Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman appears to be the momentum candidate in New Hampshire ahead of today’s Republican presidential primary vote.Tracking polls conducted in the race show him moving up, he put in his best debate showing of the race thus far on Sunday, he’s up on television and he even won the endorsement of the Boston Globe in recent days.
In a front page editorial in Tuesday's New Hampshire Union Leader, publisher Joe McQuaid slams GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and criticizes the notion that only the former Massachusetts governor stands a chance of defeating President Barack Obama in November.
McQuaid begins by outlining the popular narrative surrounding Romney's campaign. "The pollsters and pundits have told us what is going to happen today. Mitt Romney is going to swamp all comers ... because someone has decided he is the only Republican who can beat Barack Obama," McQuaid writes.
"But now it's New Hampshire's turn, and New Hampshire has this funny little habit of turning conventional wisdom on its head and deciding things for itself," McQuaid continues. "Voters here may decide that Newt Gingrich was right on Sunday to call Romney's claims of being a non-politician 'pious baloney.'"
McQuaid endorsed the former House speaker in November.
The Union Leader, the Granite State's largest newspaper, has been credited as a major source of influence in past elections. In 2008, the paper endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for the GOP presidential nomination, a move that some say helped propel him to victory in the state's primary.
For live primary updates, read HuffPost's New Hampshire blog.
BRADFORD, N.H. -- Jon Marden has a problem. The New Hampshire primary is today and the registered Republican can't decide who to vote for.
It isn't that he hasn't been paying attention -- he follows the news like a moth to a flame. It's just that, well, they all seem so incredibly...mediocre.
Although Marden is a Catholic, he's not a values voter. His primary concern right now is getting the economy fixed, and yet the only candidate he's managed to eliminate so far is Mitt Romney, who, oddly enough, is widely considered to be the most financially experienced of all the contenders for the nomination.
But Marden doesn't like Romney because he thinks the former Massachusetts governor changed positions too many times. What Marden wants is a candidate who can keep a cool head in a crisis. "Who would you want to answer the phone at 2 a.m.?" he asked, referencing a Hillary Clinton ad from 2008 that accused Barack Obama of not having the experience -- or judgment -- to act shrewdly during a national emergency.
Santorum? Maybe. Ron Paul? He'd answer the phone all right, but the problem is what he'd say into it.
So here's Marden's plan: if he can't decide who to vote for when he walks into the ballot box on Tuesday, he'll decide what to vote for. "If I can't decide by Tuesday, then I'll be voting for a plank -- an issue that I want to see go through to the national campaign platform -- not a person."
Watch the video above for the whole story.
Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman seem to be engaged in a perverse contest to be the Republican presidential candidate to say the most asinine thing about Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, the private-equity firm at which he served as chief executive, helped turn around a number of failing businesses, and, in the process, produced magnificent profits for his investors and for himself. Mitt Romney ran a firm that invested in struggling businesses, made money, and never asked for a bailout — and Romney’s rivals apparently expect Republican voters to regard that as a liability.
We are largely immune to the charms of the CEO who promises to sweep into Washington and run the government like a business, mainly because the government is not a business. At the same time, private-sector expertise and experience is an invaluable thing in a chief executive, and Romney has nothing to regret on that front. Would that we could say the same thing of his tin-eared declaration that he, too, once feared getting the dread pink slip. Suffice it to say that the multimillionaire/CEO/governor son of a multimillionaire/CEO/governor does not fear losing his job in quite the same way as the typical American worker does.
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KEENE, N.H. -- If today's New Hampshire Republican presidential primary produces a surprise, it could be Jon Huntsman.The photogenic former two-term governor of Utah and ambassador to China in the Obama administration has a long-shot chance at finishing third behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
For the past year, Mitt Romney has been trying to distance himself from his record on health care, most notably from his signature health-care-reform law in Massachusetts, commonly referred to as “Romneycare.”
Although the former Massachusetts governor would prefer to deny it, Romneycare shares many characteristics with Obamacare, the president’s unpopular overhaul of the national health-care system, and over the past five years, Romneycare has proven to have many of the same fatal design flaws that Obamacare has.
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PHOENIX -- The Arizona secretary of state's office says Jon Huntsman has failed to qualify for the state's presidential primary.
A spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Bennett says the former Utah governor filed paperwork a few hours before Monday's 5 p.m. deadline, but that it was missing a notarized signature from the candidate.
Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller says the campaign submitted what was required and will aggressively challenge the ruling to get on the ballot.
