Primary Expectations Game Begins
Huntsman puts his back into it. Romney adds New Year's Eve stop. And is Santorum surging?
Newt Gingrich seeks to end a "ridiculous narrative" the old-fashioned way–with money. Rick "Dark Horse" Santorum pulls in a few more poker chips. Rick Perry refuses to fold. Jon Huntsman invites you to play the Expectations Game. And forget Occupy Wall Street protesters. You want to see real birddogging? Just wait 'til senior citizens hit the campaign trail next week.
First, introductions are in order. Meet your Primary Countdown for Friday, Dec. 30. There are 11 days until the New Hampshire Primary fuse is lit.
Senior Moment-um: The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare will dispatch its mobile billboard to New Hampshire ahead of the Jan. 10 presidential primary. The "Hands Off-No Cuts" mobile is scheduled to be at Newt Gingrich's headquarters on Elm Street in Manchester at 11:15 a.m. on Jan. 5 and at the presidential debate at Saint Anselm College on Jan. 7.
New Year's Heave: Mitt Romney carves out one more New Hampshire stop before his Iowa push. The former Massachusetts governor is scheduled to appear at a breakfast rally Saturday morning at the Old Salt in Hampton.
Let Them Eat Cake: Romney: Obama Like Marie Antoinette for messaging for America's poor, to which Democrats counter: this from a quarter-billion-dollar Wall Street raider?
'Early State Voters Have a Right to Know': The New Hampshire Democratic Party is demanding Mitt Romney release his tax returns now, before ballots are cast Jan. 10–not if or when he becomes the GOP presidential nominee. "Waiting any longer would be unfair and a disservice to New Hampshire voters who are choosing a candidate in the next few days and have the right to know," says Holly Shulman, NHDP spokeswoman.
If He Had A Million Dollars: Newt Gingrich issued an e-plea yesterday, asking people to donate so his campaign can raise $1 million by the fund-raising deadline...so that he can better challenge the status quo and make good on bold ideas and fundamental reforms. Quoth the Newt: "I'm in a three-way tie for first place in Iowa, this is our opportunity to put to rest the ridiculous narrative that we don’t have the organization or resources to compete in this election."
Go Ahead, Ask Newt: The former House Speaker is hosting Tele-Town Halls to help get out his message in the final days. The number is (855) ASK-NEWT. The teleconference events, according to the campaign, are Dec. 30 at 5 p.m., Dec. 31 at 4:30 p.m., Jan. 2 at 6:30 p.m., and Jan. 3 at 4:30 p.m. Times ET.
They shall be called oaks of justice: The Rev. Paul Berube of Grace Fellowship Church in Nashua just endorsed Rick Santorum. Berube said that Rick is a man of true faith convictions, who lives his faith in public and in private. He understands that our nation is a moral enterprise based on faith, family, and freedom."
More Endorsements: The Weirs Times has endorsed Mitt Romney. The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript has endorsed Jon Huntsman.
Malaise? Steve Forbes, in New Hampshire campaigning for his "pro-growth" Rick Perry, tells Amelia Chasse over at NHJournal that times have changed. “I haven’t seen this kind of malaise – not just in New Hampshire but nationwide – since the late 1970s.”
Around the Horn:
- Romney Brothers Finally Step Into the Spotlight. The candidate's grown children lend a real touch to what can otherwise be unreal or surreal campaign stops for most presidential hopefuls.
- Santorum Set to Surprise. Jennifer Horn's in Romney's camp, but she writes in this blog post that Rick Santorum's surprise surge is no real surprise. Once again, though, will any Iowa success transfer to New Hampshire?
- How the Media Made Ron Paul. A piece in Salon about how "Paul-ites" for months bemoaned the media ignoring their candidate, only now to bemoan the media's treatment of their candidate with regard to controversial newsletters.
- Rick Perry: Texan is undeterred. Never surrender, Perry says (paraphrasing, of course.)
Poll Dancing: Mitt Romney's still firmly in the pole position in the latest New Hampshire poll. The survey by Public Policy Polling, which can be read here, has the race at: Romney at 36 percent, Ron Paul at 21 percent, Newt Gingrich (sliding 4 points) at 13 percent, Jon Huntsman at 12 percent, Michele Bachmann at 7 percent, and Buddy Roemer, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum each with 3 percent.
Ayuh Department: Jon Huntsman just might pick up a New Hampshire accent, after all. He continues his whirlwind tour today, including an employee town hall-style meeting at Bid2Win in Portsmouth–and he gets to stop by Calef's Famous Country Store in Barrington (B-roll only, but we hope NBC News embed Jo Ling Kent can pick us up some rock candy or some sugar maple delicacies. Ayuh, good stuff.)
We Warned You This Unconventional Language was Coming: Buddy Roemer's claiming "Roementum." So he's only at 3 percent–the former Louisiana governor and congressman says he's out-shining Perry and Santorum, despite their campaign riches and TV debate invites.
What we'd like to see more of: Primary Beards. Like Playoff Beards. Anyone else growing one?