Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • Pawlenty regrets quitting 2012 primary early

    Pawlenty and his wife, Mary (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)Broke and struggling in the polls, Tim Pawlenty dropped his Republican presidential bid in August and threw his support to rival Mitt Romney.

    But now the former Minnesota governor admits he's had second thoughts about whether he did the right thing by quitting the race so early.

    Speaking to reporters at his official state portrait unveiling Monday, Pawlenty said he might have stayed in the race had he known it would be so volatile.

    "If I had known then what I know now," Pawlenty said, per the Associated Press's Brian Bakst.

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  • Are Republican presidential hopefuls having too many debates?

    (John Raoux/AP)

    Even by the standards of the fast-moving, frontloaded early primary schedule, this has been a remarkably unsettled campaign season for the Republican party. And much of this stability doesn't stem from the traditional bulwarks of the nominating battle--the push to boost candidate fundraising or endorsements. Instead, candidate are gaining or losing ground largely on the basis of how they've performed on the debate stage.

    Just ask Tim Pawlenty, who never recovered from botching a question about Mitt Romney's health care policies during an early debate. Or Michele Bachmann--whose stronger-than-expected performance in the first major GOP debate fueled her rise in the polls over the summer. Or Rick Perry, who was viewed as a GOP savior when he entered the race in August--and who is now struggling to save his campaign amid dismal debate reviews.

    More so than in any other presidential cycle in recent memory, this year's primary debates have exerted an outsize influence in redefining expectations about the field of candidates. And the debates are also one of the key reasons no candidate has truly emerged as a clear frontrunner in the race.

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  • Mitt Romney posed with health care law in official state portrait

    (Elise Amendola/AP)

    Under fire from his Republican rivals, Mitt Romney has distanced himself from the health care reform law he passed as governor of Massachusetts, but there was a time he considered it a key part of his political legacy in the state.

    As Politico's Ben Smith reminds us, Romney posed with folder containing a copy of the bill for his official state portrait.

    The painting, unveiled in 2009, cost $30,000 and was paid for by Romney with campaign funds. Richard Whitney, the New Hampshire artist who painted the portrait, told the Boston Globe in a June interview the ex-governor specifically requested a symbol of the 2006 bill be included in the artwork.

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  • Tuesday’s Republican debate will save Perry’s campaign, or end it

    (Evan Vucci/AP)

    The Republican presidential candidates will gather for their second televised debate in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, when Bloomberg and the Washington Post host a forum centered entirely on the economy.

    The back and forth on policy at the debate could be overshadowed by a bigger storyline: Can Rick Perry use the event to turn his turn his campaign around?

    Perry, the governor of Texas, has lost his position as the front-runner in 2012 polls in recent weeks, amid criticism over his uneven debate performances. His position on Social Security, which he's described as a "Ponzi scheme" and a "monstrous lie" that ought to be administered by the 50 states instead of the federal government, will almost certainly come under scrutiny at the debate. His support for allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Texas public universities is also likely to come up, as his rivals have cast the policy as fiscally unwise.

    At the last three debates, Perry has struggled to defend his policies, and he has also had trouble delivering scripted attacks against Mitt Romney, his leading opponent for the Republican presidential nomination. Will Perry be better prepared Tuesday night?

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  • Romney picks up key endorsements in New Hampshire and Florida

    Romney and Gregg (Cheryl Senter/AP)Mitt Romney picked up endorsements from key Republicans in two crucial primary states, as he moves to coalesce party support for his 2012 nomination bid.

    Former Sens. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Mel Martinez of Florida announced Monday they are backing the former Massachusetts governor in the GOP primary.

    Gregg, who backed Romney's 2008 bid, has been a fixture in Granite State politics for more than three decades, serving first in Congress beginning in 1981. He won the governorship in 1988 and later served three terms in the Senate, before retiring earlier this year.

    He's still considered one of the most influential Republicans in the state—though his influence wasn't able to help Romney beat John McCain in the state four years ago.

    But Martinez is a major get for Romney, as his campaign attempts to cast Florida as a firewall against possible losses in other early primary states, like South Carolina.

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  • Romney pushes for ‘strong’ foreign policy but offers few specifics on Afghanistan

    Romney at The Citadel (Mic Smith/AP)Speaking against a backdrop of young cadets at The Citadel in South Carolina, Mitt Romney offered the first glimpse of his foreign policy agenda, pledging to strengthen the military and insisting the United States must reclaim a leading role in the world to usher in a new "American century."

