The Fix: Ron Paul

Why 'holding my nose' is a problem for Mitch McConnell

Why 'holding my nose' is a problem for Mitch McConnell

When Jesse Benton signed up to run the reelection campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), it looked like a political match made in heaven. But on Thursday, it was just a headache, and one that isn't likely to fade quickly.

"Between you and me, I'm sort of holding my nose for two years because what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit to Rand in '16, so that's my long vision," Benton, a loyalist to Ron Paul and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said earlier this year in a phone call obtained by The Washington Post.

Continue Reading »

Secession petitions raise worthwhile questions,' Ron Paul says

Secession petitions raise worthwhile questions,' Ron Paul says

Make sure to sign up to receive"Afternoon Fix"every day in your e-mail inbox by 5(ish) p.m.!

EARLIER ON THE FIX:

2012: The C+ election

Lindsey Graham: Obama's worst enemy and best friend

Continue Reading »

Mitch McConnell + the Pauls = A political marriage made in heaven?

Mitch McConnell + the Pauls = A political marriage made in heaven?

It’s a story as old as time: two opposing families are brought together when members of each are married.

The Capulets and the Montagues, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, the Hatfields and the McCoys (oh, wait…).

Today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has arranged one hell of a political marriage. And in the process, he has cemented his own status as one of the preeminent political survivors of our time.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul supporters come up short in rules fight

Ron Paul supporters come up short in rules fight

Updated at 4:39 p.m.

TAMPA — Grassroots Republican activists and Ron Paul supporters came up shy in their effort to beat back two major rule changes Tuesday at the Republican National Convention.

Amidst a contentious scene on the floor of the convention, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) ruled that the committee rules had passed by a voice vote — despite loud protest from many in the arena.

Continue Reading »

What Rand Paul’s Romney endorsement means

What Rand Paul’s Romney endorsement means

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s endorsement of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s presidential bid on Thursday night is more important than it might seem at first glance.

Yes, Romney formally secured the Republican nod late last month. And, yes, as a Republican it’s assumed that Paul was with Romney as opposed to President Obama or even Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson.

Continue Reading »

Ranking the Republican presidential candidates: The best and worst

Ranking the Republican presidential candidates: The best and worst

The Republican primary is now over. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum’s decision to end his bid on Tuesday means that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will be the Republican standard-bearer against President Obama in the fall.

The end of the race means a time for reflection in Fixworld. (We are nothing if not introspective.) And, regular readers know the Fix loves looking back at the campaign that was and deciding who did it best and, more deliciously, who did it worst. (Some people call this back seat driving; we call it “analysis”!)

Continue Reading »

Why Ron Paul matters more than Newt Gingrich

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s long, slow fade into political oblivion in this presidential primary race has received lots — and lots — of attention.


Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, cheer as Paul speaks at the University of California at Berkeley, Calif., Thursday, April 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
“People walk up again and again and say, ‘Please stay in, and please fight for conservatism’,” Gingrich told the Post’s Karen Tumulty over the weekend. (Gingrich has never been one to hide his light under a bushel.)

Rumors fly constantly — some cropped up late last week — that conservatives are attempting to broker a deal whereby Gingrich gets out of the race (he’s not going to) and throws his support behind former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. Conservatives are united and reenergized, the logic goes, and Gingrich, who has won a total of one state outside of his home state of Georgia, saves the conservative cause.

There’s only one problem with all of that: There’s virtually no evidence that Gingrich retains any significant constituency within the GOP or will play an influential role in the presidential race as it moves to its general election phase.

In fact, there is a case to be made that Gingrich matters far less in the contest than Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul: The Butler Bulldogs of presidential politics

Ron Paul is the Butler Bulldogs of Republican presidential politics.

Butler, you may recall, is the second-tier — a.k.a. “mid-major” — college basketball program that made the NCAA Final Four two straight years in 2010 and 2011, only to lose in the National Championship game to storied programs from Duke and Connecticut.

