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Gingrich Leads Republican Presidential Race Polls December 16, 2011

In less than three weeks, Republican voters in the Midwestern state of Iowa will attend caucus meetings to express their preference in the race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.  Iowa will be the first test in what could be a lengthy battle for the party nomination that at the moment appears to be between two top contenders, former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

The latest batch of public opinion surveys gives Newt Gingrich a lead over Mitt Romney by margins ranging from 6 to 17 points.

Gingrich is also running well in some of the early-voting states like Iowa, South Carolina and Florida that play a major role in the presidential nominating process.

Romney and some of the other Republican presidential contenders have stepped up their attacks on Gingrich in hopes of slowing his momentum.

Gingrich says he wants to remain positive. “When I was down at the very bottom of the polls, I stayed positive.  Now that I’m the frontrunner, I’m staying positive,” said Gingrich.

Romney is attacking Gingrich, saying the former speaker has a history of being an unreliable conservative and that he will not hesitate to point out how he differs with Gingrich.

“This is, after all, politics.  There is no whining in politics,” said Romney.

Gingrich is also trying to fend off criticism of his personal life, especially previous admissions that he was not faithful in his two prior marriages.

Texas Governor Rick Perry noted that in a recent debate.

“I’ve always kind of been of the opinion that if you cheat on your wife, you’ll cheat on your business partner,” said Perry.

Gingrich has admitted personal failings and sought forgiveness, something that could appeal to evangelical Christian voters who are a major force in the Republican Party.

“And I think people have to render judgment.  In my case, I’ve said up-front openly that I have made mistakes at times.  I’ve had to go to God for forgiveness.  I’ve had to seek reconciliation,” said Gingrich.

But even some Republicans say that Gingrich had a divisive and difficult tenure as Speaker of the House in the 1990s.

New York Republican Representative Peter King is among those who question whether Gingrich has the right temperament to be president.

“I saw the damage he did to the Republican Party and to the Congress.  And I think I owe it to my constituents and to my country not to allow that to happen again,” said King.

Gingrich is the latest candidate to gain favor in the polls with conservative Republicans, says Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown.

“There are a large number of Republican voters, many who describe themselves as Tea Party supporters who are conservative Republicans, and they have been shopping for a candidate,” said Brown.

Brown adds that conservatives seem to be looking for an alternative to Romney, the man long considered the favorite to win the Republican Party nomination.

“For some reason, this group of conservative voters is not at this stage embracing Mr. Romney.  Perhaps they don’t think he is sufficiently conservative.  Whatever the reason, Mr. Romney does have a problem with this group,” added Brown.

The nominating process begins January 3 in Iowa with its presidential caucuses.  That begins a series of primaries and caucus votes that will run into June.  The process will conclude with the formal selection of a Republican nominee at the party’s national convention in Tampa, Florida, in early September.

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Mitt Romney attacked as out of touch over $10,000 TV bet attempt December 12, 2011

Mitt Romney was accused of being out of touch with working-class America on Sunday, after the Republican presidential candidate tried to make an impromptu $10,000 bet during a TV debate.

The slip, at the time of high unemployment and a growing poverty divide, could damage Romney three weeks before the first of the Republican contests in Iowa.

His critics said the issue was not that he offered the bet but the size of it, consolidating Romney’s reputation as a very rich man seeking to buy his way to power.

Even before the bet offer, Romney, one of the favourites to win the Republican nomination to take on Barack Obama in November’s White House election, had been slipping in the polls. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is now the front-runner.The gaffe came when a rival candidate, Texas governor Rick Perry, claimed Romney had supported national healthcare reform in a passage in his book that was excised from the paperback edition.

Romney – who brought in healthcare reform in Massachusetts that was similar to Barack Obama’s, in a move unpopular with conservatives – denied he supported the measure nationwide or that the passage had been in the first edition.

“Rick, I’ll tell you what: $10,000 bucks? Ten thousand bet?,” Romney said, extending his hand to shake. Perry, a Christian evangelical who may have a principled stand on betting or maybe because he was wrong about the book, declined.

“I’m not in the betting business but I will show you the book,” Perry said.

It was the first time that a bet has been offered in more than 50 years of televised political debates in the US.

Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for another candidate, Michele Bachmann, told ABC, who hosted the debate: “For someone to go and throw around a $10,000 bet, just goes to show even more that he’s not the same level as the people of Iowa or the country.”

