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Peeking Out From the McCain Wreckage: Mitt Romney
New York Observer ^ | November 6, 2008 | Steve Kornaki

Posted on 11/07/2008 6:20:56 AM PST by Leisler

Facing reporters the day after she and John McCain went down to defeat, Sarah Palin professed not to be thinking much about the next presidential election.

“2012 sounds so far off,” she said.

Of course, that’s exactly the kind of answer that any potential presidential candidate is supposed to give now and for the next two years or so – until the 2010 midterm elections signal the more formal start of the next White House campaign cycle.

And make no mistake: the race is very much underway, and it has been for some time. In fact, there’s already been a poll, conducted on Election Night by pollster Neil Newhouse. It found that among Republicans, 33 percent believe Mitt Romney should be the party’s new leader, with 20 percent choosing Mike Huckabee and 18 percent for Sarah Palin. (Granted, the poll wasn’t actually asking who should be the 2012 G.O.P. nominee, but it’s good enough for now.)

That’s probably a fairly accurate representation of the Republican race at this early stage.

Romney essentially began his 2012 campaign the instant he dropped out of this year’s contest. Instead of pulling the plug with a subdued press conference, Romney tried to use his withdrawal to curry favor with the party base, dramatically announcing at the February Conservative Political Action Conference that he didn’t want “to be a part of aiding a surrender to terror” by weakening John McCain any further.

Then, after months of bloodying McCain as a traitor to the conservative cause (even though Romney had defined himself in Massachusetts in opposition to the conservative wing of the G.O.P.), he abruptly threw himself into McCain’s effort in a transparent effort to win the No. 2 slot on the G.O.P. ticket – which would have given him a significant leg up in 2012 (or 2016, had he and McCain won). But the Romney-for-VP effort fell apart because of McCain’s lingering distaste for Romney and his spineless opportunism and because some conservative leaders in the party – whose minds were also on 2012 – aroused McCain’s suspicions by aggressively and publicly pushing against Romney’s competitors for the running-mate gig, most notably Joe Lieberman.

Still, even though he didn’t get his wish, Romney has emerged from the 2008 campaign as the early ’12 front-runner. He has solid support among the conservative base, though he struggled to connect with some religious conservatives because of his Mormon faith. But because of his corporate background and style, his youthful energy and his impressive communication skills, Romney has the ability to sell himself as a more mainstream (read: less threatening to moderates and independents) conservative than other candidates who pander to the Christian right. With this potential and the support and name recognition he already has in place, Romney is the clear G.O.P. leader.

That said, Romney dodged a big bullet these past few months, because his ’12 preeminence was initially jeopardized when McCain chose Palin as his running-mate. Palin immediately connected with the culturally conservative heart of the Republican Party, a subset of the Republican base (which also includes more traditional economic conservatives who don’t dabble in the kind of resentment politics that defines cultural conservatism). That bond was only reinforced during the fall campaign, with cultural conservatives rallying to Palin’s defense against what they convinced themselves was a concerted push by the liberal media to destroy her.

The threat to Romney was that Palin would expand on this intense base of support during the campaign, creating the kind of broad appeal for herself that Romney can still potentially achieve. Had she done that, she would have supplanted him as the ’12 front-runner.

She got off to a solid-looking start. A week after McCain picked her, Palin delivered a mesmerizing convention address in which she showed poise, polish and humor. In the week leading up to her speech, Americans had heard Democrats tirelessly raise questions about her experience, but her command performance set their concerns at ease. Polls in the wake of the G.O.P. convention found most independent voters buying into the Republican line that Palin was being unfairly singled out for criticism. They were warming up to her and she was a clear asset for McCain.

But she couldn’t keep it up. Instead, she spent the rest of the campaign systematically undoing all of the good she did for herself with that convention speech. The Sarah Palin that voters saw on the campaign trail this fall – and in interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric – confirmed to independent and mainstream Republican voters that Palin was in well over her head. By Election Day, she had become Tina Fey’s impersonation of her, and just 30 percent of voters believed she was qualified to serve as president.

