The hawkish charms and institutional knowledge of presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich are besting the perfect hair and stately mien of rival Mitt Romney among those alarmed by the edgy state of things. Mr. Gingrich has won the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader, a campaign blessing that confused many, however. The social media realm soon reverberated with scores of Tweets seriously questioning why "a union boss just endorsed Newt Gingrich" - so many that gossip site Gawker.com saw fit to track the unintentional comedy. The newspaper is fierce, meanwhile.
"Romney is a very play-it-safe candidate. He doesn't want to offend everybody, or anybody. He wants to be liked. He wants to try to reach out and be very safe, reach out to everybody, bring everybody on board. And that's not very realistic. But imagine what that would be like as president, somebody who plays it very safe ... perhaps in the late 19th century, perfect. Right now, we're in a lot of trouble in this country," Union Leader editorial page editor Andrew Cline told CNN in the aftermath.
It's all part of "Newt-mentum" explains Mr. Gingrich's cheerful spokesman R.C. Hammond. His boss, incidentally, is far from the Granite State - ceaselessly campaigning with wife Callista in South Carolina for the next 48 hours, hosting four town-hall meetings, one sold out barbecue and the opening of a field office. Then it's back to Iowa to star in the annual Polk County Republican Party "victory dinner," and on to New York by Friday.
SANTELLI FOR WHAT?
Some have not forgotten the catalyst of the tea party movement on Feb. 9, 2009, when CNBC analyst Rick Santelli went ballistic on camera over the state of homeownership and the economy, accusing the government of "promoting bad behavior," and raising the notion a "Chicago tea party."
Just launched on the political landscape: the Draft Rick Santelli for President 2012 Campaign for a "straight-shooting, non-politician." Organizers say they're surprised by the broad-based response and are pushing Mr. Santelli as a write-in candidate; he has not approved or authorized the enthusiastic effort, however. See it here: www.draftsantelliforpresident2012.com
They've occupied the streets. They've occupied the stores. Have the Occupy Wall Streeters at last run out of places to park themselves and their protest signs? Not quite. The newest call to arms: "Occupy Our Homes," with a "national day of action" for Dec. 6.. Foreclosures are the target this time.
"It was the banks, not us, that distorted the housing market with reckless lending and caused home values to crash and foreclosures to skyrocket," reads the official public pledge. "I hereby pledge that until the banks do their part to help homeowners and to fix the economy by writing down mortgage principal to current home values, I will resist any attempt by the bank to take my home. If they come to foreclose, I will not go."
Among the supporting activist organizations: Take Back the Land, New York Communities for Change, and Housing is a Human Right.
"We are fighting Wall Street's reach on every block, every farm, every house in America with sit-ins at foreclosed properties to right this moral injustice," explains organizer Matt Browner-Hamlin.
"The Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations."
(A new State Department bureau that promises to focus on "conflict prevention, crisis response, and stabilization activities" to help the agency become more "forward looking" in its nation security response.)
"It's the State Department's new kumbaya office," counters a longtime observer.
Behold "The Goods: 2011," Popular Science magazine's short list of the year's best gadgets. Among the entries: Sony Digital Recording Binoculars with built-in 3D camcorder and Stuffit's Drier Gym bag, treated with neutralizing chemicals and natural cedar to, uh, contain exercise odors. See the rest here: www.popsci.com
He's not out yet. Two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson continues to battle his way down the campaign trail with newly framed outsider status that could pique the interest of rogue voters.
"He is the presidential candidate the New York media elite don't want you to know about. Despite polling showing him ahead of defeated ex-US Senator Rick Santorum, CNN, the Washington Post and Bloomberg News have all blocked Johnson from Republican Presidential debates. When Fox included Johnson in a debate his national poll ratings increased," the campaign declares.
"Gary Johnson is a different kind of Libertarian Republican. He has a solid record for cutting the size and expense of government and a job creation record more impressive than Gov. Rick Perry or Gov. Mitt Romney. Unlike Ron Paul, Gary Johnson is a strong supporter of Israel and recognizes the folly of total isolationism," the outreach declares, noting that the candidate opposes wars in Afghanistan and Libya, would legalize marijuana and cut the federal budget by 43 percent.
POLL DU JOUR
• 50 percent of likely U.S. voters trust Republicans more on national security; 36 percent trust Democrats.
• 50 percent trust Republicans more on immigration; 36 percent trust Democrats.
• 48 percent trust Republicans more on the economy; 37 percent trust Democrats.
• 45 percent trust Republicans more on health care; 42 percent trust Democrats.
• 45 percent trust Republicans more on taxes; 42 percent trust Democrats.
• 44 percent trust Republicans more on Afghanistan; 36 percent trust Democrats.
• 42 percent trust Republicans more on education; 39 percent trust Democrats.
• 39 percent trust Republicans more on Social Security; 42 percent trust Democrats.
Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters conducted Nov. 15 and 16 and Nov. 21 and 22.
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