All Shook Up: Herman Cain Reasserts Himself in GOP Race (The Note)

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

Or not? Yesterday’s Fox News Poll included this shocker: Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain (or, as Sarah Palin likes to call him, “Herb”) is now in third place in the Republican field.

But, is he going to campaign or just use his new-found success to get more free TV time? He’s been doing the latter quite successfully over the past few days on cable news and elsewhere and he announced he’s going to be appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Friday night.

But since winning last week’s straw poll in Florida, you’d be hard-pressed to find Cain out in any of the early primary states. And we’re told he’s been busy with preparations for his forthcoming book, “This is Herman Cain! My Journey To The White House!” to be released next week.

Even so, Cain’s been using his time in the spotlight to full effect. Yesterday, in an appearance on CNN, he went out on a limb, saying that he could not support Rick Perry if the Texas governor became the Republican nominee.

“Him being soft on securing the border is one of the reasons,” Cain said. “I feel strongly about the need to secure the border for real, the need to enforce the laws already there, the need to promote the path to citizenship, but more importantly, empower the states to enforce the national federal immigration laws. Because the federal government didn’t do it, can’t do it and never will do it, so that’s the where I think he and I have a difference of opinion.”

Despite the Cain-mentum, the battle for the Republican nomination still looks to us like a two-person race. (Or maybe three if New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie really gets in.) The other headline from yesterday’s Fox News poll was that Mitt Romney reclaimed the top spot in the survey, garnering the support of 23 percent of Republican primary voters while Perry won 19 percent. That represents a 10-point drop since Fox’s last poll at the end of August.

As Romney and Perry continue their bruising fight, how long can Christie or even Palin wait?

According to the Associated Press, New Hampshire has the earliest filing deadline: Nov. 18. Missouri’s is Nov. 22 and Florida’s is Nov. 25. But, with Missouri and Florida expected to change their primary dates, that would push their filing deadlines up.

CALENDAR CHAOS? Speaking of primaries, what’s the deal with the calendar? All indications are that Florida is serious about sticking with January 31 as the date to hold its nominating contest — a move that will force early, so-called “carve-out” states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to leapfrog ahead too. As Florida GOP state Rep. Will Weatherford told ABC, “We are going to do whatever it takes to be the fifth state.”

But the Sunshine State’s move would not come without consequences. Any non-carve-out state that chooses to hold its nominating contest before Mar. 6 faces the possibility that the Republican National Committee will strip them of half their delegates at the party’s national convention next summer.

Not only that but, as South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly told The Note, “in an effort to be more relevant, it’s just going to make everyone less relevant because a compressed calendar doesn’t benefit everyone.”

If Florida goes through with Jan. 31 primary the calendar could look something like this:

Jan. 9 or 10 — Iowa

Jan. 17 — New Hampshire

Jan. 21 — Nevada

Jan. 28 — South Carolina

Jan. 31 — Florida

Feb. 7 — Missouri

Feb. 28 — Arizona, Michigan

Mar. 6 — Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Idaho and Wyoming caucuses

More on the calendar fight within the GOP:


@ mpoindc : Bachmann on primary sked: Iowa “not a bad place to be for Christmas time. I’ll just stay with my relatives, so it won’t bother me at all”


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE.” ABC’s Amy Walter and Zach talk to South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Chad Connelly, and later, Joshua T. Putnam, a visiting assistant professor of political science at Davidson College who blogs at Frontloading HQ: Connelly and Putnam will both weigh in on the primary calendar wrangling. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.


NEWT’S NEW CONTRACT WITH AMERICA. ABC’s Sarah Kunin reports: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will reveal the framework for his ’21st Century Contract with America’ in Des Moines, Iowa today, unveiling what he refers to as “four pillars” of legislation and executive orders. Gingrich told The Daily Caller that the plan will be built upon new legislation, 50-200 executive orders to be signed immediately upon taking office, a revised training program for presidential appointees, and modernization of government. While his campaign confirmed that the contract’s structure will be released during a town hall event at Des Moines’ Principal Financial Group this afternoon, Gingrich himself notes that the full plan will not be released for at least a year. In his interview with The Daily Caller, Gingrich says that some of the ideas “are so new and so different we have not yet developed the ideas on how to do it.” In a letter sent to supporters on Wednesday, Gingrich compares his 1994 “Contract with America” with the one to be released today. “Our Contract with America in 1994 achieved historic reforms– 4 consecutive balanced budgets, welfare reform, controlled spending and the paying off of over $400 billion in debt — but the change wasn’t deep enough to be irreversible,” he said. “Since then, our problems have become much bigger, and both parties are at fault. For that reason, tomorrow’s 21st Century Contract with America will be broader and much more comprehensive.” The Des Moines Register has more details of Gingrich’s plan:


JOHN PAUL STEVENS: ONE REGRET. Retired Justice John Paul Stevens is a man of few regrets from his nearly 35 years on the Supreme Court, except one — his 1976 vote to reinstate the death penalty. “I really think that I’ve thought over a lot of cases I’ve written over the years.  And I really wouldn’t want to do any one of them over…With one exception,” he said in a recent interview ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “My vote in the Texas death case.  And I think I do mention that in that case, I think that I came out wrong on that,” Stevens said. More from George’s interview with the retired Supreme Court justice: Full transcript:



WHEN WILL CHRISTIE DECIDE? “The announcement may come as soon as Monday, said sources familiar with Christie’s thinking. The renewed consideration about a White House run came after prodding this week from some Republicans he idolizes, including former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and former President George W. Bush, sources said. ‘It’s more than just flattering,’ a source close to Christie said, adding they helped convince Christie that he not only could win, but that he has what it takes to be president,” reports the New York Post’s Josh Margolin and S.A. Miller.

