Sunday, 22 January 2012

A BLOW OUT IN SOUTH CAROLINA!!!!


Newt Gingrich won big in South Carolina. 40% to 28% against Mitt Romney! This is a remarkable turnaround from a week ago where Romney was winning by 12% in most polls. What is more exciting for Newt is that Santorum finished far behind in 3rd place 17% and is diminishing as a force in this primary.

Newt has a few people to thank for this win:

1- ABC News – that terrible interview with his first ex-wife, Marianne just fanned the flames of hatred of the mainstream media. Newt decried this as old news, responded directly and gave the voters a reason to side with him against the media.

2- John King of CNN (on the right) – by asking in a presidential primary debate about that interview, he gave Gingrich a prime time opportunity to destroy the Media, Obama and all the elites. Newt knocked the question out of the park. The debate was a snooze after that exchange which gave him the upper hand.


3- Sarah Palin – when she talks, people listen. South Carolina flocked to vote for Newt after that CNN debate. She endorsed Nikki Haley for SC Governor when she wasn’t real going anywhere, the minute she endorsed her, her vote share increased dramatically. By Palin semi-endorsing Newt, the undecided voters flocked to his camp and destroyed Mitt.

4- Mitt Romney – why oh why, doesn't he just release his income tax returns? Saying that he will do it April is way too late in the day. Folks think that there is something to hide and by him not doing so, he is creating an unnecessary media firestorm. Obama didn’t produce his Birth Certificate and created a ridiculous hype about the situation. Lord only knows why it took him so long to produce the information as it didn’t help anyone. With Romney following the same path, folks think he is the same as other folks in Washington and they don’t like it one bit. Gingrich was able to capitalise on Mitt’s wobble and show a clear contrast. His poor answer on Bain Capital didn’t help allay fears of this ‘iron curtain’ of secrecy.

These were the contributing factors to his blowout victory last night.


Romney is now at a crossroads here, he needs damage control and fast. Gingrich is able to create this narrative about Mitt and at the moment he hasn’t a clue how to respond. Mitt needs to do two things ASAP.

1- Release all his income tax returns from the last 10 years. Then call a national televised press conference a day later, to answer any and all questions about these returns. If there is nothing to hide, then what’s the problem? He will then be able to look like a capitalist again where he can defend that the fact that he was (is) successful.

2- Talk about Bain Capital.....at length. Explain each major issue and what were the determining factors during his tenure. Again, if he didn't do anything wrong, or immoral, show the people your capitalistic tendencies at work.

Right now, these two issues are killing him. He is solid at the moment but isn’t gaining at all amongst any voters. He lost by 12% last night and considering that he was leading by 12% 5 days ago, shows that he got 'owned' in South Carolina.
If he doesn’t wise up and sharpen his image, then he is in serious trouble. he has money and organisation, but if you don't have a clear message, then all hope is lost.

If Newt wins Florida on Tuesday 31st January, then Mitt is in serious trouble.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

GOODBYE RICK!!!!

Ladies & Gentlemen that was... Rick Perry!

Today he’s announced an end to his campaign for President. It’s quite a remarkable fall from grace for the Governor of Texas.
When he announced his candidacy, it was against a huge backdrop of goodwill, money and a serious conservative message. He stirred audiences with ‘Michael Bay like’ adverts and speeches that could inspire even the most introvert to get up and scream. In September 2011, he was polling nationally at 31%, now at the time of his suspending his campaign he is polling at 6%.

He had some great moments during his campaign. One of the highlights for me was following an online video purportedly showing Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta called the act deplorable, Perry’s response was fabulous:
"These kids made a mistake, there's not any doubt about it." "They shouldn't have done it, it's bad—but to call it a criminal act, I think is over the top,". "Obviously 18, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often and that's what's occurred here."
At what turned out to be his last debate on Monday 16th January 2012, he was asked to clarify his comments, after the Obama administration’s terming of the Marines’ actions as “despicable”. He said:
"Let me tell you what’s despicable, cutting *Danny Pearl’s head off.”
*Daniel Pearl was a Jewish American journalist. On January 23, 2002 he was kidnapped near the Metropole Hotel, Pakistan by a militant group calling itself The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty. The group claimed Pearl was a spy. Nine days later, Pearl was beheaded.

So what happened?

