Tales from the Trail

Cain’s wife speaks out in his defense

Herman Cain’s famously media-shy wife, Gloria Cain, steps into the media spotlight to defends her husband against sexual harassment allegations in an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
The Cain’s have been married for 43 years and Mrs. Cain says the allegations sound nothing like her husband, who she says totally respects women.

Cain’s fundraising has grown in the wake of the accusations, hauling in $9 million since Oct. 1, according to his presidential campaign. But he’s losing ground in some recent polls as support for rival Republic presidential candidate Newt Gingrich rises.

Here’s a clip from the interview airing  Monday evening:

In the clip below, Mrs. Cain reflects on the possibility of becoming first lady:

Cain’s adult children make a cameo appearance:

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (Cain the Conservative Political Action conference in Washington, February 11, 2011)

Washington Extra – Oppo on steroids

Welcome to the new era of opposition research — one that is supercharged by SuperPACs and flung far and wide by Twitter. YouTube is soooo 2008.

In his Special Report “The golden age of oppo research”, our correspondent Tim Reid tells us that the combination of abundant money (post-Citizens United decision ) and great technology will take opposition research to a new level in 2012. Karl Rove’s  SuperPAC American Crossroads alone plans to spend $240 million on this election cycle, mostly attacking Democratic candidates.

For all those thinking about new job opportunities in this growth industry, think again. As a 32-year-old retired researcher tells Tim, this is a young person’s game, and “the hours are brutal.”

Perry does Letterman’s “Top Ten” excuses for gaffe

Texas Governor Rick Perry wrapped up his apology, explanation, damage control (take your pick) tour where it started — on TV with an appearance on David Letterman’s “Late Show.”

Instead of sitting in the guest seat, the Republican presidential hopeful stood center stage presenting the “Top Ten Rick Perry Excuses” for an embarrassing 53-second brain freeze live on national TV at the Michigan debate.

Here’s the Top Ten in Reverse Order:

    10 “Actually there were 3 reasons I messed up last night 1) was the nerves and 2) was the headache and 3) uh, uh.” 9 “I don’t know what you’re talking about I think things went well.” 8 “I was up late last night watching ‘Dancing With the Stars’ “ “I thought the debate was tonight” 6 “Hey listen, you try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you. That is one handsome dude!” 5 “Uhhhh, El Nino” 4 “I had a five-hour energy drink six hours before the debate.” 3 “You know I really hoped it would get me on my favorite talk show but instead I ended up here.” 2 “I wanted to help take the heat off my buddy Herman Cain.” 1 ” I just learned Justin Beiber is my father.”

Anyone tuning in for another Perry moment would have been disappointed. The  Late Night performance went well. His delivery, facial expressions and hand gestures were just right — not too stiff, not too overdone.

Newt gets his own SuperPAC

Here’s a sign that Newt Gingrich is poised to make a run in the Republican presidential race — the former Speaker of the House finally has his own SuperPAC.

SuperPACs, “outside” funding groups supporting candidates but not officially tied to campaigns, can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. They are the hottest trend in U.S. politics, after court decisions last year lifted most restrictions on political fundraising.  Texas Governor Rick Perry may be lagging in the polls, but he has at least seven.  “Restore Our Future,” favoring Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, raised $12.3 million in the first half of 2011 alone.

Newt’s SuperPAC, “Solutions 2012,” launched on Wednesday night, coinciding with a debate between the candidates vying for the Republican nomination to oppose Democratic President Barack Obama’s re-election.

Perry camp tries to spin “oops” moment into campaign gold

 

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s camp has found a new way to take advantage of his latest poor debate performance, while adding to his mailing list and, hopefully, donor rolls.

His website had a banner on Thursday morning reading, “What part of the Federal Government would you like to forget about the most? Click here to vote!” Nestled beside a fundraising appeal, the link let visitors to the site choose between 10 government departments and commissions — including the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and National Endowment “of” the Arts (it’s the National Endowment FOR the Arts). Voters gave their names, email addresses and zip codes to vote by submitting their answers to forgetmenot@rickperry.org.

The Republican presidential hopeful crashed during a debate in Michigan on Wednesday night when he stood on stage and struggled to remember the third of three U.S. government agencies he would close if elected next November.  Perry remembered that he wanted to shut down the Commerce and Education departments but could not remember the third — Energy — despite prompting from a moderator and some of his rivals.

Perry freezes – normal guy or doomed presidential candidate?

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry drew a blank at the Michigan debate while trying to make a point about cutting government waste.

Afterwards, his campaign spokesman said it was an error of style not substance. Tony Fratto, former President George W. Bush’s spokesman, tweeted: “Perry can end his campaign right now.”

The affable Texas governor said he would eliminate three government agencies if elected president — but he could only name two.

Obama says biggest task left for him is to fix U.S. politics

President Barack Obama has lots of reasons he wants to hold on to the White House in 2012.

There’s energy policy, for example, which he would like to revamp. There’s immigration reform, which he hopes to “implement.”

But at a fundraiser on Monday night, the president said the real challenge he had left to handle was “fixing” the political atmosphere in Washington.

Cain backers reprise ‘high-tech lynching’ theme

A group of Herman Cain supporters has pulled out the heavy artillery in defense of the Republican presidential hopeful against sexual harassment allegations.

“Americans for Herman Cain” — an outside group not affiliated with his campaign — released this ad comparing the media treatment of Cain to what Clarence Thomas went through during his 1991 U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court. Thomas — who also faced sexual harassment allegations and a media frenzy — denounced his treatment as “a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.”

The sponsors of the pro-Cain ad reprise the phrase and use video of Thomas speaking two decades ago. It urges Cain supporters not to let the “left” do it again.

Rick Perry’s animated speech

A video of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s speech Friday in New Hampshire became a popular online and cable television attraction, with viewers drawn in by the Republican presidential candidate’s animated performance.

The head of the group that hosted the event says Perry’s speech was well received by the audience and that there was nothing wrong with the governor, thehill.com blog Ballot Box reported on Tuesday.

“When I started seeing all of the blog stuff going up on Sunday and the video going viral it caught me by surprise,” Kevin Smith, the executive director of Cornerstone Action. “He was definitely more animated than we’ve seen him during the campaign but the reports that he was buzzed or whatever never crossed any of our minds.”

Perry is on for next debate… but after that?

Texas Governor Rick Perry is definitely on for the next  Republican debate  in Michigan  on Nov. 9th.  But after that — we’ll see.

Questions were raised about whether the GOP presidential hopeful would skip upcoming debates after he  suggested in an interview that participating in the previous debates  had been a mistake.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner told Reuters the governor is committed to the Michigan debate.  Miner also said  that with a little over two months before the start of the crucial early primaries the campaign plans to make the best use of its time –  perhaps taking its case directly to voters in Iowa, which kicks off  the nominating race on January 3. (There are a half dozen debates planned between now and then.)