Tales from the Trail

Battered by negative ads, Gingrich calls for Republican truce


A still from “Selling Access,” a recent ad released by the Ron Paul campaign.

Newt Gingrich is waving a white flag in the ad wars. As the most recent Republican frontrunner, he’s become the target of attacks from Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and the the pro-Romney group Restore Our Future.

Many of the attacks have focused on Gingrich’s consulting work for Freddie Mac in the run up to the financial crisis and the collapse of the housing market. Today his campaign announced a petition urging Republicans to stop attacking each other–and presumably to stop bringing up his work for Freddie.

“Attacking fellow Republicans only helps one person, Barack Obama,” the petition says. That does not appear to be strictly true, as Paul and Romney have both gained ground in recent days while Gingrich’s poll numbers have faded amidst the attacks.

The online petition includes Gingrich’s “We Deserve Solutions” ad, in which he suggests those who attack him want to move the country backwards.

In New Hampshire, fringe candidates get their moment


Bipartisanship flourishes among fringe candidates. Democrat Vermin Supreme and Republican Hugh Cort share a laugh before Monday night’s debate at Saint Anselm College.

New Hampshire voters looking for something different got to size up some other presidential candidates on Monday night. The questions were pointed, the answers often succinct, sensible and serious. But some of the platforms were narrowly focused and, well, a bit wacky.

“I’m here to tell you about thorium, an overlooked energy alternative,” said Robert Greene, a Democrat from Mountain View, California. “If politicians are having any discussion that does not include thorium, they have not had a serious energy discussion.”

Mitt Romney’s Late Show Top 10 Redux

It was like deja vu with Mitt Romney when the Republican presidential candidate presented the “Top Ten” list on the “Late Show with David Letterman” Monday night.

The script was different, and so were the clothes – but Romney’s latest late night TV performance looked and sounded a lot like the the previous one he gave  back in February.

This time, the former Massachusetts governor revealed the “Top Ten Things Mitt Romney Would Like to Say to the American People.”

Omen for Huntsman in Brady-Tebow duel?

There was a twist on the Tim Tebow relationship with the presidential race on Sunday.

Mary Kaye Huntsman, wife of Republican White House hopeful Jon Huntsman, wore a Tom Brady New England Patriots jersey to her husband’s “town hall” meeting in Plaistow, NH.

As for whether the Florida native really loves the Boston-area team? The wife of the former Utah governor and Chinese ambassador was diplomatic: “We’re spending so much time in New England that I’ve grown to love New England.”

As Iowa finishline nears, Perry compares self to Tebow

In the final debate before the Iowa caucuses, Rick Perry compared himself to Tim Tebow, the most-talked about quarterback in the NFL.

At the debate in Sioux City, the Texas governor said he was hoping to stage a late-game comeback — just like the Denver Broncos quarterback who has thrilled fans (and defied critics) with a string of wins after trailing in the fourth quarter.

“You know, there are a lot of people out there — I understand it. There are a lot of folks that said Tim Tebow wasn’t going to be a very good NFL quarterback.

New Romney video highlights old praise from Gingrich

Newt Gingrich Praises Mitt Romney in 2010

Mitt Romney’s campaign is out today with a new web video featuring a February 2010 speech by rival Newt Gingrich in which he praised Romney’s business acumen.

“Governor Romney in his business career created more jobs than the entire Obama cabinet combined, so he could actually talk about it,” said Gingrich in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Romney’s camp liked the quote so much they actually run it twice in the ad, interspersed with graphics saying Romney “saved” the 2002 Winter Olympics and that he eliminated a $3 billion budget shortfall in Massachusetts.

Gingrich faces down protests at brain science event

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich defended himself against attacks from his rivals on Wednesday when he ran into a sustained protest at what was supposed to be a low-key event about the human brain.

Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is trying to hang on to a lead in Iowa to score a victory in the state’s Jan. 3 caucuses, the first U.S. nominating contest in the Republican race to choose a 2012 presidential candidate.

But to do it he will have to overcome sustained negative ads and daily attacks from his rivals, such as a comment Mitt Romney made to The New York Times on Wednesday calling him “zany.”

Romney identified as ‘progressive’ in 2002 interview

YouTube just has no love for Mitt Romney. In a newly surfaced video circulating online, Romney is shown telling a television reporter during his 2002 campaign for Massachusetts governor that he sees himself as “moderate” and “progressive” — labels most candidates in this year’s Republican primary have tried to avoid. At least one of Romney’s rivals, Jon Huntsman — whom many consider to be the only other moderate in the Republican race — is sending the video to reporters.

In the clip, Romney is shown telling a reporter:

“I think people recognize that I’m not a partisan Republican, that I’m someone who is moderate and my views are progressive, and that I’m going to go to work for our senior citizens, for people that have been left behind, for urban schools that are not doing the right job, and so they’re going to vote for me regardless of the party label.”

Here’s the video; Romney’s comments begin at the 0:40 mark:

YouTube Preview Image

Credit: Akaczynski1/YouTube

Washington Extra – Theater of the absurd

No one said extending the payroll tax cut in Congress by December 31 would be a walk in the park. But did we really expect it to turn into another marathon with multiple detours?

After a rare display of bipartisanship on Monday on a spending bill to keep the government running through 2012, Tuesday gave way to another day of bitter back and forth, in which Democrats and Republicans aimed to out-maneuver and out-smart each other.

The Republicans managed to pass their payroll tax cut bill in the House with the controversial measure to speed up the decision on green-lighting the Keystone oil pipeline. It almost certainly won’t make it through the Senate and the White House made clear today that President Obama will veto it if it does. He’s decided the Keystone pipeline has to wait until after the elections and won’t be dragged into this debacle.

No jump start for Perry campaign in New Hampshire

The wheels on Rick Perry’s bus will go round and round Iowa, where he’ll make 49 stops between now and the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucus, his campaign announced last night.

Missing from his schedule are any stops in New Hampshire or South Carolina — the two states Perry visited in August to announce his run — which will vote on Jan. 10 and Jan. 21, respectively.

The one-time Republican frontrunner had invested substantial time in both states, making 25 campaign appearances in 11 days in New Hampshire and 21 stops over nine days in South Carolina since announcing his bid, according to data compiled by the Washington Post.