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Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Washington Post op-ed is obviously trying to prebut Texas Gov. Rick Perry prior to Perry’s visit to Maryland:

With gridlock and partisanship having all but paralyzed Washington, governors are at the forefront of our country’s policy divide. On the No. 1 issue facing our nation, how to ensure that Americans are winners, not losers, in the 21st-century economy, two divergent approaches frame the debate. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is highlighting this debate with his trip to Maryland on Wednesday.

The contrast is clear: Should we slash taxes on the wealthiest Americans, crippling our ability to invest in schools, job training, infrastructure and health care, because we believe that even lower taxes for our wealthiest will magically lead to jobs and robust economic growth? Or should we make tough choices together that provide the resources to invest in schools, bolster growing industries and create quality middle-class jobs?

First, it isn’t government’s responsibility to “ensure that Americans are winners, not losers.” Government’s responsibility is to put in place policies that give Americans the ability to win within the limits of the Constitution.

Second, raising tax rates doesn’t automatically increase revenues. Gov. O’Malley should know that because Maryland’s so-called Millionaires Tax failed miserably:

Maryland couldn’t balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year, even at higher rates.

Apparently, Gov. O’Malley’s staff didn’t inform him that his fight with Texas was settled in 2009. Quoting the WSJ, Maryland collected “6.25% of nothing” on 1,000 returns. Predictably, those millionaires left Maryland for greener pastures, mostly to northern Virginia.

Rather than collecting an additional $106,000,000 in taxes, Maryland lost $100,000,000. That’s what’s properly known as a miserable failure. Gov. O’Malley apparently hasn’t figured out that raising taxes isn’t the same as increasing tax revenues. Increasing the size of a state’s economy is what will increase a state’s ability to “invest in schools, job training, infrastructure and health care”, if that’s what they want to do. Maryland found out recently that raising tax rates doesn’t automatically increase revenues.

Taking advice from the governor that chased 1,000 millionaires from his state in on of his first major initiatives isn’t smart. In fact, listening to him on tax policy is foolish.

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Several things caught my attention tonight about the GOP nomination race going forward. Here’s my take on what’s happened this week:

1. Mitt has a glass chin. Mitt’s great at throwing punches but he’s worthless when he’s attacked. The “looks presidential” Mitt disappears the minute he’s challenged or criticized. Considering the fact that President Obama, the pro-Obama superPACs and his media allies won’t play by Marquess of Queensberry rules, this puts Mitt at a significant disadvantage.

ADVANTAGE: President Obama

2. Newt’s capable of giving as good as he gets. There’s no question but that President Obama, like all narcissists, hates criticism. Similarly, there’s no question but that Newt’s substantive, issue-based criticisms will rattle President Obama.

There’s no reason to think that this advantage is limited to the debates. Newt will criticize President Obama for vetoing the Keystone XL Pipeline project. When Newt accuses President Obama for caving into the militant environmentalists rather than doing what’s right for America, Newt will put President Obama on the defensive.

ADVANTAGE: Newt

3. Message and connecting with voters vs. money and organization. Thus far, Mitt’s outspent his opponents by a wide margin. He’s widely acknowledged as having the best ground game of the 4 left standing, with RP a close second. Thus far, that hasn’t translated into victories. In fact, after tonight, it’s left more questions unanswered than anything else.

Newt started an online money bomb minutes after being declared the winner of South Carolina’s winner. Then there’s the well-funded pro-Newt superPAC. Combine that with the visceral connection people fel with Newt during Newt’s dressing down of Juan Williams, then strengthened when he eviscerated CNN’s John King and you’ve got the groundwork of an energized nationwide organization.

4. It seems like forever ago but Rick Perry’s dropped out. Still, Gov. Perry’s dropping out is a big deal, though not for the reasons most pundits and consultants think. I wrote about it here:

It’ll be interesting to see the media’s reaction to Gov. Perry’s endorsement. That said, the biggest thing, in my opinion, is the fact that tons of TEA Party organizations “from 25 states” will essentially pledge to be Newt’s organization in those states. Potentially, the TEA Party’s energy is a difference-maker. Look at the difference they made in last year’s midterms.

Mitt has a strong organization, he’s got a decent message but he doesn’t have the TEA Party support, organization and enthusiasm that Newt now has. Newt’s a fighter. That’s what the TEA Party is about. Fighting for the TEA Party’s principles fits Newt’s personality. Mitt doesn’t have a personality.

