Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • How serious is Herman Cain’s candidacy? Do straw polls matter?

    Over at Bloggingheads TV, National Review's Robert Costa and I discuss whether Herman Cain can have a lasting effect on the Republican presidential race after his victory at the Florida straw poll.

    As Yahoo! News reported Monday, Cain told me that he considered dropping out of the race on two occasions before the straw poll, but now he's looking to his success in Florida to propel his campaign further. But will it? Or are straw polls meaningless?

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  • VIDEO: Man asks Obama to raise his taxes at town hall

    Following in the footsteps of billionaire investor Warren Buffet, former Google employee Doug Edwards asked President Obama to raise his taxes at a town hall meeting in California Monday.

    "Would you please raise my taxes?" Edwards asked, a request that drew applause from the audience. "I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell Grants and infrastructure, and job training programs to make it possible for me to get to where I am. And it chills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of tax cuts that have been benefiting so many of us for so long."

    Obama told Edwards, a major donor to Democrats over the past decade, that he wanted to take tax rates back to the rates in the 1990s.

    "We all benefited somewhere from somebody making an investment in us," he said. "If we make those investments how do we pay for it?"

    See Obama's response after the jump.

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  • Dennis Miller endorses Herman Cain, plans to headline a fundraiser

    Miller (Michael A. Mariant:AP)On the heels of presidential candidate Herman Cain's win in the Florida straw poll last weekend, the radio host Dennis Miller announced Monday that he's endorsing Cain for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

    Miller, who mentioned his support for the Cain campaign on his national radio show, will headline a fundraiser for Cain in Los Angeles and has donated to the campaign, a Cain spokeswoman confirmed.

    "I'd like to thank [Miller] for his support," Cain said in a statement on his campaign Twitter feed. "I look forward to working with him as we continue our journey to the White House!"

    Miller has been supportive of Cain for months--his website directed readers to the Georgia businessman's campaign site in July--but had not formally endorsed him until today.

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  • Saturday Night Live parodies Republican debates

    SNL nails it in Saturday's cold opening:

  • Cain nearly quit campaign before Florida straw poll, calls Obama a ‘liar’

    Cain (Joe Burbank/AP)

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Not everyone needs to go to Disney World to have fun in central Florida.

    After one of Herman Cain's strongest showings yet at a Republican presidential debate Thursday, and two days with conservative activists in the state, he won the "Presidency 5" straw poll in Orlando over the weekend, beating front-runner Texas Gov. Rick Perry by more than 20 points.

    While straw polls are not scientific and their results can be poor indicators of whether a candidate will  win a party's nomination--the latest actual Florida poll put Cain near the bottom--they can help spark some momentum, especially for lower-tier candidates. For Cain, a 65-year-old businessman, mathematician, author and radio host from Atlanta, Georgia, his straw poll win could well be the high-water mark of his campaign. And by his own admission, the path that brought him this far wasn't an easy one. The morning before the straw poll, I met Cain for coffee in a hotel near the convention center that hosted the debate and straw poll. As we discussed the early phase of the Republican primaries, he told me that before coming to Florida, he had nearly called it quits on two occasions.

    "The thing that I've learned about myself in this campaign--because I've never had this happen to me before on a single challenge--is that I've gone to the brink, ready to pull the plug, but came back, twice," Cain said. "I've only had two days where I personally felt, should I pull the plug? For different reasons. That's how frustrating a campaign can be."

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  • When Lady Gaga meets President Obama

    Lady Gaga in July (Wall Santana:AP)Pop singer Lady Gaga attended a fundraiser with President Obama in Atherton, Calif., Sunday night. And despite the distinguished company, she didn't tone her attention-seeking image down one bit.

    According to the White House pool report filed by Carol Lee of The Wall Street Journal, Gaga's hairdo and heels made her at least eight feet tall:

    At 8pm pool was brought through the house, where Poker Face by Lady Gaga was playing, and into a white party tent set up in the back of the house. There were 7 large round tables - three on each side and one square in the middle in front of a small open space with an American and California state flag set up, where President Obama spoke.

