Liberals • GOP • GOP Ticket • Religion • Republican Party • Republicans
July 12th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Michele Bachmann's leading in Iowa and Sarah Palin thinks she can be president. Are the Republicans in trouble?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

For a second straight day, a new poll of likely voters in the Iowa caucuses has Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann as the front-runner of the current field of GOP candidates.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/07/12/art.bachmann.jpg caption="Michele Bachmann"]
She's big with Tea Party voters, running on smaller government, no new taxes, but she's come under criticism most recently by fellow Minnesotan and GOP hopeful Tim Pawlenty for not having much of a record on anything in Congress. She also has some strong views on social issues that will likely turn independents and more moderate Republicans off.

Last week Bachmann signed something called "The Marriage Vow" penned by a conservative group in Iowa. It's a vow to be faithful to one's spouse and to the Constitution. It condemns adultery, "quickie divorces," and pornography. It also describes homosexuality as a choice. And the initial draft suggested that life was better for black children under slavery because more African-American children are born out of wedlock now than they were back then. Lovely. That part was later edited out and the group claimed it was a misinterpretation.

Is someone who would sign a document like that really the best Republicans can do? Apparently a lot of voters in Iowa think so.

Then there's the question of who else may enter the race...specifically former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who has been playing games with the media for months now. In this week's Newsweek cover story, Palin says she thinks she can be president. She made these comments following the premiere of a documentary produced by a conservative filmmaker highlighting all the positive aspects of her political career. It's not a long film. Palin also said that even if she's not the nominee - she's not even in the race yet - she thinks President Obama is beatable in 2012. Maybe so…but not by her or Michele Bachmann.

Here’s my question to you: Michele Bachmann's leading in Iowa and Sarah Palin thinks she can be president. Are the Republicans in trouble?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Michele Bachmann • Republican Party • Republicans • Sarah Palin
Will Republicans have to lighten up on social issues in order to succeed in 2012?
June 14th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Will Republicans have to lighten up on social issues in order to succeed in 2012?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Each of the Republican contenders in last night's CNN presidential debate tried to set himself - or herself - apart from the other candidates, but their main message was more about beating President Obama in 2012 than each other.

With the president's approval ratings near all-time lows, our national debt sky-high and climbing, and unemployment above 9%, it would certainly seem it's the Republicans’ race to lose.

According to a CNN Opinion Research Corp. poll, nearly three-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters say they want a real contender who can defeat Obama in 2012, even if that nominee doesn't agree with them on every issue. More importantly, that's up 7 percentage points from January.

But for Republicans to keep conservatives happy, social issues - like abortion, gay marriage, "don't ask, don't tell" - still manage to work their way into the conversation. And that may prove to be a problem for Republicans once we head into the general election campaign.
For example, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that not only was he pro-life even in cases of rape and incest, he believes that doctors who perform abortions should face criminal charges. Santorum should save himself a lot of time and money and find something to do besides running for president.

On the subject of gay marriage, all the candidates except Herman Cain and Ron Paul said last night they'd support a constitutional amendment outlawing it. Several of them also said that if elected, they would go back to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Note to the GOP: These are not the issues that middle America is worried about. They would like to be able to find a job.

Here’s my question to you: Will Republicans have to lighten up on social issues in order to succeed in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans
June 6th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Is Sarah Palin's publicity stunt helping or hurting Republican chances in 2012?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Her "One Nation" tour may be taking a brief pit stop in Arizona, stop but the dust Sarah Palin has kicked up along the way has yet to settle.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/06/06/art.palin.jpg caption=""]
The former Alaskan governor started off a well publicized family bus tour in Washington on Memorial Day weekend on the back of a Harley Davidson. From there is was on to visit some national historic sites, pizza with Donald Trump, a testy game of cat and mouse with reporters, and upstaging fellow Republican Mitt Romney the day he announced that he's running for president.

Palin later said she did not mean to distract from Mitt Romney's presidential announcement by visiting New Hampshire on the same day. Sure. She said it was a coincidence she ended up in the first primary state on the same day. Sure.

And then there was her elementary American history mistake over the ride of Paul Revere. While visiting Boston, Palin insisted the essence of Revere's midnight ride was to warn the British soldiers they would have a fight on their hands if they tried to take arms away from Americans. Not exactly.

It's true we all make mistakes. Henry David Longfellow's famous poem about Paul Revere has some historical inaccuracies in it - but at least he got right which side Revere was warning.

Palin defended herself yesterday on Fox News Sunday saying "I know my American history," and gave a long-winded explanation of what she really meant. It's like every time Palin makes a mess, she runs to Fox News where they try to kick sand over it.