ADVANTAGE: Newt

4. Newt’s ‘attack’ on capitalism. Mitt’s made it clear that he’ll continue to use the line that Newt’s attacks on Bain are a full frontal assault on capitalism. Mitt’s made clear that he’ll try to convince voters that Newt’s attacks on capitalism disqualify him as the GOP nominee.

People won’t buy into that. Newt’s gotten the endorsement of Thomas Sowell, Michael Reagan and Art Laffer, 3 of the most passionate free enterprise, supply-side proponents of the past 30 years. Good luck selling that. Which leads to point 5.

5. Mitt’s attacks aren’t powerful. Mitt’s attacks are more vindictive and petty than powerful. Think jabs, not uppercuts and haymakers. When Mitt’s tried zinging people, especially Newt and Rick Santorum, they’ve dusted themselves off, then returned a solid left to the jaw.

Think Mitt’s saying that Romneycare was a great exercise in free market capitalism. Here’s Santorum’s response:

Ninety-two percent of people did have health insurance in — in Massachusetts. But that wasn’t private-sector health insurance. A lot of those people were, as you know, on Medicare and Medicaid. So they’re already on government insurance, and you just expanded.

In fact, over half the people that came on the rolls since you put Romneycare into effect are fully subsidized by the state of Massachusetts. And a lot of those are on the Medicaid program.

So the idea that you have created this marketplace in, with this government-run health care system, where you have very prescriptive programs about reimbursements rates. You have very prescriptive programs just like what President Obama is trying to put in place here.

Mitt tried his best to ward off Santorum’s accusations. In the end, they didn’t faze Sen. Santorum.

Non-DC-based GOP activists want someone who hits hard and whose opponents stay down. That isn’t Mitt.

ADVANTAGE: NEWT

6. Capturing the moment, seizing the opportunity. Newt’s ability to seize a moment is the best I’ve ever seen. It’s instinctive but it’s more than that. It’s a result of knowing the issues cold, combined with his quick wit, that seperates him from the rest.

The bottom line is that Newt’s proven, time and again, that he’s quick to spot an opportunity, then capitalize on it. Mitt has many solid qualities but that isn’t one of them.

There’s alot of primaries and caucuses still ahead. The things that must be troubling Mitt’s advisors is that Mitt’s weaknesses are getting exposed. Early on, Mitt’s weaknesses weren’t exposed, mostly because the storyline from debates was that “nobody laid a glove on Mitt.”

That’s nice but those ‘nobody laid a glove on Mitt’ days are ancient history. They aren’t returning either.

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This afternoon, I wrote this post stating that the Senate will return to work so that the payroll tax holiday could be properly implemented. I stand by that prediction.

Imagine my disgust, then, when I watched Special Report’s opening All Star Panel discussion. I didn’t expect much from Juan because, in his mind, any news benefits President Obama and the Democrats. I wasn’t surprised that David Drucker said that Republicans had given Democrats a new opportunity to demagogue them. (That’s my phrasing, not Druckers’s.)

When the discussion finally got to Charles, a voice of sanity was finally heard, albeit temporarily. Mr. Krauthammer rightly stated that the bill couldn’t be properly implemented, that House Republicans were doing the right thing, then unfortunately saying that House Republicans would take a beating politically for doing the right thing.

I was with Charles until that last sentence. That’s when he lost me.

Republicans won’t lose this fight politically. That’ll only happen if they assume the fetal position on this issue. That’ll only happen if they don’t constantly pound home the truth about the House Republicans’ plan. If Republicans consistently tell the American people the truth, Democrats will cave because Republicans will win overwhelming support for their plan.

If Senate Democrats won’t give in on the Keystone XL Pipeline project, fine. I’d double dog dare them to stand in the way of maintaining great international relations with our Canadian allies. I’d double dog dare them to listen to their militant environmentalist base instead of doing what’s right for securing energy independence.

In fact, I’ll triple dog dare them to insist on sticking with a 2 month extension of the payroll tax “long weekend” (that’s Charles’s spot on description of the bill passed by the Senate) instead of passing a year-long extension of the payroll tax holiday.

With video all over the internet of President Obama saying it’d be unconscienable not to extend the payroll tax holiday for the full year, the advertising that could be run against stubborn Democrats wouldn’t take a full morning to put together.

My recommendation to Republicans is simple: let’s have this fight. Let’s crank up the decibels. Let’s have GOP presidential candidates weigh in on the fight.

