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Tuesday
Sep112012

Romney Strategy Alarms Some Conservatives

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Believe them or not, post-convention polls such as the one out Tuesday from ABC News and the Washington Post show some wind -- or maybe more accurately, a slight breeze -- at President Obama’s back.

The presidential race has gone from “deadlocked” to a slight edge for Obama since Labor Day.

A lot of ups and downs are expected between now and Election Day -- with three debates, two jobs reports and more than 50 news cycles still to go -- but Republican pundits have begun to fret that Mitt Romney can’t continue to capitalize on the stubbornly weak economy.

“If the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business,” declared George Will on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos Sunday.

 

Will was describing how the 8.1 percent unemployment rate belies the large numbers of Americans who have given up looking for work.

“If the workforce participation rate today were what it was in June 2009, when the recovery began, we would have an unemployment rate of 11.2 percent,” said Will. “If you add in the involuntarily unemployed, you’re approaching 19 percent, which is why I should think, from here on in, on the basis of these numbers, the Romney campaign’s slogan should be the title of Paul Krugman’s book, which is  End This Depression Now, because these are depression-level numbers.”

Other conservatives have joined in, albeit expressing less overt frustration than Will.

Speak Up, Mitt!” is the title of a piece by William Kristol in a forthcoming issue of the Weekly Standard.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page said Monday, "The GOP candidate might try explaining his policies. Just a thought.”

The editorial board was perturbed at Romney’s answer to a question on Meet the Press about a forthcoming ban on denying health insurance to those who have pre-existing conditions. Romney opposed the ban when Democrats passed it into law, but he seemed to have difficulty explaining why. And he even suggested he’d keep part of Obama’s health care law, although he didn’t specify how he’d do that.

“Mr. Romney’s pre-existing political calculation seems to be that he can win the election without having to explain the economic moment or even his own policies. As this flap shows, such vagueness carries its own political risks,” wrote the Journal’s editorial board.

Not all conservatives are quite so edgy, though. The National Review has come out with a calmingly reassuring editorial headline: “Fear Not the Bounce.”

But it includes this scathing critique of the Republican’s late-summer strategy:

“The Democrats, it seems to us, made better use of their convention than the Republicans made of theirs. The Republican message, especially in the most-watched addresses, seemed less coordinated, deliberate and focused. Republicans spent too much time explaining what a nice guy Romney is and how happy he is about female empowerment, and not enough time explaining how he would improve the national condition.”

The conclusion that Romney remains “in the hunt” is not news. A slight Obama lead by no means spells the end of the race. But the conventional wisdom among increasingly alarmed and vocal D.C. conservative thinkers is that team Romney needs to refocus and find a way to draw a starker contrast between him and President Obama, and zero in even more intently on the economy.

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug242012

Conservatives Sound Off for Anti-Obama Documentary

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The anti-Obama documentary 2016: Obama’s America began showing in more than 1,000 theaters nationwide on Friday, more than any political documentary in the past eight years, since Michael Moore’s 2004 film Sicko was released in 1,117 theaters.

2016, which argues that President Obama’s father’s Kenyan roots have led the president to take an anti-American world view, has grossed more than $2.6 million since it was first released in Houston last month. The film is now the eleventh highest-grossing political documentary in history, according to Box Office Mojo, which tracks movie ticket sales.

“Demand has driven the expansion a ‘little’ fast[er] than I had planned but the early morning numbers from theaters is telling me 2016 is going to have a nice weekend at the box-office,” Randy Slaughter, a spokesman for the film’s distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures, said in an email.

While reviews of the film have been less than glowing -- Variety’s Joe Leydon dubbed it a “a cavalcade of conspiracy theories, psycho-politico conjectures and incendiary labeling” -- several big-name conservatives have endorsed the highly-critical look at Obama’s past.

On Friday, Donald Trump tweeted about the movie, based on conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s book The Roots of Obama’s Rage, predicting it “will be highest grossing documentary in 2012!!”

Former GOP presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry tweeted his endorsement of the film when it opened in his state on July 13.

“Strong opening day for Obama’s America,” Perry tweeted. “This summer’s must see movie!!”

Rachel Rosen, the director of programming at the San Francisco Film Society, said the film has probably succeeded because of its ability to “catch the zeitgeist of what people are thinking about.”

In this case that zeitgeist is the conservative skepticism about President Obama’s multinational childhood. Obama was born in Hawaii to a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya and grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia.

“This man’s background deeply illuminates his policy priorities,” D’Souza, who co-directs and stars in the film, told ABC News after its release in July. “He subscribes to an ideology that sees America very differently.”

