The Capitalism Question, Dark Arts and Evangelicals in S.C., Brangelina and Romney’s Roof Rider Returns (The PM Note)

Jan 11, 2012 6:05pm

A day in the life of a New Hampshire Voicemail Machine – Candidates call again and again and again… http://abcn.ws/xvmG1v

SCOTUS – Religious School Protected from Employment Lawsuitshttp://abcn.ws/wmp4TU

The Capitalism Question – There’s an interesting intellectual squabble in the GOP as Mitt Romney blazes into South Carolina on an historic 2 for 2 primary / caucus run. When does free enterprise hurt the common voter and should the party that supposedly champions capitalism punish somebody for having been a really successful capitalist?

Romney’s flailing rivals, Newt Gingrich and his supporters in particular, are still smarting after coming under attack by Romney and his supporters in Iowa and have lashed out in South Carolina, running parts of that documentary that paints Romney as a “vulture capitalist,” as former Gingrich adviser and current Gingrich-supporting SuperPAC adviser Rick Tyler put it on Fox News.

But there is some backlash brewing. It came first yesterday with Ron Paul and continued today when a voter in South Carolina suggested that Gingrich cut it out and focus instead of Romney’s “obvious disingenuousness” on other issues instead.

“I agree with you,” said Gingrich who has used the class warfare argument before in branding Obama a “Saul Alinsky Liberal.” “It’s an impossible theme to talk about with Obama in the background. Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally in that area because he is so deeply into class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect. … I agree with you entirely.”

Gingrich’s spokesman later clarified: “This issue at hand is neither about Bain Capital, private equity firms, nor about capitalism.  It is about Mitt Romney’s judgment and character… It is entirely legitimate to ask questions about whether he is accurately presenting how he conducted himself during that career.”

Romney Says He Passed – Romney argued today that the Bain arguments after his “I like being able to fire people” comment fell flat. And there is no question if he can survive it in South Carolina, it could leave him somewhat inoculated against President Obama in November. http://abcn.ws/zBOHrM

Air War – The money is pouring into the air war in South Carolina. And it’s not lopsided against Gingrich like it was in Iowa, according to CMAG, which sees about an even distribution of pro- and anti- Romney ads. More than $5 million promised already. And that doesn’t count ad money the candidates will spend themselves. CMAG has monitored what’s run already and they’re seeing about even pro-Romney ads compared to anti-Romney ads. Romney pro: 22.9% Romney anti: 21.3%  Gingrich pro: 3.6% Gingrich anti: 21.1% (C. Good)

The Psalm Before the Storm vs. The Dark Art of South Carolina Politics – With the focus officially on South Carolina, there’s a lot of talk of the evangelical vote and social conservatives playing a large role. They could be the final tempering flame Mitt Romney has to walk through before looking officially unbeatable. http://abcn.ws/yWBiMA

But while a candidate has to appeal to what movement conservatives feel is good and right, there is a definite dark art to winning in South Carolina. Ask John McCain, who fell prey to a whisper campaign  in 2000 or Nikki Haley, who whisper campaigns in 2010. Or the ghost of Lee Atwater. You can imagine the trickster sitting on the collective Palmetto shoulder, looking over at the little angel.  http://abcn.ws/zQ3G7c

“Moderate Mitt” – Gingrich tackles everything from abortion to Seamus the roof-riding dog – It’s no whisper campaign that Newt Gingrich and his supporters have launched against Mitt Romney. They’re pouring money into TV ad campaigns that assault Romney’s record on abortion as governor and on his business career at Bain. But Romney’s time at Bain is only one line of attack for Gingrich et al, who along with allies have started an ad campaigns against Romney’s record on abortion and a well-produced web ad (that won’t be seen on TV) that strings together some of Romney’s more out-of-touch seeming moments, capped with mention of the infamous dog banished to the roof of a station wagon on the highway and his varmint hunting career. http://abcn.ws/wmqNZL

Mitt’s Money – Romney raised $24 million for the quarter that ended 2011 – that’s before he won in Iowa and New Hampshire, by the way. http://abcn.ws/ysU0i0

Warren’s Warchest – From Chris Good and Matt Negrin – Liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren raised $5.7 million in the last quarter of 2011, a number that not only eclipses her rival’s fundraising effort but underscores Democrats’ desire in Massachusetts to take back the Senate seat once held by the late Ted Kennedy.
http://abcn.ws/wUTZKE

Brangelina in the Oval Office - http://abcn.ws/whLePx

Final N.H. Turnout Numbers - http://abcn.ws/whDyOL

Campaign Ballot Guide – Which states have the toughest ballot rules? Elizabeth Hartfield investigates: http://abcn.ws/w08jSS

Obama’s Florida Problem – From Devin Dwyer: http://abcn.ws/xKLjnU

Don’t Forget Americans Elect – Amy Bingham reports that “Amid the media madness and campaigning craziness that swept through New Hampshire Tuesday there was one banner-wrapped bus that was traveling the state without a candidate. The Americans Elect “Crash the Party” bus tour set off through the Granite state this week not to promote a presidential candidate or political party, but to convince voters that two choices — one Republican and one Democrat — are not enough in American presidential politics.”
http://abcn.ws/wZK8wO

Insourcer in Chief – You can bet the Obama administration is going to do more with this whole idea of “insourcing”. Whether it will mean anything is another question. http://abcn.ws/AExvCS

GTMO Turns Ten – A group of 20 suspected terrorists arrived in Guantanamo Bay 10 years ago today, inaugurating what would become the United States’ most controversial prison system and a lasting legacy of President George W. Bush’s administration. Since then, what began as open-air cages has turned into a full-fledged detainee center, housing nearly 800 prisoners at its peak. Today, 171 detainees remain in the detention center, some of them deemed too dangerous to release and others with nowhere to go. Opponents of the detention center today marked its 10-year anniversary with protests from Belgium to Washington, D.C. Protesters led by Amnesty International planned to march from the White House to the Supreme Court to rally against what they say is a facility that “has come to symbolize 10 years of a systematic failure by the USA to respect human rights.”
http://abcn.ws/wum1cV

After South Carolina, A More Urgent Latino Vote – Matt Jaffe reports: From the Palmetto State, the campaign then moves on to two states with far larger Hispanic populations: Florida, where 22.5 percent of the state is Latino, and Nevada, where more than a quarter of the state is Latino: 26.5 percent. http://abcn.ws/zqpdTq

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