Bill Burton, who is helping to organise Obama’s re-election campaign, wrote on Twitter: “Not a lot of 99%’ers are out there making $10,000 bets.”

Romney has struggled to win over Republican voters, failing to get his poll support much above 25%, partly because of suspicion of his Mormonism among the Christian right but also because of his wealth. In the 2008 campaign, he spent $42m of his own money.

Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s press spokesman, tried to laugh the incident off, saying it was not a serious bet. “I’ve made bets with friends and family for $1m,” Fehrnstrom said. He added that Romney had made the bet because he knew Perry would not take it. “This guy was wrong. It was a phoney allegation.”

The Republican race has been one of the most mercurial in recent history, as candidates have emerged only to fade after a few weeks. Polls show two-thirds of Republicans are undecided, dissatisfied with the entire field or prepared to switch. On Sunday a poll gave Newt Gingrich double-digit leads in South Carolina and Florida.

Gingrich, as frontrunner, was the main target in the Saturday night debate in Des Moines, the 13th so far, with one more scheduled before Iowa. His rivals focused on his alleged work as a lobbyist, his three marriages and his views on the Middle East.

Who is the wealthiest of them all?

Mitt Romney: The wealthiest candidate: in his last financial disclosure, during his 2008 White House bid, he put his personal wealth at between $190m and $250m, most of it from his time in business. About $42m has to be deducted from that, the amount of his own cash spent on the failed bid.

Jon Huntsman: Although at the bottom of the polls, he is runner-up in terms of wealth. He listed his personal assets this year as between $15m and $66m, much of it from a chemical company set up by his father.

Newt Gingrich: His finances appear shambolic, with his assets changing dramatically from year to year. He earned $2.5m last year, mainly, he says, from speeches and books but also, controversially, from his own consultancies, which his rivals say are for lobbying, a charge he denies. His consultancies have earned an estimated $100m over the past decade.

Ron Paul: His assets are between $2.29m and $5.3m, based on his disclosure in the 2008 White House race.

Rick Santorum: His personal assets, based on his financial disclosure when he was in the Senate in 2006, put him in the range of $522,000 to $1.8m.

Michele Bachmann: She is worth $1m to $2.5m, mostly profits from a therapy clinic (where gay people can allegedly pray to be “cured”). A family farm brings in $5,000 to $15,000. She is carrying $350,000 in debts: a $250,000 mortgage and a $100,000 business loan.

Rick Perry: A spokesman for the Texas governor’s office put his wealth as of 2009 as $896,000, held in a blind trust. He has made his money mainly from buying and selling houses. He has debts of about $70,000, including a car loan for a Mercedes.

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Gingrich Surging in Iowa Poll as Cain Exits December 4, 2011


December 4, 2011

by legitgov

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Gingrich Surging in Iowa Poll as Cain Exits 03 Dec 2011 Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia has opened up a lead in the latest poll in Iowa, the state where the first votes in the Republican Party’s presidential nomination race will be cast a month from now. Gingrich has the support of 25 percent of likely caucus participants in the latest Iowa Poll from the Des Moines Register newspaper.

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Herman Cain to make announcement December 3, 2011

Herman Cain has been discussing his White House bid with his wife Gloria

US Republican Herman Cain is expected to announce on Saturday whether his run for the White House will continue.

The Georgia businessman has been under mounting pressure to quit following an adultery allegation, which he denies.

He discussed with his wife, Gloria, on Friday whether to press on with his campaign, which has also been rocked by sexual harassment claims.

The former pizza executive has gone from obscure longshot to unlikely frontrunner to tabloid fodder.

While Mr Cain’s ratings have slumped, support for former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged.

Mr Gingrich has now overtaken Mitt Romney in some opinion polls on who should be the Republican candidate to challenge Barack Obama for the White House in November 2012.

‘Sexual affair’

Mr Cain’s campaign said there would be a “major announcement” on Saturday from Atlanta, Georgia, where he is due to open a campaign headquarters at 11:00 (16:00 GMT).

At a town hall meeting in South Carolina on Friday, Mr Cain – who led the Republican race barely more than a month ago – dismissed the stories about him as “garbage”.

But the 65-year-old also said: “I am reassessing because of all this media firestorm stuff.

