In that moment just before New Hampshire, when it was briefly possible to imagine Jon Huntsman fighting deep into the primaries, New York magazine’s John Heilemann made an astute observation. He pointed out that Huntsman’s real audience on election night wouldn’t be the country or the voters in other early states or even the political media. It would consist of exactly one person: Jon Huntsman Sr., the billionaire chemical magnate who, if the mood struck him, could take out his checkbook and completely upend the race. “An investment of, say, $10 million — a rounding error on the Huntsman Sr.
Over the last three decades, through good economic times and bad, one of the few constants in American life has been the relentless rise in the price of higher education. The numbers are stark: According to the non-profit College Board, public four-year universities raised tuition and fees by 8.3 percent this year, more than double the rate of inflation. This was typical: Over the last decade, public university tuition grew by an average of 5.6 percent above inflation every year. And the problem is also getting worse: In the 1990s, the annual real increase was 3.2 percent.
Why in the world would the unflappable Mitt Romney allow himself to be provoked by a has-been rival into making a remark that only serves to remind voters that, at a time of mounting concern about gaping income inequality, he is a member of the one-hundredth of one percent? Well, maybe because...he's not so unflappable. I realize some readers are having a hard time accepting the fact that Mitt Romney is not the robot that conventional wisdom has decided he is. But in the span of 10 days, we've had him acting exceedingly thin-skinned in an interview with Bret Baier, and now this.
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.
Just after dawn on a cool morning in September 2008, two FBI agents and a police officer walked into the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas and took the security elevator up to the twenty-third floor, where they knocked on the door of a high-roller haven known as the Grand Lakeview Suite. A Minnesota businessman named Tom Petters answered wrapped in a bathrobe. After a moment’s hesitation, he invited them in.
Herman Cain’s recent stumbles over substantive issues have a way of making Rick Perry seem like the Stephen Hawking of politics. In the midst of a softball CNN interview last week, he appeared to abandon his no-exceptions anti-abortion stance. The former pizza magnate also said that he hypothetically might swap terrorists held on Guantanamo for an American soldier—and then embarrassingly backtracked during the Las Vegas debate.
When the entire candidate field opened fire on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax proposal in Tuesday night’s Republican debate in Las Vegas, you could almost hear the sound of hundreds of exhaled breaths in elite GOP circles. Cain’s improbable rise in national and early-state polls would now end, they probably figured, as GOP voters discovered the pizza man’s signature policy proposal wasn’t terribly well thought out. But it’s likely that Cain could have overcome the criticisms surrounding his tax proposal.
[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir] President Obama travels to Nevada on Monday and, at first blush, the timing could not be better. Mitt Romney, the man most likely to be the Republican presidential nominee, was there just a few days ago. During a televised interview with the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review Journal, he said he didn’t think the government should do anything to stop foreclosures: Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.
Overshadowed by the immigration rumble between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in the Las Vegas debate was a string of statements that sounded awfully heretical -- a sign, perhaps, that economic anxiety and even the Occupy Wall Street protests are poking ever the tiniest holes in the bubble of GOP orthodoxy. First, there was Rick Santorum noting for the second straight debate that western Europe now has higher rates of upward mobility than the land of Horatio Alger -- and this time he didn't even blame this on Barack Obama.