Palin, therefore, emerges from this race as a tremendously polarizing figure. She retains a large and fanatical fan base among cultural conservatives – one that would make her a factor in any G.O.P. primary campaign, and a contender in some states, like Iowa. But she has also alienated much of her party and most independents; it is difficult to envision her assembling a winning coalition in a ’12 campaign for the G.O.P. nomination.

That leaves Romney sitting pretty (for now, anyway) and suggests that Palin might be a bigger threat to Huckabee, who dealt with the same kind of ceiling this spring that Palin now faces (virtually no appeal beyond religious and cultural conservatives). As of now, Palin and Huckabee will be scrapping over the same basic turf in ’12. Obviously, this would hurt both of them – and help Romney enormously.

But, as Palin said on Wednesday, 2012 is a long way off. She and Huckabee can both try to use the next few years to broaden their appeal. Huckabee has been hosting a late night variety show on the Fox News Channel for a few months now, and Palin could be in line for a television offer of her own at some point.

There will also be other candidates in ‘12, any of whom might emerge as the new front-runner, or at least alter the dynamics in a way favorable to Romney, Palin or Huckabee. Newt Gingrich, for instance, is plainly itching to run. A governor or two, along with a few senators or House members, will also inevitably toy with the race, and some of them will enter.

But for now, it can be said that Romney will get what he wanted the day he dropped out back in February: another shot at the nomination


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: gop; mormonism; rino; rnc; romney
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To: GOP_Lady
He's not a leader. He's a manager. A margialist. He works for small percentage differences. In a way, there is no there there with Mitt. He's kind of the Republican in the Grey Flannel suit, but not quite, as in the book and moving the character was introspective.

Often derided for being ‘plastic’, Mitt is more a creature of narrow, albeit successful, experience.

I've heard that you can tell a man by his enemies. Oddly, the only ones that express strong dissonance to Mitt, are in the GOP. The GOP can live without Mitt, but not without its conservatives. Without them, it is moderate Democrats, which actually is the GOP.

Do I think that if the 66% of the GOP gets behind Mitt, Mitt can get elected? Yes, but it's not happening. Mitt has rebranded himself too many times.

101 posted on 11/07/2008 7:44:54 AM PST by Leisler (Obama is going to give us all Unicorns!)
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To: Leisler

Hey Mitt, you’re a MORMON! Ain’t no way you your ever gonna be elected unless you dye your skin black, move to Indonesia and become a Muslim!


102 posted on 11/07/2008 7:46:42 AM PST by Doc Savage ("Are you saying Jesus can't hit a curve ball? - Harris to Cerrano - Major League)
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To: Leisler
When is Willard going to get the message that the base of the Republican party is never going to accept him as a Presidential candidate?
103 posted on 11/07/2008 7:48:40 AM PST by Ol' Sparky (Liberal Republicans are the greater of two evils)
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To: GOP_Lady

Romney is a very polarizing figure. There are few that are neutral to him. People either support him or oppose him. 33% support means the opposition is large - the same sort of opposition McCain faced for his history.


104 posted on 11/07/2008 7:54:51 AM PST by Ingtar (For the first time in my adult life, I am NOT proud of America.)
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To: GOP_Lady
"33 percent believe Mitt Romney should be the party’s new leader..."

What it means to me is that we need new choices. If Mittens thinks he's just going to park his butt on a shelf for the next couple of years, waiting for the party to call him to ride in on his white horse, he's sadly mistaken.

Our future leaders will come from the people who are best able to oppose the Obamunism agenda. We need a new "Contract With America" to spell out solid proposals for how we will restore America's greatness. In about a year and a half, the fools who thought that vague promises of "Change and Hope" will solve anything will have their heads sufficiently out of their posteriors to pay attention to it.

That's how we got past Mr. "I feel your pain" sixteen years ago, that's how we'll work our way out of this situation. The American people just need a reminder every so often that flaky slogans accomplish nothing.

105 posted on 11/07/2008 7:55:04 AM PST by hunter112 (We are the John Galt we've been waiting for.)
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To: GOPsterinMA
/This election re-emphasised something that some (me included) forgot: IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID!!!!!!