Similarly, the Texas congressman made the Final Four in the presidential race this year, exceeded expectations, and even came close to winning the big game in Iowa.
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) talks to supporters during a rally Saturday, March 10, in Springfield, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

But then, reality set in. While Paul has had a great campaign season for a “mid-major” candidate, things have certainly tailed off in recent weeks, and it’s clear that Paul is still missing something that the Dukes and the UConns and the Mitt Romneys of this world have: staying power.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul video pokes at Romney opponents’ focus on Etch a Sketch

Ron Paul just did Mitt Romney another favor.

The Texas congressman, who throughout the campaign has given Romney a series of assists, is now shunning the media’s coverage of and Romney’s opponents’ reaction to the controversy over a Romney adviser’s Etch a Sketch comments.

A new web video from Paul’s campaign features video of the aide, Eric Fehrnstrom, along with footage of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum wielding Etch A Sketches on the campaign trail in an effort to attack Romney.

Following the Etch a Sketch footage and clips of the media talking about the issue, the words “$15 trillion in debt” flash on the screen, followed by “12 million unemployed” and “a country at war.”

Finally, the screen shows the words, “Tired of the games?” and pitches Paul as the antidote to silly campaign stunts.

But the real beneficiary of the ad is Romney, who again has Paul backing him up when it matters most.

The 2012 presidential race. By Google.

The story of the 2012 Republican presidential race — as told by Google searches. (If you have not bookmarked Google’s Politics and Elections blog, you should. Like, immediately.)

Is Mitt Romney getting a raw deal?

Is Mitt Romney getting a raw deal?

Mitt Romney, having won six of the ten states voting on Super Tuesday including the grand prize of Ohio, almost certainly woke up Wednesday morning, read the news coverage of his victories and thought to himself: “What else do I have to do?”

And he could be forgiven for thinking that way. After all, the pre-Super Tuesday expectation-setting by the media — up to and including this here blog — suggested that if Romney vanquished former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in Ohio he would have not only “won” the biggest primary day of the year but also taken a major step toward emerging as the Republican presidential nominee. There was no discussion about what Romney’s margin of victory had to be in Ohio in order for the win to truly count as a win.

Continue Reading »

Super Tuesday: Winners and losers

Super Tuesday:  Winners and losers

Super Tuesday is over. Long live Super Tuesday!

The Republican presidential primary campaign’s busiest night — 10 states voted in all — turned more into a marathon than a sprint as the Ohio primary wasn’t called for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney until early Wednesday morning. (More on that below.)

Continue Reading »

Super Tuesday: Rating the GOP candidates’ speeches

Super Tuesday: Rating the GOP candidates’ speeches

Ohio’s Republican presidential primary is still up in the air — and could be for a very long time — but all of the major candidates have already given their victory speeches.

With apologies to Ron Paul, whose speech wasn’t widely televised (cut the conspiracy theories!), here are our Fix ratings of the addresses given by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. They are ranked from best to worst. Agree or disagree with our picks? The comments section awaits!

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul’s Virginia surprise

Ron Paul’s Virginia surprise

In the days leading up to the Virginia primary, the common assumption was that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney would romp to a victory over Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

(Romney and Paul were the only two candidates who qualified for the ballot in the Commonwealth.)

A poll released just days before the vote showed Romney leading Paul 69 percent to 26 percent.

Continue Reading »

The 2012 Republican presidential campaign — in tweets.

The Fix posse — like most of the political world — are Twitter addicts. It’s become the medium through which all political news breaks. You literally cannot cover the campaign without keeping an eye — and sometimes both eyes — on Twitter.

But, how reflective is Twitter of the various ups and downs of a campaign that has been a rollercoaster ride since voters started voting on Jan. 3 in Iowa?

Pretty reflective, it turns out. Check out the chart below that tracks the peaks and valleys of the campaign through the Twitter traffic around each of the four Republican candidates.

Make sure to check out the full screen chart if you want a closer look.

Continue Reading »

Five lessons learned from the Republican presidential race

Eleven states have cast their votes in the Republican presidential nominating contest. Ten more will do so in six days time, the biggest single day of voting in the GOP race.


Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves at his election night party in Novi, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Now then seems like as good a time as any to take three big steps back and look at what lessons the first two months of votes have taught us about the Republican race.

Below are the five biggest lessons we’ve learned in the race to date. (And, yes, all lessons learned come in groups of five. It’s just how it works.)

Continue Reading »

Memo to Republicans: Ignore Ron Paul at your peril

Memo to Republicans: Ignore Ron Paul at your peril

Ron Paul isn’t a major factor in either the Arizona or Michigan primaries tonight — he gave his “victory” speech before the polls in either state closed — but a look inside the exit polling in the Wolverine State makes clear why the Texas Congressman remains a relevant factor in the presidential race.

Continue Reading »

New Ron Paul ad attacks Rick Santorum: ‘Is this dude serious?’

Another sign that Rick Santorum is the new front-runner — he’s under attack from Ron Paul.

In a clever new ad, the libertarian-leaning Texas House member attacks the former Pennsylvania senator as a faux fiscal conservative.

Continue Reading »

Romney raised $6.5 million in January, opponents not far behind

Romney raised $6.5 million in January, opponents not far behind

Updated at 7:41 p.m.

Mitt Romney’s campaign raised $6.5 million for the Republican presidential primary in January, yet again winning the fundraising battle but doing it by a much smaller margin than he has previously.

The total bested the amounts raised Newt Gingrich, who pulled in $5.6 million, and by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who both raised $4.5 million.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul still waiting for elusive first victory

Ron Paul still waiting for elusive first victory

Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) campaign may have blown its best chance at winning a state in the Republican presidential contest last week in Maine.

But there will be other opportunities in the weeks ahead.

The final results from Maine showed Paul losing to Mitt Romney by fewer than 200 votes. His campaign is crying foul over one county having postponed its caucus, but the result seems set in stone.

Continue Reading »

Mitt Romney holds off Ron Paul in Maine

Mitt Romney has won the Maine caucuses, turning aside a valiant effort from Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and getting back on the winning side of the ledger after a tough week.

Results of the week-long caucuses released Saturday evening by the Maine Republican Party showed Romney with 39 percent of the vote, Paul with 36 percent, Rick Santorum with 18 percent and Newt Gingrich with 6 percent.

Coupled with his victory in Saturday’s straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, the Maine win gives the GOP front-runner and former Massachusetts governor a substantial boost heading into a 17-day period in which there will be no contests.

Continue Reading »

A hyper-regional GOP delegate race? Here’s how

Rick Santorum’s trio of victories in Tuesday’s contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri virtually assures that the Republican presidential race will, on some level, be a delegate race.

And if that delegate race drags on for a while, it could very well pit different regions of the country against one another.

Continue Reading »

The true conservative alternative: Ron Paul?

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are fighting for the right to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.

But they both lost that battle in Nevada — to Ron Paul.

Entrance polls from Saturday’s Nevada caucuses show Romney racking up huge wins among the vast majority of demographics, which isn’t surprising given that he took about 50 percent of the vote.

But the one demographic that is supposed to be Gingrich’s and Santorum’s bread and butter — people looking for the “true conservative” in the race — didn’t go for either one of them.

Which begs the question: Just what is the argument for their candidacies right now?

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul: Hispanics used as ‘scapegoats’

Ron Paul says immigrants get scapegoated, Rick Santorum is after Missouri, Mitt Romney is getting glittered, and Michele Bachmann is not endorsing.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m!

Continue Reading »

5 lessons the Florida primary taught us

5 lessons the Florida primary taught us

There wasn’t much drama in the Florida Republican primary on Tuesday night. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney pulled away to a convincing enough victory that the race was called for him within moments of polls closing.

But, that dearth of drama doesn’t mean that there weren’t lessons learned from Tuesday’s vote in the Sunshine State that can be carried forward as the race moves to Nevada and beyond.

