The Week Of Living Dangerously

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

Herman Cain now has Secret Service protection, but what’s going to keep him safe from the backlash that his “unorthodox” campaign is provoking from New Hampshire to Florida?

Perhaps even more politically significant than his new security detail was Cain’s refusal yesterday to participate in a staple of primary politics — an editorial board meeting with the New Hampshire Union Leader, the state’s most important newspaper.

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO backed out of the previously-scheduled session just days after a similar newspaper interview in Wisconsin led to an embarrassing video of Cain stumbling through an answer on his stance on Libya.

The Union Leader’s publisher Joe McQuaid all but dismissed Cain as a viable candidate in the pages of his own paper this morning: “I don’t think he’s going anywhere from here at this point,” he said.

Cain was able to make it to a taping of “The Late Show” with David Letterman on Thursday night. It was the first venue where Cain was protected by the Secret Service.

Meanwhile, the scrutiny on Newt Gingrich over his work with the mortgage giant Freddie Mac has intensified all week. In an interview last night with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Gingrich said he was “not sure the exact amount” he was paid by the company but insisted: “I do no lobbying of any kind. I never have.”

At a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Fla., yesterday, Gingrich told his audience that he would “cheerfully answer every single question” reporters had. As ABC’s Russell Goldman notes, however, following the event he refused to answer any questions about the work he did for mortgage company.

On Fox News last night, Gingrich said that he had asked associates to look into the payments he received and hinted that he might release more documentation as early as today.

And amid all of the sound and fury of the Republican primary race, the mostly likely eventual GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, has been waging a relatively quiet campaign. But Democrats have seized on a series of Boston Globe stories detailing how, at the end of his term as governor, Romney’s aides wiped e-mail records and purchased computer hard drives.

As the Globe’s Matt Viser and Michael Levenson report, “The Romney campaign yesterday declined requests to explain why the hard drives were purchased, leaving it unclear whether they were trying to keep information confidential. Nor did the campaign respond to questions about whether Romney had used a computer that contained one of the purchased hard drives. … The Romney campaign yesterday responded to the disclosure by filing a request under the state’s public records law for information about contacts between the office of Patrick, a Democrat, and the campaign of President Obama.”

DEMOCRATIC COUNTERPROGRAMMING. “The Democratic National Committee is now requesting records sent during Gov. Mitt Romney’s tenure in office in Massachusetts, filing a Freedom of Information Act request just hours after Romney’s campaign used the same means to request records of correspondence between President Obama’s re-election staff and current Massachusetts’ Gov. Deval Patrick,” ABC’s Emily Friedman notes. “According to the DNC, the formal paperwork was filed because, ‘Americans deserve to know whether the Romney administration deliberately sought to delete public records in anticipation of requests regarding Gov. Romney’s record on a range of issues – from abortion to health care – and how he reached policy decisions when in office.’”

ROMNEY ON THE TRAIL: Today Romney is in New Hampshire. He will attend a Santa Fund Luncheon – co-hosted by the New Hampshire Union Leader and the Salvation Army followed by a town hall later in the afternoon in Manchester.


UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS: ABC’s Matthew Jaffe explores presidential candidate security, noting that “life on the campaign trail can be intense, unforgiving and even confrontational — but one thing it is never supposed to be is physical, a fact that appears to have been forgotten by some campaigns this year as they struggle to cope with the media spotlight.”


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: AN ILLINOIS CONGRESSIONAL DUO. ABC’s Rick Klein and Zach Wolf sit down with Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Illinois, and his Republican counterpart from the Land of Lincoln, Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.  


CONSERVATIVE GROUP PUTS PRESSURE ON KAGAN. The advocacy group, ForAmerica, has released a new web video to more than 300,000 supporters and 1.5 million-plus Facebook fans calling on Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself from hearings on President Obama’s health care law.


CLINTON ON CHINA. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper on her visit to the Pacific Rim. President Obama’s Pacific swing has been dedicated towards ramping up the US presence in the Pacific Ocean, at least partly to contain China. Through a trade deal that excludes China, a new permanent US military presence in Australia, and other diplomatic efforts, the Obama administration is pushing to assert itself in the region. Secretary Clinton Friday told ABC News that the moves are “not about countering anybody else’s power, it’s about asserting our own position as a Pacific power.” But when Chinese reservations to some of the moves were pointed out, Clinton acknowledged that the two superpowers have differences. “We’re not going to agree on everything,” she said. “We have disagreements about their political system. They have questions about our motives.” WATCH :

In her interview with Tapper, Clinton also weighed in on GOP Criticism of the Obama Administration’s Iran Policy:

And Clinton, whose father and brother played football for Penn State, also talked about the scandal that rocked the college: WATCH:



SUPERCOMMITTEE STALLED. “With just days remaining before their final deadline, members of a Congressional panel on deficit reduction made frenzied efforts on Thursday to overcome an impasse, but appeared to be talking past one another and reported no tangible progress toward an agreement,” The New York Times’ Robert Pear and Jennifer Steinhauer report. “Committee members scurried through the Capitol, ducking in and out of impromptu meetings where they discussed possible tax increases and cuts in the growth of programs like Medicare and Medicaid. One panel member, Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, said the committee would hunker down and ‘work all weekend to try to bridge these differences.’ Both houses of Congress passed a bill on Thursday providing more than $128 billion in spending authority for five cabinet departments in the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. The Senate vote, 70 to 30, followed a vote of 298 to 121 in the House and cleared the bill for President Obama, who is expected to sign it.”

RICK PERRY CHIDES OBAMA ON THE SUPERCOMMITTEE. From ABC’s Arlette Saenz: Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that as president, he would not honor the budget cuts that would go into effect should the Super Committee fail to reach its deficit reduction goal, and he reprimanded President Obama for his trip abroad as the Super Committee attempts to reach an agreement before its Nov. 23 deadline. “Not at all,” Perry said when asked if he would uphold the cuts. “As a matter of fact, the Super Committee is a great example of just the lack of leadership that we have in Washington. The president, AWOL as far as I’m concerned. As a matter of fact instead of being in Hawaii, or Asia, or whether he thinks he is on this particular trip, he ought to be here, working on this budget issue. We know what the problem is, we got a spending problem in Washington, D,C., and we’ve got to be sitting down and working out the details of this, and I think abrogating the responsibility of the presidency to a Super Committee of Congress was bad leadership to begin with.”

NEWTMENTUM? FORMER GINGRICH STAFFERS RETURN IN IOWA. “‘It’s good to have some old friends come back,’ R.C. Hammond, spokesperson for the Newt Gingrich campaign, told ABC News about the return of two former Iowa staff members,” ABC’s Elicia Dover reports. “The returning staff members are Craig Schoenfeld and Katie Koberg, who left the campaign in June among the mass exodus of two national advisers and several other Iowa staff members. ‘What you’ve seen over the past six months is Newt establish himself as the smartest candidate, capable of leading, an increase in fundraising, showing he’s able to run a national campaign and growth of staff and grassroots efforts in several states where he’ll be able to compete in each contest,’ Hammond said.”

TEA PARTIER TURNS INTO COMPROMISER. “When Republican leader Mitch McConnell tapped Sen. Pat Toomey for a seat on the deficit supercommittee, it was largely seen as a symbolic nod to the tea party, which swept him into office just a year ago. But a funny thing happened when the seemingly intransigent tea party darling walked into the most powerful negotiating room in Washington: Toomey turned into a key compromiser. For a freshman backbencher, the supercommittee has become a star-making platform to prove himself not just inside the Senate but in the Republican Party as a whole — and to voters in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania who elected him by a small margin last year. Outside the supercommittee room, the $1.5 trillion GOP deficit plan authored by Toomey — the former head of the powerful anti-tax group Club for Growth — has provided political cover for Republicans mulling over tax hikes typically abhorrent to their base.”

MATT DOWD’S TAKE: OPEN THE DEBATES. ABC Political Analyst Matthew Dowd weighs in: “Let me lay out a scenario.  A candidate running for president holds federal elective office, has run for president before, is thoughtful and thinks outside the box on a number of issues, has the capacity to raise a ton of grassroots dollars, finished strong in the Iowa straw vote this summer, is currently running in the top three in nearly every national poll, and is polling second in both the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary.   Hmmm, seems like a fact set where you would be taken seriously, but not if you are Ron Paul. At the recent National Journal/CBS debate held in South Carolina, this could not have been clearer.”



@ camanpour : So proud to win Cronkite Award, and to see the Master at work in today’s Cronkite School J-students  @Cronkite_ASU

@ ron_fournier : Brownstein has more on the GOP divide. Gotta read:

@ RealClearScott : Newt’s campaign events today: a film screening (Harvard ID required) & book signing in Cambridge:

@ waltershapiroPD : Portrait in self-awareness: Sarah Palin, who never cashed in, writes in WSJ: “The money-making opportunities for politicians are myriad.”

@ Jon2012girls : Congrats mom and dad on 28 wonderful years of marriage! Thanks for showing the true example of love.



* Herman Cain spends the day campaigning in Florida where he’ll speak at four events traveling from Palm Beach to Jacksonville. Cain will also be a guest on The David Letterman Show which airs at 11:35 p.m. on CBS.

* Newt Gingrich will attend a screening of the film “City Upon A Hill” on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

* Mitt Romney will speak at a chamber of commerce forum in Manchester, New Hampshire.

* Rick Perry will address the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation at their luncheon in New York City.

* Rick Santorum will lead three of his “Faith, Family, and Freedom” forums in Iowa including one at the Godfather’s Pizza in Knoxville.

* Ron Paul will host three “Restore America Now” events in Iowa.

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