I hit him as hard as I could. He hit me hard as he could. It turned out he had more things to hit with than I did.Newt Gingrich • Sounding pretty close to making a concession speech to Mitt Romnney in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” this morning. Gingrich, who previously sounded like he was banking on a brokered convention in Tampa to revive his hopes, stuck behind that manta, but says that Romney “far and away the most likely Republican nominee,” suggesting that Gingrich is seeing that possibility mostly as a pipe dream. Rick Santorum, currently running second, has said that he needs to win his home state of Pennsylvania to stay in the race — which looks like it might be difficult, as his fundraising is very weak at the moment. In other words, the inevitable is starting to look more and more inevitable.
» Pardon us if that seems reductive, but how evangelical voters relate to Mitt Romney’s faith, and Newt Gingrich’s lack of faithfulness, has been a critical question in the GOP nominating process. In a barrage of exit polling coming out of Florida tonight, this seems to be one of the few positives Gingrich can take away; while not a staggering advantage by any stretch, his personal baggage risks making him deeply unpalatable to a moralistic, Christian electorate. In the short-term, however, it seems he’s staying afloat with those voters, at least enough to keep Romney at his back.
» The early exit polling tells the tale, and it’s an especially concerning one for Newt Gingrich. The GOP debates held in Florida, particularly the most recent one, were widely thought have been won by Mitt Romney. Gingrich himself never had a worse debate than that, just prior to Florida voters having to make up their minds. That Gingrich is likely to lose tonight is no shocker — heading into today he was polling behind by double-digits. However, considering it was his sharp, aggressive debate demeanor that propelled him to victory in South Carolina, to now be losing that medium to Mitt Romney has to sting, and is an essential issue for his campaign going forward.
Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot. Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates.Newt Gingrich’s campaign director, Michael Krull • Criticizing Virginia’s primary system, which decided that Gingrich didn’t have enough signatures to show up on the ballot. He joins Rick Perry (who didn’t have enough signatures for the ballot, either), and three GOP candidates who passed on getting signatures altogether: Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman. He has a very strong point here. However … we’re not going to spell this out specifically, but do you see the slight Krull’s slight of Huntsman in his quote? source (via • follow)
“It’s not just men who potentially sexually harass women.” Herman Cain just gave a press conference addressing the sexual harassment accusations his ex-employees keep hurling at him, and we can’t say it went very well. He clarified nothing, repeated what he’s been saying all along (“These women are lying and I never harassed anyone”), and made a few unforced errors—such the true but utterly irrelevant reminder above—that can’t do anything but hurt him going forward. Here are some of the best/worst.
If you are at or below the poverty level, your plan isn’t 9-9-9, it is 9-0-9. Say amen y’all. 9-0-9.Herman Cain • Claiming that his much-talked-about 999 plan was intended to always be income-tax-free for the poor. 909? Isn’t nearly as catchy now, is it? Cain made this statement in Detroit on Friday, which plays into some of the criticism his campaign has gotten — that he’s not focusing on the states that will help him win the early primaries. Earlier this month, Karl Rove put this point succinctly: “He needs to get his bus to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and Nevada. If he doesn’t break through there — and to break through there, you’ve got to show up, particularly in the first three.” source (via • follow)
We just basically want to be the adults in the room here. This is not a matter of New Hampshire being a bully or telling us what to do. It’s a matter of Nevada doing what needs to be done for Nevada.Nevada GOP chairwoman Amy Tarkanian • Discussing why the state decided to move its primary date back to February 4, after facing massive criticism, boycotts and a Jon Huntsman no-show at a recent debate, for setting their primary on January 14. Probably a good idea, Nevada, but one they came to with some perks to sweeten the deal — including prime hotel space at the Republican National Convention next year. Enjoy the minibar, guys! That’s what you get for taking the high road. source (via • follow)
» There are several different elements to this. First and foremost, two respected media outlets provided a half-quote when they should have provided a full quote. The intent (if any) behind the ABC article is debatable—they later updated it to make Perry’s comments clearer—but Ed Schultz was being flatly disingenuous when he said that “[the] black cloud Perry is talking about is President Barack Obama.” It wasn’t, and that was clear in the original quote. However, it is legitimate to ask whether or not the phrase “big black cloud” was consciously chosen to evoke—however subconsciously—racial imagery. The whole strategy behind race-baiting is to suggest race with a veil of plausible deniability, and while it’s not at all clear that Perry was doing this, it’s at least a fair question to ask. What do you think?