Tales from the Trail

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.

Perry is polling in third place in South Carolina, but might not make it to the Palmetto State’s primary if he doesn’t poll in the top three in Iowa. His recent focus on divisive issues like gay rights and school prayer are unlikely to help him gain ground among New Hampshire’s mainly moderate Republicans, and his campaign is all but finished in New Hampshire anyway, given that he hasn’t polled above 4 percent in the state in two months.

“When you’re slumping that badly you’ve got to pick and choose where you’re going to campaign,” says Dante Scala, a political scientist the University of New Hampshire. “He’s basically trying to jump-start his campaign, but in New Hampshire there’s no place to attach a jumper-cable to.”

2012 candidates woo voters on Labor Day

Labor Day is no day off for President Barack Obama and the Republicans who want his job. The holiday to pay tribute to American workers traditionally marks the start of the general election campaign. And although 15 months remain before the 2012 election, you’ll find the 2012 White House hopefuls on the road Monday hoping to score points with voters.

Democrat Obama travels to Detroit on Labor Day to talk about how to create jobs and strengthen the economy, the White House said. With U.S. unemployment steady at 9.1 percent, Reuters’ Jeff Mason writes  Obama’s on the spot to boost hiring and economic growth as he campaigns for a second term in the White House.

Obama also spoke in Detroit on Labor Day 2008 as his general election race heated up against Republican presidential rival Senator John McCain.

Notes from Freedom, New Hampshire

(View an in-depth look at scenes from Iowa and New Hampshire in a downloadable pdf format here and a look ahead to the primaries here)

MANY STILL WAITING FOR THE RIGHT REPUBLICAN

It’s no secret that many Republican voters — the ones who are even paying attention at all — are not crazy about this year’s crop of presidential candidates. Surveys have showed the enthusiasm level running low.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has passionate followers, though, and drew a sizable crowd in iconically-named Freedom, New Hampshire, population 1,489, on Friday.

Washington Extra – Seven up

Ready… Set… Go… And they’re off to the races for 2012. The Republicans went north. The Democrat went south.

Seven Republicans go head-to-head in New Hampshire tonight in the first major debate in the battle for their party’s presidential nomination.

The One they hope to unseat next year, President Barack Obama, sought a head start by talking jobs (he said the word 21 times) in the battleground state of North Carolina, before attending three back-to-back Miami fundraisers in fickle Florida.

Mitt Romney launches 2012 presidential campaign

It was supposed to be Mitt Romney’s day in New Hampshire, but the presidential hopeful ended up sharing the spotlight with a potential rival.

Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” family bus tour just happened to roll into the Granite State on Thursday — the same day  as Romney’s  big announcement.  The former Alaska governor  says the timing of her arrival was just a coincidence.

Romney  formally tossed his hat into the ring to compete for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination under clear blues skies at a New Hampshire farm. The main event was an informal cook-out where the candidate  served up chili and charges that “Barack Obama has failed America.” The former Massachusetts governor blamed the Democratic president for high unemployment,  home  foreclosures and other economic woes, highlighting Obama’s main weakness.

Let’s fight…

The overnight news of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s resignation sets up a global battle over who will succeed him in the IMF’s glass-and-steel headquarters in Washington. But, of course, that’s not the only fight in town.

The bipartisan group of budget negotiators now known as the Gang-of-Six-Minus-One is expected to meet today to try to salvage hopes of a budget compromise after a shouting match over Medicare sent Republican Senator Tom Coburn to the exit door.

Medicare is the third-rail political issue that recently had Republicans showing signs of retreating from House Budget Chief Paul Ryan’s Republican reform plan. Critics call it a blueprint for privatizing the federal government’s healthcare program for the elderly.

New Hampshire governor indicates he will replace Gregg with a Republican

5WASHINGTON — New Hampshire Governor John Lynch appears to have cleared the way, at least politically, for Democratic President Barack Obama to name Republican Senator Judd Gregg as U.S. commerce secretary.
 
Lynch, a Democrat, indicated in a brief statement on Monday that he would yield to Gregg’s demands and appoint a Republican to replace him in the Senate if Obama, as anticipated, picks the 61-year-old New Hampshire senator as head of the U.S. Commerce Department.
 
A Senate Democratic aide wrote in an e-mail to Reuters that if Obama picks Gregg, Lynch will indeed replace him with another Republican in order not to upset the balance of power in the Democratic-led Senate.
 
If Gregg was replaced by a Democrat and Minnesota’s Al Franken survived a court challenge of his apparent victory, Democrats would have 60 seats in the 100-member Senate, enough to ram through Republican procedural roadblocks.
 
Gregg did not want to do that to his fellow Republicans.
 
“I have had conversations with Senator Gregg, the White House and U.S. Senate leadership,” Lynch said in the statement issued by his office.
 
“Senator Gregg has said he would not resign his seat in the U.S. Senate if it changed the balance in the Senate. Based on my discussions, it is clear the White House and Senate leadership understand this as well.”
 
Without specifically saying he would replace Gregg with a Republican, Lynch said: “It is important that President Obama be able to select the advisors he feels are necessary to help him address the challenges facing our nation.
 
“If President Obama does nominate Senator Gregg to serve as Commerce Secretary, I will name a replacement who will put the people of New Hampshire first and represent New Hampshire effectively in the U.S. Senate.”

Photo credit: Senator Gregg’s website (http://gregg.senate.gov/public/)

Last Waltz for McCain in New Hampshire?

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — On Sunday night, John McCain returned to where it all began.

The Republican presidential candidate flew to New Hampshire for one last question-and-answer session with the voters who put him on the map in 2000 and brought his campaign back from the dead in January of this year.

“I come to the people of New Hampshire … and ask again to let me go on one more mission,” McCain said at the Peterborough town hall.

Obama presses sharper message against McCain, despite Ike

MANCHESTER, N.H. – As Hurricane Gustav threatened to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast two weeks ago, Democrat Barack Obama made a point of toning down his campaign rhetoric during a swing through the Midwest, saying it was not a time for politics.

The White House hopeful and his Republican opponent John McCain also took a day off from battling each other on Thursday to observe the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in a solemn ceremony at Ground Zero in New York City.

But Obama, who has faced complaints from some supporters that he is not fighting back hard enough against McCain’s attacks, was undeterred in his determination on Saturday to keep up a more aggressive tone to his campaigning as Hurricane Ike raked Texas.

Obama, Clinton to join forces in Unity, New Hampshire

ALBUQUERQUE – It is no secret that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will be hitting the campaign trail together on Friday.

The Obama campaign announced last week that the two former rivals would appear in public for the first time since the Illinois senator captured the Democratic presidential nomination on June 3.hillary4.jpg

But the campaign kept the location of the joint appearance under wraps. Until now.