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  • April 11, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    To the surprise of nobody, Willard Mitt Romney -- aka the Barnstormin' Mormon -- today opened a Presidential Exploratory Committee, which is kind of like becoming an official candidate except without actually disclosing all your donors.

    As it happens, I've just been putting the wraps on a column about Romney for this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix

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  • March 25, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    At this point, there is enough speculation about whether Donald Trump has been replaced by a PCP-addicted gardener on the run from the Federales (a Google search for "Donald Trump" +"PCP" returns over 100,000 hits!!!) to beg the question of why, if it's untrue, he doesn't simply put an end to it by submitting to a simple retinal-scan identification procedure.

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  • March 23, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    Salem immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco has filed to run for US Senator in 2012, seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Scott Brown.

    "I am running -- not thinking about it, not exploring, I'm running," DeFranco says. "This has been in the works for months."

    Admittedly little-known, DeFranco intends to build a grassroots campaign, raising money in small-dollar contributions through her networks of attorneys and Democratic activists.

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  • March 23, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    After reading Mitt Romney's two-paragraph pledge, on National Review Online, to devote every waking hour as President to fighting the evil menace of health care reform, I have this image of him sometime later this year, late at night, scrawling "Repeal ObamaCare," in Latin, on the side of the White House.

    Reg: If you want to join the People's Front of Judea, you have to really hate the Romans.

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  • March 19, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    I did not go up to Manchester to see Rudy Giuliani speak last night because, unlike Michele Bachmann who was in the Granite State last weekend, Giuliani is not a serious political entity.

    That's the kind of mockery that should greet Rudy in New Hampshire. So I am really disappointed in my brethren who are reporting on the visit straight.

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  • March 18, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    "DeepThinker" asks:

    Will Scott Brown hold onto his base? Can the Dems win without appealing to Scott Brown's base of guys who like guys who drive pick-up trucks? Is Bob Massie too intellectual to gain broad appeal? Is Setti Warren jumping in too soon? Can Mike Capuano recover from the stigma of having lost to Coakley? Is this too many questions?

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  • March 16, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    Hillary Clinton tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer that she is not interested in continuing to serve as Secretary of State in a 2nd Obama term, should he win re-election.

    That will undoubtedly stoke the already rampant rumors that John Kerry will become Secretary of State after the re-elect.

    Already, some political insiders in Massachusetts tell me that this rumor is helping persuade some of the state's Democratic heavyweights -- the Congressional delegation, for instance -- to pass on the 2012 cycle.

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  • March 09, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    One of my little pet peeves during the 2008 Presidential election cycle was the total lack of commentary about John McCain's marital history. McCain dumped his wife for a young, money-loaded hottie with whom he had been having a lengthy affair -- one of multiple affairs, as he has effectively admitted.

    It's not for me to judge, but we always see lots of hand-wringing analysis over the potential political impact of this sort of behavior, especially in a GOP primary, where pundits can ruminate on how this will play with the "family values" crowd.

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  • March 08, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    The 2012 Presidential campaign officially began last night -- or so claims the folks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, which held its Spring Kickoff event with speeches from five wannabes for the GOP nomination. God provided C-SPAN coverage, so I can say that I thought Herman Cain did well; Newt Gingrich, despite having just moved into an "exploratory" Presidential campaign phase, gave a condensed version of his year-old 2010 CPAC speech; Tim Pawlenty did fine, but I think he's trying too hard to yell his way past all the 'too bland' criticism (which I don't think hurts him anyway); Buddy Roemer did a great Zell Miller impersonation; and Rick Santorum started slow but had a terrific riff (probably old, but I hadn't seen it) on being the 'ultra' (as in ideologically extreme) Senator.

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  • March 04, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    While the national political media was distracted yesterday by the non-newsworthy semi-declaration of intent from Newt Gingrich (who announced he is entering an "exploratory" phase of his Presidential campaign), I was chasing down a more significant development: a rapidly developing feud between two actual declared candidates for President.

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  • March 02, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    One of the best predictions I made in the last campaign cycle was one I made very early on: that Mitt Romney would not win a nominating contest below the Mason-Dixon Line. Nailed that. And in this cycle I have written that he will essentially need a strategy to get the nomination without the South -- a tough task in today's GOP.

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  • February 28, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    Kim Driscoll, Mayor of Salem, is using a convenient excuse -- a reception in Easthampton for the women-in-politics organization Emerge Massachusetts -- to do a little statewide meeting-and-greeting today as she continues to lay the groundwork for a possible US Senate campaign.

    "The Emerge event is a natural thing I'd be doing," Driscoll said.

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  • February 23, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    I don't know exactly what's going on here, but it sure looks like priceless Romney maneuvering.

    Mitt Romney, who is typically solidly anti-union, has not been very vocal in supporting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. Yes, he did Tweet way back on Friday: "Support @ for doing what's necessary to rein in out-of-control public sector pay and benefits," but that's about it.

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  • February 22, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    South Dakota Senator John Thune announced today that he's opting out of the 2012 GOP Presidential sweepstakes. Thune recently rose to #4 on my rankings, thanks in large part to decreasing likelihood of others running. This is the second month in a row that one of my Top 5 dropped out, following Mike Pence in January.

    I'm less surprised at Thune than I was at Pence, who I thought was better than 50% chance of running.

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  • February 14, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has wrapped up; as usual, I stayed far away but tracked it closely. Some thoughts:

    --It's important to remember that the CPAC crowd is not representative of the broader Republican base, or the conservative movement. It is primarily A) Washington-centric organizations (PACs, 401(c)3s, publishers, etc.

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