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Insiders Divided Along Party Lines Over Impact of Primary on Romney
National Journal's Hotline On Call ^ | January 20, 2012 | Taylor West and Peter Bell

Posted on 01/20/2012 2:37:04 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

If frontrunner Mitt Romney survives the Republican primary process and becomes the party's presumptive nominee, a majority of Democrats surveyed in this week's National Journal Political Insiders Poll say he will enter the general election campaign a weaker candidate than when he began his run. But by an overwhelming margin, Republican Insiders feel the primary campaign has been a benefit, leaving Romney stronger and more prepared to take on President Obama.


Many Republicans feel the primary process has been a critical pressure-test for Romney's campaign skills, resulting in a more honed and prepared candidate.

"He has weathered incredible attacks and remained largely disciplined," said one GOP Insider. "Much more of this and he'll be weakened but for now, it's good practice for November."

"The primaries gave Romney the field-testing he needed and helped him build credibility with skeptics," agreed another Republican.

"It's the first time he's won outside of Massachusetts," pointed out a third. "He needed this. Most candidates improve through the process."

Some Democrats agreed. "He has gotten better in debates, more disciplined in his messaging and more comfortable as a candidate," said one. "Yes, he was exposed for being a flip-flopper, but that was going to happen anyway."

Republican strategists also felt Romney would ultimately benefit from the early airing of potent attacks likely to re-emerge in the general election, especially those related to Romney's time at private-equity firm Bain Capital.

"His wealth and the Bain bomb were going to become an issue regardless," reasoned one Republican Insider. "The primary campaign has made him a better candidate, better on his feet."

"It's much better to deal with the Bain Capital issues now, instead of later when Obama's billion-dollar campaign kicks in," said another.

"A primary almost always makes the eventual nominee stronger in terms of overall capacity as a candidate," echoed a Democratic Insider. "And anything that has come out now, such as the Bain attack, was going to come out."

Many Democratic Insiders, however, disagreed on that point, claiming that Romney's Republican opponents have set in motion negative messaging on Romney that will reinforce Democratic arguments in the general election.

"A ten-month discussion on his job-killing record at Bain is better than a three-month discussion," said one Democrat.

"The questions raised about Romney's lack of core principles and political opportunism are invaluable in forging his image with the American electorate," said another.

"His opponents have saved Obama countless hours and dollars by framing a line of attack," agreed a third.

A few Republicans expressed the same concern.

"We made Bain and 'vulture capitalism' an even more legitimate line of attack among non-Republicans," lamented one GOP Insider. "How can that help?"

Democratic Insiders also argued that Romney's persona is not well-suited to extended exposure to the American electorate.

"His disconnect from the lives of the majority of Americans is manifesting itself more every day," said one Democratic strategist.

Explained another: "Romney does not wear well. The more time you are exposed to him, the less you want to have a beer with him."

Still, at least one Republican looked to science to explain his optimism that Romney's roller-coaster ride in the primaries would ultimately benefit him.

"It's called hormesis: exposure to a toxin or stressor that makes you stronger. Thanks, Newt!"

Democrats: Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

Republicans: Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O'Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.

TOPICS: Massachusetts; Campaign News; Parties; Polls
KEYWORDS: 2012; democrats; polls; romney
So they're bound & determined to treat him like the presumptive nominee, no matter what?
1 posted on 01/20/2012 2:37:11 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yes, and he has only won one primary.

2 posted on 01/20/2012 2:41:43 PM PST by Racer1
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yep, but maybe there’s one sign that they’re not totally convinced of this:

I got to wondering, did ABC do Newt a favor by jumping on the ex-wife story now, early in the primary season, rather than having it come out in the general election? But that means ABC would have to be thinking that Newt stands a decent chance of being the nominee.

My conclusion is that they felt Newt was a big enough threat they needed to try to take him out sooner rather than later.

3 posted on 01/20/2012 2:46:46 PM PST by bigbob
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Yes, he was exposed for being a flip-flopper, but that was going to happen anyway."

LOL, quote of the year.

4 posted on 01/20/2012 2:48:54 PM PST by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: 2ndDivisionVet



You are NOT a frontrunner when 75% of the people want someone else

5 posted on 01/20/2012 2:49:01 PM PST by Mr. K (Physically unable to profreed <--- oops, see?)
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To: Racer1

He will be treated as the winner regardless. He got all the bump from Iowa because the MSM crowned him as the winner.

Then went back to totally ignoring Santorum, like they always do to conservatives in the primaries. Meanwhile we have Newt, no conservative there, being pushed by the GOP.