Right. Poor economic conditions sink the party in the White House. Why on earth do you think Romney would have stopped that, especially since he is linked to Wall Street and the general public was blamed Wall Street for the financial crisis?

It doesn't take a man that raised taxes/fees and bankrupted Massachusetts with socialized health care legislation that is from Wall Street to articulate conservative economic principles. Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal can do that just fine.

106 posted on 11/07/2008 7:55:43 AM PST by Ol' Sparky (Liberal Republicans are the greater of two evils)
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To: perfect_rovian_storm
Mitt Romney is welcome in the GOP

He is welcome to take his best shot in Michigan or Massachusetts at Senate seat or governorship. That's it.

107 posted on 11/07/2008 7:57:09 AM PST by Ol' Sparky (Liberal Republicans are the greater of two evils)
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To: Earthdweller
100% agreed on the reason for the negatives...plus I would add that she was "over-handled" by the McCain campaign...however, it is difficult to dispel a perception with the American public (Dan Quayle)...a "net plus" here at FR means little to that perception.

Palin needs to continue to do a good job in Alaska and start a journey on the Republican rubber chicken circuit, outline a vision, write op-eds and a book...hey, it worked for Reagan!!!...magritte
108 posted on 11/07/2008 7:59:52 AM PST by magritte (If a problem comes along, you must whip it.)
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To: GOP_Lady

33% does not a consenses make. Thirty three percent of Americans believe in ghosts, UFO’s, astrology, witchcraft and reincarnation.


109 posted on 11/07/2008 8:00:53 AM PST by colorcountry (To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: colorcountry

spelled “consensus.” Sheesh


110 posted on 11/07/2008 8:01:49 AM PST by colorcountry (To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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To: beaversmom
I’d take Mitt too right now over Obama.

I'd take George HW Bush over Romney now, too. That doesn't mean I want to settle for someone like him over a Reagan conservative in 2012.

111 posted on 11/07/2008 8:02:15 AM PST by Ol' Sparky (Liberal Republicans are the greater of two evils)
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To: Leisler

NO, NO, NO to anyone that ran in the primaries of 2008! Have seen enough to last a lifetime. The undermining of Sarah Palin by the Romney supporters in the McCain campaign will not be forgotten.

We need new blood and not someone who was not a team player. We need someone who has always been conservative not someone who sticks a finger in the wind.

Romney, Huckabee, McCain, Rudy, Thompson — JUST SAY NO!


112 posted on 11/07/2008 8:02:49 AM PST by PhiKapMom ( BOOMER SOONER LetsGetThisRight.com)
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To: beaversmom
I’d take Mitt too right now over Obama.

I'd take George HW Bush over Obama now, too. That doesn't mean I want to settle for someone like him over a Reagan conservative in 2012.

113 posted on 11/07/2008 8:02:56 AM PST by Ol' Sparky (Liberal Republicans are the greater of two evils)
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To: Ol' Sparky

I wish he would go for Reid’s seat in NV. If he takes a residence there now, he would probably win.


114 posted on 11/07/2008 8:04:21 AM PST by perfect_rovian_storm (One good thing about 11/4: I no longer have to pretend that I like John McCain.)
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To: Earthdweller

“And why pray tell does Palin have negatives? Why... the leftist MSM of course!.

I believe most people around here would call that a net plus for Palin.”

Agree. Would like to see her plan around the negativity and make a strong comeback. She could get on the speaking circuit, maybe as an advocate for Down’s Syndrome, boost herself with the public, and counter the past and future media attacks.


115 posted on 11/07/2008 8:04:59 AM PST by Heart of Georgia
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To: magritte
Maybe the Rothschild's will help her with the financing...who knows. All the other losers had a benefactor...she just has herself and now half the Country. Obviously, that wasn't enough to pay people off.

Palin needs to go on Fox...frequently and smile at the camera. She needs to make the rounds in conservative circles and take Ivy league classes and get her leftist toilet paper. She needs to kiss the right butts in the beltway. That's how the game is played.

