Tales from the Trail

Ron Paul: The Once and Future Conservative Favorite

USA-POLITICS/PAULRep. Ron Paul today seems to be little more than a voice crying in the wilderness of Republican politics. But the Texas libertarian and 2008 presidential candidate may have a lease on the future of the Republican Party’s conservative wing, at the age of 74.

Paul, the big winner in the presidential straw poll at the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference, ascribes his victory to young people who don’t like the way the Republican establishment is handling things.

“Right now, I think there is a disconnect with the people, especially with the next generation,” he told MSNBC.  ”They feel like the burden is being dumped on their shoulders and I think that’s what the vote represented, a lot of young people saying they don’t like what’s happening.”

The self-effacing congressman from southeast Texas got 31 percent of the 2,395 votes cast, leaving much bigger names way behind. Mitt Romney polled 22 percent vs. Sarah Palin at 7 percent and Tim Pawlenty at 6 percent.

“It’s hard to translate that into policy changes. But if we’re advocating changes that are right and proper, I’d say the young people are where you need to go,”  Paul said. “When I go to the campuses, I come away very encouraged. When I go to the Hill … they won’t admit anything’s wrong.”

Obama hits back at Republicans over stimulus

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The White House is stepping up its efforts to call out Republicans for what Democrats see as hypocrisy over the $787 billion stimulus package.

Republicans have slammed the bill as wasteful and ineffective at creating jobs but the Obama administration says some of the same politicians who have lambasted the package have lined up for a share of the money for their states and districts.

“Independent economists credit the Recovery Act with growing the economy and for two million jobs that otherwise wouldn’t exist,” President Barack Obama told a gathering of the nation’s governors at the White House.

Republican “blank page” challenges Obama

OBAMA/The next U.S. presidential election is more than 2-1/2 years away. But pollsters are already asking how President Barack Obama would stack up against a Republican challenger.

The results are favorable. But for whom? No one can say.

Obama is in a statistical dead heat against an unnamed Republican candidate, leading the challenger 44 percent to 42 percent, according to a Gallup poll with a 4-percentage-point margin of error. Gallup surveyed 1,025 adults Feb. 1-3.

Media pundits are divided about what the findings mean, or don’t mean.

Some say the data are meaningless except as a gauge of 2010 voter anger toward Washington and incumbents generally.

Gingrich once again at head of Republican pack

Once, a first-term Democratic president failed to deliver on healthcare reform and found his party USA-POLITICS/swept from office by a wave of voter anger that brought Republican Newt Gingrich to the forefront of American politics. Could this history lesson from the Clinton era be repeated?

Healthcare reform is stalled, voters are angry and Gingrich — who rose to prominence as House speaker after Republicans won Congress in 1994 — is again leading the pack, this time among  potential White House hopefuls for 2012.

The Washington-based political news outlet, Politico, says Gingrich’s political action committee is raising money far faster than those of 2008 campaign veterans including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

The First Draft: Talk shows help drive Palin’s popularity

If Sarah Palin were elected president of the United States, would conservative talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck wind up in her cabinet?

That’s a toughie. But Palin already tops the list of Republican Party favorites and that fact is due in part to her popularity with Limbaugh’s and Beck’s audiences, according to a Washington Post poll.
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Seventeen percent of Republicans, including 23 percent of Republican women, say they would vote for Palin if their party’s 2012 state primary election or caucus were held today.

She out-guns Mike Huckabee who got 10 percent of the vote, Mitt Romney at 9 percent and John McCain with only 7.

In 2012 who wins? poll may surprise

It may be getting time for the White House to polish up on that well-worn political line that public opinion polls don’t matter.

President Barack Obama got hit with a one-two polling punch today.

It’s never too early to talk about the presidential election that’s coming in 2012, they were talking about it during the last one even before the ballots were cast.

Rasmussen Reports in a national survey asked 1,000 likely voters who they would pick for president if the election was held now: Democrat Obama or Republican Mitt Romney.

Romney rakes in the dough, gives generously

USA-POLITICS/Former, and perhaps future, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney raked in some serious cash — $1.6 million — for his political action committee during the first half of 2009, despite the recession.

Romney, who dropped out of the 2008 presidential campaign after poor showings in the early primaries despite raising huge sums of money, is considered one of the untainted potential candidates for 2012. Problems saddling fellow Republicans like outgoing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Nevada Senator John Ensign have put their presidential aspirations in question.

In addition to trying to stockpile some cash in case he decides he will make another White House bid, Romney donated $5,000 to Missouri Republican Representative Roy Blunt, who is running for Senate in 2010, and Republican Bob McDonnell, who is seeking Virginia’s governorship.

McCain talks up possible VP picks

mccain.jpegSAN DIEGO, Calif. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain had kind words for two of his possible vice presidential picks in recent days but dropped nothing more than hints about his eventual choice.

With the Republican convention starting next Monday, McCain is expected to name his running mate in the coming days — possibly at a rally in the swing state of Ohio on Friday, his 72nd birthday.

At a fundraising event in San Diego on Tuesday evening, he praised Mitt Romney , once a bitter rival for the Republican nomination who has now become a strong advocate for McCain on cable news shows.

McCain: Quality of candidates makes VP search tough

ALBUQUERQUE – Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Tuesday his search for a vice presidential running mate is proving difficult because he has many qualified candidates.

rtr1ytqq.jpgA host of high-profile names have been circulating for weeks who McCain might be considering for vice president, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

At a town hall meeting in Albuquerque, McCain specifically took a question from a youngster described as a reporter, and the youth asked him about his vice presidential search.

McCain and Romney now “good friends”

romney.jpgALBUQUERQUE – For those of you keeping track of who Republican presidential candidate John McCain might pick as his vice presidential running mate, consider this:                
McCain told a fundraising event in Albuquerque that he and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whom McCain defeated in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, have become good friends.

It was only a few months ago when the two were at each other’s throats in the often-acrimonious campaign.

“Mitt and Ann Romney and Cindy and I have become good friends,” McCain said in describing how he feels the Republican Party is united now for the battle against Barack Obama for the Nov. 4 election.