It's easy to imagine the anxiety of Mitt Romney's advisers when debate crowds get as rowdy and bloodthirsty as the one attending last night's Republican affair in Myrtle Beach. Romney has shown that, even more than most politicians, he is unable to resist the gravitational pull of what he imagines his audience's id to be, which has led to some of his more unfortunate pronouncements.
Today brought three new South Carolina polls: Romney leads 37 to 19 for Santorum and 18 for Gingrich in this CNN/Time poll. Romney leads 31 to 24 for Santorum and 24 for Gingrich in this ARG poll. And Romney leads 27 to 24 for Santorum and 18 for Gingrich in this Rasmussen poll. The numbers jump around, but they all point overwhelmingly to the same conclusion: The only way Romney is going to lose South Carolina—and therefore earn himself a bona fide fight—is if the Santorum-Gingrich vote gets consolidated.
The Iowa caucuses were full of last-minute drama: Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney were vying for the lead all night. At 1:50 a.m., Santorum was ahead by just four votes, with only a single precinct's tally still outstanding. Forty-five minutes later, Romney was back in front by eight votes, thanks to some guidance from a pair of precinct captains named Edith and Carolyn got the vote right.
It’s very tempting to dismiss the Iowa caucuses as much ado about almost nothing: As Iowa goes, so goes . . . Iowa, and little more. But, despite its inherent myopia, the early part of the 2012 primary season has managed to be clarifying. Indeed, by combining the most recent survey evidence, we can learn a great deal about the state of the contemporary Republican Party. Put simply, its dominant concerns are economic—especially the federal budget deficit.
There hasn't been much reason these past few weeks to dig back into the vast landscape of unsavory dealings in Rick Perry's Texas, given the governor's increasing irrelevance in the GOP primary.
Well, when things seem glum for Jon Huntsman as he plods about New Hampshire, he can always take comfort in the fact that he isn't the other former governor wandering the Granite State on a truly long-shot bid for the nomination: Buddy Roemer.
It was an odd and unexpected moment when, on October 18 at the CNN debate in Las Vegas, the normally even-keeled Mitt Romney suddenly lost his cool. Challenged by Rick Perry about once having employed illegal immigrants as lawn workers, Romney initially answered with a chuckle and strained smile; but, when Perry kept interrupting his attempt at a reply, Romney’s temperature shot skyward. “Anderson?” he called to the moderator, and, when no help arrived, he turned on Perry, his voice rising to a shout and his eyes flashing with anger. “Would you please wait?” he barked at Perry.
On the same day that the Supreme Court announced it will rule on the legal challenges to the individual insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act comes word from CNN that public support for the highly controversial insurance mandate has risen in the past few months. According to the poll, 52% of Americans favor mandatory health insurance, up from 44% in June.
The clichéd phrase “debate season” is inescapable. There was a Republican debate on CNBC Wednesday night. Tomorrow will see another shootout, this one down in South Carolina. But these events seem to have won few fans. They are being mocked and denounced by everyone from Bill O’Reilly to MSNBC contributors.
It’s hard to fathom who could be excited by the recent revelation that an additional 13 nationally televised Republican presidential debates have been scheduled to take place between now and the end of January. We’ve already endured eight thus far; four are scheduled for this month, then another three in December, and possibly as many as six will take place in January. Indeed, Rick Perry was almost certainly not alone when he complained (but later was forced to backpedal) about the sheer number of the debates this election cycle.