Chris Christie And The Waiting Game (The Note)

Oct 3, 2011 9:10am

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone) and AMY WALTER (@amyewalter)

These days, it’s Chris Christie’s world and we’re just living in it. Sources close to the New Jersey governor say he will make an announcement about whether or not he will change his mind and run for president early this week — but not today.

And ABC’s Jonathan Karl hears that Christie “has been keeping a close counsel of family and a small group of trusted advisors,” as he contemplates the decision. ”Two top Republican donors — people who would be called into action to help with the herculean task of raising the money Christie would need to mount a campaign on such short notice,” tell Karl, “they have heard nothing from Christie. As one emailed Sunday afternoon, ‘Major donors are teed up, but still no word.’”

The harsh reality of an early January primary calendar could have an impact on his decision. Christie would have to build a national organization and raise tens of millions of dollars in a matter of weeks — all while getting prepared on national and international issues.

But as Karl points out: “None of this means Christie, with so many major donors promising help, can’t do it — as one Republican operative not affiliated with Christie put it, ‘it’s almost like a cup of soup. Pour in water and voila:  a presidential campaign’ — but it makes it incredibly difficult. He might just be right when he says he is not ready.”

As we wait for Christie to make up his mind, we’re also waiting on the New Hampshire and Iowa primary dates. Nevada on Sunday said they would hold their state’s caucuses on the Saturday after New Hampshire, which could be Jan. 21 if New Hampshire goes with Jan. 17.

Meanwhile, South Carolina Republican officials are announcing their first-in-the-South primary date at 11 a.m. today. And here’s a clue: S.C. GOP Chairman Chad Connelly told ABC’s “Top Line” last week the date will likely be “as late as possible” in January. That means Jan. 28 — just a few days prior to Florida’s Jan. 31 primary.

BOTTOM LINE: This whole process has served as another reminder of the waning influence of the national party apparatus and even the nominating convention.

Republican leaders across the country have concluded that it’s better to lose seats in Tampa next summer than to lose influence over selecting the nominee this winter. In defending their decision to move the Nevada caucuses from February to January, former GOP Gov Robert List an executive board member who supported the move, told the Las Vegas Review Journal, “We think the convention has become a bit of a formality. Our nominee will be decided by then. Forfeting a few delegates is not nearly as important as preserving the very important role Nevada has now as an early voting state.” http://bit.ly/r0DYsU

Jon Karl reported on where things stand with Christie on “Good Morning America” today: http://abcn.ws/nrhE30

GOP: TIME TO SETTLE? As former Bush administration communications director Nicolle Wallace put in on “This Week” on Sunday, the Republican Party is “lurching from one crush to another and it is beginning to resemble a dysfunctional dating pattern where we pine for the ones we can’t have and the ones who are available to us — emotionally and otherwise — are of no interest.”

“It is beginning to be destructive,” Wallace added. “And I think if it goes on for more months as opposed to more days or weeks it’ll have a negative impact when our nominee has to stand against President Obama.” http://abcn.ws/qzFK75

 

BREAKING: ABC NEWS-YAHOO BECOME THE WEB’S #1 NEWS SITE. Yahoo!, the premier digital media company, and ABC News today announced they will join forces to launch a strategic online news alliance that will deliver content to more than 100 million U.S. users each month. This new venture blends ABC News’ global newsgathering operation and unrivaled lineup of trusted anchors and reporters with Yahoo! News’ unmatched audience, depth and breadth of content. Beginning today, GoodMorningAmerica.com, launches on Yahoo! along with three new online-first video series hosted by the award-winning, trusted anchors of ABC News.

“This relationship will give ABC News an unrivaled ability to reach across the Web, combining Yahoo!’s vast distribution and cutting-edge technology with our award-winning journalism. For years, we’ve proudly proclaimed that more Americans get their news from ABC News than any other source,” ABC News President Ben Sherwood said this morning. “Going forward, we will greatly expand this leadership by building a connection with a whole new online audience.”