116 posted on 11/07/2008 8:06:56 AM PST by Earthdweller (Socialism makes you feel better about oppressing people.....)
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To: Doc Savage

Hey, in defense of Mormons, they were critical in defeating the gay marriage ban in CA.

They took a lot of BS from the media and the fag lobby.


117 posted on 11/07/2008 8:07:10 AM PST by JRochelle
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To: JRochelle

Oops, should say they were critical in passing the gay marriage ban!!


118 posted on 11/07/2008 8:08:05 AM PST by JRochelle
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To: Earthdweller
The Republican Party is like a big corporation, you have to kiss the right butt and have the right connections...

I think we need a good female conservative in the top mix for 2012 and Palin is at the top...any other choices at this point?...magritte
119 posted on 11/07/2008 8:11:33 AM PST by magritte (If a problem comes along, you must whip it.)
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To: Doc Savage

I’d vote for Jeff Flake. Check him out, he’s good.


120 posted on 11/07/2008 8:11:55 AM PST by Leisler (Obama is going to give us all Unicorns!)
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To: magritte

Send Palin money....Lots of it.


121 posted on 11/07/2008 8:12:34 AM PST by Earthdweller (Socialism makes you feel better about oppressing people.....)
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To: Ol' Sparky

Yep, that’s why I said I’m looking for some fresh faces over the same old lineup from 2008. Heck, as rotten as Bill Clinton was, I think I’d take him over BO too. Bill was an opportunist. BO is a true believer. Maybe I’m wrong, but the true believer scares me more.


122 posted on 11/07/2008 8:12:38 AM PST by beaversmom
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To: Leisler
Tell Willard to hide back in the wreckage. We don't want him nor do we need him.
123 posted on 11/07/2008 8:15:24 AM PST by Dead Corpse (What would a free man do?)
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To: sionnsar

Look on the bright side. 67% think he should NOT. ;)


124 posted on 11/07/2008 8:18:25 AM PST by kalee
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To: GOP_Lady

Yes, it means 67% don’t want him.


125 posted on 11/07/2008 8:28:04 AM PST by kalee
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To: Retired Greyhound
Well, we will know with 'certainty'. That said, I love Sarah; and hope she will be back soon. Just have to wonder; how the Alyskyites; ascending to power, will fix things, whereby they guarantee their own 'long-term' success.
126 posted on 11/07/2008 8:30:40 AM PST by cricket (America's Freedom Rings! T hank You ~ U..S.A. Military~)
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To: Leisler

The last thing we’re going to unify around is the notion that what really killed McCain was Sarah Palin.

Those “insiders” (I think many of them are previous Romney supporters who want to kill her and Bobby Jindal off because Romney wants to run in the next presidential race) blaming Palin for McCain’s loss are the very people who reneged on their promise (done-deal-negotiated) to allow O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly to interview her, choosing rather to set her up for interviews (to be “edited” later) with their friends and former working colleagues. Nicolle Wallace (a CBS news analyst until February 2008 when McCain hired her as his campaign adviser) kept her away from them in favor of her friend, Katie Couric, et.al.

Lots more on that score, here: http://rsmccain.blogspot.com/2008/11/worthless-gop-campaign-hacks.html

And in addition, Ann Coulter wrote this:

“..Like Sarah Connor in “The Terminator,” Sarah Palin is destined to give birth to a new movement. That’s why the Democrats are trying to kill her. And Arnold Schwarzenegger is involved somehow, too.”

The Reign of Lame Falls Mainly on McCain
by Ann Coulter 11/05/2008 ET
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?print=yes&id=29385


127 posted on 11/07/2008 8:48:49 AM PST by Matchett-PI (Saul Alinsky's radical operatives have succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.)
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To: sionnsar
>>>33 percent believe Mitt Romney should be the party’s new leader--- You have got to be kidding.

74.9% of FReepers said they would support him right before Super Tuesday. IOW, He passed the most conservaitve litmus test there is on the web. Sure it was after Fred and Duncan dropped out but a Bronze medal finish on FR is something to brag about.