Then, in the end, let’s watch the Democrats assemble their circular firing squad and point fingers on why they didn’t win…again.

Finally, I’d love having the opportunity to criticize the media for not reporting the truth about this issue. While we’re hammering the Democrats, let’s file the indictment against the Beltway’s Agenda Media for not giving the American people the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The more I think about it, the more I can’t wait to start the battle.

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Ed Morrissey does a great job of outlining why he’s skeptical of the PPP polling that shows Ron Paul leading in Iowa:

PPP says that they are polling likely Republican caucus-goers, but there’s a reason for a little skepticism on their sample. At 597 respondents, the size is respectable enough, but its composition and definition of “likely” is quite shaky. Only a little over half (55%) bothered to caucus with Republicans in 2008, an election primary with as much publicity and import as this one. Thirteen percent caucused with the Democrats, which is reasonable because (a) Democrats aren’t conducting a primary this cycle, and (b) some who caucused with Democrats might be inclined to support Republicans this year.

However, almost a third (32%) didn’t caucus with either party in 2008. How can they be considered “likely” caucus-goers in this cycle? It can’t be because Ron Paul is running this time, because he was running in 2008 as well.

There are other reasons for skepticism. RealClearPolitics notes two other polls taken in almost the same timeframe as PPP’s survey, and Paul was below 20% in both (Rasmussen and Insider Advantage). They all show fairly close margins, but the PPP looks like a bit of an outlier — at least for now.

I agree with Ed’s opinions but I’d like to add two other things that I think are noteworthy, one of which Ed touches on. First, Ron Paul’s support, for the first time ever, extended beyond his usual die-hard base.

Ed’s post about the racist material published in Paul’s name in Paul’s newsletter will, I think, stop the Paul boomlet in its tracks. James Kirchick’s article is just another nail in Paul’s Iowa coffin. I fully expect his numbers to tank long before the caucuses.

Nutty Uncle spent way too much time on stage Thursday night to help Paul, too. It was just another display of Paul’s conspiracy theorist side. That won’t hurt him with his loyal base but it’ll cripple him with thoughtful people who were recent converts.

I still fully expect Newt to win the Iowa Caucuses, though it’ll be a tight race. I also think that Mitt will drop, especially in western Iowa, because Mitt played the class warfare card in yesterday’s interview with Chris Wallace. Playing the class warfare card won’t endear Mitt to hard-working Iowans.

This race is fluid. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rick Perry and Rick Santorum finish with a ticket out of Iowa.

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Jazz Shaw’s post is another nail in this administration’s political coffin. It should infuriate everyone, at least those whose minds aren’t militant environmentalists. Here’s what I think should be considered the first count in Jazz’s indictment against this administration:

Under President Obama’s watch, the Environmental Protection Agency has set up the first national standards for mercury emissions and other dangerous chemicals from coal and oil-fired power plants.

The new rules will help to clear our skies of pollutants that can make health problems like asthma and bronchitis worse, saving up to 17,000 lives each year.

What’s interesting is that this information came from President Obama’s re-election website. What’s more important is Jazz’s insights into the heart of the matter:

Wait a minute…the EPA is supposedly in the process of reviewing more than a million comments from citizens, energy producers, workers and everyone else. There allegedly isn’t a decision yet. But somehow Barack Obama already knows the outcome? Was this question ever seriously being looked at, or was it a fait accompli before the first screams emerged about the lost jobs to come and the strain on the energy grid, particularly in Texas and adjoining states?

Jazz, the answer is simple. This administration gave us their blueprint during the 2008 campaign. Let’s remember this golden oldie:

What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

President Obama isn’t reining in the EPA because he’s loving what they’re doing. This isn’t surprising if it’s viewed through history’s lens.

In fact, President Obama’s EPA is giving the GOP nominee a tremendous gift for this year’s campaign. The GOP nominee will be able to highlight the exorbitant energy prices. He’ll also be able to highlight the fact that this administration is attempting to do its best to derail the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

This administration’s regulators, whether they’re EPA or NLRB regulators, are the mother lode of political targets.

With $3 gas, with construction unemployment hovering around 14%, unemployed union workers and average families won’t be forgiving to an administration that’s intent on making their lives more expensive.

To be fair, Newt and Mitt would be able to make a strong case that this administration’s decisions are disastrous. It’s my belief that Newt would do better at making the case but that’s my opinion.

