- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 5, 2012

DEBATE NO. 19

Only six candidates will step up to their glittering lecterns during the 19th Republican presidential debate, airing Saturday night on ABC from Manchester, N.H. Ever-shifting poll numbers could influence things. Will Rick Santorum stand near the center of the lineup for a change? Maybe. Will long knives be part of the preferred accessories? Likely. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman Jr. must be at the top of a clever, aggressive game. Rep. Ron Paul must remain, well, Ron Paul. Telling, entertaining moments are guaranteed when Newt Gingrich attacks Mitt Romney but not Mr. Santorum.

“I will defend free enterprise,” Mr. Gingrich warns. “I won’t be confused about it, won’t be timid about it. I’m prepared to be bold. This is Reagan’s bold. I am going to continue making the case that there is a huge difference between a Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate.”

NEWTOLOGY

“The lesson from Iowa? Conservative Republicans and like-minded independents in New Hampshire and elsewhere had better rally around their one strongest candidate or face the very real prospect of having Barack Obama walk all over Mitt Romney,” observes New Hampshire Union Leader publisher Joseph W. Mcquaid, who warns voters about splitting support among “squishy-moderate” Republicans.

“Get behind Newt Gingrich. Voters may find other candidates personally appealing, but Gingrich’s record of conservative accomplishment is unparalleled and his beliefs and vision are passionate and clear. Romney, meanwhile, was governor of the most liberal state in the country and managed to beat Obama at delivering Obamacare,” Mr. McQuaid cautions.

“Forget the ton of negative advertising and nastiness that will play against Gingrich. Instead, listen, read, and watch the candidates here. New Hampshire voters have a great opportunity to set the course of history, just as they did with Ronald Reagan.”

The paper hosts the 20th Republican debate with NBC News and Facebook on Sunday in Concord, to air live on NBC at 9 a.m.

HERMANATOR, PT. 2

The tumult of Herman Cain’s exit from the Republican race has ceased. He’s back on Fox News and CNN, message intact and national bus tour imminent. The glinting new Cain brand has arrived. There’s a call for “solutions patriots,” a “solutions revolution” and “peace through strength and clarity.” And “9-9-9” still lives.

“The sleeping giant is now awake. There is no greater force on Earth than the united will of the American people,” Mr. Cain says.

See the reinvention and assorted policy documents here: CainConnections.com. Incidentally, “Cain Connections” is a federal political committee and the Hermanator himself will emerge on a team of Fox Business Network analysts with anchor Neil Cavuto on Tuesday night for the New Hampshire primaries.

THE EVOLVING CIA

CIA director David H. Petraeus has created a new position on his leadership team: the first “Chief of Corporate Learning.” And that would be John Pereira, formerly CIA director of support, now tasked with developing a “strong and agile learning environment” which borrows techniques from the intelligence community, academic institutions and industry, the agency says.

“We have a highly skilled, well-trained and deeply mission-focused workforce in CIA. We owe them an environment that better links learning with performance, that challenges some of our old assumptions, and that increases the speed with which we apply and disseminate lessons learned,” Mr. Pereira notes.

CANDIDATE TRACKER

Not so long ago, the Republican hopefuls were in as many as a dozen states per weekend. Now their destinations reflect the influence battle between historically “first” New Hampshire and conservative-centric South Carolina. The remaining six candidates will appear at dozens of humble, local events in these states alone, seeking that perfect tableau for earnest hopefuls with inner mettle.

Among many events, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will appear at the Squat ‘N Gobble in Bluffton, way down south in the Palmetto State. And up north in the Granite State, Mitt Romney hosts a spaghetti dinner in Laconia while Rick Santorum holds court in a basement auditorium in Keene. All will be in Manchester and Concord for the back-to-back debates.

BRISTOL GOES HOME

Just so you know: Bristol Palin has left Hollywood and gone home to Wasilla, Alaska, with toddler son Tripp, despite all the noise about her reality TV career. They’ve temporarily moved in with grandmother Sarah Palin, who praises her daughter’s decision. Miss Palin herself has resumed a job as a dermatologist receptionist — this according to In Touch, a celebrity tracker.

“I wasnt really into the Hollywood thing,” she says, adding that she and her son are eager to settle into the routine of pre-school and home life.

And, uh, about her ex-boyfriend Levi Johnston?

“Hes not using his visitation, and he’s not paying his child support,” Miss Palin reports.

POLL DU JOUR

• 39 percent of U.S. voters think the Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl; 36 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

• 17 percent overall say the New Orleans Saints will win; 15 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

• 11 percent overall say the New England Patriots will win; 15 percent of Republicans and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

• 7 percent overall think the New York Giants will win; 10 percent of Republicans and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

• 6 percent overall think the Denver Broncos will win; 8 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Poll Position survey of 1,094 registered U.S. voters conducted Tuesday.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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