Some claim that his heart wasn’t really in it; others say that he was recovering from a recent back operation and wasn’t able to function at full capacity.
Some of that maybe true, but in my opinion, he was a woeful debater and he got found out in the end. A rock-solid debater is crucial against Obama and Perry couldn’t handle the glare of prime-time. At the first few debates he was shaky but was given some slack due to being a ‘newbie’ but he continued to struggle and got more inept with each performance. The climax was at the CNBC debate in Michigan, November 2011, where the following happened.



Perry: "It's three agencies of government when I get there that are gone: Commerce, Education and the, uh, what's the third one there, let's see..."

Ron Paul: "Five, you have five."

Perry: "Oh, five, okay, so Commerce, Education and the ... uh ... uh."

Moderator John Harwood: "EPA?"

Perry: "EPA, there you go."

Harwood: "Seriously, is EPA the one you were talking about?"

Perry: "No sir, no sir. We were talking about agencies of government. EPA needs to be rebuilt. No doubt about that."

Harwood: "But you can't name the third one?"

Perry: "The third agency of government I would do away with, the Education, the uh, Commerce. Let's see. I can't. The third one I can't. Sorry. Oops."



From that ‘oops’ moment he was gone and there was no chance whatsoever of him recovering. Essentially it was the ‘oops’ heard around the world.
People, who don't really follow politics, were reminiscing about that gaffe and he became a laughing stock. (It reminded me about George W. Bush and all the talk of his many gaffes). I think he knew from there, that it was over.

The Texas governor has endorsed Newt Gingrich, calling him a "conservative visionary."
He went further to say:
"Newt is not perfect, but who among us is? The fact is there is forgiveness for those who seek God. And I believe in the power of redemption," Perry said. "I have no question that Newt Gingrich has the heart of a conservative reformer, the ability to rally and captivate the conservative movement."

I like the timing of this announcement. He knew there was no chance that he could win South Carolina. By him staying in the race, all he would be doing is siphoning off the conservative vote, which in turn helps Romney in South Carolina. Now voters can chose between Newt Gingrich & Rick Santorum and create a showdown with Romney for the nomination. Truly, he is a 'mentsch'.

What next for Perry?

Well, he will go back to Texas as Governor and rebuild his reputation. He will continue to spur economic growth in ‘the Lone-Star State’ through limited government, lower taxes and less burdensome regulations.
He will of course reflect on what went wrong and learn for the future. He certainly can make a return in four or eight year’s time and will be a major force in the years to come.


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

THE NEWT GINGRICH SURGE??


On Monday night, there was a debate held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Centre in South Carolina sponsored by FOX News and The Wall Street Journal. There, Newt Gingrich had one of his best debates of the 2012 primary season.

His response to moderator, Juan Williams about black voters was nothing short of brilliant.


Williams (left) asked Gingrich if he could see how his comments about how “black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps” were viewed, “at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans.”

“No,” Gingrich curtly said, using Williams as a perfect liberal foil. “I don’t see that.”

Gingrich said his daughter’s first job was doing janitorial work and “she liked earning the money” and “liked learning that if you worked, you got paid.” He said only elites “despise” giving people opportunities to earn money.

When Williams pressed Gingrich further, Gingrich said, “the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.”

At that end of his response there was a raucous applause for minutes. You get those during campaign rallies, not moderated debates.

When he responded to Ron Pauls’ ridiculous claim that Osama Bin Laden was akin to a Chinese dissident Newt responded:

A Chinese dissident who comes in here — a Chinese dissident who comes here seeking freedom is not the same as a terrorist who goes to Pakistan seeking asylum,” Gingrich said, noting that a 13-year-old named Andrew Jackson was sabred by a British officer during the Revolutionary War in South Carolina and wore that scare his whole life.
“Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America’s enemies: Kill them,” Gingrich said to another round of raucous applause.


It seems whenever there is a debate he always raises his game. From his time as Speaker of the House and his significant achievements, he has blown people away with his knowledge of the issues and he’s able to put them forward in such a ‘commonsense’ like manner that few people could disagree.

If there was a debate everyday of this primary season, he would be doing far better than he is doing now. However, a question is always asked, why hasn’t he gained enough votes to really trouble Mitt Romney? He hasn’t even won the ‘Conservative’ vote in the GOP Primary. He even admitted that he is in a struggle with Rick Santorum as the uniting ‘Anti-Romney’ candidate. This situation only helps the former Governor of Massachusetts and may assist him in winning the nomination sooner rather than later.

The question is, if he is the most intellectual, smartest and experienced candidate, why isn’t he winning this easily?

