Herman Cain

The Long Shot

Herman Cain’s communications director had a lot on his mind. I was at a Costco in Northern Virginia on a recent Friday, where the GOP candidate of the moment was scheduled to sign copies of his new book. Getting hold of the campaign had not been easy. The communications director, J.D. Gordon, explained to reporters that it had been hectic. “I think I have [my phone] off right now because I get like a call a minute and a hundred e-mails an hour,” he said.

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With former pizza magnate Herman Cain suddenly running second to Mitt Romney in most national polls, a Cain Mutiny was as inevitable as the Iowa caucuses moving into the Christmas season. The rebellion against Cain as a top-tier candidate was led by three lagging GOP contenders who must know that they will never be president—Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. The occasion for the rhetorical caning of Cain by his jealous rivals was Tuesday night’s forgettable theater-in-the-round Dartmouth debate featuring the candidates all seated at the same circular table.

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The Palin Primary

Now that Chris Christie has plighted his troth to Mitt Romney, who will Sarah Palin endorse? According to The Hill, husband Todd has been fielding requests from the GOP presidential hopefuls. "I look forward to working with them in order to help them maybe articulate their message in more detail," La Palin said on Fox, "so we can make that best decision." Palin may find it difficult to locate a candidate she hasn't already insulted.

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Et Tu, Iowa?

[Guest post by Ed Kilgore] Until yesterday, all the recent public opinion surveys of the Republican presidential campaign showing a shocking collapse of support for Rick Perry and an equally surprising surge for Herman Cain have lacked one key data point: Iowa, where the “invisible primary” will turn into actual voting in January or even earlier. September came and went with no public polling in the First-in-the-Nation Caucus state. Now both NBC/Marist and PPP have polls out on likely Iowa caucus-goers, and they are thinking much like Republicans everywhere.

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[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood]  “I came as a Perry fan,” 42-year-old defense consultant David Hebert told me as he stood in a long line of Values Voter Summit attendees waiting to get their copies of This Is Herman Cain! autographed. “It would have taken a lot to shake me. But I changed my mind with that speech.” Judging from the frenzied hooting and high-five-your-neighbor reaction to Cain’s speech Friday afternoon, he was not the only one.

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Sarah Palin's Cruelty

Sarah Palin finally announced that she won't run for president. Not the most surprising development, since she didn't even have the patience to complete her single term as Alaska's governor. But how can she do this to her public? I don't grieve for her supporters. They'll find solace with Rick Perry or Herman Cain or Michelle Bachmann. What I mean is: How could she do this to Joe McGinnis? (Before he writes in to point this out: Yes, I know he's been predicting for some time now that she wouldn't, in the end, run.

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We are now a week, maybe two, into the Herman Cain boomlet and I still refuse to learn enough about him to have anything worth sharing with you, dear reader, about his candidacy. Some might blame this on ideological animus. But in fact I enjoy learning about lots of people with whom I disagree. No, my real reason for boycotting this topic is a sense of futility (or, if you will, laziness).

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In case you were wondering whether Doug Schoen has completely lost his mind, Schoen clarifies the matter by declaring that the chief beneficiary of Chris Christie's deciding not to run for president is Herman Cain: I had a chance to hear Herman Cain live and in person last night at the Monday Meeting in New York City.

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And so it ends—not with a bang, but a wimp-out. Chris Christie, who had become the most courted reluctant Republican since Dwight Eisenhower, permanently closed the door Tuesday afternoon on a 2012 White House run: “Now is not my time. I have a commitment to New Jersey that I just can’t abandon.” A self-described “regular guy from New Jersey,” Christie exudes more self-confidence than even Rick Perry out shooting coyotes.

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We’re at a very strange juncture in the 2012 presidential contest. Rick Perry continues to struggle, as Mitt Romney savagely exploits his offensive-to-conservatives position on immigration and the Texan deals with new, potentially damaging revelations of a racially insensitive name for a hunting camp rented by his family. But Romney’s not benefitting much in the polls, and he remains a persona non grata to many conservatives.

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