Oct. 10, 2012: Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, then engaged in a tight race for Senate, claimed during a debate that he had not signed the ATR pledge. "The only pledge I'd sign is a pledge to sign no more pledges," Flake said. "We've got to ensure that we go back and represent our constituents in a way — I believe in limited government, economic freedom, individual responsibility. I don't want higher taxes. But no more pledges." A spokesman later clarified that while Flake signed an earlier version of the pledge, the wording has since changed in such way as to invalidate his previous support. Flake went on to win the Senate seat.
Nov. 11, 2012: While he didn't mention Norquist by name, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol effectively called for demolishing the ATR pledge on Fox News Sunday. "The leadership of the Republican Party and the leadership of the conservative movement has to pull back, let people float new ideas. Let's have a serious debate," Kristol said. "Don't scream and yell if one person says 'You know what? It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.' It really won't, I don't think."
Nov. 20, 2012: New York Rep. Peter King told The New York Times he regards his long-ago support for the pledge as no longer binding. "A pledge is good at the time you sign it," he said. "In 1941, I would have voted to declare war on Japan. But each Congress is a new Congress. And I don't think you can have a rule that you're never going to raise taxes or that you're never going to lower taxes. I don't want to rule anything out." Meanwhile, Rep.-Elect Ted Yoho of Florida explained why he refused to sign the pledge, likening it to an easily broken New Year's resolution.
Nov. 22, 2012: Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a member of the "Gang of Six" moderate senators who tried to negotiate a grand bargain on spending, told a local television station he was ready to violate the pledge. "I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge," Chambliss said. "If we do it his way, then we'll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that." Asked whether he was concerned that his moderation would come back to bite him in the form of a primary challenge when his term ends in 2014, he said he knew it was likely but added, "I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist."
Nov. 25, 2012: A trickle became … well, not quite a gusher, but a clear trend on the weekend after Thanksgiving. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain of Arizona called for new revenues through closing loopholes. "When you're $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans should put revenue on the table," he said. "I agree with Grover, we shouldn't raise rates, but I think Grover is wrong when it comes to we can't cap deductions and buy down debt." On Meet the Press, Peter King repeated his criticism, saying, "I agree entirely with Saxby Chambliss." (Norquist's reply: "Congressman Peter King of New York knows full well that the pledge that he signed and others have, is for while you're in Congress. It's not for a two-year period." On ABC's This Week, Graham also reiterated his willingness to drop the pledge, while former George W. Bush strategist Matthew Dowd quipped, nonsensically, "the only good thing about Grover Norquist is that he was named after a character from Sesame Street."