Blog Posts by Chris Moody, Yahoo News

  • Michael Steele on candidates’ Romney attacks: ‘Inconsistent’ with GOP principles (video)

    BOSTON--At the airport on my way out of New England the morning after the New Hampshire primary, I spoke with Michael Steele, the former chairman of the National Republican Committee, about primary results and the attacks by Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry against Mitt Romney.

    Steele, who is a political analyst for MSNBC, said the offensive from Gingrich and Perry against Romney for his business record at the private-equity firm Bain Capital is "inconsistent" with conservative principles and could come back to haunt the lower-tier candidates. He told Yahoo News:

    It sounds as if you're attacking capitalism and the free-market system, and that's not what we're about. We're about supporting it and making it stronger and better so jobs can be created, sustained long-term and businesses can create the kind of investments that are going to be necessary for our economy to grow. When you look at what Bain does, you know, how do you attack that? How do you attack a company that is consistently building opportunity? Like anything, yeah, sometimes it doesn't work for every company they're trying to fix. That's just the nature of things. People go into surgery, and sometimes the surgery doesn't work. You still have a problem and, you know, nature takes its course. The same is true in business. Sometimes with all the help, all the support, all the right tools, it's still not enough because of whatever. To attack that, to me, is inconsistent with who we are and what we fundamentally agree with.

    Despite criticism from free-market groups like the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, Gingrich and Perry continue to hit Romney on the subject. Winning Our Future, a super PAC that supports Gingrich, plans to release a short film calling him "more ruthless than Wall Street," according to Bloomberg News, which obtained a early copy.

    "I think the focus has got to be on strategies that will beat Obama in the fall," Steele said. "We don't want to weaken our nominee, whoever it it is, so much that you're basically filling up the oppo-file for the DNC."

    Read More »from Michael Steele on candidates’ Romney attacks: ‘Inconsistent’ with GOP principles (video)
  • Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire; Paul takes second, Huntsman third

    (Dinah Bindner/AP)MANCHESTER, N.H.--Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, the second state in a row he has carried in his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

    Romney is the first Republican, not including incumbent presidents, to win both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary since Iowa Republicans began holding their first-in-the-nation caucuses in 1976.

    Ron Paul came in second; Jon Huntsman in third.

    It was a start-to-finish victory for Romney in New Hampshire, who led in the polls here throughout the 2012 campaign. Romney owns a summer home in the state, which borders his home state of Massachusetts, where he served as governor from 2003 to 2007.

    From here, the candidates go on to South Carolina, the first primary in the South. There, Romney's electoral dominance will not be a such a foregone conclusion. South Carolina is more conservative than New Hampshire, which will give Rick Perry--who campaigned in South Carolina while voters in New Hampshire went to the polls--and Rick Santorum a possible edge. For both of them, the Jan. 21 primary will be a crucial test of the lasting power of their campaigns. Pressure will be high for Newt Gingrich as well, in part because South Carolina borders Georgia, his home state. He did not perform well in the first two primary contests, and his ambitions could be crippled if he fails to garner many votes in South Carolina.

    Read More »from Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire; Paul takes second, Huntsman third
  • Jon Huntsman’s New Hampshire ground team: ‘At least he didn’t slam the door’

    Jon Huntsman volunteer Alex Alex Schultheis, 22, canvassing in Hooksett, N.H.

    HOOKSETT, N.H.--The 75-year-old bearded man in a frayed Princeton sweatshirt looked skeptical when he answered the knock at his front door and found two college students waiting for him with pamphlets in their hands.

    "Good evening," one of the students said, "I just wanted to remind you about the primaries tomorrow, and I'd like you to consider voting for Jon Huntsman."

    For months, New Hampshire residents have been inundated with commercials, flyers, kids on their doorstep and candidates--complete with a media horde and an entourage--barging in on their breakfasts.

    Alex Schultheis, 22, and Jake Wagner, 19, are students at St. Anselm College on the 11th-hour front lines here for Jon Huntsman. Over the past several months, they've had doors slammed in their faces, been threatened by dogs and learned how difficult it is to drive a campaign sign into the frozen New Hampshire ground. (It's not called the Granite State for nothing.) They've resorted to drills, hammers and even blow torches to make sure the signs stay put.

    Tuesday is make-or-break time for Huntsman. The former Utah governor and ambassador to China ignored Iowa entirely and has lagged in the polls nationally and in the Granite State. Unfortunately for Huntsman, Mitt Romney seems to have a lock on the state. All Huntsman can realistically hope for is a strong second-place or third-place finish.