Under the agreement, ABC News becomes the premier news provider on Yahoo! News, with editorial teams from both organizations collaborating on original coverage to appear on both the Yahoo! News and ABC News sites. Teams will co-produce coverage for major news events and will have integrated bureaus in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. ABC News content will be integrated throughout the Yahoo! News network, including the Yahoo! front page. More on the new partnership: http://abcn.ws/nezwnZ

 

SEND GEORGE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA. Today, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos will interview President Barack Obama live. The exclusive interview will be presented on both Yahoo! News and ABCNews.com at 2:35 p.m. ET. What do you want him to ask the president? Tell us here: http://abcn.ws/ohQ8An

 

“THIS WEEK” REPLAY: HERMAN CAIN.

Christiane Amanpour:On the front page of the Washington Post today, there’s a story about Rick Perry and a hunting lodge that belonged to his family bought in the 1980s. And on a rock, apparently, near the entrance there, there is a word that is a very ugly, a racial word, a slur.”

Herman Cain: “My reaction is that is very insensitive. There are some words that do not basically inspire the kind of negativity like that particular word. And I know that you are refraining from saying that word, so I’m going to say what the word was on the rock. The name of the place was called “Niggerhead.” That is very insensitive. And since Governor Perry has been going there for years to hunt, I think that it shows a lack of sensitivity for a long time of not taking that word off of that rock and renaming the place. It’s just basically a case of insensitivity.”

More from Christiane’s interview with presidential candidate and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain: http://abcn.ws/mWfTR7

PERRY PUSHBACK: Rick Perry’s Communications Director Ray Sullivan defended Perry against the Washington Post story and Cain’s comments: “Mr. Cain is wrong about the Perry family’s quick action to eliminate the word on the rock, but is right the word written by others long ago is insensitive and offensive. That is why the Perrys took quick action to cover and obscure it.”

 

ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE.” ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter interview GOP presidential hopeful, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Also on the program, Ariane De vogue, ABC’s Supreme Court producer. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://abcn.ws/toplineliveabc 

 

NOTE’S INBOX: PROGRESSIVES GATHER IN D.C. Progressives will gather in Washington, DC today for one of their largest conferences of the year. “More than 1,000 progressive leaders and activists will be at the Washington Hilton on October 3-5 for the “Take Back the American Dream Conference.” Speakers include Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD); Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO; Mary Kay Henry, SEIU;  Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN); Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA); Van Jones, Rebuild the Dream; Justin Ruben, MoveOn.org; Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary; Deepak Bhargava, Center for Community Change; Robert Borosage, Campaign for America’s Future and Roger Hickey, Campaign for America’s Future.” More about the conference: http://www.ourfuture.org/conference

 

THE BUZZ

ROMNEY’S SECRET WEAPON. “Last week, [Ann Romney] hit eight cities in five days. She did five events Thursday in South Carolina and had a sleepover with Gov. Nikki Haley, the state’s tea party standard-bearer, who has yet to endorse any Republican for president. On Tuesday, Ann Romney goes back to Iowa for three days,” writes the Washington Post’s Ann Gerhart. “So far, she is the only wife of a Republican candidate with a separate campaign schedule each week. Anita Perry, the wife of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is stepping up her pace, meeting with small groups and opening campaign offices last week in Iowa. On Friday, first lady Michelle Obama did three solo fundraising events for the Democratic National Committee. The wife is expected to serve as verifier of character and interpreter of authenticity for her husband — and the incumbent and the Republican front-runners this time around are all husbands. She is expected to become an ‘effective surrogate,’ in campaign-speak. She is the one with the eyewitness testimony. … When her husband wavered on running again, after he failed to win the party’s nomination in 2008, she was the one who pushed him — “I said, ‘Go!’ ” she recalls, bending her knees and making a firm shoving motion with both hands. “I’ve had a totally different mental change from the last round,” she says, moving about a small stage in an upstairs meeting room of City Hall, cordless mike in her hand. This time, “I’m going to enjoy this. A lot. It’s not like I didn’t enjoy it last time. It wasn’t allhorrible, really,” she says, and her audience chuckles. “But I was worried all the time — what’s gonna happen, what’s gonnahappen?” http://wapo.st/pUXTdy