Continue Reading »

Mitt Romney’s Florida sweep — and how it changes the presidential race

Mitt Romney’s Florida sweep — and how it changes the presidential race

Mitt Romney’s across-the-board victory in the Florida Republican presidential primary on Tuesday night serves as a direct rebuttal to the criticism that he simply isn’t conservative enough to be the party’s nominee and leaves his remaining rivals with few obvious next steps as the nomination fight moves to Nevada next month.

Continue Reading »

Five counties to watch in the Florida primary

Today’s Florida primary features the largest and most diverse electorate of any contest to date in the Republican presidential primary fight.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney enters election day with a clear polling lead although former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pledged this morning that “I’m not going to lose big in Florida.”

Most precincts — 94 percent, actually — close at 7 p.m. eastern time while a handful of polling places in the state’s Panhandle region close at 8 p.m.

Given the size and complexity of the Florida electorate, we polled a bunch of Sunshine State Republican strategists in search of the five counties they will be watching as leading indicators of not only who will win tonight but also of how the swing state is trending heading into the general election.

Continue Reading »

Newt Gingrich, South Carolina front-runner?

Newt Gingrich, South Carolina front-runner?

A consensus seems to be emerging among connected South Carolina Republican political operatives: Newt Gingrich is the favorite to win the Palmetto State primary on Saturday.

“Now that [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry and [Minnesota Rep. Michele] Bachmann are out of the race, conservatives are attempting to rally around a single conservative candidate, the one who is most viable, and that’s Newt Gingrich,” said Walter Whetsell, a South Carolina-based Republican consultant.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul is the most dangerous man in the Republican party

In the wake of his second-place showing in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday night, Texas Rep. Ron Paul declared: “We are dangerous to the status quo of this country”.

He’s right. And that could be a very bad thing for a Republican party hoping to take back the White House this November.

A look at exit polling from New Hampshire suggests that Paul has a significant — and steady — following that exists almost entirely apart from the Republican party and is, in many ways, based on a disgust with the GOP.

Two numbers from the exit polls jump out.

Continue Reading »

5 storylines to watch in the New Hampshire primary

5 storylines to watch in the New Hampshire primary

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Polls will close across New Hampshire in three hours time and we should start getting results (rubbing hands gleefully) shortly after that.

Need to while away the hours until the polls close and the Fix live chat goes, um, live? Us too! Below is a look at a few storylines to keep an eye on tonight as ballots get counted. Have storylines of your own we need to watch? The comments section awaits.

Continue Reading »

Why Ron Paul is Mitt Romney’s best friend, part two

Why Ron Paul is Mitt Romney’s best friend, part two

DERRY, N.H. — Rick Santorum has it all planned out.

“Several races down the road, this field will narrow and it will be a one-on-one race – Mitt Romney against Rick Santorum – and we’ll win this race,” the Pennsylvania senator said at an event here Monday afternoon.

One major problem: Ron Paul.

We wrote before on this blog about how Paul was Romney’s “best friend” in the Iowa caucuses, because he was instrumental in chopping down Newt Gingrich, while not really threatening Romney to become the GOP nominee.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul’s relationship with press getting testy

Ron Paul’s relationship with press getting testy

For months, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and his supporters complained about being ignored by the mainstream media despite his strong poll numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire. Now that the press is all over him, the iconoclastic candidate appears to be struggling with the onslaught of attention.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul-Newt Gingrich bad blood gets personal

Ron Paul-Newt Gingrich bad blood gets personal

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul engaged in a very personal exchange in Saturday night’s debate in which Paul criticized the former House speaker for not serving in the military.

Paul has repeatedly criticized Gingrich for taking a deferment during the Vietnam War, calling him a “chickenhawk” for having no problem sending young men to war despite his lack of service. And Gingrich took exception to it during the debate.

Continue Reading »

Afternoon Fix: Ron Paul ad savages Rick Santorum

Ron Paul goes up with a brutal ad against Santorum in South Carolina; Santorum super PAC counters with positive bio ad; and Cain will endorse Jan. 19.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m!

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul’s negative turn

Ron Paul’s negative turn

Public sentiment regarding Texas Rep. Ron Paul has turned drastically negative in the first few days of 2012, according to an analysis of all of the Republican presidential candidates conducted by a GOP media firm.