My theory is that whilst his message is profound, the folks do not like the person saying it. He has a poor track record when it comes to his personal life(baggage),
which does count a lot to the electorate. Having been married three times, had an affair during the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings and being described as being egotistical, angry & condescending at times, it is clear why people don't have a liking to the guy. I doesn’t help that his company took $1.6million dollars from the failed mortgage company, Freddie MAC for consultancy fees and he received an ethics violation during his tenure as Speaker of the House.

Experience can count for something, but when your likeability is low as a candidate, almost everything has to go right for you to win.


Toe-to-toe, Gingrich would walk all over Obama during a debate. I think that Obama realises that and will sanction only two debates. One is on the Economy and the other Foreign Policy, with the latter being his strong point, due to the assassination of Bin-Laden.
He may be a naive President but when it comes to campaigning he is very smart. If he accepts more, than he is clearly showing ill fated hubris and is setting himself up for a big fall.

The latest polls from South Carolina show Mitt Romney with a sizeable lead over Gingrich. The fact that Romney is doing so well in this state, tells you that the pundits, who think that he would struggle in a southern state, are talking baloney.

A recent Rasmussen Reports poll taken on the 16th January, prior to the FOX News debate later that evening, showed Romney 35% against Gingrich at 21%. This is huge lead and something that will be difficult for most to recover from when you think that the Primary is on Saturday!

How can Gingrich recover from this deficit or create some form of momentum?

The first question is the polling from the recent debate. How much has he gained and how much have others lost. He must gain and Santorum & Romney must lose points for anything meaningful to happen.
The second is can he perform as spectacularly on Thursday night at the CNN debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

He may have received a huge backhanded endorsement from a hugely influential person. Sarah Palin (a huge hit with the Tea Party)
said in an interview, ‘if I had to vote in South Carolina, in order to keep this thing going, I'd vote for Newt. And I would want things to continue. More debates, more vetting of candidates’.

She has tremendous sway with the voters as South Carolina is a heavy Tea Party state. With her comments, she could tip a lot of voters to the Gingrich column. Regardless about her motives to keep the primary going, she clearly could of said Santorum, Paul or Perry but she chose Newt.

If Newt is able to create some momentum from these next few days, then he may be in with a shout of winning the primary. If he comes a clear second then all roads lead to Florida where there primary takes place on the 31st January and it is Mitt vs. Newt

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

NEW HAMPSHIRE WIN FOR MITT!!!!


The New Hampshire Republican 2012 Primary is all over! Mitt Romney convincingly won the primary. It was a credible but expected win, as he won by over 40,000 votes or 16% from his nearest rival, Ron Paul.


Romney - 95,669 - 39%
Paul - 55,455 - 23%
Huntsman - 40,903 - 17%
Gingrich - 22,921 - 9%
Santorum - 22,708 - 9%
Perry - 1,709 - 1%


Jon Huntsman finished in third place with 17% of the vote which was really a poor showing for the former Utah Governor. I really don't know what his game plan is for the rest of the primaries.
He invested all of his time in the 'granite-state' but still significantly finished below Ron Paul. He has lacked ideas, enthusiasm and is languishing in most polls in South Carolina.




What is also very telling was there being zero momentum, whatsoever, for Santorum after his Iowa result. If he increased his vote by 10% you would be certain hat there was a real surge but frankly he did nothing in New Hampshire.
His moment is now in South Carolina where he is currently polling at 20% and with 10 days until that primary with some good debate performances and killer advertising, he will hope to see his numbers rise.

The real conundrum is Newt Gingrich. He hasn’t managed to recreate that December ‘spark’ and is deteriorating fast in every poll
being conducted. Frankly, he was lynched by SuperPAC’s (officially known as "independent-expenditure only committees," which can raise unlimited sums from corporations, unions and other groups, as well as individuals.) for Romney and to a lesser extent Ron Paul. They plastered adverts depicting Gingrich as this 'crony capitalist', 'shady lobbyist' who took money from failed institutions and has way to much 'baggage' to be the nominee. Gingrich has cried foul but the fact is, 'the mud has stuck' and he has been atrocious at handling these attacks.
Essentially, he is now turning into a political suicide bomber! He is now not interested in winning the ‘battlefield of ideas’ but rather destroy Mitt Romney in the coming weeks, regardless of the outcome.

Why is he doing this? Simply for sake of revenge.

