Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Rick Perry ends presidential campaign, endorses Newt Gingrich

    Rick Perry ended his presidential campaign Thursday and endorsed Newt Gingrich's candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

    At a press conference in Charleston, S.C., Perry called Gingrich "a conservative visionary who can transform our country."

    "Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?" Perry said. "The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek God." He mentioned the importance of redemption to Christianity.

    In an interview with ABC News that is scheduled to be broadcast Thursday on Nightline, Gingrich's second ex-wife, Marianne, says the former Speaker of the House "wanted an open marriage."

    At an event in Beaufort, S.C., on Thursday, Gingrich said Perry would lead a "Tenth Amendment enforcement project" for his campaign, "reaching out to every governor in the country of both parties, reaching out to mayors, reaching out to state legislatures and working with conservative legislators in Washington so that we can have a very strong platform plank in Tampa in August on the Tenth Amendment."

    Perry, who catapulted to the top of public-opinion polls when he first announced his candidacy last summer, placed a disappointing fifth in the Iowa caucuses and sixth in the New Hampshire primaries, where he received less than 1 percent of the vote.

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  • Newtmobile revs for Gingrich victory

    EASLEY, S.C.-- Make way for the Rick Perry Prowler!...oops, ...the Herman Cain Train!, er, maybe not...ok fine, the Newtmobile!

    Meet Paul Hines, 55, (current) Newt Gingrich supporter and owner of one hot 1999 Plymouth Prowler. The red, white and blue car reads "Tea Party 2012" on the side panel and serves as a high-speed ad for Gingrich's campaign.

    Yet the car hasn't always been full-speed for Gingrich. Perpetually let down by the Republican presidential contenders this cycle, Hines has spent nearly $8,000 retro-fitting the vehicle to promote his favorite Republican presidential candidate of the moment. First he blinged out the car for Perry. But after a string of disappointing debate performances from the erstwhile candidate, he gave Cain a spin.

    "He flopped," Hines, a retiree from San Antonio, said of Perry. "After the third debate, it was just too embarrassing to drive the car."

    He had barely thrown away the old Perry stickers before Cain's presidential aspirations were dashed by allegations of sexual misconduct. When Cain dropped his bid, Hines fled to Gingrich.

    Paul Hines and his Roadster. (Photo Chris Moody:Yahoo News)

    On the road, Hines travels with his landscaper, Ruben Sanchez, who drives a 4x4 pick-up truck that tows the Roadster during long stretches. The truck is Newtified, too, complete with a picture of Gingrich's head on the side windows and a "Newt Train"--originally a "Cain Train"-- painted on the front passenger door. (The lead engine on the train still brandishes "999.")

    The Newt Train (Photo: Chris Moody, Yahoo News)

    I first met Hines in the parking lot outside a townhall for Rick Santorum in Laurens, S.C. on Wednesday.

    "You wanna ride to the next Gingrich event?" Hines asked when he saw me snapping photos of his prized roadster. How could I say decline? "You can just put your car on our trailer," he said. "Meet me in the alleyway behind the court house."

    Read More »from Newtmobile revs for Gingrich victory
  • ‘Desperate’ ads battle online and on air

    BLUFFTON, S.C. -- There are now two Republican political ads making the rounds online and on the airwaves with the same name: "Desperate."

    With just two days until the Republican primaries in South Carolina, an election Newt Gingrich says will make or break his campaign, his campaign released a new web ad calling Mitt Romney "desperate." Which is exactly what Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting Romney, called Gingrich just last week in an ad the group ran in Florida and South Carolina.

    The new 45-second Gingrich video shows Romney surrogate Arizona Sen. John McCain accusing Romney of flip-flopping on issues and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee saying that Romney is running a "dishonest" campaign. Both clips are from when McCain and Huckabee ran against Romney for the Republican nomination during the 2008 election cycle.

    "Mitt Romney will do and say anything to become President," the voice in the ad says between clips of other Republicans bashing him. "Anything."

    The spot attempts to reinforce Gingrich's ongoing narrative that Romney is not a conservative, but what he calls a "Massachusetts moderate."

