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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Romney Has HORRIBLE Hair!!

Steven Swint from Dry Fly Politics alerted me to his post about how Romney (with HORRIBLE hair!!) went out early one morning to help a guy clean up his yard in the wake of the San Diego Fires WITHOUT inviting/alerting any press
(original link here which originally came from a journal entry that someone shared via email with friends)
This is a man who doesn't just talk the talk . . . he walks the walk of hard work, compassion, and Christlike service. Romney for President!

Campaign Update

From Romney's Iowa Team:


Governor Romney returns to Iowa, where he will talk about the economy on Friday, and join pro-life advisor James Bopp, Jr., on the trail in Indianola on Saturday. See below for a full schedule!

With Thanksgiving behind us, that means less than five weeks remain until the January 3rd Iowa caucuses. As you know, Iowa’s first-in-the-nation role gives us a unique opportunity to select the person we believe should be the next leader.

Mitt Romney is that leader, now is the time to act.

The campaign is in high gear, and there are many ways to get involved:

  1. Yard signs and barn signs have arrived. Please reply to this email if you would like to display a Romney for President sign in your yard or field.
  2. Call our office . . . if you want to help organize your precinct for Mitt Romney. It is very important, and your help is needed to ensure success on caucus night.
  3. Help with phone calls. We are in the process of contacting Republicans across the state to share Governor Romney’s winning message of strong families, a strong economy and a strong military.

Please let us know how you would like to help our campaign. We’re counting on you to make sure we get out the vote on January 3rd.

In the News

Romney: Cap Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

By David Pitt, The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday called for placing a cap on medical malpractice lawsuits, a point that drew loud applause at an Iowa medical school.

Romney: Loosen Rules on Health Insurance

By Grant Schulte, The Des Moines Register

The federal government needs to loosen regulations on the nation's health insurance providers, increasing competition and thereby lowering patient costs, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday in Des Moines.

Local Events

Friday, November 30, 2007:

Governor Mitt Romney Holds a "Strategy for a Stronger America: A Conservative Blueprint to Lower Taxes" Ask Mitt Anything

Kirkwood Community College

Ballantyne Auditorium, Iowa Hall

Cedar Rapids, IA

Governor Mitt Romney Holds a Media Avail on "Strategy for a Stronger America: A Conservative Blueprint to Lower Taxes"

Kirkwood Community College

Iowa Hall Gallery

Cedar Rapids, IA


Governor Mitt Romney Meets Loras College Students

Loras College

Alumni Campus Center, Marie Graber Ballroom

1415 Alta Vista St.

Dubuque, IA


Governor Mitt Romney Attends an Iowa Christian Alliance House Party

The Home of Ron and Rebecca Herrig

9253 Route 52 South

Dubuque, IA


Saturday, December 1, 2007:

Governor Mitt Romney Holds a "Strategy for a Stronger America: Strengthening American Families" Ask Mitt Anything

With Special Guest James Bopp, Jr., Romney Campaign Advisor on Pro-Life Issues

Indianola Country Club

1610 Country Club Road

Indianola, IA


Governor Mitt Romney Holds a Clarke County Meet-and-Greet

The Coffee Parlor

140 W. Jefferson

Osceola, IA


Governor Mitt Romney Holds a "Strategy for a Stronger America: Strengthening American Families" Ask Mitt Anything

CB & Q Freight House

1115 Auburn Avenue

Chariton, IA


Volunteer Info

The caucuses are just around the corner, and a lot needs to be done. Call our office . . . to ask how you can help. Whether it’s displaying a yard sign, making phone calls or serving as a precinct leader, let us know how you would like to help.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Marc Ambinder's Take on the Iowa Race

Some interesting analysis by Marc Ambinder on the Iowa Race and Romney's challenges.

A few key excerpts:
The national political press corps and conservative political elites, aided by Nachama Soloveichik, are beginning to scrutinize Mike Huckabee, and they finding out some astounding things. Did you know that his administration was regularly censured by state ethics boards? That Huckabee once worked as a director of advertising? He certainly has his work cut out for him in trying to explain away some of the less salutary aspects of his record (in the eyes of conservatives, anyway.) But the Iowa press corps -- print and TV -- and the national TV networks -- have yet to follow. Huckabee is still the darling of the Iowa media now, and, frankly, they'll decide collectively whether to turn on the scrutiny spigot. In Iowa, Huckabee is not getting the scrutiny that leading candidates generally get.
. . .
Romney's strategy was surely the only correct one for his campaign. But either his strategists did not count on running up the score in Iowa so early or the press did not give Romney due credit for chasing three rivals out of Ames entirely and beating Huckabee (aided by the FairTaxers) by double digits. The result: Romney, for some reason, just absolutely has to win Iowa or else his chances for winning the nomination are finished. Empirically, this is nonsense. Romney has unlimited resources and is the only campaign right now that has the capacity to challenge Giuliani through January and into February.

Also, influential conservative political pundit Robert Novak rightly labels Huckabee as a "False Conservative" in his most recent column.

More Evidence of the Utterly Hypocritical Rudy/Huckabee Alliance

As an update to my "A vote for Huckabee is a vote for Rudy" post.

The New York Sun has a piece called "Giuliani, Huckabee Emerge as Strange Bedfellows"

Time's take is noted in the article "Giuliani's Huckabee Strategy"

Rich Lowry of the National Review sees this trend in his "The Corner" post "Rudy and Huck sittin in a Tree . . . "

These pieces in Time and the New York Sun point out something that's been increasingly evident over the last few days: how nicely Rudy and Huck's strategies mesh. They both are attacking Romney for a lack of authenticity, with Huck blasting the former Massachusetts governor on social issues and Rudy blasting him on everything else. Together, they've got all the ground covered. The division of labor works geographically as well — Huck is threatening Romney in Iowa, which could weaken Romney in New Hampshire, where Rudy is increasingly vested in a strong finish (so much for the old Florida and Feb. 5 strategy). At the end of the day, I'm sure that the Rudy folks would like nothing more than for Huck to win the "conservative primary" within the Republican primary and emerge as the alternative to Rudy. Huck would be the weakest anti-Rudy contender. This seems so obvious that if I were a calculating Rudy donor who had already maxed out for my guy, I'd be tempted to send some money Huck's way.

These kind of transparently calculating alliances tend to backfire. Evangelical Christians don't want to be used as a tool to elect a pro-choice nominee and then have to vote 3rd party to protect the pro-life cause. Talk about a "Lose-Lose" situation.

Links coming in

My "A vote for Huckabee is a vote for Rudy" post has started to attract some attention. Chris at The Mason Conservative said he agreed with "every word of it." New Romney supporter who is a RedState Contributor Leon Wolfe linked to it in the "RedHot" section at RedState with the lead-in "I agree with this absolutely".

Monday, November 26, 2007

Updated Iowa Blogroll

I've updated the "Iowa Blogroll" in the right sidebar and have included a lot more of the best state blogs (including a few lefty sites for fun). I also have a section linking to some blogs or column features of major Iowa news outlets where lots of comments are often generated.

Also, I feel a little like a Ronulan (my favorite nickname for Ron Paul supporters . . . and no, I'm not a total Star Trek nerd) doing this, but there are some online polls at a few Iowa based blogsites that Romney could win with a little boost.

