Book of the Month

Close Ties to Goldman Enrich Romney’s Public and Private Lives

By Nicholas Confessore, Peter Lattman and Kevin Rouse, New York Times, Jan. 27/28, 2011

When Bain Capital sought to raise money in 1989 for a fast-growing office-supply company named Staples, Mitt Romney, Bain’s founder, called upon a trusted business partner: Goldman Sachs, whose bankers led the company’s initial public offering.  When Mr. Romney became governor of Massachusetts, his blind trust gave Goldman much of his wealth to manage, a fortune now estimated to be as much as $250 million. And as Mr. Romney mounts his second bid for the presidency, Goldman is coming through again: Its employees have contributed at least $367,000 to his campaign, making the firm Mr. Romney’s largest single source of campaign money through the end of September.

No other company is so closely intertwined with Mr. Romney’s public and private lives except Bain itself [....]

Also see:

Gingrich Predicts ‘Wild and Woolly’ Campaign
By Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, Jan. 28/29, 2012

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Despite recent setbacks, Newt Gingrich pledged on Saturday to stay in the nominating fight until the end, vowing to a group in central Florida, “We’re going to the convention.” Mr. Gingrich made the remarks in Brooksville as he has faced a torrent of criticism from establishment Republicans and a recent decline in the polls [....]

These attacks have prompted Sarah Palin, among others, to rush to Mr. Gingrich’s defense [....] Ms. Palin also excoriated conservative writers who have denigrated Mr. Gingrich, including George Will and Peggy Noonan, who called Mr. Gingrich an “angry little attack muffin.” Ms. Palin’s comments followed those of the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh [....]

Read the full article at

The Democrat Mitt Romney voted for
By Steve Kornacki,, Jan.27, 2012

Surprise, surprise: The story he tells now is a lot different than the one he used to tell.

An unlikely name crept into Thursday night’s Republican debate in Florida: Paul E. Tsongas, a one-time Massachusetts Democratic senator and 1992 candidate for president who passed away 15 years ago this month.

Romney, who exercised his right as a registered independent to participate in the Bay State’s ’92 Democratic primary, acknowledged years ago that he cast his ballot for Tsongas, who was vying with Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown for the right to oppose President George H.W. Bush [....]

Mitt vs. Newt: the Gloves Come Off
By Patrick J. Buchanan, Taki's Magazine, Jan. 24, 2012

[....] Whether Newt or Mitt Romney emerges victorious, the candidate who comes out of the Republican convention will be bruised and bloodied.

Consider, first, Newt.  According to a Fox News poll, 56 percent of the American people have an unfavorable opinion of the former speaker. Only 27 percent hold a favorable opinion. By two to one, the nation has a negative view of Newt. And as Newt has been a national figure for two decades, to reverse the impression he has left on the country would require an immense volume of positive media, free and bought.  And Newt is getting neither [....]

[....] It is hard to recall a primary season that got this ugly this early.

The primary season that much resembles this one is 1964. Then, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, icon of the Eastern liberal establishment that had imposed nominees Wendell Willkie, Tom Dewey (twice)  and Dwight Eisenhower on the party, lost the California primary and the nomination to Barry Goldwater.

Speaking to that divided convention, Rockefeller was booed and jeered from the balconies when he called on the delegates to condemn the John Birch Society equally with the Ku Klux Klan and Communist Party.

The party never came together that fall. Goldwater suffered a defeat unequaled since Alf Landon carried two states in 1936. The ideological divide between Romney and Newt is not nearly so great as that between Goldwater and Rockefeller, but the personal animosity is certainly approaching that [....]

"Goldwater vs Rockefeller":

Newt hits 'pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase moderate' Romney
By Maggie Haberman,, 1/29/12 12:10 PM EST

Newt Gingrich came out swinging wildly against Mitt Romney outside the Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, a bit ago, telling reporters he will take the race all the way to the convention because "the Republican party will not nominate a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase moderate from Massachusetts."

"When you add the two conservatives together, we clearly beat Romney," Gingrich said of his and Rick Santorum's vote shares in current polls. "And I think Romney's got a very real challenge in trying to get a majority at the convention.....

also of note:

Gingrich dodged a question about the polls showing a huge gender gap between him and Romney, saying he hadn't seen them.

I looked up the latest Palin spin, because of the mention in the second Times' article; it's a doozie:

Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left
by Sarah Palin on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 2:57pm

When she writes

It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on

I was immediately reminded of these paragraphs in the handy historical review of Newt's Congressional career by Sheryl Gay Stolberg in Friday's New York Times which remind us that Newt basically was the inventor and popularizer of what she's complaining about:

Mr. Gingrich, Democrats and Republicans here agree, emerged as one of Washington’s most aggressive practitioners of slash-and-burn politics; many fault him for erasing whatever civility once existed in the capital. He believed, and preached, that harsh language could win elections; in 1990, the political action committee he ran, Gopac, instructed Republican candidates to learn to “speak like Newt,” and offered a list of words to describe Democrats — like decay, traitors, radical, sick, destroy, pathetic, corrupt and shame.