PERRY’S BET ON SUBPRIME LENDERS. “As Texas governor, Rick Perry spent tens of millions in taxpayer money to lure some of the nation’s leading mortgage companies to expand their business in his state, calling it a national model for creating jobs. But the plan backfired,” the AP’s Jack Gillum reports. “Just as the largest banks began receiving public cash, they aggressively ramped up risky lending. Within four years, the banks were out of business and homeowners across Texas faced foreclosure. In the end, the state paid $35 million to subsidize it. An Associated Press review of federal mortgage data, court filings and public statements found that Perry downplayed early warnings of an impending mortgage crisis as alarmist. That’s even as Perry’s own attorney general would later investigate whether Countywide Financial Corp. encouraged homeowners to borrow more than they could afford. As Perry offered $20 million in grants to Countrywide and $15 million to Washington Mutual Inc. – each blamed for having a major role in one of the country’s most serious recessions – he took in tens of thousands of their dollars for his gubernatorial campaign.” http://apne.ws/qeFRdF

OBAMA 2012 LOOKS TO BUSH 2004 PLAYBOOK. “The last time an incumbent president faced re-election, George W. Bush exploited social and national security issues to offset his economic vulnerabilities. Over the next year, President Obama will try the same thing,” John Harwood writes in the New York Times. “Circumstances have changed drastically since 2004. America’s economic woes stand to dominate the 2012 dialogue no matter what — probably to Mr. Obama’s detriment. Yet in important electoral battlegrounds, Mr. Obama’s strategists intend to use abortion, gay rights, the environment and successes in the fight against Al Qaeda to counter economic attacks and drive a wedge between Republicans and swing voters. The Democratic shift from defense to offense on those issues stems from evolving public attitudes, intensifying Republican conservatism and the raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Mr. Obama’s orders. The perilous state of the American economy undercuts the president’s assertions that he prevented something worse. The result: over the weekend, Mr. Obama accused his Republican challengers of displaying a ‘kind of smallness’ by not denouncing a debate audience that booed a gay soldier. He used the incident to question their readiness to become commander in chief.” http://nyti.ms/rkcrt0

 

NOTABLE MOVES. Herman Cain spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael announced this weekend that she is leaving the campaign, telling The Note that she wishes the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, who is rising in the polls, the “best of luck on the campaign trail.” Carmichael is heading back to her native Louisiana, temporarily, to run press operations for Republican Lt. Gov Jay Dardenne’s re-election campaign. Dardenne is in a tough fight against local GOP elected official Billy Nungesser. “It’s like going to back to family,” Carmichael said, noting that she her cut her teeth in politics working for Dardenne. Carmichael, who is not skipping a beat settling into her new role, points out that Dardenne “was named National Republican Legislator of the Year in the 1990s after he successfully passed significant tax reform, term limits and ethics reform.” She also sends along a recent Dardenne attack ad titled, “Billy Nungesser: BP, Taxes and the FBI.” WATCH: http://bit.ly/pqHHrD

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@jparkABC: Changed my #twitter handle from @JRPabcDC to @jparkABC b/c I was advised old one was too hard to recall. Please remember@jparkABC and RT

@ChrisMegerian: Wondering what Christie is thinking on presidential bid? Past campaign decisions may provide hints. bit.ly/nbnuj9

@JimCourtovich: Prediction: He is not running…period.

@jamesoliphant: Politico story looks at ties between Romney and Marco Rubio, just about everyone’s dream-team pick for VP. is.gd/2j1PA0

@gabrielsherman: Wow: a study concluded that 50% of all tweets come from just 20,000 users among estimated 50 million active accountsnymag.com/news/media/twi…

 

POLITICAL RADAR: 

* Mitt Romney holds a town hall meeting in Salem, N.H. this evening.

Michele Bachmann attends Sioux City Town Hall at 3:00 p.m. in Sioux City, Iowa. She later attends Council Bluffs Town Hall at 6:00 p.m. in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Ron Paul holds a town hall meeting at the Manchester campus of the University of New Hampshire at 2:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., he attends the Veterans Coalition Press Conference at Nashua Community College. Then at 6:30 p.m., Paul attends the town hall meeting hosted by Jennifer Horn of “We the People.”

Rick Santorum hosts a meet-and-greet even in Clarion, I.A. at 11:30 a.m. He hosts a meet-and-greet at Johnny Rays in Grundy Center, I.A. at 2:00 p.m. He hosts a meet-and-greet at Big T Maid-Rite in Toledo, I.A. at 4:30 p.m. He hosts a town hall meeting in Vinton, I.A. at 7:00 p.m.

The Note Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV

 

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* For breaking political news and analysis check out The Note blog: http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/and ABCNews.com/Politics: http://abcnews.com/politics

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