This move has resulted in his polling to crater. Since the 17th December 2011, he has dropped an astounding 21.3% in South Carolina and 18% in Florida (these states are considered to be more Conservative). He has to arrest this slide otherwise his campaign will fold. He needs to refocus on his campaign and sell his economic plan to the nation. He must challenge Romney and these adverts face on. What we have learned in the past few days is that Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has given $5 million to the Gingrich campaign and folks believe that money will be used to “destroy” Mitt Romney in the lead up to South Carolina. Gingrich has to decide what he wants to do, win based on ideas or look to destroy Romney. If he decides the latter he will become a fringe candidate as the electorate are more interested in beating Obama than settling scores. If Gingrich isn’t able to take the heat from Romney and launch and effective counter strategy that will gain votes, then how is he going to face of against Obama and his $1,000,000,000 machine?

Romney has an issue coming onto his radar. A few days before New Hampshire, ads were running about his time at Bain Capital http://www.baincapital.com/.
Founded in 1984 as an offshoot of the Bain consulting company, Bain Capital's business is a combination of private equity and venture capital.
Candidates are asking Romney about what risks that company took when he was CEO, how much profit did he make from individual companies during his tenure and how many people lost their jobs through restructuring.
This issue was bound to come out, whether now or in the general election. What Romney needs to do is the exact opposite what Obama did with his Birth Certificate.
He should publish every tax return including every document relating to his time at Bain Capital. If there is nothing to hide, why create unnecessary bad press? There was no reason for Obama to withhold his birth certificate and by doing so, that created a media firestorm which made him look bad.
I am sure that Romney would’ve been asking that Obama be transparent then, he should be practising what he preached now. If he brings it out in the open and it showed that he did nothing wrong, or he is able to explain in detail issues surrounding certain losses then it will become a non-story and folks will move on. Until that happens, Gingrich, Perry, Paul & Santorum will be playing this to death. If Romney doesn’t act appropriately, his numbers in South Carolina, Florida and beyond may suffer.

There will be the following debates in the lead up to the South Carolina primary on January 21st 2012!

January 14, 2012 Huckabee Forum 2: South Carolina Undecided
8pm ET on Fox News (taped broadcast)
Location: Sottile Theatre at the College of Charleston, South Carolina
Sponsor: Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Congressman Tim Scott (R-SC) and Fox News
Participants: Romney, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, Huntsman (Unofficial list)

January 16, 2012 9pm ET on Fox News
Location: Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Sponsor: Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party
Participants: TBD

January 19, 2012 Air time TBD on CNN
Location: Charleston, SC
Sponsor: CNN and the Southern Republican Leadership Conference
Participants: TBD

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

IOWA - BIG NIGHT FOR ROMNEY & SANTORUM


So.....the Iowa Caucus is over for 2012. The result was delayed due to higher voter turnout than previous years & what has been described as the closet Primary contest in history. Eventually Mitt Romney defeated Rick Santorum by 8 votes. A statistical tie as per the below:

Romney - 30,015 - 25%
Santorum - 30,007 - 25%
Paul - 26,219 - 22%
Gingrich - 16,251 - 14%
Perry - 12,604 - 11%
Bachman - 6,073 - 5%


As mentioned in my previous post, Iowa doesn’t really indicate who will be the nominee, what is does do, is winnow out the field.

What have we learned from the results?

Clearly, we have learned one thing; the ‘Anti-Romney’ camp is real and is an authentic hindrance to his path to the nomination.
In the Iowa Caucus of 2008, he (Romney) garnered 29,949 votes and finished second to Governor Mike Huckabee, that means he has essentially gained only 66 Iowa votes from four years ago.
It’s understandable that Romney suffered from lack of name recognition in 2008, but he has been running for President for more than four years now, written a book and kept his name in the public eye for all that time, so you’d think he would increase his vote share substantially.
With Romney ‘winning’ the caucus last night, it will assist him in the road ahead. He cleverly played down expectations in Iowa, successfully faced off challenges from a variety of candidates during the debate season & looked Presidential in the process. The question remains as to how he fares in the forthcoming debates, with desperate rivals looking to shoot him down. He also cannot get the Conservatives to embrace him. There has to be some serious outreach in the coming weeks and months, otherwise the base of the party won’t be able to help him down the line. I am convinced that the base of the party will support him, if he’s the nominee.