August 1987 was a “decisive moment” for Mr. Gingrich, he wrote in his 1998 mea culpa book, “Lessons Learned the Hard Way.” It was when he began to view his fight with Democrats as a civil war. “One culture or the other,” he wrote, “would have to go.”

By this time, Mr. Gingrich had already taken charge of Gopac, a once-sleepy political action committee dedicated to electing Republicans. Mr. Gingrich pumped it up into a fund-raising machine and a training organization in which Republican candidates were given step-by-step information on how to run for office. He produced seminars and a series of cassette tapes; today hundreds, if not thousands, of Republican officeholders in states around the country can recall riding around in their cars listening to Mr. Gingrich’s formula for winning.

Mr. Edwards, the former Republican congressman, described the tapes as “all about how to demonize the opposition, how to use invective and scary language,” adding: “It wasn’t that he trained them to have a better understanding of foreign policy, or economic policy. They were techniques in how to wage a nasty partisan war against your opponent.”

That's so weird, I read that piece about a half hour ago. Despite the harangue about the Left, not a bad description of the internal war.

Anyway,can you imagine her actually writing something like that? Nope.

can you imagine her actually writing something like that?

My impression was that the writer hasn't even bothered to sound like her.

Except at one place where "aw heck" is inserted.wink

Older Florida voters do remember his days in Congress. His polling numbers may not show their collective recall of his past right now. I remember everything you wrote above about him. To me he seem to appear erratic and not very rational in the local news coverage sound bites as they follow him thru Florida. I will be glad to see Tuesday and so he can take is his angry dog fight to another state and all the political commercials.

I will be glad to see Tuesday and so he can take is his angry dog fight to another state and all the political commercials.

Campaign burnout by the citizens has been a common theme so far it seems.  I've seen a number of quotes in the reports from the trail that is just a rewording of your comment.  This is where Romney's lukewarm support is a huge liability.  In a race that could be decided by 3 or 4 percentage points, it matters if your supporters feel strongly motivated to go out and vote for their candidate. 

In this sense, one can see the attacks on Newt as an attempt in creating a corresponding anti-Newt candidate to face off against the anti-Romney candidate.  If the people are significantly motivated to go vote for Romney, at least they'll get off the couch to go vote against Newt. 

I had a Republican friend ask me who she should vote for. She knows I am a Democrat and that I keep up with politics. She really didn't like any of the 4 and wanted me to tell her who was the most competent. I told her it was just a primary and it was OK not to participate if she hadn't figured it out by Tuesday. She is a reliable Republican voter and they may of lost her this presidential cycle.

Older Florida voters do remember his days in Congress

I would imagine that is the case in most states. I should say I haven't checked polls by age on that front.  But I suspect, from general polls about how disgusted everyone is with Congress, that if they remember those times, they wouldn't think he's going to offer much of a solution to the country's ills as president because of his behavioral bent, even if they like his ideology.

It's also good to keep in mind that older voters are usually the ones that come out in force to vote in primaries, and it's in the general that all the other generations jump in, watering down the older voter effect, whatever it happens to be.

I may be off base on this one, but just as the older generation thought Obama being black was a big deal (whether they supported or not), the older voters are probably going to think Romney being a Mormon is a big deal, and usually not in a positive way.

The way I think about it is the look on their face if years earlier the moment one of their kids told them their new boyfriend or girlfriend was a Mormon.

I tend to think just the opposite, that in general, the older people get, the more tolerant they are of things like religion in others, just because of "wisdom of age," the experience of dealing with more people. Yes, of course, they are still prey to trusting their own kind more, but don't fall for the demonization bit as much. Extremism is what they mistrust, they are "conservative" in that way.

Romney is just flat out buying this election.  He's got the $$$$$$$ (from some we'll never know who they are until it's too late) to sustain the bully brigade and brags about it.  The SCOTUS really screwed the pooch and the rest of us.

The truth is, that if Santorum would drop out, Newt would have it.  Makes me have all kinds of conspiracy theory hallucinations. 

I think both Gingrich and Santorum have billionaire benefactors. It's just a money-led campaign cycle.

It's the fact that Myth has so much more $$$$$ and for whatever reason, his shadow bully brigade seems the most threatening (?). 

