Your morning jolt: A Mitt Romney-Ron Paul alliance against Rick Santorum?

Before he clocked out early this morning, my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy e-mailed a few spin-room notes from last night’s CNN debate of the GOP presidential candidates in Arizona:

– Rick Santorum was on the defensive much of the night, enduring assaults from a well-prepared Mitt Romney and a biting Ron Paul. While expressing regret for his vote for the federal No Child Left Behind law as a senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum in essence accused Romney and Paul of teaming up to take him down. His long-time media strategist John Brabender elaborated later.

“For all I know Mitt Romney might be considering Ron Paul as his running mate,” he said. “Clearly there is some allegiance or alliance between those two and you saw that certainly in the debates.” Here’s a Paul-on-Santorum clip:

There has been anecdotal evidence of a Paul-Romney alliance, proffered here by the most elite of media, the New York Times, but the same argument could be made about Santorum and Gingrich. The former Georgia congressman has reversed course and decided not to campaign in Michigan, where Santorum has a chance to deal the Romney campaign a major blow with a win on Tuesday.

“I thought Newt tonight in many ways backed up Rick Santorum on some cases, and Newt certainly did nothing to go after us,” Brabender said. “And I think a lot of it is, I think there’s a frustration Newt has just like Rick Santorum has that Romney just throws things out there and doesn’t back ‘em up. And you saw tonight that Newt Gingrich hit Romney on that.”

But Brabender said there have been no discussions between the two campaigns.

– Presidential campaigns are huge, traveling bubbles that often shut out the rest of the world. Early this week, InsiderAdvantage produced a poll for Fox 5 Atlanta that showed Georgia as a three-way tie – two weeks before the Super Tuesday vote on March 6.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond on Wednesday night claimed ignorance about the survey – and in fact he did not believe the poll was real until this reporter pulled it up on his trusty iPhone.

– When asked to give a one-word description of himself last night, Gingrich answered, “Cheerful.” One could almost – but not quite – hear him add, “Dammit.”

Even so, this was the moment that most appealed to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who sat next to Callista Gingrich during the debate and emerged – all irony aside — as Gingrich’s chief post-debate spinner.

“I thought that was probably the best line of the night from the standpoint of Newt has been criticized from time to time about being too strident, and I thought his [answer] was completely reflective of who he was tonight and who he is generally as a cheerful warrior,” Perry said. “I thought the reflection of Ronald Reagan where you talked about a happy warrior and tonight you saw Newt Gingrich I think channeling Ronald Reagan by saying the word that described him best was cheerful. He truly is a cheerful warrior.”

In other words, Newt was cheerful. Really cheerful.

**
Politico.com has latched onto this negative ad that Rick Santorum has quietly launched in Michigan, aimed at favorite son Mitt Romney:

***
All this talk of a brokered GOP convention in Tampa has Kerwin Swint, a political scientist at Kennesaw State University, wondering if some Republicans have forgotten to take their memory pills:

Republicans hoping for a brokered convention in Tampa this August like to live dangerously. A brokered convention, or even an “open” contested convention, would be just about the worst possible outcome from the 2012 primaries. Why? It is the opposite of what you want heading into a fall campaign against an incumbent president flush with campaign cash.

Swint goes on to list the many messy national conventions, both Republican and Democrat, that haven’t ended well for candidates.

***
The Washington Post has some good news for Paulistas who will be part of the state Libertarian party convention in Athens this weekend:

The national debt is likely to balloon under tax policies championed by three of the four major Republican candidates for president, according to an independent analysis of tax and spending proposals so far offered by the candidates.

The lone exception is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who would pair a big reduction in tax rates with even bigger cuts in government services, slicing about $2 trillion from future borrowing.

According to the report — set for release Thursday by U.S. Budget Watch, a project of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget — former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former House speaker Newt Gingrich would do the most damage to the nation’s finances, offering tax and spending policies likely to require trillions of dollars in fresh borrowing.

***
The Republican National Committee this morning has made some hay of that blues concert at the White House, where President Barack Obama displayed his chops:

***
The Newt Gingrich campaign has released its Georgia bus tour itinerary for next week:

On Tuesday:

– 11 a.m. Northwest Georgia Convention Center in Dalton;

– 3 p.m. rally at the Earl Tillman Hanger at Richard Russell Airport in Rome;

– 7 p.m. rally at the HPE Gym on the University of West Georgia campus in Carrollton.

On Wednesday:

– A 9 a.m. visit to the state Capitol in Atlanta;

– 1:30 p.m. rally at Peachtree Academy in Covington;

– 7 p.m. rally at the Gainesville Civic Center.

