Archive for January, 2012

Newt Gingrich: ‘It’s not that I’m a good debater….’

Updated at 9:35 p.m. — Now, we may be cherry-picking here, but in his victory speech, Newt Gingrich seems to be getting more and more comfortable with the word “grandiosity.”

Says Gingrich: “It’s not that I’m a good debater. It’s just that I articulate the deepest values of the American people.”

But ultimately, he offered lavish praise on Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and even Mitt Romney.

Updated at 9 p.m. — Sarah Palin was featured in a quick interview with Fox News a few minutes ago. Good news for Rick Santorum: She said it wasn’t yet time for him to bow out of the contest.

Minutes later, Santorum was on the same network, noting that Mitt Romney, rather than him, should be the fellow pressed to leave the stage. “The idea that Romney is the obstacle isn’t working anymore,” he said.

Updated at 8:05 p.m. “This race is getting to be even more interesting,” Mitt Romney tells his supporters. “This is a hard fight because there’s so much worth fighting for….Tomorrow …

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Why the Iowa GOP finally declared Rick Santorum the winner

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A fuller, but still incomplete explanation of why the Iowa GOP did what it did, courtesy of the Associated Press:

Offering no explanation, the Iowa Republican Party has declared Rick Santorum as winner of the Iowa caucuses, days after saying incomplete vote results precluded it from doing just that.

GOP State Chairman Matt Strawn and the party’s State Central Committee issued a statement late Friday naming the former Pennsylvania senator as the winner, “in order to clarify conflicting reports and to affirm the results” that were released Wednesday.

The committee’s release Wednesday said Santorum was 34 votes ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the final certified results from 1,766 precincts. But because eight precincts never turned in certified results, Strawn said in the statement Thursday that the party could not declare a winner. He congratulated both Santorum and Romney. Sixteen days earlier, Strawn had announced that Romney had won the …

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In a final S.C. poll, Newt Gingrich with a lead over Mitt Romney

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The results of what may be the last sampling of South Carolina primary voters was issued late last night by Public Policy Polling – and its one-day survey shows Newt Gingrich with a new, substantial lead over Mitt Romney.

It’s current line: Gingrich, 37 percent; Romney, 28 percent; Rick Santorum, 16 percent; and Ron Paul, 14 percent.

From the PPP website:

Gingrich’s lead has actually increased in the wake of his ex-wife’s controversial interview with ABC. Although one night poll results should always be interpreted with caution, he led the final night of the field period by a 40-26 margin. One thing that continues to work to his advantage are the debates. 60% of primary voters report having watched the one last night, and Gingrich has a 46-23 lead with those folks.

The other reason his ex-wife’s interview isn’t causing him much trouble is that there’s a lot of skepticism about it. Only 31% of voters say they think her accusations are true while 35% think …

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Newt Gingrich gets the endorsement of Lee Atwater’s widow

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Arrived this evening to find that SLED – that would be the State Law Enforcement Division to outsiders – is investigating a mass of bogus e-mails declaring (under CNN’s name) that Newt Gingrich pressed an ex-wife to get an abortion.

In this July 24, 1988 file photo, Lee Atwater, then-campaign manager for Vice President George Bush is seen prior to the taping of CBS-TV's "Face The Nation" in Washington. AP/Dennis Cook

In this July 24, 1988 file photo, Lee Atwater, then-campaign manager for Vice President George Bush is seen prior to the taping of CBS-TV's "Face The Nation" in Washington. AP/Dennis Cook

Ah, South Carolina, home of the dirty trick.

And this evening, the Gingrich campaign is touting an endorsement from Sally Atwater, widow of the man who nearly invented the dirty trick and hardball campaigning – Lee Atwater:

Mr. Speaker,

My late husband Lee Atwater gave his life to elect Republican candidates to office and to build the South Carolina and national Republican party. You offered me a job when I was a scared young widow with three little girls. I can count on one hand the number of people in Washington that remained loyal to …

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Your morning jolt: Herman Cain’s defense of Newt Gingrich

It’s all about Newt Gingrich this morning.

According to Public Policy Polling, overnight tracking in South Carolina shows no sign of damage to the former U.S. House speaker as a result of the allegations of ex-wife Marianne Gingrich. He continues to lead Mitt Romney in the state by 35-29. In fact, says PPP:

For the first time in our South Carolina tracking this month his favorability is better than Romney’s, with 53% of voters holding a positive opinion of him compared to 51% for his chief competitor.