    Watch the clip here:

    Read More »from ‘Desperate’ ads battle online and on air
  • Newt Gingrich to South Carolina: You’re my (and America’s) only hope

    Newt Gingrich speaks to the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. (AP)COLUMBIA, S.C.--In a nutshell, here's Newt Gingrich's pitch to South Carolina this week, in four easy steps:

    1. If you don't elect Gingrich on Saturday, he will lose the Republican presidential nomination.

    2. If Gingrich loses the nomination, Mitt Romney will win it.

    3. If Romney wins the nomination, he will lose to President Barack Obama in November.

    4. If the Republican nominee loses in November, America, as we know it, is basically over.

    (No pressure!)

    Speaking to a group of business leaders here Tuesday, Gingrich said that South Carolina would be the key--the only key--to keeping his electoral chances alive in 2012. If he loses, he's out.

    "Your support in the next four days can change history," Gingrich said at a forum sponsored by the state Chamber of Commerce. "If I win the primary Saturday night, I will be the nominee. I think it's literally that simple. And if I don't win the primary Saturday, we will probably nominate a moderate and odds are fairly high that he will lose to Obama."

    Gingrich is probably half-right. South Carolina does represent Gingrich's final sliver of hope for his long and at times tumultuous campaign. After he placed a disappointing fourth place in Iowa and fifth place in New Hampshire, Gingrich needs a strong showing here if he hopes to realistically move on to the next Republican contests in Florida and Nevada. Whether success in South Carolina automatically represents victory nationally, however, is another story.

    With less than a week to go before the primaries, Gingrich still faces a steep uphill climb to get there. According to the Real Clear Politics polling average, the former House Speaker trails Romney in the state by 10 percentage points.

    Read More »from Newt Gingrich to South Carolina: You’re my (and America’s) only hope
  • Candidates pile on Romney in South Carolina debate

    Republican presidential candidates participate in the South Carolina Republican presidential candidate debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (AP)

    With just five Republican presidential candidates on stage after former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's departure from the race earlier that day, the candidates at Monday's Fox News debate in Myrtle Beach went hard after frontrunner Mitt Romney questioning his business record, if he supported allowing convicted felons to vote and whether he would ever release his personal tax records.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got the first shot at Romney and swung for the fences. For the past few weeks, Gingrich has hammered Romney for his record as the head of private equity firm Bain Capital in the 1990s, accusing him of padding his wallet at the expense of middle class jobs. A 28-minute film produced by Winning Our Future, a pro-Gingrich super PAC, featured interviews with workers laid off under Bain's management. On the debate stage, Gingrich accused Romney of running companies with a pattern: leaving them "with enormous debt and then within a year or two or three having them go broke."

    You can watch a clip of Romney and Gingrich sparring over super PACs below:

    Gingrich, who once defined his debate presence by blasting moderators for trying to pit the candidates against each other, defended the line of attack and explained the reasons why he was now happy to answer questions about other candidates' records. "I raise questions that I think are legitimate questions," he said. "I think that's what part of a campaign is about is to raise questions and see whether or not your competitor can answer them effectively before you get to a general election where you know those questions are going to be asked."

    Romney knew it was coming. "Some of the businesses we invested in weren't successful and lost jobs, and I'm very proud of the fact that we learned from the experience," he said. "We invested in well over 100 businesses, and the people have looked at the places that have added jobs and lost jobs and that record is pretty much available for people to take a close look at. But my record as the governor of Massachusetts and as the person who led the Olympics flowed from the fact that I had experience turning around tough situations."

    Read More »from Candidates pile on Romney in South Carolina debate
  • Newt Gingrich (Alan Diaz/AP)Newt Gingrich called on the organization "Winning Our Future," a pro-Gingrich super PAC not affiliated with the campaign but managed by his own former staffers, to remove inaccurate portions of a film critical of Mitt Romney's business record.

    The 28-minute film, titled "King of Bain," tells the stories of people who lost their jobs when their companies were taken over by Bain Capital, a private equity firm led by Romney during the 1980s and 1990s.