Frederic Lahey, director of the Colorado Film School, said the film has likely seen such popularity because it is “emotionally evocative” and ends with a “call to action.” Lahey said documentaries are becoming more popular because people are “encountering lots of frustration in their lives” and “are looking for solutions and fresh perspective.”

“Too often the entertainment films are like eating a candy; once it’s gone it’s gone and unless it was tremendously well made the taste can be a little too sugary,” Lahey said. “Sometimes people are looking for a meal, something with a little more protein and content.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Mitt Romney’s Popularity Has Taken A New Low

ABC/DONNA SVENNEVIK(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney has fallen to a new low in personal favorability among strong conservatives in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, which could pose a problem for the Republican presidential hopeful in Tuesday’s crucial Michigan primary.

Nationally, just 38 percent of Americans who identify themselves as “very” conservative hold a favorable opinion of Romney, down 14 points from last week to the fewest in ABC/Post polls in this election cycle.  Far more in this group, 60 percent, express a positive view of Rick Santorum.

Romney is at new lows among related groups as well, with 56 percent favorability among conservative Republicans and 40 percent among all conservatives, down from last week by 13 and 10 points, respectively.  But the comparison with Santorum is most striking among very conservatives, the highly ideological and predominantly Republican group on which Santorum has based his campaign strategy.

This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that Romney comes back in less ideologically committed groups -- 58 percent of Republicans have a favorable opinion of him overall.  While that’s a tepid rating in his own political party, he has company: Santorum’s in almost exactly the same position among all Republicans, with 59 percent favorability.
 
Among customarily swing-voting independents, just 32 percent see Santorum favorably, while 29 percent see Romney the same way -- similar ratings that indicate the challenges either may face in the general election.

Among independents, Romney’s underwater, with 44 percent seeing him unfavorably.  Santorum manages a split decision, with more undecided.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb132012

As Santorum Rises, Romney Boasts Conservative Credentials

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(MESA, Ariz.) -- As two new polls put former Sen. Rick Santorum at the head of the pack in the GOP primary race, Mitt Romney leaped onto a stage in the battleground state of Arizona Monday night to continue his defense of his conservative credentials while warning voters of politicians who may have been “infected by the Washington disease.”

“My conservatism did not come so much from reading the writings of great conservative scholars as it did from living my life, my family my faith, my business,” said Romney, speaking to thousands in an outside amphitheater in Mesa.

“Conservative values were also part of my business experience, because in business you don’t have a choice about balancing your budget, you either balance your budget or you go bankrupt,” said Romney. “So I learned time and again the principles of conservatism.”

A new daily tracking poll conducted by Gallup shows Romney and Santorum in a statistical dead heat, with Romney leading at 32 percent and Santorum with 30 percent of likely Republican registered voters. Santorum is also favored among conservative voters, a fact Romney seemed to swat at as he brought up social issues, a subject that was nearly void from his stump speech before last week.

But over this past week, which included a win by Romney in the Conservative Political Action Conference’s straw poll, Romney has paid more attention to highlighting his conservative principles.

And Monday night he continued to do just that, providing a laundry list of events in his life where he says he’s had to flex his “conservative values.”

“There are also some social issues that came up that were significant during my term in office,” said Romney, who before last week rarely discussed social issues on the stump. “You may recall that our Supreme Court said that, that John Adams had written into our Constitution a protection for same-sex marriage. Adams [would] be surprised.”

“And I led the fight to get an amendment to our Constitution to reverse that ruling, we missed by one vote,” he said. “But we went to make sure that we didn’t have our same-sex marriage go throughout the country and we were able to enforce a -- I think it was a 1913 -- law that kept Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage.”

Romney continued to assail his opponents as Washington insiders, though he strayed from direct, forceful attacks on the three other candidates, instead pointing out the differences in their backgrounds.

“And the challenge that we have in Washington is that people go there and they get infected by this Washington disease, which makes them think that government is a source of our greatness, that government should guide our lives and they become more and more insistent on intruding government into our lives,” said Romney. “And I’m absolutely convinced that we finally have to have people who go to Washington who believe in people and believe this should be a nation of, by, and for the people, and of, by, and for the government.”

“We’ve got four guys on the Republican side, all running for president,” said Romney, as chants of “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!” emerged from the crowd. “My guess is this crowd is kind of partial to me, is that right?”

“And there are some differences. I’m sure there are some issues here and there where we can point out distinctions. But perhaps the greatest distinction is what we’ve done during our lives, our life experiences,” said Romney.

“Congressman Paul was a doctor, then went into government, but the other guys have spent their life entirely in government, and in my view it’s helpful to have been involved in two businesses, an Olympics and a state, and to run all -- and to have a chance to run those as an executive.”