Actually, another person who’d be fantastic at making this case is Rick Perry. I’m not saying he’d be fantastic at debating President Obama on a wide range of issues but Gov. Perry would beat him to the proverbial bloody pulp on energy and EPA issues.

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It’s a well-known fact that George Will has hated Newt Gingrich for at least 2 decades. It’s unfortunate that a brilliant man would be so filled with hate that he’s let that hatred spill into his latest column so badly. I’ve been reading Will’s columns for a quarter century. This is one of his worst. Here’s what he said:

Republicans are more conservative than at any time since their 1980 dismay about another floundering president. They are more ideologically homogenous than ever in 156 years of competing for the presidency. They anticipated choosing between Mitt Romney, a conservative of convenience, and a conviction politician to his right. The choice, however, could be between Romney and the least conservative candidate, Newt Gingrich.

Newt’s more liberal than Mitt? More liberal than Huntsman? More liberal than Ron Paul? Mr. Will’s hatred has affected his thinking to such an extent that he’s losing credibility.

Does Mr. Will think that balancing the federal budget 4 straight years is proof of Newt’s liberalism? Does Mr. Will think that helping pass the Kemp-Roth tax cuts that triggered the explosive job growth of Reagan’s administration is proof that Newt’s a liberal?

What’s worst is that Mr. Will didn’t stop there. In fact, he lost tons of credibility in saying this:

Gingrich, who would have made a marvelous Marxist, believes everything is related to everything else and only he understands how.

Making a statement like that isn’t just stupid. It’s beyond provable.

Mr. Will’s sloppy statements plead with us to ignore that Newt’s original Contract With America wasn’t Marxist. Mr. Will’s statements beg us to ignore the fact that Newt’s 21st Century Contract With America is actually muscular capitalism. Mr. Will wants us to think that cutting the corporate tax rates from 35% to 12.5% tilt towards Marxism, that eliminating the capital gains and estate taxes aren’t capitalist economic principles.

That’s before talking about Newt’s desire to terminate the EPA and neuter the NLRB and the FCC. Marxism wouldn’t think about eliminating the tools that would allow the central government to inhibit manufacturing while giving bureaucrats the ability to control our communications while telling corporations what they can and can’t do.

After spending the opening of his column ripping Newt, he then turns his attention to praising Gov. Perry and Gov. Huntsman. Here’s what he said about Gov. Huntsman:

Jon Huntsman inexplicably chose to debut as the Republican for people who rather dislike Republicans, but his program is the most conservative. He endorses Paul Ryan’s budget and entitlement reforms. (Gingrich denounced Ryan’s Medicare reform as “right-wing social engineering.”) Huntsman would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Gingrich’s benefactor). Huntsman would end double taxation on investment by eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends.

It’s true that Gov. Huntsman’s policies sound conservative. His difficulties start with the fact that he’s governed as a liberal. Policies are just words on a piece of paper. Conservatism is based on a person’s actions, not their words.

On that basis, Gov. Huntsman is a liberal. That’s before considering his national security beliefs are as pacifistic as Jimmy Carter’s and Ron Paul’s.

Mr. Will’s judgment is impaired by his hatred of Newt Gingrich. That’s the only explanation for his making the unsubstantiated statements he made in this column.

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There’ve been a few recent polls on the GOP presidential race that could be called outliars. This morning, Majority Opinion Research announced that their polling shows Newt opening up a significant lead in a national poll:

Newt Gingrich has opened a sizable lead over Mitt Romney in the first national poll taken since the former Speaker of the House earned the key endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader, showing Gingrich with a nine-percentage point lead over the former Massachusetts governor.

The poll, conducted by Majority Opinion Research Sunday night, showed Gingrich leading the Republican field with 32 percent of support from those surveyed. Romney earned 23 percent, while Herman Cain rounded out the top three with 14 percent of the vote. Ron Paul led the remainder of the field with 6 percent.

Several things are noteworthy. First, Mitt still can’t get out of that 20-24% rut he’s been stuck in since he jumped into the race. People simply aren’t warming to him. If you look at Mitt, conventional wisdom should have him as the prohibitive favorite to win the nomination.

Mitt’s checked off all the right boxes. He’s solid on foreign policy. He’s doing well with fundraising. He “looks presidential.” He’s got a well-staffed organization.

Still, he’s stuck at 23% in alot of polls.

