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  • April 18, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    It strikes me as a big deal, in GOP 2012 politics terms, that Tim Pawlenty has come out firmly opposed to Congress raising the debt ceiling. Although he's toyed with the notion before, it's really just in the past few days -- including his speech at Friday's Tea Party rally in Boston -- that Pawlenty has flat-out called for a no vote.

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  • April 14, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print and online now -- I have articles about Mitt Romney's path to the nomination, and the operatives who will be running the various New Hampshire campaigns. Plus, on the blog, my new rankings of candidates' chances!

    I pegged these articles for this issue a few weeks ago, as signs suggested that Romney would be announcing sometime in mid-April, and I got lucky with his announcement (of a Presidential Exploratory Committee) earlier this week.

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  • April 13, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    "This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page, more than just cutting and spending. It's about the kind of future we want. It's about the kind of country we believe in."

    That's from the very first paragraph of Barack Obama's big deficit-cutting speech today. If you spent time watching last year's Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign, it probably struck you as rather familiar.

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  • April 13, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    Much has happened in the two months and change since my last rankings, but my Top 3 remains the same: Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, and Mitt Romney.

    I wrote at that time that I could only see realistic chances for five people -- those three, plus John Thune and Rick Perry. Thune has since opted out, and Perry has made very clear that he's not running.

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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 the tail end of an excellent Wall Street Journal article about Mitt Romney's Presidential fundraising operation, we are told that Romney has a defense prepared for the inevitable campaign-trail questions regarding the Massachusetts health care law he signed in 2006. That is, another defense.

    The former governor told donors that the plan he signed in Massachusetts was the best for the state at the time, but that no one plan should be imposed on the nation.

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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 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 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 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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  • February 10, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    There's been a lot of pick-up on my item about changes in the new paperback edition of Mitt Romney's "No Apology." I didn't have room to provide more than a summary there, so I thought I'd provide more of the changes here, so people can judge for themselves.

    Bear in mind that the remainder of the book (other than the new introduction) is virtually unchanged -- aside from the two sections I wrote about, I could only identify five paragraphs altered in the entire book, all of which were either to change something to past tense, or to remove something that is no longer true (eg, "there has never been an oil spill from an offshore platform").

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  • February 09, 2011
    By David S. Bernstein

    In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print tomorrow, online now -- I comb through the new paperback edition of Mitt Romney's "No Apology" and discover that he has rewritten two sections.

    Those changes, along with the new, very Tea Party-pandering introduction, suggest that the 2010 elections have taught Romney that he can't get away with running a safe, centrist campaign.

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