She may not know a lot about history, but what she does seem to know how to do is draw attention to herself. And that's not necessarily a good thing for the Republicans whether she decides to run for president or not.

Here’s my question to you: Is Sarah Palin's publicity stunt helping or hurting Republican chances in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans • Sarah Palin
May 17th, 2011
04:45 PM ET

Who'll fill void left by Trump and Huckabee in '12 GOP race?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Republicans may have the keys to victory in 2012 in their grasp, but it's a question of getting the horses out of the barn, onto the track and into the race.

So far, the Republican presidential field is awful. It's no wonder President Barack Obama is smiling. And it's not just getting bin Laden that has him grinning. The economy is starting to recover. And the Republicans resemble “The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and billionaire real estate developer-turned-reality TV star Donald Trump have both said they're out. Huckabee and Trump had shown more promise in the polls than some of the other names running or considering a run.

So, who will fill the void?

There is Mitt Romney - already lost. Newt Gingrich - not happening. Sarah Palin - please, get serious. There is Ron Paul, a man with great ideas about how to solve our problems, but serious questions about electability. Then there's Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann, both with potential to score big with evangelicals, but neither seem to be scoring points with the rest of the electorate.

That brings us to Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, who almost everyone agrees would be a formidable challenger to Obama. And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie says he's not "ready to run for president," despite the fact that Republicans all over the country are begging him to get in the race. And Daniels, who says he hasn't made up his mind yet. Daniels also says he could beat Obama…and he might be right.

It's pretty much a lead-pipe cinch the rest of the Republicans mentioned can't, except maybe for Christie.

Here’s my question to you: Who is likely to fill the void left by Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee in the 2012 GOP field?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: 2012 Election • Donald Trump • GOP • GOP Ticket • Mike Huckabee • Republican Party • Republicans
April 26th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Does GOP have the right idea when it comes to budget?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It’s so far, so good for House Republicans when it comes to how to cut the deficits and balance our budget.

According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, Americans believe the Republican Party is the party better able to handle the budget problems facing this country and to fix the economy. Apparently that six-month-long game of chicken they played with the 2011 budget really paid off for them. At least for now. However, a much bigger battle over the budget and spending awaits. When Congress returns from its two-week spring break and raising the debt ceiling is front and center, we'll see if popular opinion changes.

It might. According to that same USA Today/Gallup poll, Americans are split on whether the deficit plan drafted by Republican House Budget Chair Paul Ryan or the one proposed by President Barack Obama is the right path for the country. Two-thirds of Americans are concerned the GOP plan for reducing the deficit would cut too deeply into Medicare and Social Security. Everyone wants the deficit cut, but no one wants to cut entitlements.

But it's a topic that's not going away. Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview with Politico on Monday that there might not be a deal on raising the debt ceiling unless Democrats agree to rein in discretionary spending and reform Medicaid and Medicare. Things could get very ugly very quickly when Congress reconvenes.

Here’s my question to you: Do the Republicans have the right idea when it comes to the budget?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Budget cuts • Economy • GOP • Government • Republican Party • Republicans
April 21st, 2011
04:47 PM ET

Which will cause GOP more problems in 2012: Dems or Tea Party?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite last year's midterm shellacking of the Democrats and record low approval ratings for President Obama, there is a big potential problem for Republicans heading into the 2012 presidential election. Other Republicans.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/04/21/art.tea.party.jpg caption="Last week's 2011 Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party."]
More specifically, the Tea Party; that grassroots movement that helped the GOP win the House last fall and weaken the Democrats' hold on the Senate. These days they are all but driving the Republican agenda. They want big spending cuts and a much smaller government. The thing is a lot of Americans agree with them. And many of the newly-elected lawmakers who ran on those platforms have proven they're willing to stick to the budget-slashing principles even if it effectively paralyzes Congress.

Fifty-four Republicans in the House voted against last week's budget bill and for a government shutdown, a sign that upcoming battles like raising the debt ceiling and reforming Medicare could get very ugly.

The old line establishment Republicans aren't nearly so extreme, and that could become a problem when it comes time for the GOP to run against the Democrats in next year's elections. Potential GOP candidates like Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, and Donald Trump have all made appearances at Tea Party events this month. Others like Mitt Romney and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour have chosen to steer clear of events, while still speaking favorably of the group.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll, just 32% of Americans have a favorable view of the Tea Party, while 46% have a favorable view of the Democratic party and 44% have a favorable view of Republicans.

Here’s my question to you: Which will cause Republicans more problems next year: Democrats or the Tea Party?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democrats • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans • Tea Party
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