The Real Sporer (left sidebar)
Cyclone Conservatives (right sidebar)
Iowa Collegiate Republicans (right sidebar)

New Romney Ad: "Take Charge"

He's truly the top tier candidate with both the strongest RECORD on immigration issues and the strongest RECORD of "take charge" accomplishments. Great ad.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Vote for Mike Huckabee is a Vote for Rudy Giuliani

Yes my friends, a vote for Mike Huckabee is a vote for Rudy Giuliani. In Iowa this is absolutely the case, and in other battleground states the same argument holds true.

Why is a vote for Huckabee a vote for Rudy?

On the surface the proposition appears preposterous. Huckabee and Rudy represent the absolute polar opposites of the GOP field; Huck being a solid social conservative but fiscal liberal/moderate and conversely Rudy being a social liberal/moderate and a solid fiscal conservative. I've had conversations with supporters of both Rudy and Huck; they are farily consistent in saying that the one candidate in the race that they wouldn't/couldn't vote for is the other.

However, at least for Team Rudy, their died-in-the-wool supporters are openly rooting for Huckabee to win Iowa. Also, these two candidate themselves seem to have man-crushes on one another. Seems odd, eh?

Well, Rudy and his most knowledgeable supporters know that Mitt is the only real threat to his path to the nomination. More and more people are realizing that the race is shaping up to be a Romney-Rudy showdown. Influential conservative editor of the Weekly Standard Fred Barnes penned a piece called "The Two-Man Race" arguing that only Rudy and Romney had "credible strategies/scenarios" to winning the GOP nomination. Fred said:

If a long shot like McCain or Thompson or even Mike Huckabee wins in Iowa (January 3) or New Hampshire (January 8) or South Carolina (January 19), there won't be enough time for him to raise the funds needed to compete effectively in Florida on January 29 and the 20-plus primaries on February 5. Television ads are expensive, but necessary.

Similarly, conservative columnist John Poderotz wrote a piece called "The Two Man Republican Race" where he also says it's down to Romney and Rudy. Of Huckabee he says:

Mike Huckabee, Baptist preacher turned politician, has taken Thompson’s place as the Southern conservative to watch, but while he is conservative on social issues, on economic and political matters he seems more in the populist traditions of the Democratic party, and he has no plausible path to the nomination.

Now I know there will be Huckabee supporter that believe that if he wins Iowa that he will pick up steam and win the subsequent states eventually going on to win the nomination. I respectfully disagree.

Huckabee's appeal is disproportionately weighted to firm evangelical Christians. The latest Iowa poll shows that Huckabee is blowing every other candidate away in this demographic. He's got nearly half of all evangelical Iowans polled in his camp already. He knows and speaks the language of this well-organized and motivated demographic. But is it enough? Maybe for Iowa, but not for the subsequent states.

Actually, let's take a look at the the primary calender and see if Huckabee has any "credible pathway" to the nomination:

Iowa--Jan 3rd.

Wyoming--Jan 5th (only a fraction of state's primary delegates up for grabs on this date though and these will be determined via a convention of party activists):

  • Conventional wisdom is that Romney will win here solidly (he got 61% of vote in a straw poll of party activists a couple of weeks ago . . . Rudy got 12%, Huckabee got 10%)
  • It's only TWO days after Iowa . . . not enough time for Huckabee to capitalize on an Iowa win to make a significant move among these activists.
  • Admittedly, whoever wins Wyoming won't get any kind of big boost because it's not a "major showdown" state. However, it can't be a negative to win this state that is sandwiched between IA and NH.

New Hampshire--Jan 8th:

  • Huckabee and Fred Thompson are currently fighting for FIFTH and SIXTH place in the Granite State . . . polling most recently between 5 and 6 % . . . BEHIND RON PAUL.
  • Huckabee is 27% points behind Romney (see link above of RCP averages).
  • The NH primary will take place just FIVE days after Iowa . . . enough time to shift things a little bit but not a total upheaval in the standings (barring any "Dean Scream" type gaffe . . . which could result in a large shift). Definitely not enough time to capitalize financially from an earlier win.
  • Rudy and McCain are working NH aggressively and polling strongly (it's an all or nothing state for McCain). Most people think that if Rudy can win here he will have the nomination wrapped up.
  • ANY political pundit will tell you the common mantra of "Three tickets out of Iowa, Two tickets out of NH." I invite any Huckabee supporter to convince me that he can place in the top two in NH and thereby survive beyond (remembering that, in general, GOP southern candidates don't have a great track record in NH and that NH voters tend to care about fiscal conservativsm MUCH MORE than social conservatism). The primary schedule has changed and so, admittedly, this mantra of conventional wisdom may not hold true,. Still, I don't see how any candidate that finishes fourth or worse in NH has any kind of momentum going into MI, NV, and SC.
  • The only race-changing effect that Huckabee can have by winning Iowa is cause some negative press to Romney and potentially shift the top of the standings in NH . . . allowing Rudy (or McCain?) to win it.

Michigan--Jan 15th:

  • One week after NH (again, not much time in between).
  • Huckabee is polling in FIFTH place (by a long shot by RCP averages)--a paltry 6%
  • Romney has a distinct advantage in MI since he is a "native son" (born and raised there . . . father was beloved three-term governor). Romney is tied for the lead there WITHOUT any advertising. But Rudy has a strong presence and this one will likely be somewhat influence by the outcome of NH (another northern state that not even Bush could win in the 2000 primary that doesn't tend to go for southern evangelical social conservatives).

Nevada--Jan 19th:

  • Huckabee is polling in SIXTH place (at 5%) . . . a good deal behind Thompson, McCain, and Ron Paul.
  • Rudy is leading polls here, but many think that Romney (who's not far behind) will have an advantage under their new-found caucus format.
  • Something tells me that voters in the state steeped in legalized gambling and legalized prostitution will not be suddenly "converted" to a candidate who is presumably the preferred choice of the Evangelical Christians.
  • Another state where previous poorer-than-expected showings for Romney would probably tilt the state to Rudy

South Carolina--Jan 19th (same day as Nevada . . . and thereby probably diluting the "bounce" of a win unless the same candidate wins them both):

  • Huckabee is currently polling in FIFTH place at 8%
  • Surprisingly to many (including yours truly), this state is being led by Romney now, but it really is a statistical dead heat with Rudy and Romney both between 20-22%.
  • I will agree with many Huckabee and Thompson supporters that their candidates have more of a "natural fit" in this state and could probably capitalize on prior wins to surge in the polls in the Palmetto State (both southerners with good social conservative credentials). However, the primary schedule just doesn't play to their favor with 3-4 states that they don't really have a shot of winning wedged between Iowa and South Carolina.

Florida--Jan 29th (27 electoral votes) has been polled:

  • Ditto everything I said above about SC (Huck's in FIFTH and @ 8%) . . . with the exception that Rudy has a much more commanding lead here. Even if Huck has managed to win IA and SC . . . he doesn't have the money or the organization to take on Rudy in FL. Romney does, and he's already polling in 2nd place in FL and is trending up nicely.
  • Rudy must be halted in FL . . . and Romney is the man to do it.


  • Rudy's Big-State strategy is focused on this date . . . just 33 days after the Iowa caucus.
  • Which candidate is best positioned to challenge Rudy in his supposed "firewall" states? (especially CA) I'll give you a hint and tell you that it isn't Huckabee.