Another thing that’s noteworthy is that Newt didn’t have trouble breaking the 30% barrier. He’s at 32%. While other ‘Not Mitt’ candidates have hit the low 30′s, Newt isn’t another flavor of the month candidate because he’s a strong debater, unlike Rick Perry. Newt’s a substantive candidate, unlike Herman Cain. Newt’s run a flawless campaign, unlike Michele Bachmann.

Here’s a third thing that’s worth noting in the polling:

Gingrich’s lead has opened up as the former Speaker has rallied both older voters and independents. 39 percent of those 65 and older support Gingrich, versus 28 percent for Romney, while those in the 45-64 age range back the speaker by a 37 to 19 percent margin. Those figures would tend to support the emerging theme that conservatives are rallying behind Gingrich as their preferred alternative. Gingrich and Romney are virtually tied among voters 18-44, who are more likely to hold liberal views.

But Gingrich is also rallying independents, garnering 32 percent of likely voters who do not affiliate with a party. Among independents, Romney actually trails Ron Paul, who pulls 17 percent of the vote to Romney’s 16 percent.

I’ll need to see more polling that shows Newt polling better with independents to believe that this polling isn’t an outliar. Still, the fact that Newt’s beating Mitt amongst older voters, if confirmed, isn’t good news for Mitt in Florida. Losing the senior vote by 9 points in Florida would be disastrous for Mitt.

Taking a step back, Mitt would be weakened if Newt wins Iowa (a possibility), South Carolina (likely) and Florida. He’d be able to continue campaigning but what’s left of Mitt’s momentum would essentially disappear.

The first votes haven’t been cast so it’s premature to declare Newt the GOP presidential nominee. It isn’t too early, though, to say that Newt’s lead exists and it’s solidifying.

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Following Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate, alot of chatter is focused on Newt’s stated position on not deporting all illegal immigrants. Newt has rightly received criticism for that policy statement.

Before writing him off at liberal on immigration, it’s important to think whether his stated positions on enforcing the border and streamlining visa programs are mainstream thinking. I’d argue that they’re pretty mainstream.

Let’s compare Newt’s positions with Mitt’s actions, which I wrote about here. Mitt’s portraying himself as an immigration hardliner. What’s interesting is that his immigration ‘epiphany’ is inextricably linked to his presidential ambitions. Here’s what FactCheck wrote about Mitt’s ‘epiphany’:

Romney: As governor, I authorized the state police to enforce immigration laws.

Well, yes. But, as we noted in August, he didn’t do so until he had less than a month left in his term. He was already considering running for president, and the new governor-elect was expected to rescind the arrangement.

Romney began talking about giving troopers the power to make arrests on immigration charges earlier in 2006, but he didn’t sign an agreement with the federal government, a necessary condition for that authority to be granted, until Dec. 13 of that year. Romney was scheduled to leave office Jan. 4, 2007.

In other words, this was Mitt at his political posturing best. This isn’t proof of an epiphany. It’s proof that Mitt’s a political opportunist.

For those who say that there are other options besides Newt and Mitt, let’s examine their records, starting with Ron Paul. Dr. Paul’s position on immigration is certifiably insane. Remember the debate where he was asked about building a border fence? His reply was in question form: “How do we know that they won’t use the fence to keep us in?”

Michele Bachmann passes the purity test but she hasn’t shown any interest in reforming the visa program. She hasn’t shown that she’s given it a moment of thought. In that respect, she isn’t as informed on the total immigration package as Newt is.

While securing the border is important, it isn’t the only immigration consideration. It’s the total package. And by that, I don’t mean a ‘Grand Bargain’ type of “comprehensive immigration reform.” That’s just the Left’s euphemism for amnesty and new Democrat voters.

I’m talking about immigration that’s fierce about protecting America’s sovereignty while welcoming immigrants into our nation who’ve passed through a sane, efficient federal system.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Fred Thompson said it best when he said that “the United States should be a nation of tall fences and wide gates.”

Michele, Newt and Rick Perry all appear to pass that test with ease. Mitt and Dr. Paul don’t pass that test. Meanwhile, Newt appears to be the only candidate who’s thought through his position on streamlining the visa process.

That’s important because streamlining the visa programs would shrink the need for people to illegally enter the country. (I think Mitt refers to that as eliminating the magnets.)

