Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Mark Block says Cain isn't dropping out. Meanwhile, the Romney-Gingrich battle starts to heat up, the DCCC telegraphs 30 of their top GOP targets and don't hold your breath waiting for a Mitch Daniels presidential endorsement. Here's today's rundown:
9) Another sign George Allen is an inevitable GOP Senate nominee: His Tea Party-aligned opponent's campaign manager is stepping aside.
8) As President Obama makes his way to the blue-collar Scranton, Pennsylvania today, it's not looking like Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., will join him. With Obama's numbers mediocre in the state, there is justification for the Democratic senator to avoid the president. For both men, the Scranton area is hugely important for 2012. Both Obama's VP (Biden) and Casey hail from the area. But the city has among the worst unemployment in the state, and it's filled with the blue-collar Dems who weren't very enthusiastic about Obama when he first ran for president. How Casey navigates his relationship with the president will speak volumes about his re-election prospects.
7) New York Times Magazine gives Mitt Romney the cover treatment this weekend, where Romney campaign Stuart Stevens compares Romney to Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick. From reporter Robert Draper: "Romney's staff has endeavored to focus the campaign on his strengths, which are decidedly the opposite of Vick's. So instead of letting their quarterback roam and improvise, they're keeping him tightly contained in the business-centric pocket, hoping to God that he does not stray from it."
6) The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a new paid campaign against 30 House Republicans, assigning blame against them for the failure of the super committee. The members -- each of whom signed Grover Norquist
's Americans for Tax Reform pledge -- will be hit with phone calls, robocalls, and online ads.
The full list of targeted members: Paul Gosar (AZ-01), Dan Lungren (CA-07), Jeff Denham (CA-10), Scott Tipton (CO-03), Mike Coffman (CO-06), Steve Southerland (FL-02), Dan Webster (FL-08), Vern Buchanan (FL-13), Allen West (FL-22), David Rivera (FL-25), Robert Dold (IL-10), Judy Biggert (IL-11), Tim Johnson (IL-13), Bobby Schilling (IL-17), Dan Benishek (MI-01), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Jon Runyan (NJ-03), Joe Heck (NV-03), Michael Grimm (NY-13), Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25), Jim Renacci (OH-16), Mike Kelly (PA-03), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Charlie Dent (PA-15), Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), Quico Canseco (TX-23), Sean Duffy (WI-07), Reid Ribble (WI-08), David McKinley (WV-01), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03).
5) Yet another head-scratcher
from Texas Gov. Rick Perry
's campaign: He rolled out an endorsement from controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio
-- an immigration hardliner from Arizona -- in New Hampshire, of all places.
Even worse, he told Fox News he's getting ready for the "New Hampshire caucuses" this morning - when he meant to say primaries. Sign of his struggles in the Granite State: A quarter of the seats at his last event of the day in New Hampshire were empty.
4) Joseph P. Kennedy III will consider running
for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Barney Frank
3) Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels
doesn't see whole lot of value in endorsing a presidential candidate, telling Indiana Public Radio
, "An incredibly well-respected person, Governor Christie, made an endorsement a couple weeks ago, and it sort of sank without a trace, so I don't know why anybody would be excited about what I thought."
A Daniels endorsement would be a hot commodity, but it doesn't look like it will come in the primary. Daniels's quote also illustrates two reformist-minded GOP governors headed in opposite directions: Christie, still in his first term with the prospect of higher office very much on the horizon, needs to stay in the mix (witness his latest bromides against President Obama), while Daniels, headed into the final year of his governorship and having recently passed on a chance to run for president, does not.
2) In or out? Yes, no, maybe? Even though Herman Cain
said during a Tuesday conference call that he was reassessing his campaign, adviser Mark Block said
there is "no way he's dropping out."
Speaking about foreign policy at Hillsdale College in Michigan on Tuesday night, Cain made no mention
of the allegations against him.
1) As Cain's tumble continues, Newt Gingrich
's simultaneous ascent has caught the eye of Mitt Romney
, who attacked
the former House Speaker as a "lifelong politician" on Tuesday. The big question for Gingrich: Can he win over social conservative leaders and coalesce his momentum into deeper support in the coming days? With barely more than a month until the Iowa caucuses, the Republican primary fight is looking like it's coming down to a Romney-Gingrich battle, and it's going to get much more heated from here on out.
Jessica Taylor contributed