Obama: It’s a Good Day for America

Add to Briefcase
May 2, 2011, 8:32 a.m.

A Rasmussen Re­ports (IVR) poll; con­duc­ted 10/10; sur­veyed 750 LVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 3.6% (re­lease, 10/12). Tested: Gov. John Lynch (D) and ‘02/‘08 NH-01 can­did­ate/ex-HHS Com­mis. John Steph­en (R).

Gen­er­al Elec­tion Match­up

- Now 9/15 8/5 5/26 4/7 3/8 J. Lynch 53% 48% 50% 47% 47% 50% J. Steph­en 43 46 39 35 37 35 Oth­er 1 1 5 4 5 2 Un­dec 3 4 6 14 11 14

COLUMBIA, S.C. — This has prob­ably been the single cra­zi­est week of the 2012 cam­paign, as can­did­ates rose and fell nearly every single day.

As the voters here head to the polls for an un­usu­al Sat­urday Re­pub­lic­an party primary, here’s what I am watch­ing for.

1. Will Mitt Rom­ney put it away?

It’s easy to for­get that this state seemed a slam dunk for the former Mas­sachu­setts gov­ernor as re­cently as last week. He still has an edge in the fi­nal polling, but those same sur­veys have shown Newt Gin­grich — con­sidered polit­ic­al roadkill after los­ing badly in both Iowa and New Hamp­shire — clos­ing in. But now with two trail­ing can­did­ates off the stage, Gin­grich is count­ing on a strong fin­ish to con­vince voters down the line that this thing isn’t over — yet.

Thursday’s GOP De­bate in Char­le­ston, S.C. (CNN)

2. Is Gin­grich’s surge real?

If the former House speak­er thought he had everything but the kit­chen sink thrown at him in Iowa, it now turns out he had only got­ten a mere taste of what true scru­tiny can be. Rom­ney forces — in­clud­ing in­de­pend­ent su­per PACs — poured mil­lions of dol­lars in­to tele­vi­sion ad­vert­ising that painted Gin­grich as un­re­li­able and er­rat­ic. Sur­rog­ate spokespeople held daily con­fer­ence calls to pound the point home. Then, at week’s end, the second of Gin­grich’s three wives gran­ted un­flat­ter­ing in­ter­views to both ABC News and The Wash­ing­ton Post ques­tion­ing his mor­al char­ac­ter. Gin­grich’s re­sponse was akin to his Iowa ap­proach. At first he took the high road — he would not dig­ni­fy the in­ap­pro­pri­ate ques­tion, he as­sured me dur­ing an in­ter­view on his cam­paign bus. But hours later on the de­bate stage, he went bal­list­ic on CNN’s John King dur­ing the latest can­did­ate de­bate. How dare the me­dia even ask such a ques­tion?

The high dudgeon worked. As when he took off after Fox News ques­tion­er Juan Wil­li­ams earli­er in the week, the audi­ence jumped to its feet ap­plaud­ing.

3. Is the tea party still a force?

This state provides the first true test of 2012 tea party polit­ics. With Michele Bach­mann, Her­man Cain, and now Rick Perry out of the race, the na­ked grab for the so­cioeco­nom­ic con­ser­vat­ive voter has been without a true home. Some have flocked to Ron Paul, whose small -gov­ern­ment ar­gu­ments hold tre­mend­ous ap­peal. But oth­ers — es­pe­cially re­li­gious con­ser­vat­ives — have been drawn to Rick San­tor­um. For Rom­ney — who is widely viewed as too mod­er­ate for this crowd — to win, the tea parti­ers will have to re­main split. Since by some counts there are more than 100 tea party groups in South Car­o­lina, this might not be so hard to do.

South Car­o­lina Gov­ernor Nikki Haley (right) en­dorsed Mitt Rom­ney in Decem­ber. (CNN)

4. Can Nikki Haley de­liv­er?

See tea party above. Haley’s de­cision to en­dorse Rom­ney was de­signed in part to sig­nal to con­ser­vat­ives that he was OK. When she was elec­ted gov­ernor here, Haley’s was one of the tea party’s biggest 2010 vic­tor­ies, and she won Sarah Pal­in’s bless­ing. But Haley’s pop­ular­ity has waned some­what at home, and it was Pal­in who an­nounced this week that she would vote for Gin­grich if she lived here, if only to keep the race go­ing. That could eas­ily hap­pen.

5. When will we tire of de­bates?

Ap­par­ently not soon enough. It can cer­tainly be ar­gued that Gin­grich owes his sur­pris­ing re­sur­gence to his star turn at the first of this week’s two South Car­o­lina de­bates. But on closer scru­tiny, it’s clear these can­did­ate for­ums start off flashy and fade fast. Do you re­mem­ber any­thing that happened after the Gin­grich-King clash dur­ing the first minutes on Thursday night? But, pre­pare your­self. As Bill Clin­ton was fond of say­ing, everything’s been said but every­one hasn’t yet said it. There’s a Flor­ida de­bate in St Peters­burg. sched­uled for next Monday.

What We're Following See More »
Senate Will Debate House Bill
4 hours ago

By the narrowest of margins, the Senate voted 51-50 this afternoon to begin debate on the House's legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins defected from the GOP, but Vice President Pence broke a tie. Sen. John McCain returned from brain surgery to cast his vote.

Trump “Disappointed” in Sessions
5 hours ago

“'It’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement,'” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. 'I’m very disappointed in Jeff Sessions.'”

Republicans Reach 50 Votes to Proceed on Health Bill
5 hours ago
House Russia Probe: Kushner “Satisfied” Questions
5 hours ago

"Republicans who interviewed Jared Kushner for more than three hours in the House’s Russia probe on Tuesday said the president’s son-in-law and adviser came across as candid and cooperative. 'His answers were forthcoming and complete. He satisfied all my questions,' said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who’s leading the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign."

Appeals Court Block D.C. Gun Control Law
7 hours ago

"A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday blocked a gun regulation in Washington, D.C., that limited the right to carry a handgun in public to those with a special need for self-defense, handing a victory to gun rights advocates. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's 2-1 ruling struck down the local government's third major attempt in 40 years to limit handgun rights, citing what it said was scant but clear guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court on the right to bear arms."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.