Won't all these subsequent states come to love Huckabee like Iowa? Not enough for him to come even close to winning any of them (until possibly South Carolina). It is well known that social conservatives with a strongly religious appeal tend to over-perform in Iowa and then fade into irrelevance thereafter:

Huckabee will likely fall victim to a similar fate if he can't expand his appeal beyond religious social conservatives. Jim Geraghty recently wrote (and I read this after writing this blog entry):

One exception to my "close second" theory is Huckabee. He seems to be enjoying a well-timed surge, but unless he wins Iowa, he risks becoming John Podhoretz's "Republican Guy Who Is Coming Out of Nowhere to Place a Surprising Second in Iowa," a role JPod contends has been played in previous cycles by Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, and Steve Forbes. In other words, he gets one more news cycle of good press and then fades quickly.

Having said all that, if each win begets another bump in the polls, it's not unthinkable to see Romney win Iowa, win Wyoming (for whatever that's worth), win New Hampshire, win Michigan, win South Carolina by a hair, and then go into Florida with a very hot hand...

A word of warning to Huckabee supporters: If on caucus night, lots of Rudy supporters (who should be diametrically opposed to a candidate like Huckabee) start to align with the Huckabee camp you will know that you are being used as a tool for a Rudy nomination. Ironically, you are probably the voting block that would be most opposed to having a pro-choice candidate, yet it would be, at least in part, your own doing.

Of course, James Dobson and/or Tony Perkins and/or Richard Land could help the average Christian conservative realize all of the above by endorsing Romney BEFORE Jan 3rd. Otherwise, they risk being complicit in creating the situation they supposedly lament: a pro-choice GOP nominee that will necessitate a 3rd party pro-life candidate. This scenario will hand Hillary the oval office on a silver platter. So then, might one also conclude: "A vote for Huckabee is a vote for Hillary?"

I, therefore, invite and implore all social conservative Iowans to consider supporting Governor Mitt Romney on Jan 3rd at your Caucus event. His is the largest tent unifying social, fiscal, and security conservatives and this coalition of strength can carry him forward beyond Iowa to win the GOP nomination and the general election. It CAN happen and we all SHOULD be a part of it.

UPDATE 11/27:
Yet even more evidence of a Rudy/Huckabee alliance to take out Mitt.

The New York Sun has a piece called "Giuliani, Huckabee Emerge as Strange Bedfellows"

Time's take is noted in the article "Giuliani's Huckabee Strategy"

Rich Lowry of the National Review sees this trend in his "The Corner" post "Rudy and Huck sittin in a Tree . . . "

These pieces in Time and the New York Sun point out something that's been increasingly evident over the last few days: how nicely Rudy and Huck's strategies mesh. They both are attacking Romney for a lack of authenticity, with Huck blasting the former Massachusetts governor on social issues and Rudy blasting him on everything else. Together, they've got all the ground covered. The division of labor works geographically as well — Huck is threatening Romney in Iowa, which could weaken Romney in New Hampshire, where Rudy is increasingly vested in a strong finish (so much for the old Florida and Feb. 5 strategy). At the end of the day, I'm sure that the Rudy folks would like nothing more than for Huck to win the "conservative primary" within the Republican primary and emerge as the alternative to Rudy. Huck would be the weakest anti-Rudy contender. This seems so obvious that if I were a calculating Rudy donor who had already maxed out for my guy, I'd be tempted to send some money Huck's way.

These kind of transparently calculating alliances tend to backfire. Evangelical Christians don't want to be used as a tool to elect a pro-choice nominee and then have to vote 3rd party to protect the pro-life cause. Talk about a "Lose-Lose" situation.

Upcoming Events on 11/30 and 12/01: Linn County, Lucas County, Warren County, Loras College

Friday, November 23, 2007

Iowa Blog Round-up

Iowa Independent releases their "power rankings" for the GOP field:
1. Mitt Romney -- . . . His large staff and well-connected network of supporters keep him on top of what is otherwise a very volatile field. Although other candidates are showing signs of strength, Romney will not give up the top spot without a big fight.
2. Mike Huckabee -- Huckabee appears to be the flavor of the month. Although he failed to capitalize on his surprise 2nd place finish at the Ames Straw Poll to the degree many expected he would and turned in lackluster third quarter fund raising umbers, the winds seemed to shift a few weeks ago, and Huckabee started getting buzz . . .
3. Rudy Giuliani -- . . . Although one might expect Giuliani to slip farther down the list by January 3, we expect he would finish third if the caucuses were held tonight.
4. Ron Paul -- Paul's support comes from the least likely corners of Iowa, making it very difficult to measure with "likely voter" polls . . .
5. Fred Thompson -- Before Huckabee became the flavor of the month, there was Thompson . . . His national endorsement from Right to Life showed a glimmer of promise for his Iowa operation, but hopes were dashed when Iowa Right to Life decided to remain neutral.
6. John McCain -- . . . What remains of his organization here appears to be spread too thin, and his willingness to speak his mind about ethanol and immigration, among other subjects, has not won him many friends.
7. Tom Tancredo. . . a self-admitted one-issue candidate, he does not even seem interested in broadening his appeal.
8. Duncan Hunter
9. John Cox

Iowa Political Alert wants Huckabee to explain the details of his "lump sum Soc. Security one-time payout" (they also have this gem of an Ask Mitt Anything question from Orange Co., CA.)
"Huckabee proposed giving retirees a one-time Social Security payout."

It's a bold headline to be sure but we are still waiting to see the fine print. And Iowans had better start asking for it.

Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, is developing into something of the chattering class's pick as heir to the "compassionate conservative" mantle.

Huckabee's campaign did not return Iowa Independent's calls seeking more details on the plan, and a policy paper is either not available or not conveniently found in his promitional materials.

Others need to ask him for details, too. Mainstream media reportersand official Washington seem uninterested in the substance of his Social Security buyout idea. I contacted two Washington think tanks well versed in Social Security politics and neither was familiar with Huckabee's plan. Of course, if Huckabee's own buyout scheme has not moved past the scribbled-cocktail-napkin stage, no deeper analysis is possible.

The Real Sporer continues to be probably the most read and commented-on Iowa GOP blog (since the demise of The Krusty Konservative that is.) Bookmark that site for sure.

Antioch Road has an interesting twist on the Romney/Mormonism issue (he doesn't seem to be a fan of LDS history/theology, but he ends this post with:
Unlike Rudy Giuliani, I would vote for Romney in the general election if he were the Republican nominee, on the hope that he would act consistent with his recent conversion to cultural conservatism, but we have better options available.

Cyclone Conservatives talks about Senator Gregg's light-hearted "smack talk" of "Iowa picks corn, New Hampshire picks presidents". He shows some evidence that Iowa has as good of a track record as NH in picking presidents . . . but I think people are taking Gregg's quip too seriously.

Also, just by way of comparison (competition) with fellow GOP candidate's Iowa Blogs . . . Iowans for Fred Thompson went offline sometime in the past couple of months, Iowa for Fred Thompson was abandoned back in June, Straight Talk Iowa Style (McCain blog) was deserted over 8 months ago (within a week of Iowa's Caucus Cooler dying too . . . more evidence that McCain was paying bloggers to create "grassroots" appearing support), and Iowans for Huckabee has been dormant for the last 8 months (I think they must have actually examined his record). Rudy has never had an Iowa blog that I've noted.

