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Herman Cain Begins Walk-back on "Pro-Choice" Statements

As Big Tent Democrat predicted the other day, Herman Cain has begun the walk-back from his seemingly pro-choice statements made the other day to Piers Morgan.

Via Kos, he said today abortions should be illegal but it's up to each family to decide whether to have one.

So it's up to each family to decide whether to break the law? [More...]

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Herman Cain: Would Sign Federal Law Protecting Sanctity of Life

Herman Cain on Feb. 23, 2011 said he would sign federal legislation that protects the sanctity of life

I am a firm believer in the dignity of life and support a ban on partial birth abortion. If I were president, I would sign legislation that would protect the sanctity of life. Additionally, I would be in favor of any legislation that would encourage adoptions as a loving and safe alternative to abortion.

Herman Cain at the Value Voters Summit:

  • "I believe in life from conception, no exceptions."
  • "I would have asked the Department of Justice to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act"


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Republican Debate: Anyone Watching?

I have yet to see a Republican debate, nor do I care to. For those who are following, here's a place to discuss it. Tonight's final debate of the series, whatever that means, takes place in Las Vegas.

Who's in it: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Pizza CEO Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

It begins at 8 pm ET, airs on CNN, will stream live, and is hosted by Anderson Cooper. Who are their commentators? [More...]

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Cain "Jokes" About Electrified Border Fence

Herman Cain, the newest Republican flavor of the week, told those attending a Tennessee rally yesterday about his response to a someone who had challenged his pro-border fence position on his call-in radio show. Cain said he responded:

When I'm in charge of the fence, we going to have a fence. It's going to be 20 feet high. It's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrocuted, electrified," Cain said. "And there's going to be a sign on the other side that says it will kill you."

Today on Meet the Press, he said he was joking: [More...]

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The Candidates Matter

Nate Silver writes about Herman Cain:

The other litmus test is Iowa, where there have been few credible polls conducted in recent weeks. But the former leader in Iowa, Mrs. Bachmann, has since seen her numbers slump badly in national polls. Tim Pawlenty has dropped out of the running, meanwhile, while Mr. Romney has yet to fully commit to the state for fear of raising expectations.

Mr. Cainís winning Iowa would be a potential game-changer. Iowa has not historically been as important for Republican voters as for Democrats, but a win there would give rank-and-file Republicans ó many of whom like Mr. Cain but are not convinced that he is viable ó confidence that a vote for him would not be wasted.

I don't believe that for a second. Herman Cain has no chance of winning the nomination. He is a vanity candidate with no organization, skill or seriousness. He would have no chance of winning a general election. These "predictive" models have value when judging credible candidates. But Herman Cain is not a serious candidate. Only Rick Perry has a theoretical chance of beating Romney. I say theoretical because Perry is a terrible candidate. Here is a predictive model I believe in - terrible candidates will campaign terribly. Romney knows what he is doing. Perry doesn't. Perry's hope is that the Media (especially Fox) decides to go after Romney. Fox has settled on Romney I think and the rest of the Media seems unlikely to completely turn on him. There will be no NBC October 2008 type debate to try and topple Romney. Absent some Romney scandal emerging, I think the GOP race is over. More . . .

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Sarah Palin Announces She Will Not Run for President

Sarah Palin says she's not running for President in 2012.

Let's just hope she means it.

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NY Elects Republican to Replace Anthony Weiner

Conservative Republican Bob Turner was elected yesterday to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner. The District encompassed much of Queens and a small part of Brooklyn:

Turner, 70, a retired cable television executive who has never served in elective office, defeated Democratic State Assemblyman David Weprin, 55, who has two decades of public service experience, to fill the seat left vacant when Anthony Weiner (D) resigned in disgrace in June after more than 12 years in the House.

The last time a Republican won in that district was in the 1920's.

Many will see it a referendum on Obama and the economy, and a sign for 2012. I think it's way too soon for that, too many unforeseen things can happen to change the public's mind between now and then. Voters are fickle and can change like the wind. Also, Israel/Palestine may have been a significant factor in this particular race: [More...]

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New Poll: Obama Beats Perry and Romney

Public Policy Polling released a new poll today. President Obama would beat Mitt Romney by 4 points and Rick Perry by 11 points.

The president’s more solid standing in the Perry and Romney horseraces comes from consolidating his party support. He was losing 13% of Democrats to each candidate in August, but only 11% to Romney and 9% to Perry now. Obama has meanwhile upped his own crossover support, from 5% to 9% of Republicans versus Romney and 10% to 11% against Perry. The president leads Perry by ten points with independents, but Romney tops Obama by two with them.

One reason for Obama's increase over Perry: Perry's position on social security, which is likely to cost him swing voters.

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2012: Analyst Says 7 States Will Decide Presidency

Political analyst Larry Sabato writes in the Wall St. Journal that the 2012 presidential election will come down to 7 super-swing states:

Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13).