That last event will feature Gov. Nathan Deal.

***
Over at 11Alive, Jeff Hubbard has an interview with Newt Gingrich, in which the GOP presidential candidate:

A) Declared he wants to meet John McDole, the Google employee in metro Atlanta who this week posted a YouTube video proving that – contrary to Gingrich’s assertions — you can put a gun rack in a Chevy Volt.

B) Approved of drug-testing for welfare recipients;

And C) said that he has enjoyed gigging his interrogators during the GOP debates. “I’m always in tension with the moderator who asks small questions, and I want to give answers that are kind of big,” he said.

***
State Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, D-Atlanta, announced on Thursday her plans to become the new executive director of GreenLaw, a Georgia environmental advocacy organization. The 14-year Capitol veteran will not seek re-election this year.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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85 comments Add your comment

Lacey O'Rourke

February 23rd, 2012
10:21 am

Strange alliances during elections, He said Newt pulled back in Mich. for Rick to embarrass Mitt, and he commented on Newt and Rick teaming up on Mitt,

he said Paul and Mitt both need to keep Rick down,. Paul because of Virginia.

So there ya go stop freaking out.

MB

February 23rd, 2012
10:24 am

Nominate Santorum. Let’s see a repeat of 1964.

Marlboro Man

February 23rd, 2012
10:27 am

The good folks in KY love bacon. If Rand Paul don’t bring in the bacon, he will be looking for a job.

harley 1

February 23rd, 2012
10:27 am

when southern ladies are hosting newt and his “oh”…do the real ladies throw their coats at her and treat her like the “oh” she is…or just try to be fake nice?

Ga Values...Ron Paul for Peace & Prosperity

February 23rd, 2012
10:28 am

I could vote for a Paul/ Romney ticket but would have to think about a Romney/ Paul ticket.

zeke

February 23rd, 2012
10:28 am

The Right….is that an oxymoron?

George Hills

February 23rd, 2012
10:29 am

Mr. Gingrich faces trouble in Georgia for stabbing gun owners in the back by cutting a deal passing the 1996 misdemeanor gun ban. Only a fool would vote for him now.

Becky

February 23rd, 2012
10:30 am

And the clown car rolls on……………

john

February 23rd, 2012
10:31 am

when RON PAUL becomes president, mitt romney can go get his coffee for him. how’s that for an alliance?

Becky

February 23rd, 2012
10:33 am

I predict a divided convention and the announcement of a Christie/Palin ticket!!!! Enough crazy bigotry for everyone.

[...] Your morning jolt: A Mitt Romney-Ron Paul alliance against Rick Santorum? – AJC [...]

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
10:36 am

That is funny because Mitt and Paul are on different sides of the spectrum regarding politics.

td

February 23rd, 2012
10:37 am

The three top contenders looked very strong last night. Mitt and Rick did a very good job with the Q and A and Newt was the best again by far. All these debates have made the top three very capable to handle Obama in the debates and make him look like the incompetent leader he really is. The future is looking very promising.

The Goobernator

February 23rd, 2012
10:38 am

Keep up the squabbling GOP! It shows how immature you all are. Totally unfit to lead our country.

Last time I looked, a presidential ticket comprises a President and Vice President team. I believe it is only natural that ‘alliances’ would be formed.

If there was an ‘alliance conspiracy’ out there, I would say it was Newt and Mitt colluding to upstage the other candidates by never letting them speak.

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
10:44 am

Goobernator….Your name is fitting. Do you not remember the debates last election between Clinton and Obama? They were great. Where do you think the birther issue came from? Can you say Ms. Clinton?

Centrist

February 23rd, 2012
10:46 am

Saw the replay (certainly not on CNN) of Gingrich giving his big answer to yet another small baited question from John King. You’d think King would be tired of having his a$$ publicly kicked all over those national debate stages. Even Romney put it to him when he interrupted his answer. King must be jealous of gross Stepanopolous (guessing at that spelling) bias.

td

February 23rd, 2012
10:46 am

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
10:44 am

You can not point out those types of facts or they may think their Messiah and chief may have flaws.

Becky

February 23rd, 2012
10:48 am

You know, I come on here 3 or 4 times a day for maybe 3 minutes each visit and there are people consistently on here 24 hours a day. Do you people not work or have a life other than bickering and making up stuff?

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
10:51 am

Becky….What was made up?

Centrist

February 23rd, 2012
10:51 am

Santorum twice last night boldly stated the obvious which is seldom thrown at the media directly – the national media will be backing Obama during the general election.

While this goes into the “Duh” category, good for him to have the guts to point the bias out instead of fearing the media backlash.