However,Iowa Likes Mike started last month and has been active as far as frequent posting, but not getting much traffic or comments.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Prominent Blogger Ace of Spades HQ Gives Romney a 2nd Look

Influential blogger (like over 17 million total hits to his site . . . we've had around 65,000) Ace of Spades HQ is re-assessing the GOP field and is leaning towards Romney and it seems to be Huck's surge that is leading him there.

Huckabee Has Changed The Whole Race

Obviously, from the standpoint of support for Mike Huckabee, as Drew noted below.

But it's got me thinking too.

Not that I would support Mike Huckabee -- indeed, this is the only first-tier candidate I now find it difficult to support -- but it changes my own political math.

If Giuliani is too divisive a figure for the GOP base -- and if so, it's his own damn fault I must say; he could have easily tacked enough to the right to appease social cons -- then I guess I need to find an alternative to Huckabee.

I like Giuliani but not enough to split the base over him.

Thompson seems to be a natural alternative -- or at least he seemed that way, before he actually began campaigning. He's in the mix, I suppose, but I'm not thinking he can win.

Which leaves me pondering a candidate I've never really gotten behind, except to say he's perfectly acceptable to me -- Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney has his own problems with the social cons. His religion offends many, and his new improved positions on hot button social issues have the stink of opportunism still wafting over them. But I believe he's credible on these issues, if only because he's now made a fairly unbreakable promise on them.

He's a smart guy. He lacks Giuliani's charisma and ease and command in speaking, but he's not bad either. He has tremendous executive experience. And he has... oh, what the hell, Hugh Hewitt's blog.

Second look time for Romney, at least for me. I think Huckabee would be a disaster in the general election. An easy manner only gets you so far.

I think many so cons are realizing that Romney is the only so con candidate that can take on and beat Rudy and then win the general election. The coalescence around him on top of his current base of supporters will be a force to be reckoned with.

Offenburger Likes/Wants Romney

Charles Offenburger (the former long-time "Iowa Boy" columnist for The Des Moines Register is among the most well-known commentators and writers in the state.) in his assessment of the field of candidates on both sides comes down on the side of Romney.
Of all the candidates in both parties that I’ve heard, Mitt Romney is the most visionary among the Republicans . . .

For us Republicans, Romney may be our only hope of winning the general election. His business acumen, his international experience including his salvation of the Salt Lake City Olympics, his pro-life position, even if he came to it later than some, and the way he governed with consensus in heavily-Democratic Massachusetts – all those credentials highly recommend him. I also think Romney would give us an immigration and security system that would work and would not constantly embarrass us.

And I personally think his strong Mormon faith is another reason to support him. Devout Mormons, and he is one, live their faith a helluva lot better than most of the rest of us do. I think his faith has helped Romney maintain a strong moral compass, a deep concern for the poor, and a respect for other cultures and nations. As persecuted and put-down as Mormons so often have been and still are, they have empathy and compassion for people who are getting beat up in life.
In light of the previous post are we seeing a pattern here? People realizing that Mitt's the candidate able to unify the GOP base and win the general election.

John Deeth Blog's Coverage of Romney at UI.

The John Deeth Blog has coverage of Romney's event at University of Iowa (the one which Keith already posted the pictures and a write-up)

Romney visits Medical Campus at University of Iowa

Here are some photos of the event that was held the the Medical Education Research Facility on campus of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine:

Dr. Hunter of the University of Iowa Hospital introducing Governor Romney.

Romney explaining his Healthcare Strategy

Romney taking some questions. (Real questions from real people)

Questions coming from the back amongst the press.

Romney visiting with folks after the event.

Romney talking to the Johnson County co-chair Dorree Eckhoff, and her daughter, and employee of University of Iowa Hospital.

Romney with a dental student studying at the University of Iowa.

Here is Romney signing an autograph with a supporter. Notice the ski-jacket that he is wearing : These are jackets from the 2002 Winter Olympics, and only available to those who volunteered. This individual volunteered at the Sandy TRAX station during the olympics. Mitt noticed his jacket when he asked a question and had him come up on stage and explained the jacket to the crowd. Then he commented on the remarkable spirit of volunteerism, and how the volunteers at the olympics were true heroes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a wonderful holiday . . . a time to relax and be thankful for our many blessings.

I am thankful for:

Living in the most free and prosperous nation on earth . . . with no fear of government tyranny.

My woderful wife and four boys.

My faith.

My job

My choice and chance to support Mitt Romney for President!

What are you thankful for?

Huckabee Caught Fibbin' Again--Fred Attacks Huckabee

Fred 08 came out with this press release recently showing how willing Mike Huckabee is to fib about his previous record as Arkansas Governor. Some key points are below.


Huckabee Claim: "We didn't raise [taxes] on nursing home patients. That was a quality assurance fee."

Fact: Huckabee implemented a $5.25 per day bed-tax on private
nursing home patients. (Associated Press, 8/13/01)

Huckabee Claim: "Here's what the Club for Growth won't tell you... They won't tell you who gave them money. They like to take money from anonymous donors, fire shots at folks without accountability."

Fact: Huckabee created a 'charitable' organization - Action America - so he could funnel his speaking fees through the organization and avoid disclosure requirements: "In 1995, [Huckabee] avoided reporting individual sources of income by funneling money through a nonprofit corporation, Action America, that was created and managed by his campaign staff." (Commercial Appeal, 11/9/97)

Huckabee Claim: "I balanced the budget every year of my 10 years as governor... I think my record is an incredibly good one."

Fact: Arkansas law mandates a balanced budget. Huckabee raised taxes and more than doubled state spending. (Mike Huckabee, "Cutting Taxes and Other Great Ideas for Congress from an Arkansas Governor," Heritage Lecture #645, The Heritage Foundation, 9/29/99, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , 10/4/07)
Fact: Immediately upon taking office in 1996, Governor Huckabee signed a sales tax hike into law. (Stephen Moore and Dean Stansel, "A Fiscal Policy Report Card On America's Governors: 1998," Cato Institute; Joan Duffy, "Critical Ark. School Funds Amendment Goes Untouted," Commercial Appeal, 9/9/96)

Huckabee Claim: "You first deal with the spending issue which I did in my state."

Fact: State spending more than doubled under Huckabee. "During Huckabee's 10 years as governor, state spending more than doubled, from $6.6 billion to $16.1 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006." ( Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/4/07)

The videos of the interview are here and here.

I guess Huckabee is used to his former status as an irrelevant candidate back when nobody cared to check into whether or not he was telling the truth. Welcome to the big leagues Huck!

This combined with Huckabee's previous dishonesty about his fiscal record may be the beginning of a disturbing pattern.

Media Hearts Huckabee

From a recent comment over at ElectRomneyIn2008 by Linda (emphasis mine):
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired about hearing how wonderful Huckabee is. It’s pretty clear that the mainstream media is pushing Huckabee on us, and in the process, marginalizing Romney. I don’t know if they are doing it on purpose or not, but the more they talk about Huckabee, the higher his poll numbers go. He’s getting tons of free press, and undeservedly so. Also, Rudy is sitting pretty because he doesn’t have to spend a cent in Iowa, because he has Huckabee to distract voters from Mitt. But hopefully supporters of Romney can somehow get this message out: a vote for Huckabee is a vote for Rudy.