“Why? Because my wife and family come first. I’ve got to take that into consideration.”

Mr Cain then went to his suburban Atlanta home for his first face-to-face meeting with Gloria, his wife of 42 years, since the adultery allegations came to light.

An Atlanta woman, Ginger White, 46, came forward on Monday to claim she had a 13-year affair with him.

Speaking to MSNBC on Thursday, Ms White denied they had been in love, saying: “It was a sexual affair – as hard as that is for me to say.”

While rejecting any suggestion of an affair with Ms White, Mr Cain has acknowledged helping pay her monthly bills and expenses, and that his wife did not know about the friendship.

New poll crash

His crunch decision looms a month before Iowa holds the first of a series of state-by-state contests, known as primaries and caucuses, that will help pick the Republican nominee.

Ginger White claims Herman Cain paid for her flights to meet him

A new poll by the Des Moines Register newspaper in that state shows Mr Cain’s support among Republican voters has plunged to 8%, from 23% in October.

The Cain campaign has been on damage-control mode since it emerged a little more than a month ago that a restaurant lobby group had paid settlements to two women who claimed he sexually harassed them while he was president of the organisation in the 1990s.

A third woman accused Mr Cain of making improper sexual advances, while another said he put his hand up her skirt in 1997 when she approached him for help finding work.

He has denied wrongdoing in all cases.

This week, his campaign unveiled a Women for Herman Cain webpage with testimonials from female supporters, led by Gloria Cain.

The former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive – who has never won an election – was propelled by conservative Tea Party support to the front of the Republican field in October.

Portraying himself as a business-savvy, anti-establishment outsider, he captured the spotlight with his folksy charm and catchy 9-9-9 tax reform proposal.

But supporters were also alarmed when he made confusing comments about abortion and badly fumbled a question on Libya policy in a recorded interview.

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Herman Cain ‘reassesses’ campaign November 29, 2011


Ginger White: “There were threats of people coming out with their version”

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain is “reassessing” his White House campaign amid a claim he had a 13-year affair, he has told aides.

A 46-year-old woman, Ginger White, said on Monday that she had a relationship with Mr Cain, who is married.

In recent weeks Mr Cain has also faced a series of allegations of sexual harassment dating from his time as head of a restaurant lobby group.

Mr Cain has denied Ms White’s story and all claims of sexual harassment.

Before the accusations began to emerge, the Georgia businessman had enjoyed a lead in several opinion polls.

Continue reading the main story

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We have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud”

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Herman Cain

But since then he has seen his ratings slip, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged ahead.

In a conference call with campaign staff on Tuesday, Mr Cain once again denied that he had ever had a sexual relationship with Ms White.

“I deny those charges, unequivocally,” he said.

“That being said, obviously, this is cause for reassessment,” he added.

“We have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud, in some people’s minds, as to whether or not they would be able to support us going forth.”

He concluded by telling his team: “If a decision is made, different than to plough ahead, you all will be the first to know.”

‘Consensual conduct’

Ms White said in an interview on Monday evening with an Atlanta-based TV channel that her alleged relationship with the presidential hopeful had been “pretty simple”.

“I was aware that he was married,” she said. “And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.”

Ginger White claims Herman Cain paid for her flights to meet him around the US

She also said their relationship ended about eight months ago, shortly before Mr Cain announced he would be running for the White House.

Hours before her interview was due to air, Mr Cain appeared on CNN and denied the allegations pre-emptively.

He acknowledged that he had known his accuser for some time and had helped her financially, but maintained their relationship had never been romantic.

“Here we go again. I didn’t do anything wrong,” Mr Cain said.

However, a statement from Lin Wood, the candidate’s lawyer, did not attempt to deny Ms White’s accusations.

It said: “The public’s right to know and the media’s right to report has boundaries, and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door.”

He described the woman’s story as “an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults”, which was not a “proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public”.

Ms White’s allegations follow accusations from four women that Mr Cain sexually harassed them during his tenure as head of a restaurant lobby group in the 1990s.

He has admitted that a financial settlement was reached with one of his accusers, Karen Kraushaar.

Another woman, Sharon Bialek, went public with her accusation that Mr Cain groped her when she asked him for help finding a job.

Mr Cain has said all the allegations are “baseless” and that they were a “smear campaign” designed to sabotage his lead in opinion polls.

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