Conservatives no longer have a home in the GOP. This is looking like a rerun of 2008.

6 posted on 01/20/2012 2:49:42 PM PST by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If Romney emerges as the victor in the Republican primary, then he needs to be so broken and exposed that he is permanently damaged.

The Romney branch of the GOP is not desperate to defeat Obama, they are desperate to stop this era’s effort for conservatives to take the party over, once and for all.

We are very close this time, closer than ever, Romney’s defeat is imperative for us to win, if he wins, then we are blocked and marginalized.

7 posted on 01/20/2012 2:52:02 PM PST by ansel12 (Romney is unquestionably the weakest party front-runner in contemporary political history.)
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To: Racer1
I love the way the media continually uses the “assumptive close” when they talk about Mitt. They want him so badly because they have seen that he is a glass jawed, manufactured champion who will fold like a cheap suit.

They're partly right though, the primaries have been useful in exposing Mitt's weaknesses.

There are many pseudo-conservatives crying with the same argument that we are “weakening” poor Mitt as the campaign gets more heated.

That isn't possible. You can't weaken him if he's the real deal - and he clearly is not.

Another one I have been hearing from pundits in the moderate Murdoch media is that those who are supporting anyone but Romney “are giving ammunition to the Democrats for the 2012 general election!”.

That is quite pathetic for a pundit to show such shallow understanding. They actually think that the Democrat Party isn't going to NOTICE Mitt's weaknesses if WE don't point them out.

When Newt wins, these people need to be reminded again and again where they stood. These are the same type of folks with whom I remember arguing about the imprudence of supporting Charlie Crist and Mark Foley - when everyone KNEW what they were. Publius321

8 posted on 01/20/2012 2:56:07 PM PST by publius321
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9 posted on 01/20/2012 3:04:09 PM PST by deoetdoctrinae (Gun-Free zones are playgrounds for felons)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Gallup Editor: Romney Lead ‘Collapsing’
Friday, January 20, 2012 11:34 AM

By: Margaret Menge

Gallup’s top editor told MSNBC this morning that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s lead in the polls is “collapsing” across the nation, citing polling numbers that have changed dramatically over the last few days.

Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor in chief, appeared on the MSNBC’s “Jansing & Co.” to share the results of Gallup’s national tracking poll. The gap between Romney and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is quickly closing, according to that poll.

“We’ll see this gap closing more,” said Newport. “Romney was up 23 points over Newt Gingrich. Now it will be down about 10 points. So clearly, things are collapsing.”

10 posted on 01/20/2012 3:15:45 PM PST by KeyLargo
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If Romney loses SC he is done.

11 posted on 01/20/2012 3:17:51 PM PST by fortheDeclaration (All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Burke)
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To: Zuben Elgenubi

But not so fast. The 2012 Republican presidential primaries are not only about winning states but are also about the number of delegates won by each candidate. There are 2,286 delegates. A candidate must accumulate 1,144 delegate votes to win. Following the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire Primary, the delegate count stands at Mitt Romney (14); Ron Paul (10); Rick Santorum (8); Rick Perry (4); Newt Gingrich (3); and Jon Huntsman (2).

Does Romney have the passion and the communication skills essential to win the presidency for Republicans in November against a sitting president who has the ability to twist facts so they favor and enhance his image, abetted by a sympathetic and willing main stream media?

It takes both passion and communication to contrast conservative ideas over those of liberalism. If not a full-fledged conservative at heart, speaking with clarity and without hesitation becomes difficult to do because there is a disconnect in the brain between what one really believes and the explanations given in explaining positions.

When expressed in an authentic and positive way, the ideals and principles attached to conservatism will attract positive attention. The reverse is true when the conveyor of conservative principles is perceived as a phony. Mitt Romney, to many conservatives, lacks authenticity.

Romney didn’t do himself any good when on January 12, in the wake of his New Hampshire primary victory, he likened himself to President Barack Obama as a former governor. During an appearance of CBS, Romney said his job cutting actions at his Bain Capital investment firm were no different from Obama’s bailouts of the U.S. auto industry.

12 posted on 01/20/2012 3:19:04 PM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Racer1

So what the hell are they saying? That this entire primary process has been a training exercise to hone romney?
Because if that is what they are implying, I am inferring that we haven’t hit him nearly hard enough yet and we had better get cracking.

13 posted on 01/20/2012 3:41:59 PM PST by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Who cares what a bunch of rats think?

14 posted on 01/20/2012 6:19:55 PM PST by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Go Steelers (what's the baseball team called again?))
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