Ya know Linda, I've been noticing the same thing. Look at these headlines "Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" from The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder and "Huckmentum!" from Politico's Jonahtan Martin. Notice anything strange? That's right, they both have EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!! as part of the headlines. These guys aren't even trying to appear objective anymore I guess. I realize that part of the equation is that the press corps need something to write about and close races are more exciting to cover and sell more mags/papers . . . and shocking upsets make for even greater headlines.

Then Lynn followed up Linda's comment with her own:
I have lived in Arkansas for 23 years. I have survived Governors Clinton, Jim Guy Tucker, and Huckabee. I voted for Huckabee and came to deeply regret it. I was ashamed of his ethical lapses and questionable money and gift dealings. I am appalled at his quick willingness to raise taxes. He may be a conservative on some issues, but his record proves that he is a big government, big spending liberal on other issues. Here in Arkansas we learned not to trust him too far. I am very seriously upset that now he is working to be a spoiler for the candidate that I believe will have the highest integrity and has the knowledge and experience to help this country in a time that we desperately need it.
Huckabee is a power hungry man that has benefited from the evangelical block’s desire to elect one of their own. They need to look a little closer at him though and check out his record. He makes lots of jokes and speaks well, but this election is not a joke and it is way too serious to select a man based on a few one liners and a funny ad or two.

Wow! Those are strong words Lynne. Thanks for your personal experience. Iowans need to be informed about the real Huckabee because many seem to be swallowing him hook, line, and sinker.

Meeting the Challenge: Romney's Immigration Record

The post yesterday about the new Iowa poll instigated some rather unrelated discussion where a Tom Tancredo supporter claimed:

Romney has no immigration policy, other than allowing for more HB-1 visas . . .

I don't know why anyone who is fed up with illegal immigration and border security would support Mitt Romney! I challenge Romney supporters to present information and facts that prove Gov. Romney has in the past been tough on illegal immigration! Illegal immigration is an issue that affects this nation's education, healthcare, jobs, economy, crime AND future of our great nation!

Well, I DO love a good challenge . . . but this was hardly that. That's actually a "softball" challenge (now if I were a Rudy supporter or a Huckabee supporter, or a McCain supporter that WOULD be a challenge)

Romney has a VERY solid RECORD on illegal immigration. And he's been consistently better on it than any serious candidate. This record is sinking in with voters as he is capturing the lion's share of voters who list Immigration as their #1 or #2 issue. For proof (as requested) here's a campaign's press release a few weeks back (note the dates and that his record spans over the last 5 years):

FACT: As Governor Of Massachusetts, Governor Romney Took Action To Enforce Immigration Laws.

ENFORCEMENT: In December 2006, Governor Romney Signed A Memorandum Of Agreement With The Federal Government To Allow State Troopers To Enforce Federal Immigration Laws. "Governor Mitt Romney and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and ICE, which will give specially trained Massachusetts State Troopers the authority to administer and enforce federal immigration laws in the Commonwealth. " (Office Of The Governor, "Governor Romney, ICE Sign Immigration Enforcement Pact," Press Release, 12/13/06)
[Editorial insert by Jeff Fuller: The Romney critic will say that the above was done in the last month of Romney's term in MA and with the knowledge that the incoming Democratic Governor (Deval Patrick) would overturn the program. That misses the obvious point of this plan being publically announced in 6/06 before anyone knew who the successor would be. It took the Feds 6 months to approve the program. I guess the Romney critic is suggesting that Romney should have just scrapped his plan and work because it wasn't likely to stand? Absurd!. No, Romney felt strongly about the plan and "left his legacy" on this issue. What a successor chooses to do is up to them and they are answerable for such.]

IN-STATE TUITION: Governor Romney Vetoed In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrants. "Romney also vetoed a number of outside sections of the budget, including:...A plan that would have permitted illegal aliens to pay the same in-state tuition rate at our public colleges and universities as Massachusetts citizens." (Office Of The Governor, "Romney Signs $22.402B Fiscal Year 2005 'No New Tax' Budget," Press Release, 6/25/04)

ENGLISH IMMERSION: Governor Romney Fought Efforts To Weaken Massachusetts' English Immersion Law. "But yesterday, Romney press secretary Shawn Feddeman said the governor will fight all attempts to slow the implementation of English immersion, known on the ballot as Question 2. ... 'He will veto anything that weakens or delays English immersion,' Feddeman said." (Anand Vaishnav, "Romney Firm On English Timetable," The Boston Globe, 1/24/03)

- In June 2002, Mitt Romney Said "The Approach Of English Immersion Is One That I Support. ... I Would Make English Immersion The Educational Norm For All Non-Native English Speakers." (John McElhenny, "Mitt Romney Endorses 'English Immersion' Education Plan," The Associated Press, 6/4/02)

DRIVER'S LICENCES: Governor Romney Opposed Efforts To Give Driver's Licenses To Illegal Immigrants. "'Those who are here illegally should not receive tacit support from our government that gives an indication of legitimacy,' the governor said, echoing arguments that opponents have voiced in the Commonwealth and in other states considering similar license measures. 'If they are here illegally, they should not get driver's licenses,' he said." (Scott S. Greenberger, "Romney Stand Dims Chances Of License For Undocumented," The Boston Globe, 10/28/03)

FACT: Governor Romney Would Take Action To Secure The Borders Through Physical And Virtual Fences.

Governor Romney: "In my view, there are several principles that need to be part of our immigration plan. First, to secure the border..." (Governor Mitt Romney, Interview On The Northern Alliance Radio Network, 1/27/07)

Governor Romney: "You've got to have a wall or fence or electronic surveillance. You have got to make sure we secure our border, that's first." (Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," 9/19/06)

FACT: Governor Romney Supports Strong Reforms To Stop Illegal Immigration And Encourage Legal Immigration.

Governor Romney: "The current system puts up a concrete wall to the best and brightest, yet those without skill or education are able to walk across the border. We must reform the current immigration laws so we can secure our borders, implement a mandatory biometrically-enabled and tamper-proof documentation and employment-verification system, and increase legal immigration into America." (David Yepsen, Op-Ed, "So Far, Romney's Been Most Impressive Republican," Des Moines Register, 7/11/06)

FACT: Governor Romney Opposes The McCain-Kennedy Bill And Any Form Of Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants.

Governor Romney: "McCain-Kennedy Isn't The Answer." "Another aspect of American sovereignty is the security of our borders. The current system is a virtual concrete wall against those who have skill and education, but it's a wide-open walk across the border for those that have neither. McCain-Kennedy isn't the answer. As governor, I took a very different approach. I authorized our state police to enforce federal immigration laws." (Governor Mitt Romney, Remarks At The Conservative Political Action Conference, Washington, D.C., 3/2/07)

FACT: Governor Romney Supports A Strong Employer-Verification System That Includes A Tamper Proof Worker Verification Card.