Frederick Douglass

February 23rd, 2012
10:52 am

Christie/Palin sounds like an exotic stripper, that is if you can expunge the thought of Christie in a G-string from your memory banks.

bill johson

February 23rd, 2012
10:54 am

This is and has been a two-candidate race. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are only two campaigns with the organization and money to go all the way to the nomination. They are also the only campaigns with a broad enough appeal among the much needed independents to have any shot against Obama.

clyde

February 23rd, 2012
10:56 am

Dear Becky,
I worked for 50 years and now I don’t go to work anymore.I like bickering and making up stuff.It’s my life now.

Romney and Paul???????–Doubt it.

td

February 23rd, 2012
10:57 am

Becky

February 23rd, 2012
10:48 am

It seems that you and others on here have an little envy about some being able to observe a blog and get things accomplished at the same time. It is all about organization and being able to multi task and last but not least it is about the skill sets and profession you choose. When your job requires that you stay on a PC 24/7 and monitor networks then you can flash back and forth to monitor a blog.

You too can have this type of ability. It will only take you attending the right school, getting the right degree, starting you own company, building your client base and working hard for only 15 years to get to the point where your labors start to give you a few perks.

Becky

February 23rd, 2012
10:58 am

uga 1999-anything you post I automatically considert false. td as well. I am perfecting my scrolling when I see your 2 names. Suggest you do the same when you see mine.

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
11:00 am

Becky….Ok, pick something, lets discuss it. Such a broad blanket statement from a fool.

Frederick Douglass

February 23rd, 2012
11:00 am

td @ 10:37

“incompetent leader he really is”

Most of the nation apparently didn’t get that memo, or maybe you’ve neglected to check the polling lately.

Auntie Christ

February 23rd, 2012
11:01 am

If the candidates reach their convention with no one having the required number of delegates, it could very well look like a Clint Eastwood western before it’s over. Keep in mind, this is a party of gun nuts, who feel everyone has not just the right but the obligation to bring a gun to every function from a kindergarten recital to a church service. Combine that thinking with the party elites wheeling and dealing in their ’smoke-filled rooms,’ aided by sara palin’s exhortations to ‘reload,’ and the tea baggers’ rants about the tree of liberty needing the blood of patriots, and I can see this dystopic, deranged assembly turning into the OK Corral at some point, when supporters of a particular candidate feel they’ve been robbed. My prediction, the 2012 repub convention will make Chicago 1968 look like an afternoon tea.

missmollie

February 23rd, 2012
11:03 am

According to most national journalists, Romney clearly owned the night. RS was booed several times and could not seem to get his game on. His nasty ad of a look alike Romney chasing him with a machine gun was back on today; also, the one holding his “special needs” child.. Newt did well and seemed to be enjoying the RS/MR exchange that got heated up several times. This debate should help Romney gain Arizona & Michigan delegates…also on 6 March, IMO.

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
11:05 am

Frederick….
45% Approval Rating
47% Disapproval Rating

You do know how percentages work? Right?
Now tell us all what you meant by saying “Most of the nation”?

Tom

February 23rd, 2012
11:07 am

Had to love Ricky’s rant about teen mothers and children being born out of wedlock……as an argument for why contraceptives are a bad thing.

If Guinness had a record for the world’s largest simultaneous *facepalm*, it got blown out of the water at that moment.

TheRealDeal

February 23rd, 2012
11:10 am

Ron Paul defeats Newt Gingrich, wins Georgia straw poll
http://www.thestatecolumn.com/articles/2012/02/18/ron-paul-defeats-newt-gingrich-wins-georgia-straw-poll/
Gwinnet:
Paul: 115 votes
Gingrich: 73
Santorum: 60 votes.
Romney: 25 votes.

DeKalb County Straw poll results: Santorum 13, Romney 25, Gingrich 25, Paul 105!!!!!

You cannot ignore these numbers. Those are what count in the delegate process.

honested

February 23rd, 2012
11:11 am

I guess it says something when ron paul calls you a kook and a liar.

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
11:11 am

TheRealDeal….It is a straw poll, and yes those numbers are very interesting. However, I think most people would be shocked if Paul won Georgia.

honested

February 23rd, 2012
11:12 am

realdeal (is that you nathan?)