For Santorum, he peaked at just the right time. The fact of the matter is, Iowans do cherish Social Conservatism and he is the poster boy for that bloc of voters. With an extremely volatile field which saw ‘Non- Romney’ candidates gaining and crashing on a daily basis, he saw an upsurge in popularity as Iowans trusted him and knew he wouldn’t ever let them down. What helped him most was spending the last 12 months, almost daily in Iowa visiting every city, village and town hall there was to see. He ran an old fashioned campaign, didn’t spend over the top with TV ads but understood the caucus goers and local issues.
The question is what momentum, if any, can he take from this surprise result. I think it will give him more legs and certainly keep in play for a few more rounds. It’s easy to focus on just one state for a year, but when you have consecutive states to visit, you become stretched.
If you have money, which he will certainly have more of; he will be able to get his message out more than before. The key for him is the upcoming debates. With his new status as a ‘real contender’ individuals will look at him more than ever. Will he be able to withstand the scrutiny near the top of the field? Another issue is that he is in single digits in the majority of the National Polls. Will the Iowa bounce ensure a surge in New Hampshire and beyond? Time will tell.


One thing that is for certain: Ron Paul will not be the nominee. Even if he would’ve won last night, he’s still a fringe candidate who folks think is ‘nutty’. Iowa was his best chance of winning a primary and he fell short. In spite of all the polls, fliers, adverts and supposed good ground game, Ron Paul wasn’t able to get the job done. The result showed that he has a core group of voters but that’s pretty much it. He will continue to be an effective protest vote in other states but he will struggle to do anything in New Hampshire, South Carolina & Florida.

A question was raised about a third party run for Mr. Paul but I think with his son, Rand Paul, a sitting senator for Kentucky, he wouldn’t want to jeopardise any chances of advancing his career and agenda. One thing seems apparent, Ron Paul won’t be insisting that his followers support the eventual nominee and I doubt they would if he instructed them.

With respect to Gingrich, it is rather interesting. 10 days ago he was flying at the top of the charts and was supposedly on the verge of winning the nomination. Since then he’s been savaged by associates of Ron Paul & Mitt Romney with a slew of negative ads. His showing of 14% gives him a little more life and he will now go ‘gung-ho’ in New Hampshire & South Carolina to regain some momentum.
He is still the most experienced candidate in the race and his solutions based candidacy will stand him in good stead in the coming weeks. For Gingrich the next debate is crucial. He must reassert himself; like he did in November & December, otherwise he is cooked.

Rick Perry performed rather poorly with 11%, and after the results were declared, Perry said he was going back to Texas to ‘reassess’ his campaign (take what you want from that line). He has struggled since the debates and clearly wasn’t prepared to deal with hype of a national campaign. In the last few weeks, the real Perry has started to show up and get people excited, unfortunately, it has been too late. He was the default leader when he entered the race, but has struggled since his ‘oops’ moment at the CNBC debate in West Des Moines, Iowa.
His candidacy has been a massive shame, as he had one of the brightest messages in the field. Texas is soaring at the moment and he could’ve showcased to the American people, what can happen when you adopt core conservative principles in local government.



What do you say about Michelle Bachman? After winning the Aimes Iowa Straw Poll in August of last year, taking a 26% of the vote, she was only able to take home 5% from the Iowa Caucus last night.
What happened after that Straw Poll victory? She left the state for a month!
Someone advised her, poorly, that she should broaden her base and go to alternative states to raise money and attention. After she did that, along with arrival of Rick Perry, her poll numbers collapsed. Where Santorum spent a year in Iowa, Bachman appear to slap Iowans in the face when she left Iowa for a month. Her campaign will come to a close by the end of the day.
She now has her own mountain to climb in as she seeks re-election in her Minnesota's 6th congressional district. She has spent the last 18 months rambling on about being a native Iowan, who understand all the issues. For the electorate in Minnesota, that could be perceived as a ‘slap in the face’ and her poll numbers have slipped in her state.
She needs to focus on being the pure conservative in the House of Representatives and ensure that the eventual nominee has all the support they need to beat Obama in November.


The Conservative Candidate & Moving Forward



I expect that it will be Newt Gingrich & Rick Santorum vying for the Conservative Vote. With Perry all but out & Bachman now out of the picture, there is a vacuum and it has to be about those two, which is essentially a mini-primary. With 16% to play with, who will take the most from Perry and Bachman? My guess it will be slightly in favour of Gingrich as he has more cash and is polling better nationally.
New Hampshire is looking solid for Romney. He is polling at 41% on average and has been polling very well for months. I expect that Romney will win the primary handsomely on the 10th January. Owing to Iowa, Santorum will improve on his 4% average; with a debate coming up Newt will increase his numbers as well.

As we go into New Hampshire,Romney is the one looking good.

January 7, 2012 is the next debate in New Hampshire, sponsored by ABC News. 9pm ET

January 8, 2012 is the final New Hampshire debate sponsored by NBC News. 9am ET

January 10, 2012 is New Hampshire Primary.