Since the start of the new year, Paul, who finished third in the Iowa caucuses, has experienced a precipitous negative turn in public mentions as calculated by TargetPoint, a Republican media firm, which has developed a tool — called the National Dialogue Monitor — that “tracks every time a celebrity, organization, issue or corporation is mentioned across all media channels — television, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, websites and social networks — measuring the associated volume, tone, and topics of each tracked entity.”

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul, big spender

Ron Paul, big spender

A detailed examination of the money being spent by the Republican presidential candidates on television ads produces a somewhat surprising result: Texas Rep. Ron Paul is spending the most money on commercials in early states.

According to ad buy information provided to the Fix by a Republican following the TV ad wars closely, Paul spent $554,000 on television ads in Iowa ($344,000) and New Hampshire ($210,000) in the week beginning Dec. 19 and ending Dec. 25.

Continue Reading »

Rick Santorum: Ron Paul is ‘disgusting’

Rick Santorum: Ron Paul is ‘disgusting’

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum dropped the gloves against Texas Rep. Ron Paul this morning.

“Ron Paul is disgusting,” Santorum told a handful of Fox News reporters Tuesday morning.

Santorum has been gaining on Paul in Iowa polls heading into today’s Iowa caucuses. He blamed the Texas congressman for robocalls running in the state that claim Santorum supports abortion rights and opposes gun rights.

Continue Reading »

Iowa caucuses: The Fix prediction contest!

Iowa caucuses: The Fix prediction contest!

The Iowa caucuses are here! Between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. eastern time, Iowans will gather across the state to pick the man (or woman) that they believe represents Republicans’ best chance to knock off President Obama next November.

But before Iowans tell us what they think, we want to hear what you think. In the comments section below, offer your prediction on who will claim the top three spots — with percentages! — in tonight’s voting. As a tie-breaker, offer your prediction on what the overall turnout for the Republican caucuses will be.

Continue Reading »

2012 Iowa caucuses: The 6 counties to watch

It’s caucus day!

After months of campaigning, debating and spinning, the moment of reckoning has arrived, as the Iowa caucuses officially kick off the Republican presidential nomination fight tonight.
The sun sets over a farm Sunday in Johnston, Iowa. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

We’ll have tons of coverage throughout the day — both on The Fix as well as our Election 2012 blog — and a live blog tracking all the results right here beginning at 8 p.m. eastern time.

In the meantime — and, yes, the wait for results will be interminable for all of us — here’s six counties to keep an eye on as the results roll in. They’ll tell us where the race is headed before it gets there.

Continue Reading »

The Ron Paul phenomenon — in one graph

The Ron Paul phenomenon — in one graph

Whether or not Texas Rep. Ron Paul win the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, he is, without question, the candidate that draws the most reaction — both positive and negative.

Paul’s backers would, literally, walk over hot coals for the man. His detractors tend to roll their eyes when talk of Paul as a serious candidate is broached. (The latter sentiment was summed up nicely by Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen who headlined a recent piece: “Seriously, Iowa? Ron Paul?”)

Continue Reading »

In Iowa caucus, independent voters could swing results

In Iowa caucus, independent voters could swing results

Only registered Republicans can vote in the Iowa caucuses, but anyone eligible to vote or even registered with another party can decide to register as a Republican on Tuesday evening and participate in the caucuses.

“I think we could have record caucus turnout, and I think that could be in large part with people who had affiliated themselves as independents and now will affiliate themselves as Republicans,” said Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R), who is supporting former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum .

Continue Reading »

Afternoon Fix: Steve King hints at endorsement to stop Paul

Steve King lays into Ron Paul, Matt Romney makes a bad joke, New Mexico has a new map and Rick Perry is still after Rick Santorum.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.

Continue Reading »

New Ron Paul ad: He’s ‘the one we’ve been looking for’

In his latest presidential campaign ad, Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) positions himself as the only candidate who can stand up to the “Washington machine.”