The "rumors" are lies. The true sources like Nicolle Wallace were outed here on FR the week before the election. The Spectators source was CNN. Of course the RDS crowd tried to keep the lie going through the election. Their anti-Romney bashing served to keep the anti-Palin story alive and emphasized GOP divisions the last week of the race. The MSM played some FReepers like a fiddle hurting both Palin and Romney at the same time. by keeping the story alive the subject was not how good Palin was but how unprepared. By falsely crediting Romney they also premptively attacked him.

The same thing occurred during the primary with the anti Fred rumors. The MSM attributed them to a former Romney aide. Novak heard the rumor and repeated it. It turned out to be a former McCain staffer Mike Murphy. The MSM kept the lie alive as long as possible. The story had two effects. They could show how terrible Fred was and falsely attribute to Romney.

128 posted on 11/07/2008 8:51:40 AM PST by Rameumptom (Gen X= they killed 1 in 4 of us)
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To: cricket
Romney Supporters Trashing Palin
129 posted on 11/07/2008 9:03:23 AM PST by jellybean (Who is John Galt? ~ Proud Ann-droid and a Steyn-aholic)
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To: GOP_Lady

Hello Carl...I've got some really great stuff to tell you about Sarah Palin....

130 posted on 11/07/2008 9:07:06 AM PST by jellybean (Who is John Galt? ~ Proud Ann-droid and a Steyn-aholic)
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To: jellybean

Cute. Do you have anything else to add?


131 posted on 11/07/2008 9:13:25 AM PST by GOP_Lady
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To: SE Mom
he’s a Republican, not a conservative.

Excellent observation! You hit the nail right on the head.

132 posted on 11/07/2008 9:14:24 AM PST by CommerceComet
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To: Rameumptom
That, even if all, 100% true, and more like it...is all on the margin.

Mitt is/was a liberal, from a dying strain of Northeast, upper Mid-West, elite prep school liberal Republicans. Even GW bailed out on his father's brand. HW only got elected from the momentum of Reagan and covering his nature. Once exposed as a raising new taxes, bi-partisan, he couldn't beat Clinton.

Now, McCain, another bi-partisan, mish mash economic/liberal put the pillow to conservative enthusiasm. Can you imagine where he would be without Palin?

Real conservative Republicans and even conservative Democrats did well in this election.

Mitt has had one single uninspired term of a decaying, dying leftist state, of which except for Federally funded RomneyCare, he left no impact. None. Zero. Zip.

For Mormons only Mormon voters, their best chance is the more accessible, true conservative Jeff Flake. Mitt's day has come and gone as far as the Presidency is concerned. I do hope is excellent organization skills, true decency and patriotism will be used. There is plenty to do, and not enough people to do it. But I don't see Mitt as a ideological leader of non liberal Republicans.

133 posted on 11/07/2008 9:15:55 AM PST by Leisler (Obama is going to give us all Unicorns!)
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To: GOPsterinMA
Which brings me back to IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID!!!!!! To defeat the Dems, we must do what must be done. If that means going with a Romney as a person with an economic background, so be it.

Are you kidding? Swing voters don't care if some candidate has an "economic background." If they think the economy is good, they tend to vote for the incumbent. If they think it's bad, they tend to vote for the challenger. They couldn't care less about the qualifications of either one.

134 posted on 11/07/2008 9:18:27 AM PST by Sloth (What's the difference between taxation and armed robbery, aside from who's doing it?)
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To: GOP_Lady

Good to see you are still there.
From this hatefest, one would think Romney had been the candidate and had lost.
This hatefest is what gave us McCain.
At least Romney would have been an articulate fighter.


135 posted on 11/07/2008 9:24:37 AM PST by broncobilly
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To: Sloth

You are right about the people not caring about qualifications though. If they were, Obamarx bin Biden would not have won.

Ok then. The GOP should name the latest American Idol winner as it’s nominee. Qualifications (including age and status of citizenship) be damned!

Let’s face it, even if this a$$*ole bombs out, he’ll still get re-elected. They will be blaming GWB for everything from the Hindenburg to the Challenger space shuttle up through today and tomorrow. Hence my tagline.