DOWD ON CHRISTIE: “If he wants to run, I think he can wait until the end of this month and still do well.” That’s what ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” today. More from their conversation about the 2012 field.

OBAMA FUNDRAISER TANGLED UP WITH GREEN FIRMS. “Several of Barack Obama’s top campaign supporters went from soliciting political contributions to working from within the Energy Department as it showered billions in taxpayer-backed stimulus money on alternative energy firms, ABC News and iWatch News have learned,” according to ABC investigative reporters Matthew Mosk and Ronnie Greene. “One of them was Steven J. Spinner, a high-tech consultant and energy investor who raised at least $500,000 for the candidate. He became one of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s key loan program advisors while his wife’s law firm represented a number of companies that had applied for loans. Recovery Act records show Allison Spinner’s law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, received $2.4 million in federal funds for legal fees related to the $535 million Energy Department loan guarantee to Solyndra, a solar company whose financial meltdown has prompted multiple investigations. She pledged to take no portion of the money and did not work on the loan applications. s House Republicans step up their probe of the Obama administration’s green-energy loan program in the wake of Solyndra’s bankruptcy, a key focus — and open question — is whether the president’s political supporters had any hand in influencing which companies received the taxpayer support. ‘There is great concern over political influence contaminating the DOE loan guarantee program,’ said Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. … Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman, described Spinner as someone who had ‘no role’ in evaluating loan applications or selecting recipients. Spinner described his job differently.” More from the ABC News and iWatch News report:

PERRY FINE TUNES IMMIGRATION MESSAGE. “In an interview with CNBC Thursday morning, Texas Gov. Rick Perry explained that one way the federal government can help governors do their jobs is by strengthening the border,” notes ABC’s Arlette Saenz. “‘One of the things I wish the federal government would do that a lot of problems that we have to deal with as governors would go away if they would secure the border of this country with Mexico. We’re having to deal with the results of a federal government that has failed in their duty,” Perry said in an interview on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box.’ Perry suggested the federal government is to blame for creating new issues for states to deal with, such as determining whether states should offer in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, due to poor border security.  ’In Texas, and it’s a sovereign state issue, we decided it was better because the federal government forcing us to take care of these individuals and the federal government is who allowed them to come in with their lack of security.  We have to make decisions on how to deal with that in Texas.  We thought in 2001 it was the best interest of our state to have those young people educated rather than kicking them to the curb and not allowing them to be educated and then having to pay for them in some other form with government programs or what have you. But how to cure that is for the federal government to secure that border.’”

ANITA PERRY: UNPLUGGED. While her husband travels across the country fundraising this week, Anita Perry made a two-day swing through Iowa, campaigning on his behalf and assuring voters he’ll perform better in the next debate. Perry defended her husband’s performance at the GOP presidential debate last week, saying he has had no debate training. “He’s never had a debate class nor debate coach in his life,” Anita told an audience at a breakfast in Urbandale, Iowa yesterday. “He’s going to be better prepared this time.” WATCH:  (Video courtesy of American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive super-PAC that is tracking the Republican candidates.)

HISPANICS KEY TO 2012 VOTE. “The surging Hispanic population in several states that figure to be crucial to the outcome of next year’s election is prompting an early scramble by both parties to influence Hispanic voters,” reports the Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman. “The trend is particularly important to President Barack Obama, who has seen his support among white voters sag, putting his hold on several swing states in danger. He is ramping up an urgent effort to win support from Latinos, while Republicans are trying to build on doubts among them about his stewardship of the economy. In Florida, the nation’s largest presidential swing state, the voting-age Hispanic population grew by nearly 250,000 people between 2008 and 2010, census data show. By contrast, the voting-age white population grew by 30,400. Nevada added more than 44,000 voting-age Hispanics over the same period, more than double the increase of 18,000 voting-age whites. And in New Mexico, the voting-age Hispanic total rose by more than 36,000, outpacing the growth among whites of just over 19,000. Mr. Obama won all three states in 2008 — and two-thirds of Hispanic voters nationwide — but he’s now facing headwinds. Hispanic unemployment stands at 11.3%, higher than the 9.1% rate for the nation as a whole. And the president has failed to deliver a promised overhaul of immigration laws that would include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.”



@ Sarah_Kunin : Good news for Team Huntsman: Appears he WILL be able to participate in CNN debate with 4% in today’s Fox News poll. CNN hasn’t confirmed.

@ GOP12 : Fascinating — Tony Perkins says Chris Christie would have trouble with social conservatives

@ AlexPappasDC : In his book, Herman Cain expresses desire for his Secret Service codename to be “cornbread.”

@ HotlineReid : Levi Johnston says fame has improved him. Anyone else wish he’d stayed obscure?  #HotlineSort

@ ellencarmichael : Had a great time with some wonderful friends tonight. I’m a lucky gal.


Michele Bachmann attends NCGOP “All-American BBQ” Fundraiser in Concord, N.C. at 12:30 p.m. Bachmann attends a Business Roundtable in Charlotte at 2 p.m. She attends the Moore County GOP Fundraiser in Pinehurst at 7 p.m.

Newt Gingrich attends a town hall meeting with employees of the Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa at 12 p.m. At 6 p.m. he meets with grassroots activists at the Republican Party of Iowa headquarters in Des Moines.

* South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly announces the tentative 2012 presidential primary date for his state as well as a “2012 Presidential Primary Task Force” comprised of Republican elected officials and party leaders.

* Secretary of State Brian Kemp will announce the date of Georgia’s Presidential Primary at 11a.m.

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