Paul has taken hits from rivals this week for his isolationist foreign policy and hands-off approach on many issues. This ad tries to turn his longtime iconoclastic views from a negative to a positive, painting Paul as a lone man of principle in a field of compromising politicians.

In a year when every candidate wants to be an outsider, it might not be a bad strategy.

Continue Reading »

Gingrich: I wouldn’t vote for Ron Paul

Gingrich is not positive on Paul, Romney thinks Gingrich is like Lucy, Santorum won’t say in if he’s dead last and Ben Nelson is going back to Nebraska.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.

Continue Reading »

Who is a Ron Paul supporter?

Who is a Ron Paul supporter?

Ron Paul supporters are certainly their own breed.

Despite the candidate’s success in expanding his political brand in recent weeks and months, those who support him remain a very distinct segment of the Republican electorate, as evidenced by a new poll in Iowa.

The Iowa State University/Gazette/KCRG survey is the latest poll to show Paul leading in the Hawkeye State’s caucuses. His 27.5 percent-to-25.3 percent lead on Newt Gingrich is within the margin of error, but it reflects a race that appears to be headed in the good doctor’s direction.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul’s ceiling rises, but it’s still a ceiling

Ron Paul’s ceiling rises, but it’s still a ceiling

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has expanded his political brand enough to potentially win the Iowa caucuses in two weeks.

Beyond that, though, victory is going to be hard to come by, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

While Paul seems to have taken advantage of a good situation in the Hawkeye State and has improved his position nationally as well, his brand of politics remains wholly unpalatable to vast swaths of the GOP.

Continue Reading »

Can Ron Paul win Iowa? Yup.

Can Ron Paul win Iowa? Yup.

Fifteen days out from the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses there’s one question on the collective mind of the political world: Can Ron Paul actually win?

The Texas Republican is, without question, far better organized in the state than he was in 2008 when he placed fifth in the state’s caucuses. And, he has been on television for months with commercials that are a vast improvement over the this-looks-like-it-was-done-in-my-parents’- basement ads that he ran in the last race. (The improvement in Paul’s ads is due to the underrated Jon Downs.)

Continue Reading »

Iowa Republican debate: Winners and losers

Iowa Republican debate: Winners and losers

The last Republican presidential debate of 2011 is in the books. It was a remarkably sedate affair with the frontrunning candidates — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — playing it safe and staying away from any direct attacks on one another.

If you missed any of the debate, never fear: We live-blogged it! We also jotted down some winners and, yes, some losers from the night that was. Our picks are below. Agree? Disagree? The comments section awaits.

Continue Reading »

Iowa Republican debate: What to watch for

Iowa Republican debate: What to watch for

For the final time before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, the seven men and women running for the Republican presidential nomination will face off on a debate stage tonight.

The debate will run on Fox News Channel starting at 9 p.m. eastern time. (And, yes, The Fix will be live-blogging it all!)

We’re calling this the “kitchen sink” debate because you can bet any and every attack that the Republican candidates might have been keeping in their pocket will come out tonight. Why? Because it’s the last chance for Iowa voters — and voters nationally — to compare and contrast the candidates before an actual ballot is cast.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul, the unlikeliest 2012 force

Ron Paul, the unlikeliest 2012 force

As part of the Washington Post’s “Candidate Week” series, we penned a piece analyzing the campaign that Texas Rep. Ron Paul — the most unlikely of the 2012 candidates — has run so far.

We write:

The rise of Ron Paul to a national figure is among the unlikeliest of political story lines. But it’s beyond debate at this point that the man his supporters refer to adoringly as “Dr. Paul” has transformed himself into a force to be reckoned with in the Republican presidential race.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul is Mitt Romney’s best (Iowa) friend

Ron Paul is Mitt Romney’s best (Iowa) friend

Want to know the key to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney winding up as the Republican presidential nominee? Two words: Ron Paul.