136 posted on 11/07/2008 9:28:02 AM PST by GOPsterinMA (The countdown to 01/20/2013 has started......will it matter?)
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To: Ol' Sparky

When is Willard going to get the message that the base of the Republican party is never going to accept him as a Presidential candidate?


Funny. When did Romney say he was running in 2012?
Before everyone gets so worked up about Romney, they should find out if he is all interested in running again.


137 posted on 11/07/2008 9:30:38 AM PST by broncobilly
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To: GOP_Lady

No need to add anything else. Romney and his people are trying to take out Sarah before she has a chance to regroup and solidify the base around her. Romney can go pi$$ up a rope!


138 posted on 11/07/2008 9:44:34 AM PST by jellybean (Who is John Galt? ~ Proud Ann-droid and a Steyn-aholic)
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To: jellybean

State your proof. I haven’t seen any.


139 posted on 11/07/2008 9:50:58 AM PST by GOP_Lady
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To: jellybean

It seems to me you are doing to Romney just what you accuse him of doing to Sarah.
I’m reading this thread and get the impression I am looking in on a “Jim Jones” rally drinking in their “kool aid” of rumor, narrow mindedness and hate.


140 posted on 11/07/2008 9:54:40 AM PST by broncobilly
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To: broncobilly

Exactly. And I, myself, don’t believe that he would want to run again, but we shall see.


141 posted on 11/07/2008 9:58:10 AM PST by GOP_Lady
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To: P-Marlowe

Then prepare for a permanent minority status. The so-called conservatives are doing the work of the opposition by cutting the legs out from under our candidates. That’s how we got McCain.


142 posted on 11/07/2008 9:58:42 AM PST by Buck W. (If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.)
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To: Buck W.
That’s how we got McCain.

I voted for Romney in the primaries because I was trying to head off a McCain nomination. But when push comes to shove Romney and McCain are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. We don't need Romney.

Romney is a chameleon and can't be trusted. We need someone who doesn't govern like a liberal and then pretends to be a conservative to get nominated to higher office. We need someone who has conservative blood running through their veins.

143 posted on 11/07/2008 10:07:08 AM PST by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: GOP_Lady
Romney Supporters Trashing Palin

ROMNEY ANTI-PALIN (scroll down)

144 posted on 11/07/2008 10:23:42 AM PST by jellybean (Who is John Galt? ~ Proud Ann-droid and a Steyn-aholic)
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To: broncobilly
It seems to me you are doing to Romney just what you accuse him of doing to Sarah.

Damn straight! We don't need another liberal in conservative cothing as the Republican nominee in 2012!

145 posted on 11/07/2008 10:27:05 AM PST by jellybean (Who is John Galt? ~ Proud Ann-droid and a Steyn-aholic)
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To: jellybean

It means nothing. There’s no names, no details, no nothing.


146 posted on 11/07/2008 10:31:02 AM PST by GOP_Lady
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To: GOP_Lady
There’s no names, no details, no nothing.

Former Romney Spokesman Kevin Madden was particularly harsh on Palin in an interview on CNN.

Do you deny that Kevin Madden worked for Romeny?

147 posted on 11/07/2008 11:04:48 AM PST by jellybean (Who is John Galt? ~ Proud Ann-droid and a Steyn-aholic)
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To: Leisler

Go away, Mitt.

We need to get back to basics before picking our candidates.


148 posted on 11/07/2008 11:08:29 AM PST by B Knotts (ConservatismCentral.com)
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To: Leisler

Anyhow, this article typifies everything that is wrong with RINO-ism.

It focuses on candidates and personalities instead of principles.

That approach has failed, and will now be rejected.


149 posted on 11/07/2008 11:10:08 AM PST by B Knotts (ConservatismCentral.com)
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To: jellybean

Yes, I know about Kevin Madden, but he is not with the Romney campaign any more since there is no Romney campaign. Maybe someone should ask Kevin Madden why he said what he said and why he agreed to do it. How about us starting there before ranting?


150 posted on 11/07/2008 11:10:52 AM PST by GOP_Lady
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