3 Days ’til NH Debate, Bachmann’s Goodbye, Obama Picks a Fight, Sweater Vests vs. Dad Jeans (The PM Note)

Jan 4, 2012 5:51pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf (@zbyronwolf) reports:

Goodbye, Iowa - We’ll miss you and your 8 votes.

3 Days ’til Debate – Hello, New Hampshire. Even those focusing directly on South Carolina will make a pit stop Saturday for ABC News, Yahoo News and WMUR’s debate. It will see a changed presidential landscape in a state where voters have far different priorities. It will be a smaller field on a new stage.

Bye, Bye, Bachmann - http://abcn.ws/AD0AmU

OTUS STOX – Bachmann was trading around 36 when we unveiled the political stock ticker in mid-December. She had fallen to 20 by today, before dropping out. The next lowest candidate is Rick Perry at 29. Santorum, despite Iowa, is only at 41. Obama leads Romney, 67-64 in our values. More at OTUS NEWS - http://bit.ly/sj5NiO

Perry Persists – The marathon man keeps truckin’ despite a really slow first mile. He’s got his tights, his neon shoe laces, his thumb is up and he’s ready to go: http://abcn.ws/xOaaCL

See it - http://yfrog.com/odz8ujrj

ABC Candidate Guide – Revamped, reordered  after Iowa: http://abcn.ws/xNFRwK

Delegate Fight Prep – Read Chris Good’s piece about how nobody really wins Iowa until June, bookmark it, and let’s see if any of this actually comes to pass: http://abcn.ws/Ad2A0D

Debate Prep – What to watch for Saturday in Manchester, according to Amy Walter:
1. With Bachmann bowing out before the weekend, we’ll have just 6 candidates on stage – the smallest number yet.

2. Mitt in the cross-hairs: Gingrich is ready to take off the gloves and directly engage with Romney. Huntsman, who desperately needs a win here, is going to do everything he can to strip votes away from the current N.H. frontrunner. And Santorum has to show his clear contrasts with Romney, while also looking like a serious contender and not just a fringe candidate.

3. Santorum faces his first real vetting. It’ll start this week (expect some good oppo dumps soon) and will continue onto the debate stage. How Romney handles Santorum-mentum will be critical.

4. the contrasts on economy: Santorum stresses his blue collar roots and connection to Rust Belt priorities, Romney his business acumen.
Wrestling! ’06 Santorum – Yesterday Chris Good looked at the ads Bob Casey ran to beat Santorum by 18 points in Pennsylvania in 2006. Today Jake Tapper looks at the ads ’06 Santorum ran unsuccessfully that year.

Picking Fights, Changing Focus – As Republicans began the process of selecting a nominee to face him, President Obama honed attacks on the Republicans who won’t be on the ballot but are part of the most unpopular body in the country – Congress. The official slogan of his campaign to do end-runs around Congress is “We can’t wait,” but today President Obama seemed more like he was picking a fight.

Cordray – There’s a real question about whether Congress was recessed enough for a recessed appointment, as reported by Ann Compton.http://abcn.ws/xwepit
And as endorsed by Dennis Kucinich, who was on hand with the president in Ohio: http://abcn.ws/zfjT2n

Defense - Tomorrow President Obama will give his first press conference at the Pentagon, talking about his plan to gut the place under sequestration caused by Congressional gridlock.

You can sort of hear folks at the White House saying something like – “The day after Iowa caucus, the President takes two dramatic steps: one domestic, one defense related… The more Republicans object the better. These are fights we want to have. We win either way.”

But that focus will someday have to shift to a nominee. And only Ron Paul remains as a sitting member of Congress.

Flashback: McCain / Obama – There was a 2008 flashback in newsrooms across the country today when President Obama spoke in Ohio at the same time Sen. John McCain announced his support for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. The two even stopped talking in synchronicity.

Solid Endorsement - McCain sounded angry describing the man who defeated him, endorsing the man he defeated four years ago. Romney, McCain said, “will lead from the front the way Ronald Reagan did and not lead from behind the way this president is doing.” More from Emily Friedman and Matt Negrin: http://abcn.ws/zKJWZ2

Watch it here:  http://abcn.ws/wD6PGk

Flashback: McCain / Romney – McCain didn’t always say such nice things about Romney, as Jake Tapper pointed out today.
http://abcn.ws/AFrF80

McCain in October 2007 on GMA, per Tapper – “His record when he was in Massachusetts had many positions, most positions are direct contradictions to the ones he proclaims now, including being ardently being pro-choice, including saying he didn’t want to go back to the Reagan-Bush years, which is obviously not something that most Republicans believe in, and supporting Democrats for various offices. So look, this debate is about our records, this is about being honest with the American people, and if you’re really going to get their respect, I think you’ve got to respect them first.”

Dems Iowa Spin – Democrats crowed that they got one-fifth the record turnout Republicans got in an uncontested Iowa race Tuesday, according to Devin Dwyer. “While only a small fraction of the record 239,000 Iowa Democrats who caucused on Jan. 3, 2008, the showing for 2012 amounted to roughly one-fifth of all Republicans who huddled across all 99 Iowa counties to pick their nominee the same night.” http://abcn.ws/xridyG

Romney’s Ceiling? – And Axelrod and Messina shot back at Romney dubbing their guy “The Great Complainer” by calling Romney “The 25 Percent Man” – as in that’s his ceiling. More from Dwyer in Ohio:  http://abcn.ws/yXJwS9

Romney the Protester – And today Buzzfeed brought our attention to the photo of a blazer-wearing Mitt Romney joining anti-protest protesters (pro-draft) at Stanford. Romney, as a missionary, was not eligible.
http://abcn.ws/x999RX

And, finally, you knew it was coming…

Sweater Vests and Dad Jeans – Campaign Trail Fashion from Amy Bingham: http://abcn.ws/yksQjh

ABC News’ Sarah Parnass contributed to this report.

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