Arizona's presidential preference primary is scheduled for Feb. 28.
It's a Republican-dominated affair because President Barack Obama faces no opposition for the Democratic nomination.
Major GOP candidates Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Ron Paul made the ballot, as did 24 other people.
Willard Mitt Romney's major claim to the presidency is that, as an experienced, successful businessman, he knows how to create jobs as chief executive. This has prompted close scrutiny of his business, Bain Capital.
That focus misses the larger point: whatever his Bain experience was, Romney's job creation record as governor was, to borrow a term from Newt Gingrich, pathetic.
Bain Capital was one of many private equity funds that engaged in a wide range of activities to make money for its investors. It was not focused on creating jobs in the economy, but rather saw opportunities to start, purchase, merge, restructure, close, offshore, sell and otherwise manipulate companies to make nice profits for themselves.
That Willard has not a single pang of conscience about what he did because it was posited as how capitalism works is a reasonable issue for a person aspiring to be president to address. How an individual reacts to it has more to do with one's philosophical views of life, society and the economy that it does to Romney's particular role in it.
But there is a bigger and simpler conclusion to be drawn. Romney espouses his business experience as "proof" that he is the one to foster job creation and economic growth. Even accepting everything Romney claims about his activities at Bain Capital at face value, Romney demonstrated already that that experience did not translate into creating jobs as a governor -- Massachusetts under Romney was 47th in the nation in job creation.
Whatever Romney did at Bain, and whatever Bain did, it certainly did not make Romney a job-creating governor. There are those who may claim that, as 47th in the nation, his Bain experience may have made him even worse as governor for job creation... but, there is really no need to go there.
The point is this: Romney's entire premise that, as a businessman, he knows how to create jobs as chief executive in government, is phony.
But, then again, so is everything else about Mitt Romney phony.
BEFORD, N.H. -- Occupy protesters interrupted former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's final speech before primary day in New Hampshire, shouting, "We are the 99 percent!" before being escorted out of the room by security guards.
The protesters, scattered throughout the room, were wearing gray bags on their hands also reading "We are the 99 percent." The protesters' chants were quickly drowned out by Romney's supporters shouting, "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!"
One woman who was near the front of the room -- and therefore tougher for security guards to reach quickly -- continued chanting after the others, and Romney decided to engage with her.
"How about you talk?" Romney said. "Instead of shouting, why don't you say -- why don't you say what you believe? What's your opinion? Madam, what do you think?"
The woman said she was concerned about money in politics, and Romney replied, "Okay, and who's the president who's spending more money to campaign than any in the history of America?" The woman began shouting that she doesn't support Obama either, but she was drowned out by cheers from Romney's supporters, and she was soon escorted out.
Romney was joined onstage by several of his sons, their wives and their children, encouraging voters to cast their vote for him in Tuesday's primary elections.
According to Bedford Patch, more than 1,100 people turned out to Kelvie Intermediate School to get a glimpse of the former governor. Approximately 450 people had to watch the event on a screen from an overflow room.
Romney's supporters, not surprisingly, weren't too thrilled with the protests.
When one man saw some members of the press following the protesters to interview them, he sarcastically said, "Make sure you go and interview them. One protester. Oh my god. We got to get this story! ... Mitt's up here giving a great speech!"
David Dale, a Concord resident who decided to vote for Romney tomorrow only after coming to the speech tonight, said he thought the protesters were "loony toons," but he supported their right to free speech.
The day after a hair’s breadth victory in Iowa, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney powered up his New Hampshire campaign in two events featuring the 2008 Republican nominee, Arizona senator John McCain. A hefty crowd of 300 fans packed into the Peterborough, N.H. town hall Jan. 4, 2012, to hear the man who defeated Romney four years ago now endorse him. Romney has built his campaign around contrasting himself with President Barack Obama rather than his Republican primary rivals, and this night was no different. He told the crowd that if the goal is to create ...>> More
The Granite State, known for its first in the nation primary, is also known for its role as the home of the "comeback kid" in primaries dating from Senator Gene McCarthy in 1968 to Ronald Reagan's "comeback" in 1980, to 2008 "comebacks" by both Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and John McCain for the GOP.
And, the independent minded "Live Free or Die" voters could be showing again that they do not follow anyone else's views or votes including how people voted in Iowa last week. This looks to be an intense campaign that could go the distance. In competitive campaigns, Iowa has historically had less of an impact on presidential nominations. The bigger impact has been the winner of the New Hampshire primary.
Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and former United States ambassador to China could be the "comeback kid" for the 2012 New Hampshire primary. He performed well in the debate Saturday night even though his speaking Mandarin probably didn't win him all that many votes.
Huntsman seems to be appealing to Granite State voters by his level-headed answers to economic and foreign policy issues of the day. He is not pandering to the base but speaking to the country. This seems to what independent type voters are looking for and Huntsman's country before party philosophy might be resonating in New Hampshire and beyond.
A candidate does not need to actually win the New Hampshire primary to be the "comeback kid", as one needs only to surpass expectations and surprise the field and the pundits. Huntsman could finish second or even third and still garner the momentum needed to carry on for future primaries.
To be a "comeback kid" in New Hampshire one does not need to actually win the primary. In 1992 then Governor Bill Clinton proclaimed himself the "comeback kid" by his strong second place finish. Clinton's speech calling himself the 'comeback kid" did much to energize his campaign. The actual winner of the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 1992 was Senator Paul Tsongas from the neighboring state of Massachusetts. Even though Tsongas won, Clinton seemed to steal the thunder of New Hampshire by his "comeback kid" remarks.
One of the biggest impacts of all time that the New Hampshire primary has had on presidential elections is the Eugene McCarthy insurgency on Lyndon Johnson. Although plagued by the Vietnam War, Johnson was seen as a strong incumbent. It wasn't until the McCarthy campaign, and their anti-war platform, had a resounding showing of 42% of the vote. This may have been a loss for McCarthy as Johnson secured a victory with 50%, but his Democratic rivals became more aware of their party's leader's vulnerability. Shortly thereafter, Johnson famously announced that he would not seek or accept his party's nomination.
As a person who got "Clean for Gene" in 1968 the New Hampshire "comeback kid" was a real moral victory for all of us McCarthy supporters.
In 2008, the hotly contested Democratic and Republican primaries saw the impact of New Hampshire in spades. John McCain's nickname the "comeback kid" is rooted in his successes in winning the New Hampshire primary after appearing to be left out in the cold (politically). Although events in South Carolina left McCain struggling to appeal to the conservative wing of the party, the victory in New Hampshire gave McCain the money, momentum and media necessary to make the campaign competitive.
In 1980, George H.W. Bush and his victory in Iowa was quickly beaten down by Reagan in New Hampshire. While Reagan was the heavy favorite in national polls, he adopted the campaign philosophy of avoiding grassroots activism and instead projected his front-runner status. George H.W. Bush, on the other hand, participated heavily in every straw poll, state fair, hand shaking and baby kissing event possible. His strategy paid off with an upset victory over Reagan in Iowa. Bush had acquired his "Big Mo" or big momentum and felt he could keep his winning going while heading into New Hampshire. However, Reagan won big in the Granite State as well as South Carolina and began to assert his dominance as the eventual Republican nominee.
Hillary won the New Hampshire primary in 2008 with 39% of the vote to Obama's 36%. Her strong showing helped negate her loss in Iowa and led to the lengthy and drawn out Democratic presidential campaign. The current secretary of state will always be remembered in the Granite State for her tears in an interview before the 2008 primary.
In 2000 George W. Bush won the Iowa caucus but was defeated soundly by Senator McCain in the New Hampshire primary by 18%.
From McCarthy to Reagan to Bill Clinton a "comeback kid" has had the power to influence not only the New Hampshire primary but the entire presidential election process.
Could the new "comeback kid" in New Hampshire be Huntsman? Remember in New Hampshire to be the "comeback kid" you don't have to win. You just have to surprise!
This post was co-authored by Robert J. Guttman and Dustin Taylor. Robert J. Guttman teaches courses on presidential politics at Johns Hopkins University, Center for Advanced Governmental Studies. Dustin Taylor is a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, Center for Advanced Governmental Studies.
New Hampshire voters will either catapult Mitt Romney securely onto the path to the Republican presidential nomination or undercut the air of inevitability surrounding his campaign. The former Massachusetts governor has been anticipating a catapult. But Monday, he stumbled.
Since the beginning of the Republican primary process, the defining feature of the contest has been Mitt Romney, pollster Scott Rasmussen tells National Review Online. Other candidates have risen and fallen, but the former Massachusetts governor has stayed steady around 25 percent in the polls. As Rasmussen recounts the trajectory of the race, it becomes clear how furious the search for the anti-Mitt has been: “Early on, people were talking about Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee; then they turned to Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie.” Then, of course, Republicans settled for the candidates who were actually running.