Governor Romney: "First, to secure the border, number two, have an employment verification system. This would be a card - a biometric card - that people who are not citizens would have and before an employer hires a non citizen they would have to look at the card, type in a number on a computer, and get verification from the federal government that this person is eligible for work in the U.S. If they hired someone not so eligible that company would be fined just like not paying taxes." (Governor Mitt Romney, Interview On The Northern Alliance Radio Network, 1/27/07)

FACT: Governor Romney Supports Empowering Local And State Authorities To Enforce Federal Immigration Laws.

Governor Romney Believes More State And Local Police Agencies Should Work With The Federal Government To Enforce Immigration Laws. "Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Tuesday that more state and local police agencies ought to consider making deals with the federal government to have their officers trained in enforcing elements of federal immigration law. ... 'I think it's a good idea for us to communicate that we intend to enforce our laws,' Romney said." (Jacques Billeaud, "Romney: More State, Local Police Should Get Immigration Training," The Associated Press, 3/13/07).

Also, this campaign flyer from 1994 shows that Romney isn't just a "Johnny Come Lately" to the cause of combating illegal immigration. The flyer states that he supported "Tougher measures to combat illegal immigration" way back in 1994 . . . apparently the "least conservative" phase of Mitt's political career.

As far as where Romney will lead us in this area ElectRomneyIn2008's Victor Lundquist listed 4 points (some of which is summarized in the last part of the press release) in the comments section of that post:
1. Tamper-proof Employer verification ID cards (for immigrants only).
2. Any business that employs an illegal alien will receive the same penalty as the business who does not pay its taxes.
3. He will finish building the border wall.
4. He will build up border enforcement big time.

I followed up Vics list with 5 more points in light of more recent statements Romney has made on this subject. Romney has recommended:

5) Trimming Federal funding to Sanctuary cities who are openly opposing the federal immigration laws.
6) Cutting relavent Federal funding to states who create "magnet" policies like in-state tuition breaks and state-sponsored scholarships for illegal immigrants.
7) Opposing Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in ANY state (would probably seek a Federal statute that would prevent any state from offering such licences)
8) Deporting all illegal immigrants caught breaking the law.
9) "Back of the line" (and/or "go back home first") treatment of illegals wanting to become legalized (plus learning English, paying back taxes, paying a fine, passing a civics test, etc . . .) . . . but all of this without an immediate "pseudo-legalization" like the Z-visa provided.

So, do you think I answered this Tancredo fan's question adequately?

Romney in Iowa City : Health care fix with less government

Mitt Romney was in Iowa City today (Wednesday, November 21, 2007) with a message of particular interest to the doctors and medical industry professionals who attended at the Medical Education Research Facility. That message is : We need to fix healthcare, but without turning healthcare into socialized medicine! A tremendous thank you goes out to the great Romney Supporters who were instrumental in getting this event on campus.
Mitt gave a great speech, and clearly explained what he did in Mass., and how he will carry this over on a national scale. The crowd's questions were tough questions, and Mitt handled them tremendously. I will be uploading photos from the event tomorrow. For now, here is an article written up in the Press Citizen about the visit:

Romney: Health care fix with less government
By Kathryn Fiegen
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Solving the country’s problems with health care requires less government involvement, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said this morning on the University of Iowa campus. The former Massachusetts governor challenged the health care plans of his Democratic counterparts, which have called for an expanded government role in health care, even creating new government programs similar to Medicare and Medicaid.
“You don’t say, ‘How do we put more government into it,’ you say, ‘How do we get government out of it?’” Romney said to a group of about 100 in the atrium of the Medical Education and Research Facility.
Romney, who is in the lead in Iowa for the Republican nomination, has suggested the country adopt a plan that he helped implement in Massachusetts.
“The idea was this — we have 500,000 people in our state who don’t have
health insurance, but they have health care,” he said, speaking about people who
seek care in emergency rooms even though they are without insurance.Romney said
this practice drives up takes and premiums. He said his state took what it
would spend on retroactive coverage for the uninsured, and instead provided to
subsidize the cost of private insurance for those with no coverage.Romney said
Massachusetts found out that some people would buy health insurance if it costs
just a little less, something the government could help to subsidize. The
poor pay on a sliding scale and the government covers the rest, Romney
said. He said his plan doesn’t raise taxes, but just re-allocates money
that is already being spent.
“That would be a far better way of providing people with good health care,”
Romney said.

University Hospitals physician Marlan Hansen said UIHC provides most of the indigent care in the area, but it is still quality care. “But I think there is a great disparity between what is offered with government health care and what people get with private insurance,” he said. Romney said health care reform that targets the private industry helps to make care more equal. Health insurance plans should be offered directly to individuals, he said, and not through employers. That way, insurance companies compete on a person-to-person basis and the costs go down. He also suggested the country adopt another component of Massachusetts’ system, which is a public board to review all health insurance plans that are offered in the state, to make sure consumers are more aware of what they are buying. Iowa City resident Katie Nolte, 29, said she thought the GOP candidate’s health care plan was “interesting.” “But, and I should preface this by saying I’m a Democrat, I just wonder if it will actually lower costs,” she said.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Romney's Poll Numbers Unphased by Huckabee's surge in Iowa.

New Iowa poll from ABC/WaPo:

Numbers in parentheses are from the same firms' last Iowa poll from nearly 4 months ago

* Mitt Romney 28% (26%) +2
* Mike Huckabee 24% (8%) +16
* Fred Thompson 15% (13%) +2
* Rudy Giuliani 13% (14%) -1
* John McCain 6% (8%) -2
* Ron Paul 6% (2%) +4

Big move up for Huckabee, small move up for Paul. Everyone else fairly flat since 4 months ago.

Huckabee must be picking up many of the undecideds and Brownbackers (who had 5% last time).

There is no denying Huckabee’s surge . . . but until someone shows me that Romney's numbers are falling due to Huckabee’s rise then I’m not going to be too concerned.
Poll after poll that shows Huckabee "gaining" also shows that Mitt hasn't lost any support or that he's GAINED support over previous polls.

Actually, 30% may just be enough to win Iowa for Romney.

Some other tidbits from the write-up at WaPo:

Still, there are other signs in the poll suggesting that Romney remains the candidate to beat in the state and that gains for Huckabee may be harder to achieve in the next 43 days than they were over the past four months.

Romney outperforms Huckabee and other Republicans on key attributes, with two notable exceptions — perceptions of which candidate best understands people’s problems and which candidate is the most honest and trustworthy. On both, Romney and Huckabee are tied. At the same time, Iowa Republicans see the former Arkansas governor as less credible than Romney, Giuliani or McCain on some top issues.

That's just more evidence that Huckabee is “the new girlfriend” . . . but not the “marrying type” for the Iowa GOP. He truly is the Flavor of the Month (though a popular one)

The enthusiasm among Huckabee supporters was striking, particularly in a year in which Republicans have been considerably dissatisfied with the field of candidates. Half of those who now back the former Arkansas governor said they are very enthusiastic about him, compared with 28 percent of Romney’s backers.

Remember how “enthusiastic” all those Fred supporters were too? Expect this bounce to fade as records are exposed and he shows his thin skin.

A quarter of those surveyed said immigration is their biggest or second-biggest concern when considering whom to back on Jan. 3. The same percentage, 24 percent, highlighted the war in Iraq, and nearly as many, 21 percent, singled out terrorism and national security

On immigration, Romney has an edge: 27 percent said the former Massachusetts governor is best on the issue, while Huckabee and Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) each received 13 percent.