“We elected a president, we elected in President Obama someone who had never run anything. Who had never been a leader. We’re not going to do that in the Republican party. Let’s not nominate someone who hasn’t done anything and has not been a leader,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan032012

More from Iowa ‘Entrance’ Polls: Conservatives Troubled by Romney

Comstock/Thinkstock(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Here’s a noteworthy factoid from the series of “entrance” polls coming in from the Iowa caucuses: Among voters looking for a “true conservative,” only one percent of them chose Mitt Romney.

That group broke mostly for Ron Paul (40 percent) and Rick Santorum (34 percent), the other two candidates in the top echelon with Romney, according to ABC News’ Gary Langer, of Langer Research Associates. The poor conservative showing for Romney, Langer writes, underscores “his challenges in the strong conservative wing of the party,” which has been a story line throughout the GOP race.

“It’s notable that Romney did less well among very conservatives (13 percent support) this year than he did in 2008 (23 percent in this group),” Langer adds. “And for every pragmatic caucus-goer seeking an experienced candidate who can win the general election -- there was another looking for a true believer with strong moral fiber. For the latter group, Romney was not the choice.”

In another breakdown of statistics, it’s clear that Paul’s share has come from supporters who have long been a fan, whereas Santorum is the lucky recipient of a very late (and perfectly timed) surge in popularity.

“Seventy-seven percent of Paul’s supporters decided earlier than in the last few days -- they went for him earlier and stayed there,” Langer says. “By contrast, 63 percent of Santorum’s supporters decided on him in just the last few days. Romney landed between the two on these.”

Finally, a ranking of the issues: Of the 42 percent of caucusers who said the economy is most important, Romney was the favored candidate. Paul, on the other hand, won most of the 34 percent who cited the deficit.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec192011

Is There New Light on Michele Bachmann in Iowa?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(GRUNDY CENTER, Iowa) -- To hear GOP contender Michele Bachmann tell it: “An electric light switch has been turned.”

Iowa voters who have ignored or abandoned her since her August win in the Iowa Straw Poll are, she says, once again looking to her as the only “consistent conservative” in the running here.

Disheartened by Mitt Romney, disenchanted by Newt Gingrich, disappointed by Ron Paul  and dissatisfied with Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, Bachmann is hoping she’ll be the last person standing, when traditionally conservative Iowans vote in the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Jan 3.

“I think after the debate we saw in Sioux City, Iowa, it’s like an electric light switch has been turned on,” Bachmann said in Grundy Center. “Our crowds have been phenomenal. Our support keeps sliding up. There are no surprises with me. I’m not a politician. I’m a real person.”

Riding the publicity of a strong televised debate performance last week, Bachmann  boarded a bus Monday for the fourth day of a whirlwind tour of Iowa  in which she plans to visit all 99 of the state’s counties. Nearly half-way through her bus tour, Bachmann has been drawing consistent crowds even in small rural towns.

Along the way, she has made a point of targeting front-runner Newt Gingrich, who according to a CNN poll released Monday is experiencing the same slide that she and other candidates experienced after previous bounces in the polls.

The CNN poll puts Gingrich and Romney in a dead heat, with 28 percent each, and Ron Paul a distant third. But in a recent tele-conference poll of Tea Party conservatives, Gingrich won with Bachmann right behind him, which turned him into a Bachmann target.

“I think he’s slipping, because it’s very clear that his record is coming out now and people are seeing that he’s not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. He’s a progressive, and people don’t want that in our nominee,” she said of Gingrich.

She accused Gingrich of supporting Republican candidates unopposed to late-term abortion, and of pocketing more than $1 million from Freddie Mac, the insurance giant at the center of the housing crisis.

“I think Iowans are learning some very significant facts, troubling facts. They’ve learned Newt Gingrich has been willing to support and campaign for those candidates who support the barbaric practice of ‘partial birth abortion. … ’ We also learned Newt Gingrich has been one of the most active insiders of the Washington, D.C., establishment for over 30 years– and he took over $1.6 million to advance a fraud and failure called Freddie Mac. He’s still yet to be forthcoming about that money and I’m calling on him to return that money.”

With Paul quietly rising in the polls in Iowa, and whispers that he could even win, Bachmann also attacked him, turning a comment on the death of North Korean leader Kim Jung-il into a assault on Paul’s avowed Iran positions.

“Together with the Chinese the North Koreans are actively working to help the Iranians to obtain missile technology to obtain a nuclear weapon. This cannot be. It is why Ron Paul would be a dangerous president of the U.S., he would have our nation ignore clear unmistakable warning signs of another brutal dictator who would want to wipe Israel and the us off the face of the map.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio