Herman Cain’s fall from his perch at the top of the Republican presidential field hasn’t been so much an implosion as a slow bleed.
With yesterday’s accusations by a woman who claims she had a 13-year affair with Cain — a claim that Cain, himself, denied in an interview on CNN — it seems that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO’s hopes of recovering any of his former mojo are pretty much over.
This issue isn’t will this sink Cain’s candidacy — it had been slowly sinking already — the question now is: how fast will he fall and who benefits from it? Cain is still commanding significant support national and in the early primary states and those voters have to go somewhere.
It would be ironic, of course, to see Newt Gingrich benefit from accusations about another candidate’s marital transgressions. (Gingrich, of course, has had his own problems in that area.)
Meanwhile, at least one candidate — Rick Perry — is trying to keep the focus on Gingrich and his recent statements on immigration reform. In New Hampshire today he’ll showcase anti-illegal immigration hardliner Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
But, will the colorful and controversial sheriff sell in the more button-downed and moderate leaning northeast?
A University of New Hampshire-Boston Globe survey of New Hampshire primary voters in June showed 42 percent of Republican primary voters supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently living in the United States, along with 54 percent of undeclared voters and 72 percent of Democratic primary voters.
As ABC’s Arlette Saenz points, out Arpaio is the first major immigration reform figure to endorse the Texas governor since Perry made his controversial comments in a September presidential debate suggesting that those who oppose granting in-state tuition to llegal immigrants “don’t have a heart.” Perry later apologized, saying the comment was “inappropriate” and “insulting.”
As Perry tries to find a path back from obscurity, as Gingrich tries to capitalize on his momentum and as Cain deals with the fallout from the most recent accusations against him, Mitt Romney continues to play the endorsement game.
While campaigning in Florida today, Romney is getting three Cuban-American endorsements — U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, and his brother, former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart.
The Miami Herald referred to them as the “trifecta”: “The endorsements of the Miami Cuban-American leaders is a leading indicator that Romney is making a big push in Florida for one of its most crucial voting blocs in the state’s Republican primary, scheduled for Jan. 31.” http://bit.ly/scn4jp
MITT ROMNEY’S 12 CONFERENCE CALL DAY. “Unwilling to ‘just sit back and not respond’ to the ad released on Monday by the Democratic National Committee, the Romney campaign scheduled a series of 12 conference calls with various surrogates around the nation to denounce the claims made in the ad and to discuss President Obama’s record,” ABC’s Emily Friedman reports. “Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho began the first call, hosted by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, explaining that the purpose of the dozen conference calls is to ‘respond to what the democrats are doing in the swing states.’ The DNC released an ad Monday morning that will be broadcast in six television markets and describes Romney as ‘two men trapped in one body.’ The ad, titled ‘Trapped,’ accuses Romney of being ‘Two Mitts willing to say anything.’ Pawlenty said that the ad was ‘reflection of how worried’ the DNC and the president are to go head-to-head against Romney in the general election.” http://abcn.ws/vcQjv8
The DNC released another video aimed at New Hampshire voters this morning, titled, “A Dishonest Fraud,” which features interviews with Granite State voters. “Mitt Romney seemed not the least bit concerned last week when he was caught deceiving voters in his first ad of the campaign – grossly and dishonestly taking then candidate Obama’s words out of context,” DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse said in a statement. “Mitt Romney may not think lying in your campaign ads is a big deal, but voters sure do – including those in New Hampshire where his deceptive ad is running.” http://bit.ly/vVZOcR
On “World News” last night ABC’s Jake Tapper took a closer look at President Obama’s 2012 swing state strategy. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/sZEcGY
OBAMA MAKES FIRST 2012 AD BUY. “The Obama campaign has made its first ad buy of the 2012 cycle, a senior campaign official confirmed to ABC News. It’s described as a “tiny” buy on national satellite,” ABC’s Devin Dwyer reports. “The two spots, versions of which have appeared on the campaign’s website, are aimed at signing up supporters as volunteers and potential donors. Both feature President Obama speaking directly to camera while a campaign phone number and website — JoinObama.com — appear in the lower third.” http://abcn.ws/vY2ase
IOWA CONSERVATIVES DIVIDED ON GINGRICH’S RECORD. “The question of whether Newt Gingrich is sufficiently hard-line on right-to-life issues is splitting Iowa Christian conservatives at a time when many of them are giving his resurgent presidential campaign a serious look,” reports the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs. “Gingrich still supports abortions in the cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother. ‘He would allow for the three exceptions,’ campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said Monday. A significant bloc of Iowa evangelical Christians opposes abortion under any circumstances — and even more lambaste federal funding in any instance. ‘Newt is famous for being all over the board,’ said Cary Gordon, a minister at Sioux City’s Cornerstone church. ‘He is admirable in many ways, but I won’t back him. I don’t trust him.’ If conservatives demand absolute purity on right-to-life issues when it comes to Mitt Romney, it hurts their credibility if they don’t demand the same for Gingrich, some Iowa Republicans said Monday. Others said they believe Gingrich is now opposed to abortion and embryonic stem cell use, and they’re comfortable backing him today.” http://dmreg.co/tzduHf
FORMER GINGRICH GROUP IN DEBT. Bloomberg News’ Clea Benson reports: “American Solutions for Winning the Future, a tax-exempt political organization Newt Gingrich founded in 2006, went out of business in July and is now $20,000 in debt to its landlord, according to Washington, D.C., Superior Court records. No one has turned over the keys to the group’s K Street offices in downtown Washington, which still contain some furniture and office equipment. The U.S. Marshals Service will be sent in next month to retake possession of the group’s premises if the debt isn’t paid, said Michael R. Cogan, attorney for B.G.W. Limited Partnership, which leases the space. Gingrich severed ties with American Solutions earlier this year to run for president. Still, Cogan said, the former Georgia congressman should have insisted the dismantling of his complex network of businesses and independent groups be done in a proper manner.” http://bloom.bg/rz1ASS
GINGRICH’S HARDER LINE AGAINST ROMNEY. Newt Gingrich participated in a string of media appearances yesterday, ABC’s Elicia Dover reports, one with the Charleston A.M. News, which drew quite a bit of attention when Gingrich said he was “more conservative than Romney” and “the most electable candidate.” He also touched on Romney’s “flip-flops.” His comments represent a change in the atmosphere in the Republican race. Until now, Gingrich has mostly gone after President Obama avoided his fellow candidates. Not anymore. http://abcn.ws/sTfUNg
POLITICAL ADVERTISING TAKES ANOTHER LEAP. “If you went to the Minnesota State Fair last year and checked your iPhone or Android while you were waiting in line for food, you probably saw an ad from Michele Bachmann’s congressional campaign telling you her opponent wanted to raise taxes on the food you were about to buy,” reports Politico’s Emily Schultheis. “‘I know, I know, it’s state fair time and you don’t want to hear about politics,’ the ad said. ‘But while you’re at the fair, you should know that Tarryl Clark here voted to raise taxes on your corn dog and your deep-fried bacon and your beer.’ … The Bachmann campaign bought a mobile version of the ad within a 2-mile radius of the state fairgrounds in order to reach people specifically attending the fair … Geo-targeted mobile advertising, which made its debut among political campaigns during the 2010 midterms but is just now becoming more widespread, offers presidential campaigns an attention-getting new way to stalk voters wherever they may be found — the state fair, the ballgame or the caucus site. On the presidential level, this means targeting ads at primary- and caucus-goers in the days leading up to the election — or even as they’re heading to the polls on Election Day.” http://politi.co/uB3FvW
TWO MORE HOUSE DEMS HEAD FOR THE EXIT. “As members of Congress returned to their districts last week to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, two Democrats in the House of Representatives decided this weekend that they’d prefer spending more time at home,” ABC’s John R. Parkinson and Elizabeth Hartfield report. “Today, Rep. Barney Frank, a 16-term Democrat from Massachusetts, announced that he will not seek a 17th term in the House. On Saturday, Rep. Charles Gonzalez, a seven-term Democrat from Texas, decided to hang it up too. But with these two retirements from historically dark blue Democratic districts, neither side is any closer to a majority. Even Republican sources concede Frank leaves ‘a pretty solid [Democrat] seat’ that President Obama won with 61 percent of the vote in 2008, and Sen. John Kerry won with 62 percent in 2004.” http://abcn.ws/sLKLU7
NOTED: Babies of New Hampshire: Watch Out! In a Boston radio interview yesterday, Rick Perry commented on how aggressively he’s willing to campaign in the Granite State, saying he’s kissed his fair share of babies in his days as Texas governor. “I’m in Manchester, New Hampshire right now and I’m looking for some babies to kiss,” Perry said. (It seems that he’s already making good on that promise.) In another radio interview on Monday, Perry said as president, he would call for the resignation of Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke in response to yesterday’s news about the Federal Reserve’s $7.7 trillion in undisclosed loans to troubled banks during the financial crisis. If they refused to resign, Perry said he would fire the two financial officials. (via ABC’s Arlette Saenz)
@SovernNation: Field Poll finds far more Demos than Republicans identify w/#OWS. 64% of Dems, 23% of GOP. Whites less sympathetic w/#Occupy than minorities
*Newt Gingrich will visit one of his campaign offices in South Carolina and host a town hall at the promenade in Bluffton, S.C.
*Mitt Romney campaigns in Florida where he’ll speak at two public events including a speech on trade policy at the Tampa Port Authority.
*Herman Cain will deliver a speech at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.
*Rick Perry will attend four campaign events in New Hampshire including a breakfast in Amherst where he’ll be endorsed by Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio. Anita Perry will also be on the campaign trail speaking at three events in South Carolina.
*Rick Santorum will address a Presidential Forum in Duluth, Georgia.
*Jon Huntsman is in New Hampshire where he’ll hold a town hall meeting in Nashua.
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