Funny how they never state how many total percentage points Tancredo got in the poll . . . but if he’s getting 13% of people saying that immigration is issue #1 or #2 for a large segment (25% per the article) then he must be getting 3%.

We’ll see if Tancredo runs on through to the end here in Iowa . . . I’d like him to drop out because people that educated on immigration won’t be voting for Huckabee or Giuliani. Thompson and Romney will split that small slice of the pie IMO.

Still, it’s shocking that Huckabee is in 2nd place among voters keyed in on immigration . . . sounds like Iowa voters need to get educated on that one, eh?

I invite you to look at the RCP Iowa Polling Averages to help you see the numbers that 1) confirm Huckabee's rise and 2) also confirm that Romney hasn't lost any support over Huck (Mitt's actually been trending back up in Iowa over the past 6 weeks as Huck has made his surge).

To Avoid the Appearance of Evil (discrimination) Huckabee wanted to give drivers licenses to ILLEGAL immigrants

At least that is what the paper trail shows according to this post at the Arkansas Journal blog.
During the 2001 regular session of the Arkansas Legislature, Mike Huckabee supported giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

How did he do that? Here are a few excerpts from 2001 articles about the legislation and Huckabee's support of it, as expressed by a spokesman, his liaison to the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

"In other action Tuesday, the House rejected a bill that would allow the issuance of Arkansas driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. The vote on House Bill 2212 by Rep. Tracy Steele, D-North Little Rock, was 46-46, with 51 votes needed to pass the bill. HB2212, which remains available for House consideration, would amend Act 1099 of 1997, which enumerates various conditions under which a driver's license can't be issued by the state Office of Driver Services. HB2212 would delete the act's provision that bans the issuing of a license to someone 'who is making an initial application for an Arkansas driver's license and who is not lawfully within the United States" or to "any person who is not lawfully within the United States.' Steele and other proponents of HB2212 said Hispanics, both legally and illegally in the United States, have been discriminated against when attempting to obtain a driver's license on the basis of their skin color or accent. Because employees of the Office of Driver Services may lack the training or expertise to determine if an applicant is an illegal immigrant, Steele said that status shouldn't be a condition of obtaining a license." (Michael Wickline, "Senate OKs Plan To Raise Teacher Pay," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 3/14/01)

Mike Huckabee's Human Services Liaison expressed the governor's position, supporting the measure to repeal the law denying the issuance of drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. In 2001, there was discussion of HB 2212 in the state assembly to repeal a 1997 Arkansas law prohibiting issuance of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Proponents said the bill was necessary because legal immigrants were getting harassed when they went to get drivers licenses. Huckabee's Human Services liaison defended the bill, saying the following:

"People shouldn't be harassed based on who they are or what they look like," said [Robert] Trevino, who also is Gov. Mike Huckabee's human services liaison. "We just don't want to be treated as second class. We don't have a problem with prohibiting illegal aliens from getting driver's licenses. We have a problem with hassling those who are here legitimately." (Michael Rowett, "Bill Aims To Help Immigrants Get Driver's Licenses," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 3/18/01)

When reached for comment this afternoon, former Arkansas State Representative Jeremy Hutchinson said, "the proponents of this bill kept telling us that their intent wasn't to give illegals driver's licenses but when we asked them to amend the bill to state that, they always refused. Finally after killing the bill on the floor twice, they amended the bill. I asked Bob Trevino if the Governor was for this bill and he said "of course, he was."

The result of that, however, would have been to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens since Huckabee supposedly didn't want to offend legal immigrants.

. . .

The final version of this bill removed this crucial portion, but that doesn't erase the fact that Mike Huckabee supported a bill to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens.
Fortunately for Huckabee, his pen ended up being on the right side of that issue, but his apparent ambivalence on the issue is akin to Hillary Clinton's opinion of the matter in the debate. Also, I haven't heard Huck touting his record of signing this bill as an immigration "bona fide" . . . if he was really firm on the issue without this ambivalent past he would be defending himself with it. However, by so doing he knows he would open himself up to a repeat of his dishonest answer to simple questions.

Fake E-mail From Romney to Iowa Supporters: I Apologizing for Push-Polling Myself

Crazed and Dazed is all I can feel after this huge "push-polling" scandal.

Fortunately, it's looking like Romney and his campaign have been all but cleared of any charges or speculation in the matter.

However, a fake email (made public by Cyclone Conservatives blog--make sure to vote for Romney in his poll on the right sidebar there too) has been sent out far and wide where an impostor claims to be "Team Romney Iowa" and apologizes for push-polling themselves to get votes and sympathy (hat tip to Justin Hart at My Man Mitt for alerting me to it)

Some of the more audacious claims:
Dear Supporters,

As most of you probably read in today's National Review , our campaign has been tied to the anti-Mormom calls made here in Iowa attacking Gov. Romney for his faith. It appears our campaign's chief strategist, who we have paid nearly $800,000 in fees, is behind the calls.

Our office has been swarmed with hundreds of phone calls since the National Review, the most respected national conservative publication, broke the story. Many Iowans are upset that our own campaign would smear our own candidate and Mormons and try to tie it to another campaign.

Because we were not able to answer all your phone calls, we'd like to issue a sincere apology. Our campaign believes that we must say and do anything to win -- which sometimes gets us into trouble.

They then go on to list negative and misleading reports of "wrongdoing" by campaign staffers etc . . .
They finish with:
While we do not have the time to explain each and every of these offenses, including the newest one, we can assure you, our valued supporters, that the Team Romney campaign is 100% committed to saying anything and using any campaign tactics to win.
OK . . . so it's pretty obvious that this wasn't even trying to pass as a credible "from the real Romney campaign" email. But what is obvious is that some people are anonymously and deceptively trying to malign the character and campaign efforts of Governor Romney. This kind of attack is probably coming from another GOP campaign. That "Say or Do Anything" phraseology is vintage McCain stuff (Remember the anti-Romney site he purchased who's banner read "Say. Do. Anything"?) However, recently Fred Thompson's spokesman used the same terminology for Gov. Romney. Even the DNC has made similar claims as well. I don't know who did it though I have some suspicions that I'll keep to myself (at the wise recommendation of our first commenter). Whoever did it is cowardly and shameless.

It actually shouldn't be too hard to track where the e-mails came from (I personally don't have a clue how . . . but have been told it's not too difficult). Most likely it's from someone who's covered their tracks well and/or used a public computer/WiFi. This kind of behavior cannot be condoned. The stakes are very high in a race like this and such actions should be punished.

It's getting really ugly really quickly folks.

Do Mormons Prize Book of Mormon Over the Bible?

I realize that this is not a religious blog, but a recent question came up in the all-too-famous push-polling claiming that LDS think that the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible:
In another part of Iowa, Ralph Watts got a similar call the next day. Are you aware, the caller asked, that Mormons consider the Book of Mormon superior to the Bible? Would that make you more or less likely to vote for Romney?
Is this true?

Well, I'll admit that there is a lot of confusion regarding this even among LDS circles.

