- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 4, 2011

TRUMPED UP

To Trump, or not to Trump: indeed, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich huddles with billionaire Donald Trump in Manhattan for a time on Monday, a stop made by most of his rivals in months past. Mr. Trump himself has emerged as the newest Republican kingmaker, emerging as moderator for a newly minted debate hosted by Newsmax in Iowa at month’s end that may or may not include the phrases “you’re fired” or “I’m declaring my candidacy for president.”

Yeah, well. Mr. Gingrich has opted to participate in the Trump debate. Not so the lofty Jon Huntsman Jr. and Rep. Ron Paul, who have both declared that the event is either inappropriate, undignified or mere spectacle. The canny Mr. Gingrich, however, is intrigued.

“I would want to go, just for the entertainment value. I can’t imagine what a debate hosted by Donald Trump would be like,” the candidate says.

NEXT TO BE CAINED?

Distracted, weary, annoyed Republicans now wait for the new Herman Cain to emerge as analyst, endorser or consultant following his recent exit from the presidential race, even as analysts divide up the spoils of his campaign. Public Policy Polling director Tom Jensen already predicts Mr. Cain’s support will go to Newt Gingrich, based on the fact that Cain fans “hate” Mitt Romney. Some observers also predict that Mr. Gingrich himself could be in for some difficult terrain on the campaign trail, likely just before the Iowa primaries on Jan. 3. Others simply caution the front-runner.

“What happened to Herman Cain is what the Democrats intend to do to whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be. They know they can’t win a debate on the economy or on President Obama’s record, so they will do everything they can to distract the voters’ attention from those matters, which should be decisive, and instead turn the focus to the GOP candidate and his or her alleged foibles,” says Powerline analyst John Hinderaker.

“If Republican voters allow that to happen by nominating a candidate with baggage that permits the Democrats to turn him into the next Herman Cain, it is all too likely that President Obama will be re-elected, with consequences that can hardly be overestimated,” Mr. Hinderaker adds.

EVOKING TEDDY

Brace for some likely finger-pointing and a little convenient vilification, even though a former Republican president is in the mix. The White House reveals that President Obama will evoke the fair and square, populist philosophy of Teddy Roosevelt in an economic speech to be delivered Tuesday when Mr. Obama journeys to Osawatomie, a community of some 4,600 people tucked in the rolling hills of eastern Kansas.

There’s history afoot, too. On Aug. 31, 1910, Roosevelt delivered his famous “New Nationalism” speech right there in Osawatomie as well. (See the text of it here: www.theodore-roosevelt.com, under “speeches.”) Meanwhile, Mr. Obama’s version could contain a few added frills.

Obama is about to give a huge class-warfare speech,” summarizes Business Insider’s political analyst Zeke Miller.

ROMNEY ROLE MODEL

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney tells Parade magazine that, yes, he tithes 10 percent of his income to the Mormon Church. Mr. Romney also says that “the Democratic opposition reveals its extraordinary naivete” when it asserts that all businesses will be successful.

The candidate also acknowledges telling his 16 grandkids that he and wife Ann are really “Ike and Mamie” - as in Eisenhower. Mr. Romney also admires Ronald Reagan’s capacity to “educate Americans about the challenges they faced and the sacrifices needed,” plus the Gipper’s devotion to principles and his style in dealing with the opposition.

“I have great affection for George Bush. I’m talking about ‘41’ - although I also like ‘43’ - and his extraordinary preparation both as a private-sector leader and then having been head of the CIA and the Republican National Committee,” Mr. Romney observes. “This is a man who had a broad series of experiences, which allowed him to stare down the communist regime. We forget that he was the man that was there when the Soviet Union finally collapsed. And he was an individual that did not exult in the failure of others.”

HOLA, AMERICA

“Nearly two-thirds of the 10.2 million unauthorized adult immigrants in the U.S. have lived in this country for at least 10 years and nearly half are parents of minor children,” says a new estimate by the Pew Hispanic Center, based on current census data. The analysis finds that 35 percent of that population have been here 15 years or more; 28 percent for 10 to 14 years; 22 percent for five to nine years; and 15 percent for less than five years.

“Half of unauthorized adult immigrants today - about 4.7 million people - are parents of minor children. By contrast, just 38 percent of legal-immigrant adults and 29 percent of U.S.-born adults are parents of minor children,” the study says. See the numbers here: www.pewhispanic.org.

POLL DU JOUR

• 92 percent of likely Republican caucus goers in Iowa says they are “open to change” when it comes to their loyalty toward their chosen presidential candidate.

• 75 percent say that “in general,” they are conservative.

• 65 percent support the tea party movement.

• 60 percent say they “could be persuaded” to change their support from one candidate to another.

• 51 percent says they “definitely” will attend the Republican caucuses in Iowa; 49 percent will “probably” attend.

• 34 percent say Mitt Romney is the “most presidential” of the Republican field.

• 25 percent are concerned there may be a “new revelation” about their first-choice candidate that would impact their support.

• 25 percent say their first choice is currently Newt Gingrich; 18 percent pick Rep. Ron Paul, 16 percent Mr. Romney.

Source: A Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” of 401 likely Republican caucus goers conducted Nov. 27-30.

Reports, dispatches, curious commentary to jharper@washingtontimes .com.