That would be icing on the cake if GA sent paul to the Second Place Convention.

td

February 23rd, 2012
11:13 am

Frederick Douglass

February 23rd, 2012
11:00 am

Like I have said before, polls do not mean anything at this point in time. Since it appears you get your information from only the leftest news outlets then I guess you have missed the latest poll results. You see the left will not give you any information that does not favor the messiah and chief so I will give it to you for informational purposes:

TRIAL HEAT CHANGE

Obama 46% -2

Romney 50% +2

TRIAL HEAT CHANGE

Obama 49% -2

Santorum 48% +5

No Longer Republican

February 23rd, 2012
11:14 am

I want some of the koolaid TD is drinking…making him think things are looking good for the Rethugs. It must be some strong stuff. Of the four remaining the Romney/Paul ticket would be the most formidable IMO, but I don’t know that it will happen. Someone mentioned Christie/Palin after a brokered convention…and while it scares me to even think of such an administration…that would certainly give the Rethugs a shot. Right now they don’t have much of a chance.

TheRealDeal

February 23rd, 2012
11:18 am

Ron Paul 2012 Rally this Sunday. The stake is too high to stay home for this election season. Get Informed, Get involved and Get Inspired at this Sunday’s Ron Paul Rally.

When: Sunday – February 26, 2012 – 1:00pm

Where: The Square – Marietta Ga. – Glover Park

Why: To rally voter support for Presidential candidate Ron Paul 2012 –
Georgia Republican Primary March 6.

Musical Guests: The Axis Experience – Sailing to Denver – My Name is Mark.
With WSB Radio personality Monica Perez. Other speakers.

The public is invited to bring creative signs and banners in support
of Congressman Ron Paul for President 2012.

honested

February 23rd, 2012
11:19 am

No Longer….

Christie/palin might play to the base, but both of them have high enough disapproval numbers among sentient voters to make it a re-election guarantee.

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
11:20 am

No Longer Republican…..Things are looking GREAT for the Republicans. Have you seen all of the lastest polls. As long as Obama continues to kill jobs and have policies that drive up gasoline prices, he is a goner.

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
11:21 am

Christie would not run with Palin. Another lie made up by the left. However I do think the chances of Christie being Romney’s running mate are VERY HIGH!

td

February 23rd, 2012
11:22 am

No Longer Republican

February 23rd, 2012
11:14 am

That is not me but instead Gallup. Check it out yourself. When you live around and only talk to like minded people then your views become tainted and you can not see the whole picture.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/election.aspx

Although I am a Newt supporter, the polls suggest that Rick is getting a great deal of support because people think he is a man of conviction and not a typical politician that will tell you what you want to here. Polls also suggest that Gas prices and the contraceptive fight with the Catholics are hurting Obama at the moment.

These polls will change another 100 times before the election and like I have said it is way to early to predict a winner because there are way to many variables in play but they do tell me that this race is going to be very close.

td

February 23rd, 2012
11:24 am

honested

February 23rd, 2012
11:19 am

Did you know that Rick has less negatives then all the others running for office (including Obama). If you read this blog you would think Rick has about a 90% negative rating.

honested

February 23rd, 2012
11:25 am

td,

Sans-scrotum is probably a man of conviction, but a trial will be necessary first.

honested

February 23rd, 2012
11:27 am

td,

This blog includes mostly people who have an idea of who sans-scrotum is and what he believes.
That’s why you would assume he has a 90% negative rating.
He will have to make the rest of the country aware of his outlandish views to attain a 90% negative across the country.

td

February 23rd, 2012
11:30 am

UGA 1999

February 23rd, 2012
11:21 am

Two blue state Northeastern governors running as Republicans on the same ticket is not going to happen because it brings nothing to the ticket. If Romney wins the nomination then he will come to south or go out west for a VP. Rubio or Allen West would be more likely choices.

honested

February 23rd, 2012
11:30 am

Auntie Christ

Your predictions will make for good TV.
Add to that the warm winter should provide plenty of mosquitoes for extra agitation.

Roman

February 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

All of these pundits are missing the point. Ron Paul is not siding with Romney, he is trying to get rid of Santorum and Gingrich, because they are splitting the anti-Romney vote. Let’s see how Romney does against Paul when they are in Virginia – MANO A MANO.

td

February 23rd, 2012
11:40 am

TheRealDeal

February 23rd, 2012
11:10 am

Yes, every Republican knows about how the Ron Paul strategy for the past 4 years is to get into local republican parties to be able to inflate numbers like the ones you are putting up. The problem is that Georgia is not a straw poll state and is full of neo cons that will not under any circumstance vote for Ron Paul because of his views on foreign policy. Paul will be like all other Libertarian candidates in this state and get between 5 and 7% of the vote at the most.

honested

February 23rd, 2012
11:43 am

realdeal,

For once, td has a point.
The neocons will never line up with paul on the one point in his whole platform that makes sense.