SHORT TAKES: WEEK OF MAY 16TH
Donald Trump, who vaulted to the lead in the Republican presidential field after embracing the “birther” nonsense about President Barack Obama, announced this morning that he will not run for president. He’ll keep on hosting Celebrity Apprentice. Which is no surprise after Obama’s humiliation of Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner earlier this month.
Mitt Romney’s campaign says its day-long dialing for dollars exercise with the candidate and hundreds of fundraisers at the Las Vegas Convention Center garnered $10 million in donations to his not yet formally announced second campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. … Radio talker Rush Limbaugh reacted harshly today to Newt Gingrich’s comment on a Sunday chat show that the House-passed “Ryan Plan” is a loser for Republicans due to its disruption of Medicare. … But Gingrich is hardly the only one who thinks, and says, this.
One-time Clinton strategist-turned-far right poster boy Dick Morris has been saying for weeks that House Republicans will have to recant their Ryan votes in order to hold on to the House next year.
Mike Huckabee, at the least a co-frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, announced Saturday night on his Fox News show that he won’t run for president in 2012. The 2008 Republican presidential runner-up behind John McCain said he had prayed on the question and decided against seeking the presidency.
Huckabee’s evangelical and social conservative backers are very much up for grabs, in first-in-the-nation Iowa, where he would have been a prohibitive favorite, early primary South Carolina, and everywhere else.
What about the other candidates with sizable numbers in the polls? Ron Paul formally announced late last week.
Mitt Romney pretzelized himself, as you can see in Friday’s news video, trying to justify and explain away his intellectual fatherhood with regard to the what the Republican base hates as “Obamacare.” But he has a big day today in, fittingly, Las Vegas, where hundreds of fundraisers join him today at the convention center to dial for dollars, hoping to raise millions.
Newt Gingrich, after telling a Washington audience that Obama is “the most successful food stamp president in history,” he told the Georgia Republican convention over the weekend in Macon that the 2012 election is the most important since the election of 1860
Which of course led to the Civil War.
Gingrich embarks on an extensive statewide tour of Iowa this week.
With Huckabee out, the situation leaves the tantalizing prize of hordes of fundamentalist and social conservative voters up for grabs. Does this guarantee that Michelle Bachmann is in? Or even draw Sarah Palin back in? And does it pull most of the other candidates even further to the right in the quest for those votes?
How do well-regarded dark horses like Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and former Utah Governor/Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman figure in this? Do they have to wait for a demolition derby at the top?
Space Shuttle Endeavour launched successfully early this morning on its final space mission. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, severely wounded in a January assassination attempt, was on hand to watch her husband, Navy Captain Mark Kelly, skipper the spacecraft skyward on her 16-day mission to the International Space Station. After this, the Endeavour will be retired to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
REPUBLICANS AND THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE:
In the shadow of Osama Bin Laden. If there was a worse week in which to hold the first Republican presidential debate, it’s hard to think of when that might be.
The first Republican presidential debate took place Thursday night in the shadow of Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden’s very existence spurred the accomplishment of some of the right’s biggest objectives in the past decade.