The Texas Congressman’s strength in Iowa — there is a legitimate case to be made that he will win the Jan. 3 caucuses but more on that later — coupled with his willingness to go after frontrunning former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in often quite personal terms make him perhaps the critical x-factor in Romney’s winning calculus.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul goes on air in Iowa against Gingrich

Ron Paul goes on air in Iowa against Gingrich

Texas Rep. Ron Paul is now on the air in Iowa with television ads attacking former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, making him the first candidate to go negative against the frontrunner in the Hawkeye State.

With former Massachusetts governoer Mitt Romney still struggling to decide how hard to push in Iowa, Paul is clearly positioning himself as Gingrich’s chief rival in the state.

Continue Reading »

Newt Gingrich’s high Iowa ceiling

Newt Gingrich’s high Iowa ceiling

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged into the top spot a month before the Iowa caucuses, according to two new independent polls released over the weekend. And, a look inside the numbers suggests Gingrich’s ceiling in the Hawkeye State is high, suggesting he may well be stronger than even his current lead indicates.

Continue Reading »

CNN Republican debate: Winners and losers

Another day, another Republican presidential debate. We live-blogged the whole thing but also took note of a few of the night’s winners and, yes, losers.

Our thoughts are below. Have your own winners and losers? The comments section awaits.

Continue Reading »

CNN national security debate: What to watch for

Eight Republican candidates will gather for the billionth — oops, sorry, twelfth— time tonight in Washington, D.C. for a debate focused on national security.

The festivities get started at 8 p.m. on CNN — we will ramp up the Fix live-blog around 7:30 p.m. — but in the meantime we thought we’d offer a few things to keep an eye on in tonight’s debate.

As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments section.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul is for real in Iowa. Seriously.

Ron Paul is for real in Iowa. Seriously.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, long dismissed by the GOP establishment as a fringe candidate, has broadened his electoral appeal and emerged as a major player in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, according to several recent polls and conversations with a handful of longtime Hawkeye political operatives.

“He has certainly broadened his coalition from the ‘rage against the machine’ types that primarily comprised his supporters in 2008,” said one senior Iowa Republican operative granted anonymity to speak candidly about Paul’s prospects. “The expanded coalition includes more traditional activists — as a number of GOP county chairs have endorsed his campaign, as have a handful of legislators.”

Continue Reading »

CNBC presidential debate: What we learned

CNBC presidential debate: What we learned

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s near-minute long unsuccessful attempt to remember the three federal agencies he would eliminate if he became president dominated the post-game analysis of Wednesday night’s presidential debate in Michigan.

And, while the Perry gaffe likely ensures he will have never have the chance to eliminate any federal departments there were a few other take-aways from the debate that are worth noting.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul and the GOP’s third-party nightmare scenario

Ron Paul is a powerful man.

The Texas Republican Congressman says he has no intention of launching an independent run for president if he loses the GOP presidential primary next year. But, if he happens to change his mind, polling suggests he could have a major impact on the identity of the next president.
Republican presidential contender Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) speaks at a restaurant at the Polk County GOP summer picnic event held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that an independent bid from Paul would garner 18 percent of the national vote. Perhaps more important, it would swing the popular vote toward President Obama by a large margin — 44 percent to 32 percent in a hypothetical three-way matchup that also includes former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

In a head-to-head race with Romney, Obama leads by a far more narrow 49 percent to 43 percent.

“Dr. Paul has strong crossover appeal, and could do very well as an independent,” Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton told The Fix. “He has, however, decided to remain in the GOP, as he has for over 20 years in Congress, and use that appeal to beat President Obama as the Republican nominee.”

But, what if Paul doesn’t wind up as the GOP nominee? It’s not hard to see how a Paul third-party candidacy could create a nightmare scenario — albeit an unlikely one — for Republicans.

Continue Reading »

All politics is national? In 2012, yes.

All politics is national? In 2012, yes.

It’s accepted wisdom in presidential politics that national polling on a primary race is largely meaningless since the nominees of both parties are typically picked in the crucible of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

But, in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, it appears as though the national dynamic is overriding in-state realities and, in many ways, dictating the terms of the races in these early states.