    In his first major foreign policy speech of the campaign, Romney sought to contrast his approach to managing America's role in the world with the diplomatic leadership shown by President Obama. Romney lambasted Obama's foreign-affairs record as a series of "feckless policies" that have diminished the nation's standing around the world.

    "This is America's moment. We should embrace the challenge, not shrink from it, not crawl into an isolationist shell, not wave the white flag of surrender, nor give in to those who assert America's time has passed," Romney declared. "That is utter nonsense. An eloquently justified surrender of world leadership is still surrender."

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  • Perry: Romney and Obama are ‘carbon copies’

    (Screenshot via YouTube)Rick Perry is doubling down on what will clearly be one of his key strategies heading into the Republican presidential primary: Tying Mitt Romney to President Obama.

    Last month, Perry slammed Romney as "Obama-lite," a title he based on comparisons between the health care policies Romney pushed as governor of Massachusetts and Obama's health care law.

    Today, the Texas governor is out with an attack ad trashing Romney and Obama as "carbon copies" when it comes to their positions on climate change and other environmental policies.

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  • Romney under fire for allegedly pushing Nevada to move up caucus

    Romney (Phil Sears/AP)Mitt Romney is coming under fire from two of his GOP rivals amid reports his campaign pushed Nevada to move up its Republican presidential caucus. Romney is expect to do well in Nevada, so scheduling the state's caucus at an earlier time would likely boost momentum behind his 2012 bid.

    In a statement released by his campaign, Rick Santorum accused Romney of "trying to bully states" to adjust the 2012 primary calendar on his behalf.

    "It's not surprising when a campaign pushes for a leg up on the competition. But what is surprising in this case is that reports show Gov. Romney's campaign appears to be pushing a state to break the rules for his campaign's benefit," Santorum said, calling Romney's move a "disservice to the political process."

    As The Ticket reported Thursday, a top Nevada GOP official told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the Romney campaign had lobbied the state to move its primary date from mid-February to Jan. 14—a date that could force Iowa or New Hampshire to schedule their votes in December.

    On Friday, the Iowa Republican Party announced it is aiming to schedule its caucus on Jan. 3, but the party won't officially vote on that date until Oct. 16. New Hampshire had also been eying Jan. 3 for its first-in-the-nation primary, but state officials have said they won't make a decision until later this month, or possibly in November.

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  • Nevada GOP sets its 2012 caucus for Jan. 14, which could push Iowa into December

    New Hampshire voters at the polls in 2008 (Elise Amendola/AP)The Nevada Republican Party voted Wednesday to move up its 2012 presidential caucus to Jan. 14—a decision that could force the kick off of the nominating contest into late December.

    The move was prompted by the Florida GOP's decision to move its primary to Jan. 31, jumping ahead of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada—four states the Republican National Committee has allowed to schedule voting ahead of others.

    In response to Florida, South Carolina moved its primary to Jan. 21, prompting Nevada to schedule its contest a week earlier. But Nevada's decision could now throw the calendar into chaos for New Hampshire and Iowa.

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  • Can Mitt Romney finally convince Republicans he’s the frontrunner?

    Romney (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)When Chris Christie decided not to run for president in 2012, the media spectacle cast light on the dueling storyline of the Republican race so far: The party's effort to find a candidate who can beat President Obama next year--while also finding a candidate who is not Mitt Romney.

    The former Massachusetts governor was the early frontrunner for the nomination, even before he officially entered the race. Long before the polls closed on Election Day four years ago, Romney was perceived by fellow Republicans as the man to beat heading into the 2012, in part because of his experience of having run a national campaign before.

    The sentiment was even shared by the political advisers to President Obama, who have long considered Romney a serious threat to Obama's re-election.

    But over the past few months, Romney has stood awkwardly by as his fellow Republicans have placed their hopes on countless alternatives. That includes party stars like Christie and Jeb Bush, who have declined to run, and rivals like Michele Bachmann, who shot to the top of the polls during the summer but has since flamed out.

    Rick Perry was cast as the party's potential savior, but his star has fallen in recent weeks, amid questions about his ideology and his ability to beat Obama. Now the race seems to be back where it began, with the view that the nomination is Romney's to lose.

    So, what does Romney do now?

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