Eric Erickson’s RedState column yesterday should have been a big clue this was coming, but it’s still a surprise that Rick Perry isn’t waiting until after Saturday’s South Carolina primary to make the announcement. Dropping out now and endorsing Newt Gingrich could give the former speaker a major boost. Perry may be polling in the single-digits in South Carolina, but Gingrich is closing in on Romney and he may only need a small bump to put him over the top:
Texas Governor Rick Perry, just months ago a serious contender to become the 2012 Republican U.S. presidential nominee, was set to drop out of the race on Thursday after a series of gaffes and controversies undercut his campaign.
Perry is abandoning his run for his party’s nomination to face Democratic President Barack Obama on November 6, campaign sources said, and will endorse Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Yesterday, on the American Enterprise Institute’s blog, I noted that while I wish Governor Rick Perry had been a bit more precise regarding his criticism of Turkey, he was not as wrong as some media commentators and pundits have suggested. The Turkish leadership is not comprised of terrorists; they are just sponsors and enablers of terrorism. Perry has now buckled down, and has defended his remarks on CNN, citing predominantly the sorry situation of women in Turkey.
While pundits may have fun bashing Perry for his lack of nuance—see here Joshua Marshall’s blog post, for example—progressives might question why it is that the murder rate of women in Turkey has, according to Turkey’s own Justice Ministry, increased 1,400 percent under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and why such a staggering figure has been met with such silence by progressive bloggers and the mainstream media until now. Certainly, it seems that progressives are fiddling while Turkish women literally burn.
It’s stories like these that make Phil Klein’s scenario of a 50-state Mitt Romney primary sweep seem more and more plausible. As low as Rick Perry’s poll numbers have been in the rest of the country, it was just assumed he still had a strong cheering section in Texas – he is, after all, the only candidate out of the lot who is currently governing an entire state.
But even in Texas, Romney is starting to look inevitable. He’s now leading Perry by six points, after Perry’s incredible 39-point lead collapsed:
The unprincipled and to me, mystifying, lines of attacks being used by Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry against Bain Capital have provided an opening for someone to speak out in defense of democratic capitalism – and it looks like former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is taking advantage of it.
Rick Santorum is taking a pass when it comes to jumping aboard the anti-Bain Capital bandwagon. Which goes some ways toward demonstrating that he is, in fact, a consistent conservative, as he claims – and a principled one, too.
The pro-Gingrich Super PAC “Winning the Future” has released a teaser trailer of its lengthy attack video on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, which Jonathan wrote about earlier today. After watching the preview, it’s hard to believe a conservative group made this film, because it echoes so many of the class warfare tropes that have been coming from the Obama administration and Occupy Wall Street recently. I can’t imagine many conservative South Carolina primary voters sitting through 27 minutes of this demonize-the-rich rhetoric, but it will definitely provide the Obama campaign with plenty of free attack fodder if Romney becomes the nominee:
At last night’s debate, there were surprisingly few direct attacks on Mitt Romney. This morning, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum finally went after him, but neither was able to land a knockout punch:
Santorum began the morning’s attacks, accusing Romney of abandoning Republicans in Massachusetts by “bailing” from a difficult 2006 reelection campaign. When Romney cast his decision not to run for a second term as a selfless choice – saying he engaged in politics as a “citizen,” not a longtime official – Gingrich pounced. …
But the bad blood between Romney and his foes resurfaced before the debate was out, as Gingrich again went on the offensive – this time accusing Romney of duplicity in distancing himself from negative ads run by a super PAC funded by his “millionaire friends.”
Romney once more avoided a deer-in-the-headlights moment, though his speech was uncharacteristically halting as he explained that he wouldn’t support any attack ads that were inaccurate.
Yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll showing Michele Bachmann at 15 percent—only ten points behind Mitt Romney—may not have been surprising, but it has changed the dynamic. What was once the race between Not Romney and Not Palin has become Not Romney vs. Not Bachmann.
Conservative grassroots would love to have a serious challenger to Romney. Ironically, however, their search helps solidify Romney’s early lead because they can’t seem to settle on one that could peel off any of Romney’s establishment support.