    But that will take intense on-the-ground work that won't end until the polls close on Tuesday.

    At Huntsman's Manchester campaign headquarters on Monday, dozens of volunteers, mostly students, scurried around the small, five-room office. In the main room, college kids worked the phones amid pizza boxes and Dunkin' Donuts pastries. The walls were covered in signs, to-do lists, precinct maps and pictures of Huntsman, and a television in the corner plays Fox News around the clock. An English foxhound darted back and forth, and there's usually a wiener dog named Sidney wearing a tiny T-shirt covered in Huntsman stickers.

    In a nearby room, a new crop of volunteers received a crash course in how to talk to voters. "Hi," a brown-haired teenager sitting in the corner, reading the official phone bank script, said into a receiver. "I'm calling on behalf of presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. Can I ask you two very quick questions regarding tomorrow's election?"

    She went on to discuss his three ambassadorships ("he always puts country first") and didn't ignore that one of those was for a Democratic administration ("never apologizing for crossing a partisan line to serve America"). As mandated by law, she ended the conversation with, "This call has been paid for by Jon Huntsman for president."

    A middle-aged woman named Laura Ramos stood up for a break. "I'm always just dying here near the end," she said. Ramos is the the campaign's star volunteer. Since the end of August, she has clocked 6,000 calls for the phone bank, an office record. Last cycle, she worked for Rudy Giuliani and made 20,000 calls.

    Read More »from Jon Huntsman’s New Hampshire ground team: ‘At least he didn’t slam the door’
  • Gingrich’s latest invention: The Romney ‘baloney meter’

    CONCORD, N.H. -- Newt Gingrich's campaign is playing off the candidate's most memorable line at the weekend "Meet the Press" Republican presidential debate, calling on Mitt Romney to drop what Gingrich called the former Massachusetts governor's  "pious baloney" about working in the private sector,  with an anti-Romney video on Monday. The spot introduces a "baloney meter" that hits full capacity whenever Romney speaks on the screen.

    "Mitt Romney: baloney then. Baloney now," the text on the video reads. The clip is part of Gingrich's new website, launched after the debate. The site portrays Romney with his hands in the air above a baloney sandwich that fills most of the screen.

    Watch the video here:

    Read More »from Gingrich’s latest invention: The Romney ‘baloney meter’
  • Gingrich: I’m not going to let up on Romney

    Gingrich (Charles Krupa/AP)MANCHESTER, N.H. -- First of all, GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich wants you to understand one thing: It's not called going "negative"; it's "drawing contrasts." But whatever.

    Over the past two weeks, Gingrich has stepped up his rhetoric against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, while a super PAC supporting the former House Speaker readies the release of a short film that attacks Romney on his record as the head of a private equity firm in the 1990s.

    After a morning townhall meeting for employees of a utility company here, Gingrich outlined the thought process that led him to pivot from a campaign that only talked about his ideas for the country to one that zeroed in on his competitor's past.

    "My conclusion after Iowa was very simple: You could not engage in unilateral disarmament when 45 percent of all the ads being run were attacks on me," he said. "Given the terms of the race, and I spent three weeks saying, 'Let's try to find a way to be positive,' and I spent three weeks with Governor Romney saying a variety of foolish things, frankly. 'You need broad shoulders; you need to stand the heat.' I mean fine, okay, I have broad shoulders. I can stand the heat. Now let's see if he has broad shoulders, that he can stand the heat."

    Read More »from Gingrich: I’m not going to let up on Romney
  • Ron Paul supporters rule the night in Manchester

    We stumbled upon a group of Ron Paul supporters this weekend in downtown Manchester blasting Sinatra impersonator Rick Ellis' "New York, New York" homage to the Texas congressman. The song filled the night air while a flashing electronic sign that said "Ron Paul 2012" was projected onto a nearby building.

    In other words, just another election-year January day in New Hampshire.

    Read More »from Ron Paul supporters rule the night in Manchester
  • New Hampshire poll: Romney 41, Paul 17, Santorum and Huntsman tied

    Here are the latest numbers from WMUR out of New Hampshire, one day before the primary:

    The top spot in the latest WMUR/University of New Hampshire poll still belongs to Mitt Romney, but the race for second and third place is very close.

    Romney holds a commanding lead with 41 percent of those surveyed saying they'd vote for him in the primary.

