Goodbye Cain Boomlet, Hello Gingrich Newtlet (The Note)

Nov 15, 2011 9:18am

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

There was the early momentum for Michele Bachmann, followed by the rise of Rick Perry. Most recently, we watched Herman Cain’s unlikely climb to the top of the polls. Now it’s New Gingrich’s turn to have his moment in the sun.

And even the former House Speaker acknowledged in an interview on Fox News last night that “it’s all coming together in way that is much faster than I thought it would be.”

It’s remarkable that a candidate whose campaign hit rock bottom early in the race has so thoroughly rehabilitated his presidential bid. According to a CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll released yesterday, Gingrich is within striking distance of Mitt Romney nationally — 24 percent for Romney compared to 22 percent for Gingrich among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

“You think back, Sean, to the funeral announcements of June and July. It is a pretty remarkable thing,” Gingrich told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “Here in Iowa, there’s a poll out that has me in first place. You know, I don’t know that all of that is going to continue — there will be ups and downs and counter attacks, but it certainly is a long, long way from June and July.”

Gingrich is also finding his footing among voters in Iowa, where Newt acolytes could end up giving his candidacy a significant boost in early January. Gingrich is pulling in 17 percent support among likely caucus-goers, just 1 point behind Romney (17 percent), according to a Bloomberg poll out today. Cain still leads the pack in this survey, which was taken Nov. 10-12, and Ron Paul is in second place. http://bloom.bg/uyz5se

But Gingrich’s recent upswing may not be as fleeting as Cain’s seems to have been. Newt has more staying power than the others thanks to the fact that he’s been around the track before and is used to playing at this level.

However, he’s got to prove he can remain the disciplined candidate he’s been this fall — not always a strong suit of the former Speaker. For example, is it the wisest choice for him to use his roundly-criticized summer vacation in Greece as a policy plank?

“I took some flak in the media for going on the trip but it was good because I was actually able to talk to people about what’s going on over there,” Gingrich told an audience in Greene County, Iowa yesterday. “I listened to them and talked to them about the current crisis, I reflected on what’s going on over there.”

Next thing you know he will be weaving Tiffany’s into his stump speeches. Still, Gingrich is viewed favorably by 57 of Republican voters compared to 23 percent who see him unfavorably, according to recent ABC News polling. And Americans overall view Gingrich more unfavorably than favorably by 43-32 percent. http://abcn.ws/vXFN2U

As ABC’s John Berman put it on “Good Morning America” today, if Herman Cain was “Mr. October,” November appears to be “the dawn of the age of Newt.”

More from Berman’s “Good Morning America” spot on the state of the Republican race today: http://abcn.ws/uMP7fj

 

RICK PERRY, WHO? From ABC’s Arlette Saenz: Despite a heavy investment of resources in the Iowa, Rick Perry’s position in the Hawkeye State continues to decline.  In a new Bloomberg poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers released today, Perry clocked in at seven percent, just ahead of Rep. Michele Bachmann, while the top tier of candidates consisted of Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who each received between 20 and 17 percent support. The Texas governor has run TV ads in Iowa for the past three weeks and is on his eighth trip to this state this week. He plans to unveil his first policy speech in the state at a manufacturing plant today. But even his campaign war chest does not appear to be enough to save Perry from the self-inflicted wounds of several embarrassing debate gaffes. http://bloom.bg/uyz5se

 

ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”:  ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter interview Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who will discuss his balanced budget amendment proposal, scheduled for a vote on the House floor later this week. Also on the program, Amanda Smith, the author of a new book, “Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Life and Monumental Times of Cissy Patterson.” Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://abcn.ws/toplineliveabc 

 

THE BUZZ

ROMNEY TEAM READIES AN ANTI-OBAMA ASSAULT. “As Mitt Romney prepares for Republican contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond, his aides have been traveling the country filming stories for the battle they hope will follow against President Obama, spotlighting unemployed Americans who have given up on hope and change,” The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg report. “‘We go to a lot of job fairs,’ said Stuart Stevens, a top adviser to Mr. Romney. ‘You cannot spend a half-hour at a job fair and actually talk to people without having to leave because you’ll start crying.’ Mr. Obama’s campaign team has been gathering film of its own, documenting what Democrats say are Mr. Romney’s shifting positions on an array of issues over the years. The White House, which is already sending aides and allies out to make a case that Mr. Romney has no core or principles other than trying to win office, is ready to unleash the assault at any time. Democrats have already run commercials against Mr. Romney in Iowa and Arizona and could release even more before the primary season begins. It is still seven weeks until Republican voters start getting their say in choosing from a wide field of candidates. But a stealth general election discussion is already under way, with the White House acting as if Mr. Romney will be the Republican nominee and Mr. Romney, for his own reasons, happy to assume the role and respond with an intense retort of his own.” http://nyti.ms/sCHtgw

THE SUPREME COURT AND 2012. “The Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments on one of the most important parts of the health care law could have significant political and policy implications for President Obama as he gears up for reelection,” reports ABC’s Huma Khan. “The Obama administration took a political gamble by urging the Supreme Court to hear arguments on the individual mandate, which is perhaps the most controversial component of the health care law. In part, it illustrates the level of confidence on the part of the administration that the mandate is constitutional. But in a bigger way, it reflects their anxiousness to put an end to the ongoing flak once and for all. The individual mandate is to be implemented by 2014 and requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine. Challengers say the mandate, which was struck down by a lower court, crosses constitutional boundaries.” http://abcn.ws/vtkk11

NOTED: OBAMA TEAM CONFIDENT: ABC’s Jake Tapper reports: White House officials say the president and his legal team are confident in the strength of their case in defending the law, which the Supreme Court today agreed to hear in March. Officials say the White House is beginning to prepare for every contingency — including if the law is stricken down — but they do not expect that will happen. “If the law is held up in June,” when the court is expected to rule, a senior White House official said, “that will be a big boost for us.” http://abcn.ws/sFcLmY

More from Tapper’s World News report last night. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/sygF2E

BACHMANN TAKES ON SOCIALISM IN NEW MEMOIR. “In a soon-to-be published memoir, GOP candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann accuses former President George W. Bush of ‘socialism’ for his 2007 decision to bail out financial institutions teetering on collapse,” ABC’s Russell Goldman notes. “‘The Bush administration, which had always professed faith in the free-market system, was now reversing its course,’ Bachmann writes in ‘Core of Conviction,’ a memoir to be released Nov. 15, according to Fox News, which obtained a copy. In the book, she criticizes Bush and then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who pushed for the $700 billion TARP program for “embracing a kind of ‘bailout socialism.’” She said it was ‘painful’ when GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain supported the bailout and called it ‘disappointing’ when then House Minority leader Rep. John Boehner also backed the legislation, according to Fox.” http://abcn.ws/tKL4R7

OBAMA GOLFS WITH FRIEND EMBROILED IN PROSTITUTION STING. “President Obama is golfing at Mamala Bay Golf Course at Hickam Air Force Base in a group that includes White House travel director Marvin Nicholson and Hawaiian pal Robert “Bobby” Titcomb, who was arrested in April on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute,” ABC’s Jake Tapper writes in a dispatch from Honolulu. “In April, Titcomb was one of four men arrested in an undercover prostitution sting operation, according to Honolulu police. Titcomb, an airline employee and commercial fisherman, has been friends with the president since they attended Honolulu’s elite Punahou School together in the 1970s. He has visited the White House on numerous occasions to see the president, most recently in August for Obama’s birthday, when he was included in a round of golf with Obama’s closest friends at the links of Andrews Air Force Base. Afterwards Titcomb, among other friends, joined the president for a barbeque at the White House.”

IN THE NOTE’S INBOX: From the American Enterprise Institute’s Director of Communications Veronique Rodman: “Today we’re introducing our new and improved AEI.org website. It has an updated design, helps you find what you need in our scholarship with dynamic search and highlights video from recent AEI events. We’ve also included a special “For the Media” section. With a single click, you can find scholars available to comment on the news of the day. You can subscribe to our Twitter feed, sign up for our mailing list and get contact information for scholars and our press office.” http://www.aei.org/

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@learyspt: Rubio on scrutiny: “It’s not pleasant but ultimately it’s part of the deal.”

@jonward11: my piece from Perry’s appearance last night in Davenport: Rick Perry Fights To Stay Relevant In Iowa huff.to/uxSgz5

@byjayroot: Perry proposes part-time Congress, end to lifetime fed judge appointments in govt reform pkg bit.ly/vpzj68 #rickperry

@evanmc_s: The Muslim who said Herman Cain’s apology to the faith was “genuine” says Cain is back to his old ways bit.ly/sPOP6E

@SteveCase: Great day at US Capitol. Hoping bipartisan support will build quickly for entrepreneurship bill being introduced todaypic.twitter.com/Xmd5u0hV

 

POLITICAL RADAR.

* Herman Cain takes his campaign to Iowa for two events including a visit to his state headquarters.

* Mitt Romney will discuss jobs, the economy, and labor policy at Colite International, a manufacturing company located in Columbia, South Carolina.

* Rick Perry will deliver a Government Reform Speech in Bettendorf, Iowa.

* Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich will hold separate campaign events in Iowa.

* Jon Huntsman is campaigning in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where he’ll hold an evening town hall.

* Rick Santorum will speak at four campaign events throughout the day in Iowa.

Check out The Note’s 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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