- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Newt Gingrich rules the Republican presidential pantheon for now, leading archrival Mitt Romney 37 percent to 22 percent in a new Gallup poll of GOP voters, with all other candidates foundering in single digits. Mr. Gingrich finds his highest support among tea partyers (47 percent), voters older than 55 (46 percent), men (43 percent), Southerners (42 percent) and conservatives (41 percent).

His lowest ratings come from those younger than 34 (26 percent), moderates (28 percent), women (30 percent) and Easterners (31 percent). Mr. Gingrich made a strong recovery from his own bout of single digits “amid news reports about a large credit account at Tiffany’s, his extended summer vacation on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean, and the abrupt departure of his campaign staff,” Gallup says.

“The 2012 GOP nomination contest stands as one of the most topsy-turvy for the Republicans in the primary-nominating era. Not since 1964, when the nominations were still decided at the conventions, has Gallup seen more movement in nomination preferences.”


“Your legacy lives on in today’s men and women in uniform, who have borne the burden of a decade of war, and who are truly this nation’s next greatest generation. The 9/11 generation, like you, has stepped forward in your image of service and sacrifice, volunteering for military duty after another sudden and terrible attack on our shores,” says Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, in a message to the veterans of Pearl Harbor.

“We treasure you. You have brought everlasting credit to your fallen comrades. The men and women in today’s military stand on the shoulders of your individual and combined sacrifice and service to our nation. Your example inspires those in uniform today, strengthens our nation’s moral fiber, and proves that with united resolve our country can surmount any challenge.”

And from President Obama’s official proclamation recognizing the Japanese surprise attack 70 years ago:

“At this time of great strife, we reminded the world there is no challenge we cannot meet; there is no challenge we cannot overcome. … We honor the more than 3,500 Americans killed or wounded during that deadly attack and pay tribute to the heroes whose courage ensured our nation would recover from this vicious blow. Their tenacity helped define the greatest generation and their valor fortified all who served during World War II. “


Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has played his Trump card, turning down an invitation to appear at a Republican debate at month’s end, moderated by billionaire Donald Trump and sponsored by Newsmax, the American Conservative Union and ION Television. Mr. Romney joins Rep. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman Jr. on the “nay” list. Still on the “yea” list: Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer both tell Inside the Beltway they’d be on board for the debate. They only need an invitation.

Meanwhile, Mr. Romney has also given Fox News anchor Chris Wallace an early Christmas present. He has agreed to appear on Mr. Wallace’s must-visit Sunday talk show Dec. 18, sitting in a hot seat already well warmed by his campaign rivals. Is the Romney campaign shifting gears and ramping up their man’s popular media presence, particularly among stalwart Fox viewers? Looks like it.

“It’s time for our closing argument and I’m making the closing argument to the American people. You’re going to see me all over the country, particularly in early primary states. I’ll be on TV, I’ll be on Fox a lot because you guys matter when it comes to Republican primary voters,” Mr. Romney said during a kind of full dress rehearsal appearance with Fox Business host Neil Cavuto on Tuesday.

Powerful Fox News is, incidentally, the fourth-most-watched cable network during prime time viewing hours, after ESPN, USA and ABC Family. MSNBC is in 27th place in prime time and CNN in 34th, according to Nielsen ratings.


“It seems that Romney is perfectly content to criticize Gingrich in an interview but won’t look Gingrich in the eye and tell him what he thinks mano-a-mano. … If Mitt Romney can’t stand up to Newt Gingrich, then how can he be expected to stand up to President Obama?” asks American Spectator contributor Aaron Goldstein, questioning Mr. Romney’s decision not to debate Mr. Gingrich one-on-one.

Jon Huntsman Jr., however, eagerly awaits his own Newt-onian moment; the pair will debate “Lincoln-Douglas style” on Monday in Manchester, New Hampshire.


• 87 percent of likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers say it is “not acceptable” if the GOP presidential nominee “tolerates Iran building a nuclear weapon.”

• 81 percent say it is unacceptable if the GOP nominee favors “allowing illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition.”

• 63 percent say it’s unacceptable for the GOP nominee to support “an individual mandate for health care insurance.”

• 56 percent say it is unacceptable if a GOP nominee earned millions of dollars “advising Freddie Mac.”

• 55 percent consider “a Mormon to be a Christian.”

• 54 percent say it is unacceptable if a GOP nominee has been accused of sexual harassment.

• 47 percent say it’s unacceptable for the nominee to support “limited amnesty for some illegal immigrants.”

• 44 percent say that Donald Trump’s endorsement of a GOP candidate would “make no difference” in their vote.

Source: An NBC News/Marist College survey of 425 likely Republican caucus-goers conducted Nov. 27 to 29.

Spirited debates, nimble numbers, caterwaul to jharper@washingtontimes.com.



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