    Ron Paul is in second with 17 percent. The latest mover is Jon Huntsman, who has jumped four percentage points in the last couple days and is now tied for third with Rick Santorum at 11 percent.

    Newt Gingrich is right behind with 8 percent.

    Read More »from New Hampshire poll: Romney 41, Paul 17, Santorum and Huntsman tied
  • Carl Paladino, Newt Gingrich’s New York attack dog

    Carl Paladino (Mike Groll:AP)

    MANCHESTER, N.H. --Who needs a super PAC to run attack ads when you have Carl effin' Paladino on your side?

    The renegade New York Republican who ran for governor in 2010 is back, and he's jumped on the Newt bandwagon to extend a hand to the campaign's efforts in the Empire State. Paladino swung by Manchester this weekend to get a feel for Gingrich's ground game here, and he spoke with Yahoo News at a Spanish restaurant where Gingrich addressed Hispanic voters on Sunday.

    In contrast with Gingrich's efforts to stay "positive" this cycle, Paladino, who is not officially affiliated with the campaign, has no trouble playing the attack dog.

    "You heard heard Huntsman last night? 'Oh my God, China's so strong! What the f**k is a matter with these people?," Paladino said of the GOP debate on Saturday. "That was nonsense. You know, he should go live in China if he feels that way. We buy all their godd**n goods and when we put tariffs on, they're going to come to their knees. That's bullsh*t."

    Paladino, a tea party man who pulled off a stunning upset in the New York Republican primary elections in 2010 against "establishment" candidate and former Rep. Rick Lazio, is not known for keeping his thoughts to himself, even if they could spell trouble for him. In 2010, he vowed to fight to keep children from being "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option," as traditional marriage and once famously told a reporter, "I'll take you out, buddy" when he didn't take kindly to the line of questioning.

    It's two years, later, and Paladino hasn't changed a bit. If he doesn't like you, he tells you. And he'll make it clear--in his own salty way--that he doesn't like anybody running for the Republican nomination except for Newt.

    Read More »from Carl Paladino, Newt Gingrich’s New York attack dog
  • Wonkiest sign in New Hampshire?

    Manchester man after Republican presidential debate Sunday.

    MANCHESTER, N.H. -- People who live in early primary states pay attention.

    Just hours after Sunday's Republican presidential debate in which Newt Gingrich told Mitt Romney to spare the nation his "pious baloney" about spending most of his career in the private sector, this man, pictured above, decided to make a new sign. He is one of many in Manchester taking to the streets to advertise for a candidate.

    Read More »from Wonkiest sign in New Hampshire?
  • In final New Hampshire debate, candidates go after Romney–very briefly

    Republican presidential candidates debate in Concord, New Hampshire. (Getty Images)

    CONCORD, N.H. -- They had to be poked, prodded and nudged to do it, but the Republican presidential candidates finally went on the offense against front-runner Mitt Romney during a Sunday morning debate--if only for a few minutes.

    Going down the line, NBC News moderator David Gregory gave the candidates an opportunity to explain in front of the former Massachusetts governor why they thought Romney should not be the GOP nominee.

    "There's a huge difference between a Reagan conservative and somebody who comes out of a Massachusetts culture with an essentially moderate record," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has been on the blunt end of Romney's media attack apparatus for weeks. "I think he'll have a very hard time getting elected."

    Visibly frustrated after being slammed by Romney as a "lifetime politician," Gingrich hit back on stage, labeling Romney's claims about being a man of the private sector "pious baloney." (Watch the clip below.)

    "You've been running consistently for years and years and years," Gingrich said. "So this idea that suddenly, citizenship showed up in your mind—just level with the American people, you've been running since the 1990s."

    The debate began just 10 hours after the ABC/Yahoo! debate ended in Manchester. During that event, candidates largely failed to chip away effectively at Romney's record.

    During the "Meet the Press" debate, Romney defended himself as a "solid conservative who brought important change to Massachusetts," and touted his long list of endorsements, including those from several New Hampshire officials. "I'm very proud of the conservative record I have," he said.

    That's when Santorum jumped in.

    "If his record was so great," he said, turning to Romney, "why didn't you run for re-election?" (Romney served one term as governor of Massachusetts.) Santorum, facing tough re-election odds in 2006, ran anyway and was trounced by double digits. "Why did you bail out?" Santorum said.

    Read More »from In final New Hampshire debate, candidates go after Romney–very briefly


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