I have to admit, his rhetoric infused with lies, snide misdirection and the other negatives he is exhibiting, that is touted to be contrary to his religious ideology (I know they all do it, but he does it with such smugness and glee), has totally canceled out any respect or positive qualities I had attributed to him.

It's horrific, as stated before, that our electoral processes have become even more perverted due to SCOTUS's citizens united ruling.

Since I haven't listened to him, I don't really know how snide and misdirecting he is.

However, re: $$$$$, it's not Mitt's fault that Gingrich got in late and didn't raise cash - though his billionaire friend has put in, apparently he didn't tithe early for Florida, so no TV spots. And oops, Newt forgot to get on the ballot in Virginia.

Santorum's in similar shape. As for the other candidates, say buh-bye.

Actually, without Citizen's United, Gingrich & Santorum would have been in worse shape.

And you certainly can't blame Citizen's United for the plight of Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry. Incompetence is its own master.

Point well made and acknowledged.

However, I don't believe that most (especially within the 99%) think that the citizens united ruling is a positive for our already shoddy electoral processes.

It's the Romney campaign team executing a new plan that got to Drudge, according to Jim Rutenberg & Jeff Zeleny at the New York Times:

The Calculations That Led Romney to the Warpath
Published: January 28/29, 2012

MIAMI — Facing the unthinkable here just seven days ago — a second loss in a row to Newt Gingrich  — Mitt Romney’s campaign team hatched a two-part plan to win in Florida: make Newt mad and Mitt meaner.

In a call last Sunday morning, just hours after Mr. Romney’s double-digit loss to Mr. Gingrich in the South Carolina primary, the Romney team outlined the new approach to the candidate. Put aside the more acute focus on President Obama and narrow in on Mr. Gingrich.


Mr. Romney, meanwhile, had been receiving help from a new debate adviser — Brett O’Donnell, a longtime leader of the Liberty University debate team who advised Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota in her campaign last year — and assumed a new role as the campaign’s chief attacker, relinquishing his old approach of leaving the dirty work to supporters and a friendly super PAC.

A team of some of the most fearsome researchers in the business, led by Mr. Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, spent days dispensing negative information about Mr. Gingrich, much of it finding its way to the influential Drudge Report, which often serves as a guide for conservative talk radio and television assignment editors and to which Mr. Rhoades has close ties.

The effort hit a peak by Thursday, when the site was virtually taken over by headlines assailing Mr. Gingrich, whose advisers said they eventually gave up on trying to persuade the Drudge staff to spare them, acknowledging, in the words of one aide, that “very little can be done.”

The Romney team was also carefully tracking Mr. Gingrich’s every utterance for a potential opening. What an aide described as a “eureka moment” came just hours before the debate on Thursday night. At a Tea Party rally in the Central Florida town of Mount Dora that day, Mr. Gingrich had opened a new line of attack, noting that Mr. Romney had investments in funds that included shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage lenders.

Mr. Romney’s opposition-research team in Boston quickly dug into Mr. Gingrich’s own publicly disclosed holdings to find that he, too, had mutual funds invested in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The information was quickly fed to Mr. Romney during his private debate preparation session at a hotel in downtown Jacksonville.

When Mr. Romney delivered the attack against Mr. Gingrich that evening, Mr. Gingrich was left with no substantive response, a killer blow [....]

I tend to suspect  in the case of Drudge, it's a case of smart P.R, knowing what kind of juicy inflammatory stuff Drudge likes (i.e, "food fight!") rather than Drudge being won over to support Romney. It's no guarantee he will support him in the future. Even though Rutenberg & Zeleny say Rhoades "has close ties" with him.

Nate Silver has updated with two posts today, (as well as changing his projection for Florida to Romney's chance of winning at 95%):

January 29, 2012, 12:54 pm
Gingrich Upset Chances Dwindle in New Florida Polls

Based on the polling out through Saturday evening, Newt Gingrich had become a clear underdog to Mitt Romney in the Florida primary. But you could at least make the case that the downward trajectory in Mr. Gingrich’s polling had stopped, leaving open the possibility of a last-minute comeback.

Now, that case has become much harder to make. Four polls released Sunday morning — from NBC News, Mason-Dixon, American Research Group and Rasmussen Reports — each give Mr. Romney a double-digit advantage in Florida....

January 29, 2012, 7:00 am
Advantage Romney in February, but Risks Abound

Conventional wisdom holds that the handful of states that vote in February are favorable ones for Mitt Romney. Still, Mr. Romney could be vulnerable in several of them.

Seven states will vote next month, although that includes a “beauty contest” primary in Missouri that will not affect delegate allocation and several caucuses with nonbinding results....

We have not released forecasts for the February states, but we will if they are polled more. In the meantime, here is a general lay of the land....

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