Gingrich’s lead with evangelicals held steady today at 40-22 over Romney. He’s also doing well with Tea Party voters (46-21), registered Republicans (38-30), voters describing themselves as very conservative (41-21), men (39-27), and voters in the Upstate (36-25).

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich hasn’t gotten an endorsement from former rival Herman Cain, but he’s getting sympathy. On Fox News this morning, Cain applauded Gingrich’s lambasting of CNN’s John …

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Newt and Callista Gingrich’s tax returns

My AJC colleague James Salzer has turned a quick report on Newton L. and Callista L. Gingrich’s tax returns. The Washington Post provides the actual documents. Enjoy.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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Marianne Gingrich: ‘He wanted an open marriage and I refused’

Here’s the tidbit that ABC News has passed out from its interview with Marianne Gingrich, second wife to former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich:

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — Dredging up a past that Newt Gingrich has worked hard to bury, the GOP presidential candidate’s second ex-wife says Gingrich asked for an “open marriage” in which he could have both a wife and a mistress.

In an interview with ABC News’ “Nightline” scheduled to air Thursday night, Marianne Gingrich said she refused to go along with the idea that she share her husband with Callista Bisek, who would later become his third wife.

The explosive interview was airing just two days before the presidential primary in South Carolina, a state with a strong Christian conservative bent, and as Gingrich tries to present himself as the strongest alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney.

In excerpts of the interview released ahead the ABC broadcast, Marianne Gingrich said her husband conducted his affair …

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Four polls show a Romney-Gingrich barn-burner in S.C.

Four polls of South Carolina voters in the last 24 hours agree that the first-in-the-South contest between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich is tightening – and is likely to shift again in the next 24.

After all, we’ve got a CNN debate to get through tonight, and the late-night broadcast by ABC News of an ex-wife. Tweets this morning indicate that Marianne Gingrich, the second wife of the former U.S. House speaker, will allege that – before their divorce — her husband asked for an “open” marriage.

One would assume that the conversation is one that Gingrich repented of when he converted to Catholicism. A statement issued by the Gingrich campaign quoted his two daughters, Jackie Cushman and Kathy Lubbers, about the divorce:

“Anyone who has had that experience understands it is a personal tragedy filled with regrets, and sometimes differing memories of events.”

But about those polls. This morning, there’s the NBC/Marist poll:

As the Republican presidential candidates …

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Whoops. Rick Santorum won Iowa with 34 votes. Maybe.

You know that caucus victory that Mitt Romney pulled out by eight votes earlier this month? Never happened. From Jennifer Jacobs and the Des Moines Register:

There are too many holes in the certified totals from the Iowa caucuses to know for certain who won, but Rick Santorum wound up with a 34-vote advantage.

Results from eight precincts are missing — any of which could hold an advantage for Mitt Romney — and will never be recovered and certified, Republican Party of Iowa officials [said] Wednesday.

GOP officials discovered inaccuracies in 131 precincts, although not all the changes affected the two leaders. Changes in one precinct alone shifted the vote by 50 — a margin greater than the certified tally.

The certified numbers: 29,839 for Santorum and 29,805 for Romney. The turnout: 121,503.
It’s not a surprise that the ultra-thin gap of eight votes on caucus night didn’t hold up, but it’s tough to swallow the fact that there will always be a question mark hanging …

Continue reading Whoops. Rick Santorum won Iowa with 34 votes. Maybe. »

Jimmy Carter to CNN: Newt Gingrich using ’subtlety of racism’

Former President Jimmy Carter, in an interview with Piers Morgan to be aired tonight on CNN, says Newt Gingrich is purposely using the code words of the old segregated South when he talks of a “food stamp president” and the need for the poor to learn how to hold a job:

A partial, quick transcript:

Carter: Gingrich, in the South Carolina debate – I watched the first part of it, watched the first half of it – I think he has that subtlety of racism that I know quite well, and that Gingrich knows quite well, that appeals to some people in Georgia – particularly the right wing.

Morgan: You think he’s doing it deliberate?

Carter: Oh, I think so. He knows as well the words that you use – like welfare mommas and so forth – that have been appealing in the past, in those days when we cherished segregation of the races. So he’s appealing to that in South Carolina, and I don’t think it will pay off in the long run.

Morgan: That’s a pretty serious charge to level at …

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