Continue Reading »

The contenders and the pretenders of the Republican race

The contenders and the pretenders of the Republican race

And then there were eight.

As in eight candidates on this month’s Friday presidential Line — the first time this election cycle that we aren’t including ten Republicans in our rankings of who might wind up as the GOP nominee.

Why? Because with the no-go decisions by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin , there simply aren’t ten people left in the Republican field who can make even a semi-reasonable case that they could wind up as the party’s standard-bearer against President Obama next November.

Continue Reading »

Mitt Romney: Unstoppable in New Hampshire?

Mitt Romney: Unstoppable in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire is at the center of the 2012 Republican presidential race today, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry travels to the state to formally file as a candidate for the first-in-the-nation primary and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul also make campaign stops in the state.

Continue Reading »

Las Vegas Republican debate: What to watch for

Las Vegas Republican debate: What to watch for

For the fifth time in the last six weeks and the eighth time in 2011 — neither of those are typos — the Republican presidential field will gather on a debate stage with Las Vegas providing the backdrop to tonight’s tete a tete.

Unlike the last several debates there will be seven not eight men and women on stage as former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is boycotting the debate in solidarity with the New Hampshire Republican party, which is upset with the Silver State for scheduling their presidential caucus on Jan. 14, 2012. (Follow all of that?)

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul puts out ‘Plan to Restore America’

Ron Paul puts out ‘Plan to Restore America’

While Texas Gov. Rick Perry dodges questions about his jobs plan, Texas Rep. Ron Paul on Monday issued his own detailed ‘Plan to Restore America.’

The proposal, which Paul unveiled in Las Vegas on Monday in advance of Tuesday’s Republican debate, is dramatic by any measure and goes well beyond what other Republican candidates are proposing.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul the religious

Ron Paul the religious

In a television ad airing in Iowa, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) talks about seeing a late-term abortion performed while he was working as an obstetrician and not understanding why it was done.

“Who are we to decide that we pick and throw one away and pick up and struggle to save the other ones?” he asks. “Unless we resolve this and understand that life is precious and we must protect life, we can’t protect liberty.”

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul calls out Herman Cain at Republican debate (Debate Video)

Ron Paul calls out Herman Cain at Republican debate (Debate Video)

When the candidates were invited to ask each other questions in Tuesday night’s debate, most focused their fire on the front-runner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. But Texas Rep. Ron Paul targeted Herman Cain — and caught the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO being disingenous at best.

“Mr. Cain, in the past you have been rather critical of any of us who would want to audit the Fed. You have said ... that we were ignorant and that we didn’t know what we are doing, and ... you’re not going to find out anything, because everybody knows everything about the Fed,” Paul said.

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul raises $8 million in third quarter

Ron Paul raises $8 million in third quarter

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised over $8 million in the third quarter of the year. That’s about half as much as Texas Gov. Rick Perry , but it’s a healthy haul.

The Texas congressman and 2012 candidate announced the total at a National Press Club speech Wednesday, saying, “We are very pleased with that and believe that will give us the energy to keep the campaign moving right along.” He added, “I'm not very good at remembering the details of campaigning, because I get very much involved in economic policy and foreign policy and I don't talk a whole lot about the intricacies of the campaign.”

Continue Reading »

Ron Paul’s Republican problem

Ron Paul’s Republican problem

Texas Rep. Ron Paul is the most enigmatic figure in the Republican race for president.

On the one hand, his call for fiscal austerity resounds with tea party-affiliated primary voters. On the other, his views on foreign policy — including the idea that America all but incited the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 — are decidedly less popular.

Continue Reading »

Sarah Palin, second-tier candidate

Sarah Palin, second-tier candidate

Amid the “will she or won’t she” speculation about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s 2012 presidential plans, one important thing seems to be getting lost: Palin is simply not a top-tier candidate.

New numbers from a CNN/Opinion Research poll confirm it. In a hypothetical 2012 Republican primary, Palin stood at 7 percent — tied with businessman Herman Cain and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, neither of whom are considered anything but the longshots for the nomination.

Continue Reading »