    At 8:03 pm Lady Gaga entered... delicately walking on sky-high heels (she towered over everyone, a good 2 feet taller than POTUS). She was wearing a floor-length sleeveless lacey black dress, her blonde hair was gathered in a bouffant up-do adorned with a black hair piece with a black veil down the back, which she swept to the side and in front of her left shoulder. (The hair added about 6 inches to her stature). She took a seat at the middle table in the tent and stood up with the other guests when POTUS entered a few minutes later.

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  • Herman Cain wins Florida straw poll, beats Perry by more than 20 points

    Cain (AP)

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain won the "Presidency 5" straw poll Saturday, fetching 37 percent of the vote and upsetting Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who trailed Cain by more than 20 points.

    "Folks, this is what you call momentum," Cain said in a video taken while he rode back to Atlanta on his campaign bus. "The Herman Cain train is picking up steam."

    The delegates, made up of Republican voters from every county in Florida, cast 2,657 ballots for the straw poll that was sponsored by the state Republican Party.

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney placed third with 14 percent and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann came in last with just 1.5 percent. Neither campaign officially participated in the straw poll.

    "You'd think Mitt Romney would've done better today after being in the race for five and a half years," said Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner. "It's a devastating loss for him today."

    The straw poll concluded three days of campaigning in Orlando that began Thursday with a presidential debate and included a conference for activists sponsored by the American Conservative Union.

    Several delegates participating in the straw poll said that Perry's weak performance at the debate led them to consider Cain instead.

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  • Perry’s debate performance gives some Florida straw poll attendees second thoughts

    Perry (Carlos Osorio:AP)ORLANDO, Fla. -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry may have gone into Thursday's Republican presidential debate as the national front-runner, but his poor debate showing could hurt his chances in tonight's Republican Party of Florida straw poll.

    Several delegates who will vote in the "Presidency 5" straw poll said they arrived planning to cast a vote for Perry on Thursday, but now they're having second thoughts.

    "Everybody we talked to pulled away from Perry," said Beth Shields, a delegate from Brooksville, Fla., adding that some were transferring their support to Herman Cain.

    As Byron York of the Washington Examiner noted, there is a possibility that Cain might benefit from Perry's loss of support. Cain staffers working the conference found themselves so swamped with a demand for Cain 2012 swag that they ran out of buttons, T-shirts and stickers within a few hours on Saturday morning. Before Cain volunteers received fresh supplies of Cain paraphernalia that afternoon, some had been handing out pins they unclipped and stickers they peeled off of their own clothes.

    Delegates who spoke to The Ticket before the straw poll cited two primary reasons for switching their vote: Perry's trouble countering former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the debate and his comment that those who disagree with him on how Texas handles illegal immigration don't "have a heart." (Illegal immigrants in Texas can apply for in-state tuition at Texas public colleges and universities, a policy that Perry's rivals denounced in the debate.)

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  • Rick Scott’s straw poll pep talk

    Scott (Graham Hughes:AP)ORLANDO, Fla. -- To hear Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott talk about Saturday's presidential straw poll, you'd think the fate of the entire nation depends on a few Republicans in the Sunshine State.

    "Your choice today will set in motion a chain of events that could ultimately determine whether the American Dream lives or dies," Scott told more than 3,000 members of the Republican Party of Florida before the straw poll on Saturday.

    The weekend straw poll, known as "Presidency 5," is the culmination of a three-day marathon of events that kicked off Thursday with a presidential debate and a conference of activists on Friday hosted by the American Conservative Union. The party has conducted the straw poll three times since 1979, and each time, the winner went on to win the Republican nomination.

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  • Perry plays down importance of debate performance

    Perry (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)ORLANDO, Fla. -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the day after what was perhaps his weakest showing at a debate Thursday night against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, played down the importance of debate skills and knocked Romney again for his Massachusetts health care plan.

    "It's not who is the slickest candidate or the smoothest debater that we should elect," Perry told an audience of conservative activists in Florida at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "We need to elect the candidate with the best record and the best vision for this country.

    "The current occupant in the White House can sure talk a good game, but he doesn't deliver," he added. "Remember President Clinton?' Man, he could sell ice cubes to Eskimos and then the next day be against ice cubes. The alternative is candidates that stick to principle."

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