    "This week, fact-check organizations like The Washington Post and Politifact have ranked advertisements produced by super PACs supporting Governor Romney and myself as containing enormous inaccuracies," Gingrich said in a written statement. "I am calling for the Winning Our Future super PAC supporting me to either edit its 'King of Bain' advertisement and movie to remove its inaccuracies, or to pull it off the air and off the internet entirely."

    The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler's awarded the video "Four Pinocchios" in his assessment, which puts "King of Bain" in a class of the worst offenders with "significant factual error[s]."

    Politifact, a Pulitzer-prize winning project of the St. Petersburg Times, said two claims in the film were "mostly false."

    Read Gingrich's full statement:

    Read More »from Gingrich calls on super PAC supporting him to fix ‘enormous inaccuracies’ in anti-Romney film
  • Fox News to increase candidate speaking time by 30 seconds at Monday debate

    It's not quite the three-hour Lincoln-Douglas style debates that Newt Gingrich craves, but it's a start.

    At Monday's Fox News debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Republican presidential candidates will be treated to an extra 30 seconds of speaking time to respond to each question, Yahoo News has learned. Traditionally, networks provide one minute for questions, a rapid-fire format that critics--and some of the candidates themselves--have panned as insufficient time to discuss topics of national importance.

    A Fox News spokeswoman confirmed the new debate ground rules Friday.

    Read More »from Fox News to increase candidate speaking time by 30 seconds at Monday debate
  • Gingrich hits Romney for knowing how to speak French

    During his college years in the 1960s, Mitt Romney spent two years as a Mormon missionary in France. Now, Newt Gingrich is trying to use that time abroad against him.

    A new web ad released by Newt Gingrich's campaign titled "The French Connection" compares Romney to other politicians from Massachusetts, including former governor Michael Dukakis and Sen. John Kerry, both former Democratic presidential nominees. The "French Connection" of the ad's title? In a parting shot, the voiceover explains: "Just like John Kerry," the voice in the ad says, "he speaks French too!"

    Pass the Freedom Fries, s'il vous plait?

    Read More »from Gingrich hits Romney for knowing how to speak French
  • Newt Gingrich (Jim Cole/AP)

    In the past week, Newt Gingrich has unleashed a torrent of televised attacks on Mitt Romney. The anti-Romney spots mark the final abandonment--whether Gingrich cares to admit it or not--of the former House Speaker's vow to limit his attacks against Romney to the putatively more civil realm of "drawing contrasts" between the two candidates. The shift began near the end of Gingrich's campaign swing in Iowagathered momentum as he criss-crossed New Hampshire and is now reached its apotheosis in South Carolina.

    The Gingrich campaign released a video Wednesday that listed 10 "Romney gaffes"--a release that takes some of Romney's words out of context. That tactic disregard's Gingrich's public call for any misleading campaign material released in his name to be immediately removed. The first clip shows Romney saying, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," a snippet from a speech he gave on Jan. 9 in New Hampshire to the Nashua Chamber of Commerce. The clip released by Gingrich omits the context of the remark. Romney was referring to having the freedom, as a consumer of health insurance, to choose health insurance companies; he was using the term "fire" as a euphemism for no longer using companies that offer bad service.

    "You know," Romney went on to say in his Nashua speech, "if someone doesn't give me a good service that I need, I want to say I'm going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."

    Gingrich's video also knocks Romney on issues of personal character, attacking him for strapping the family dog the roof of his car during a 12-hour drive to Canada; making the now-famous "$10,000 bet" with Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the debate stage in Iowa; and for the time he awkwardly sang part of the chorus of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" during a photo-op with black teenagers in 2008.

    "Imagine what Obama would do with a candidate like that," the ad reads at the end. "Only Newt Gingrich can win the debates against Barack Obama. Mitt Romney can't."

    Prior to releasing the "gaffe" video, the Gingrich campaign announced a TV ad that will run in South Carolina that hits Romney on his abortion record. "What happened after Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney changed his position from pro-abortion to pro-life?" the narrator says in the video. "He governed pro-abortion."

    "He can't be trusted," the voice says to close the ad.

    Read More »from Gingrich’s journey from ‘staying positive’ to ‘drawing contrasts’ to old-fashioned attacks
  • 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)


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