Why these 7? He says it's all in the electoral college math, the polls don't mean much. Sabato says:

Republicans therefore are a lock or lead in 24 states for 206 electoral votes, and Democrats have or lead in 19 states for 247 electoral votes.

There's a big difference between a lock and a lead so I'm not putting much stock in this. And what if there's a third party candidate on either side? Sabato says that could put a wrench in things. Redistricting (as in Ohio and "Northern Frost Belt" states) ) could also make a difference according to Sabato since the Republicans will gain about 6 electors from it.

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What's Different About the 2012 Election

As a blogger, I have never been as unhappy with the coverage of an upcoming presidential election as I am now. What's different? I finally figured it out.

Talkleft began in 2002. The first presidential election was 2004. There was the same old GW Bush, versus a Democratic challenger, John Kerry. Kerry/Edwards was news to write about. Defeating George Bush was important enough to warrant covering the election.

In 2008, there was Obama vs. McCain. Both were new candidates, and there was extensive coverage of both. Getting a Democrat back in the White House and keeping the supremely unqualified Sarah Palin out warranted blogging about the race.

The 2012 election has no new Democratic candidate. Since the Republican candidate is unknown and there is only a field of contenders, the media is obsessively focused on them.

I don't care about Republicans. I don't want to read about their quest for the nomination and I certainly don't want to write about them. I don't care which one is ahead, I don't want to follow their debates or their campaigning for the nomination. There's no race now. It's all about which Republican gets the nomination. Maybe once one is nominated, and the Democrats are back in the story, I'll write about the election. For now, it's of no interest to me and I'm not going to pretend I care.

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TX Gov Rick Perry Wants to Be President

Texas Governor Rick Perry has officially declared himself a candidate for the Republican nomination for President. He and Mitt Romney are now considered frontrunners.

No matter how disappointed you are with Obama and the Democrats, any Republican would be far worse.

I don't want Republicans picking Supreme Court Justices. I don't want them making economic policy. They would be the worst by far on crime policy.

Things are bad now, but there's no need to make them worse.

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Triangulation As Electoral Strategy


The activist base and elite liberals are the tip of the spear. Being honest about what we see still has a purpose: to keep liberalism alive, motivate the base for other elections, build the progressive movement. And the activist base and liberal elites will have a hand in determining the president's legacy. Once he's done catering to these alleged Independents who want nothing more than to slash government to the bone, he's going to start thinking about that.

I'm thinking the more important lesson from the Clinton Era remains 'it's the economy, stupid':

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The Impressive Michele Bachmann . . .

Thought I'd try the phrase on for size before she gaffes too badly. Anyway, I am a firm believer in pumping up Bachmann because we want her to win the GOP nomination. Romney's the guy who can beat Obama. Maybe Pawlenty I suppose. But Bachmann can not. As a result, I will now make fun of Kevin Drum stand-in Andy Kroll who points to Nate Silver for the proposition of "throwing cold water" on Bachmann's big weekend. The problem is Silver is actually quite bullish on Bachmann:

I havenít said anything about the performance of Michele Bachmann in the poll, who drew 22 percent, just a point behind Mr. Romney. Really, there isnít much to say other than this: these are terrific numbers. [. . .] I would consider her the favorite to win the Iowa caucuses and a legitimate contender to win the Republican nomination.

Throwing cold water? I think Nate is revving up "the impressive Michelle Bachmann" line. (Note: Nate doesn't know much more than me or you about these things, but people think he does.)

Speaking for me only

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Carolyn Goodman Elected Mayor of Las Vegas

My favorite mayor, Oscar Goodman of Las Vegas, is leaving the Mayor's office in good hands. On Tuesday, voters elected his wife, Carolyn Goodman, to succeed him.

Ms. Goodman became mayor with 61 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan contest Tuesday, defeating Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani of Clark County, who could not overcome the popularity of the self-proclaimed Happiest Couple in the Universe. Mr. Goodman, a former mob lawyer who gleefully presided over the city with a force of charisma and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, could not run again because of term limits.

I can hardly believe it's been 12 years since Oscar was elected Mayor. How time flies. He must be one of the most popular Mayors ever -- he was re-elected in 2007 with 84% of the vote. I'm sure he's sad to be leaving the job, he's always said it was the most fun he's ever had.

Congratulations, Carolyn! I hope you have as much fun in the job as Oscar, that Las Vegans appreciate you as much as they did him, and that we criminal defense lawyers get to see a bit more of Oscar now.

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Michael Hancock Beats Chris Romer for Denver Mayor

Congrats to Michael Hancock, who easily defeated Chris Romer in today's runoff election for Denver mayor. Romer has conceded.

With 100-percent (110,441) of the votes counted, Hancock defeated Romer 58% to 42%. It was an all mail-in election, with 300,000 ballots mailed. Only 110,441 people voted. It's pretty amazing you can become mayor of a city the size of Denver with just 55,222 votes (although Hancock got more than that.)Hancock on his win tonight:

Tonight, we celebrate this victory, and believe me, we gonna party. Tomorrow is Day One.

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