The latest alternative, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, offers the same strength and the same weakness as those who came before him, Rasmussen argues. His strength? The broad swath of Republicans who yearn for a candidate other than Romney. His weakness? His untested ability to perform in the spotlight. For Santorum to succeed, he’ll need to satisfy two conditions: First, he’ll have to convince voters he can beat President Obama. Second, he’ll have to convince them he can bring change to the White House. The reason Romney has failed to close the deal so far, Rasmussen contends, is that, though Republicans believe he satisfies the first condition, “some aren’t so sure about the second part.” “People want to shake up the political class in Washington,” Rasmussen says. “Some think Mitt is just part of it and wants to run it better.”
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Jon Huntsman: "I delivered a flat tax for my state. I took my state to No. 1 in job creation. With all due respect to what Rick Perry has said about Texas, we did a little bit better."
During the Jan. 7, 2012, Republican presidential debate in Manchester, N.H., Jon Huntsman touted his achievements on both tax policy and job creation during his tenure as governor of Utah. "I put bold proposals forward," he said. "I delivered a flat tax for my state. I took my state to No. 1 in job creation, with all due respect to what Rick Perry has said about Texas, we did a little bit better." We have rated both claims previously. We’ll recap those analyses here. The flat tax When we first reported this item, the Huntsman ...>> More
One of Mitt Romney’s favorite talking points is the need to shrink the federal government. The former Massachusetts governor says he will cut government spending and reduce taxes if elected president. Where would he start? With the national health reform plan signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. "The number one to cut is Obamacare. That saves $95 billion a year," Romney said in a primary debate in New Hampshire on Jan. 8, 2012. That savings figure is one he has cited before, and we found it to be ...>> More
The only five men standing between Mitt Romney and the Republican presidential nomination took a walk Saturday night -- attacking each other and the media as the former Massachusetts governor coasted toward the brass ring. Romney came to the debate threatening to run away with the race, and left the stage just as strong. Maybe stronger. He faced surprisingly little criticism from his flailing rivals, and answered their punches with sharp jabs.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Mitt Romney brushed aside rivals' criticism Saturday night in the opening round of a weekend debate doubleheader that left his Republican presidential campaign challengers squabbling among themselves far more than trying to knock the front-runner off stride.
"Remarkable what a cakewalk this debate is for Romney," CNBC's John Harwood wrote in a tweet on Saturday night.
Three days before the first in-the-nation New Hampshire primary, Romney largely ignored his fellow Republicans and turned instead on President Barack Obama. "His policies have made the recession deeper and his policies have made the recovery more tepid," he said, despite a declining unemployment rate and the creation of 200,000 jobs last month.
Over the course of the lively two-hour debate, there were attacks aplenty as Romney's five rivals vied to emerge as his principal rival in the primaries ahead. The former Massachusetts governor won an eight-vote victory in the Iowa caucuses last Tuesday, and is far ahead in the pre-primary polls in New Hampshire.
That leaves his pursuers little time to stop his rise and focusing their efforts on the South Carolina primary on Jan. 21
Texas Rep. Ron Paul assailed Rick Santorum as a "big government person," an allegation the former Pennsylvania senator disputed. Santorum finished a close second to Romney in Iowa this week, with Paul coming in third.
Paul, who has called former House Speaker Newt Gingrich a "chicken hawk" who has not served in the military, drew withering criticism in return. "I personally resent the kinds of comments and aspersions he routinely makes," Gingrich said.
Paul got the last word, saying emphatically, "When I was drafted I was married and had two kids, and I went." He was an Air Force surgeon in the Vietnam War era.
Romney, who often touts his business background, was attacked in the opening moments of the debate.
Santorum went first, dismissing him as a mere manager. "Being a president is not a CEO. You've got to lead and inspire," he said.
Gingrich followed a few moments later, referring to published accounts that described how some workers were laid off after Bain Capital, the firm Romney once led, invested in their companies and sought to turn them around.
He said Romney should be judged on the basis of whether "on balance, were people better off or worse off by this style of management."
Unruffled, the former Massachusetts governor retorted that Bain had created 100,000 jobs on balance, and that a businessman's experience was far better to fix the economy that a lifetime spent in Washington, D.C. "I'm very proud of the fact that the two enterprises I led were successful," he said, referring to Bain and another firm.
More than an hour later, Romney turned one question about his vision for the country into an attack on Obama that is part of his standard campaign speech. While his rivals stood by silently, he accused the president of trying to turn the United States into Europe, `adding, "He's making us into something we wouldn't recognize."
Below, HuffPost's live blog coverage of the debate.