I'll let the words of one of the highest current church authorities, Elder M. Russell Ballard, speak for themselves (From April 2007):
I am sure many of you have had the experience of hearing people say that "Mormons are not Christians because they have their own Bible, the Book of Mormon." To anyone harboring this misconception, we say that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and the author of our salvation and that we believe, revere, and love the Holy Bible. We do have additional sacred scripture, including the Book of Mormon, but it supports the Bible, never substituting for it. [editorial insert: notice that Elder Ballard is not trying to claim a Trinitarian commonality with Christianity or trying to get into a theological discussion of why Mormons believe we're Christians]

. . .

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable" (2 Timothy 3:16). We love the Bible and other scriptures. That may be surprising to some who may not be aware of our belief in the Bible as the revealed word of God. It is one of the pillars of our faith, a powerful witness of the Savior and of Christ's ongoing influence in the lives of those who worship and follow Him.

. . .

You young people especially, do not discount or devalue the Holy Bible. It is the sacred, holy record of the Lord's life. The Bible contains hundreds of pages more than all of our other scripture combined. It is the bedrock of all Christianity. We do not criticize or belittle anyone's beliefs. Our great responsibility as Christians is to share all that God has revealed with all of His sons and daughters.

Those who join this Church do not give up their faith in the Bible—they strengthen it. The Book of Mormon does not dilute nor diminish nor de-emphasize the Bible. On the contrary, it expands, extends, and exalts it. The Book of Mormon testifies of the Bible, and both testify of Christ.

The first testament of Christ is the Bible's Old Testament, which predicted and prophesied of the coming of the Savior, His transcendent life, and His liberating Atonement.

The second Bible testament of Christ is the New Testament, which records His birth, His life, His ministry, His gospel, His Church, His Atonement, and His Resurrection, as well as the testimonies of His Apostles.

The third testament of Christ is the Book of Mormon, which also foretells Christ's coming, confirms the Bible's account of His saving Atonement, and then reveals the resurrected Lord's visit to the earth's other hemisphere. The subtitle of the Book of Mormon, the clarifying purpose statement printed on the cover of every copy, is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ."

Each of these three testaments is a part of the great, indivisible whole of the Lord's revealed word to His children. They contain the words of Christ, which we have been admonished to feast upon as a means of qualifying for eternal life (see 2 Nephi 31:20). Those who think that one part is more important or more true than the other parts are missing some of the beauty and completeness of the canon of ancient scripture.

The counter-argument that LDS do believe in the Book of Mormon's "superiority" comes mainly from two sources:
  1. A famous quote by Joseph Smith saying that the Book of Mormon was "the most correct" book on earth.
  2. An "Article of Faith" that states that we believe the Bible "as far as it is translated correctly"
However, something tells me that Elder Ballard has maybe read/quoted those two points a few hundred times before his 2007 address. He obviously finds plenty of room to maintain a healthy respect for the Book of Mormon without claiming any type of "superiority."

I realize that this type of religious discussion actually distracts from the Romney message in general . . . but sometimes I feel a need to clarify an issue that can and has been used as a political weapon against him.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Senator Chuck Grassley Predicts Romney Win in Iowa

Thomas Alan was the first to pick this one up over at ElectRomneyIn2008 . . . but our very own Senator Chuck Grassley is officially not going to endorse anyone, and he predicts the Iowa Caucus result to be:

1) Mitt
2) Huckabee
3) Rudy

I hate these expectations to stay so high, but I do think that's what most people would guess now anyways.

For some interesting "Iowans for Romney" history regarding Chuck Grassley check here and here.

RedState Contributor Leon H Wolf is Backing Romney (and bashing Huckabee)

Well, maybe Romney will FINALLY have a "defender" over at RedState . . .

Leon H Wolf (formerly supporting Brownback) has decided to "toss in" with Romney

Regarding the candidates and his assessment of them Leon first quoted himself from a year ago, and then explained his current assessment (2nd paragraph):
As I said several months ago - in a three-way race between Romney, Giuliani, and McCain, I'd vote for Romney. Apart from Brownback (who can't win, however much I like him), there are no personally committed pro-lifers on the 2008 slate. While a committed pro-lifer would certainly be the most desirable choice, the second choice would be a guy who knows which side his bread is buttered on. So, if faced with a choice between a guy like McCain, who has a pretty good pro-life voting record, but recently joined Christine Todd-Whitman's "We hate the religious right" PAC, his voting record is less important than the fact that he's historically shown a willingness to spit in the eye of social conservatives just for kicks and press accolades. Mitt, on the other hand, can apparently be trusted to pander to the voters he needs, which in this case is us.

That analysis still stands. For a while, the Fred Thompson campaign gave me hope for someone who might be a little more solid on the issue, but looking at the polling right now leads me inescapably to the conclusion that Fred Thompson is toast. He's not polling any higher than third in any state right now, and Romney has even moved into second in the crucial state of Florida. I just don't know that Thompson has what it takes to get back up off the mat right now. And while I feel a lot better about supporting McCain than I did a year ago, I still just can't make myself trust him at all. I made it a special point to get on McCain's conference call last week so that I could hopefully get just that little assurance I needed to sway me into his camp - and in my estimation, he blew the question. Like I said, I could get behind McCain a lot more easily than I could at this point last year, but he still isn't my first choice. As for Huckabee? Well, let's just say that I lived in Arkansas while he was governor, and my state tax burden was higher than my federal tax burden. And also that I worked on Jim Holt's 2004 campaign. I hope that explains why I have never seriously considered voting for him.
Wow . . . that's some harsh language for Huck.

For Romney he had some interesting points (still very balanced and objective in his views):

The guy, I think, did a good-faith job of governing as a conservative in a liberal state. He's shown a real competence at managing organizations - which, let's face it, is a welcome change of pace after the last four years. His persoal history is squeaky clean - absolutely no skeletons in the closet. . . . I don't seriously doubt that he'll govern as a conservative. I have, in all honesty, a *lot* less doubt about that than I had about Bush in 1999.

. . .

The bottom line for me right now is that for all my personal naysaying and doubting, I have to admit in the end that Romney has worked the hardest, run the smartest campaign, and outlasted all other Republican comers save Rudy, and we all know how I feel about Rudy. In the end, if I had to choose between seeing Romney and Rudy standing, it wouldn't even be a close call. When I examine the field, I see only one candidate left standing with a reasonable shot of winning the White House who would govern as a conservative, and that candidate is Mitt Romney. So from now on, I'm tossing in with him, for better or worse.

In closing, let me say a few things that I hope some Romney supporters will take to heart. It doesn't really do a lot of good to pretend that Romney is perfect, or that he hasn't made a mistake, or that his positions on certain things haven't changed. That's just insulting to people's intelligence and it turns people off from the candidate. May I humbly suggest that the better way to convince skeptical Republican voters that Romney is someone they could support is to encourage them to ask themselves, "Will he govern as a conservative?" I know that part of the reason it took me so long to come around to this position is that I heard too many people saying the former, and not enough repeatedly asking me the latter.

Well, I must admit that I've been guilty of defending Romney's record tooth and nail and stating how it's been distorted and manipulated. It might be wiser for me to open up the bigger picture as Leon suggests. However, I suspect well see more people like Leon coming along half-way reluctantly to Romney. That's what happens when the field narrows and the alternative is Rudy. As Fred continues his fizzle and Huckabee can't quite make the sale in Iowa, the social conservative movement will solidify strongly around Romney and Rudy won't stand a chance come Tsunami Tuesday.