The bottom line is this: None of the GOP presidential candidates pass both the purity test on immigration and the streamlining the visa program test. Of all the GOP presidential candidates, I’d trust Newt’s immigration plan the most, followed by Rick Perry’s, then Michele’s.

I wouldn’t trust Dr. Paul’s or Mitt Romney’s. I wouldn’t trust Dr. Paul’s because it’s beyond bizarre. I wouldn’t trust Mitt’s because he’s prone to saying one thing, then doing the opposite.

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If there’s anything that the GOP presidential candidates should’ve learned by now, it’s that going negative hurts the candidate going negative. That’s why it’s a little astonishing that Michele Bachmann went this negative against each of her chief opponents.

The Des Moines Register published this article on her attack ad:

In a new hard-hitting web video attack ad, Michele Bachmann conveys the message that Iowans can expect “no surprises” from her – unlike from her fellow GOP presidential candidates, her campaign said this morning.

It’s Bachmann’s most sharp-tongued attack on her rivals this election cycle, ripping Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul and Rick Perry for past comments, including Perry’s “oops” moment in a recent GOP debate.

The web ad, titled “No Surprises 2012,” is “Iowa specific,” her aides said, although it doesn’t make any specific reference to Iowa.

The ad seeks to contrast differences between Bachmann and her rivals on abortion, nuclear weapons, illegal immigration, global warming, health care mandates, and the 2nd Amendment, her campaign aides said.

The only fellow Republican candidate she doesn’t thump? Rick Santorum.

This isn’t the type of advertising a confident candidate puts together. It’s what I’d expect from a panicked, desperate candidate make. Watch the video and judge for yourself:

When Gov. Perry attacked Gov. Romney for allegedly hiring illegal immigrants to care for his lawn, both men suffered. In fact, that was Gov. Romney’s worst performance by far.

When Michele and Gov. Pawlenty had their major spat during one of the early debates from Iowa, it crippled Gov. Pawlenty’s campaign but it damaged Michele’s campaign, too.

Iowa, like the rest of America, is looking for a reason to hope, not just a candidate whose mantra used to be hope. They’re looking for someone with a positive agenda and a sunny disposition when talking with voters.

What’s worse for Michele is that she just attacked Newt. It isn’t that Newt can’t handle the heat. He can. It’s that this makes Michele look mean-spirited, especially after Newt praised her at the recent Faith and Freedom fundraiser in Iowa.

Michele wasn’t a top contender prior to releasing this video. She certainly will get hurt by it, though.

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Jim Hoft, the Gateway Pundit, praises Rick Perry for his new ad criticizing President Obama’s “lazy” statement in this post. Perry criticized President Obama for making that statement while he vacationed in Hawaii.

WOW!… Great ad, Rick!
Rick Perry slams Obama for calling Americans lazy; says it’s time to clean house.
“Obama’s socialist policies are bankrupting America.”

Unwilling to let their candidate get gored CBS jumped to President Obama’s defense:

Rick Perry’s presidential campaign is out with a new ad, “Lazy,” attacking President Obama for his comment that Americans have “been a little bit lazy I think over the last couple of decades.”

After video of the president making that comment is shown in the ad, Perry, standing outside in a casual shirt, addresses the camera. “Can you believe that?” he says. “That’s what our President thinks wrong with America? [sic] That Americans are lazy? That’s pathetic.” (Perry appears to have omitted an “is” from his comments.)

Perry goes on to say “it’s time to clean house in Washington,” an argument that squares with his recent call to overhaul all three branches of government, a proposal that includes making being a member of Congress a part-time job.

“It’s time for a Balanced Budget Amendment that forces Washington to stop overspending,” Perry goes on to say. “If Congress balks, cut their pay and send them home.”

He then complains that “Obama’s socialist policies are bankrupting America,” adding: “We must stop him now.”

The Perry campaign says the 30-second spot is airing on national cable and on broadcast television in Iowa; CBS News saw it on Fox News Wednesday afternoon.

The ad marks the latest foray in the Perry campaign’s effort to reboot the Texas governor’s candidacy after a string of poor debate performances, capped off by the now-infamous “oops” moment, that have helped drive down his standing in the polls.

CBS was willing to let their debate moderator make an ass of himself by letting him pretend he was an expert on national security and international law. Now they’re campaign consultants? The arrogance at the Tiffany Network is disturbing and typical liberal I-know-better-than-you thinking.

CBS should return to getting the facts right before attempting to be experts on national security, international law and conservative campaigns.

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