Four is enough8:51 PM, Nov 10, 2015 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Going in, Chris Christie was the guy to watch at the undercard debate. He’s moving in New Hampshire, he handled his relegation with grit, and people are finally starting to see what a talent he is.
Clearly, he wanted to replicate what Carly Fiorina did in the first kids’ table debate by focusing exclusively on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and avoid getting dragged into scuffles with the other candidates. He wanted to talk directly to voters and show them how tough he’d be in a general election match-up.
It’s worth noting that Christie was the only one who talked about actually being in a general election match up. He kept saying “when I’m president” and that was a pretty effective, yet subtle, reminder that of the four guys on stage Christie was the only one with even an outside chance to be the nominee.
All of that, while Christie succeeded within the parameters of what this debate would allow, he wasn’t able to establish Fiorina-like dominance. And that’s because the dynamics of this stage made that impossible. In the first debate, people stayed in their own lanes and focused on introducing themselves. At this point we’ve entered demolition derby mode for the also-rans where people with nothing to lose were willing to do anything to try to stand out. With so much crossfire, Christie could only do so much. (But his close was awfully strong.)
Bobby Jindal went super-aggro, which was entirely predictable. Fresh off of challenging Ted Cruz to a one-on-one debate, Jindal went after Huckabee first and then Christie for a litany of sins—not being conservative enough, not cutting spending enough, fiscal mismanagement, etc. He was snide and condescending in the extreme, at one point telling Christie he should get “a juice box” for his accomplishments in New Jersey.
None of this is going to help Jindal. But on the other hand, how much could it hurt him? He’s sitting at 0.8 percent in the RCP average. I suspect he won’t lose sleep over the prospect of dropping to 0.6.
He is not, however, going to make himself any admirers. It’s one thing to be aggressively negative in the heat of a close campaign. Voters like toughness. It’s another to be aggressively negative in a thoroughly inconsequential lost cause. Voters tend to take a different view of that sort of thing. And alone among the men on stage, Jindal reeked of desperation.
Mike Huckabee wasn’t out of control, but he does seem to have hit the point of diminishing returns. Like Jindal, you wonder how much longer he’ll be willing to hang around.
As for Rick Santorum, at times you could see why he came within five points in Michigan of being the nominee. What you couldn’t see is why, if he was determined to make another run, he disappeared for four years instead of building an organization and a rationale for his candidacy.
Santorum was fond of reminding people that he has won more primaries than any Republican challenger since Reagan in 1976. The difference is that Reagan lost the nomination and then rolled up his sleeves and went to work getting ready to lead the party.
8:28 AM, Aug 4, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
It was a fast two hours Monday evening at St. Anselm College at the Voters First Forum, where 14 of the Republican candidates for president joined each other (except for 3 U.S. senators, who spoke remotely from Washington) to answer questions.
The 2012 runner-up lowers expectations for Iowa.8:33 PM, Jul 20, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Rick Santorum is keeping expectations low for his second presidential campaign. Asked if he would need to win the Iowa caucuses to stay in the race, the former senator said it “depends.”
“If I finish third and half a percent behind first, I think I feel pretty good. If I finish third and I’m ten points out, well, that’s a different story,” he told a small group of reporters in a Washington restaurant Monday afternoon.
3:02 PM, Jul 14, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
As the news of the nuclear deal reached between the United States, its Western allies, and the Islamic Republican of Iran broke Tuesday morning, Republican presidential candidates were nearly unanimous in condemning the agreement.
11:01 AM, May 27, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and runner-up for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, will run for president again in 2016. The Associated Press reports:
After insulting and erroneous comments about Christians, Putnam suggests that Rick Santorum is racist. 4:47 PM, May 18, 2015 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Last week, I noted that Harvard's Robert Putnam had made a rather baffling and slanderous statement about American Christians. As an empirical matter, it was utterly indefensible and not the kind of untrue generalization you would expect a prominent social scientist to indulge in. So, that was pretty bad.
2:52 PM, Apr 28, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new poll of likely Iowa Republican presidential caucus goers finds a wide-open field with three candidates vying for the top spot and a plurality undecided. Scott Walker, the governor of neighboring Wisconsin, leads the latest poll from Loras College, earning 12.6 percent support. Florida senator Marco Rubio, who declared his candidacy earlier this month, is close behind with 10 percent, while former Florida governor Jeb Bush has 9.6 percent.
Both Walker and Rubio have doubled their support from the January Loras poll, according to a press release from the college.
Bush, Carson, Rubio, Jindal, Santorum, and Perry weigh in11:46 AM, Mar 31, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Several of the likely Republican candidates for president have spoken out in defense of Indiana governor Mike Pence and his decision to sign the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. CNN reports that several White House hopefuls, including Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum have voiced support for the law, which provides a test for courts on cases where individual religious expression is at odds with state or local laws and ordinances.
Handicapping the 2016 GOP fieldFeb 23, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 23 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
It’s still two years before the next president takes the oath of office, but the contest that will determine who raises his right hand that day started in earnest last month for Republicans, with a grassroots gathering in Iowa and a meeting of high-dollar donors in California.
4:28 PM, Jul 18, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
It's still a year and a half before the first presidential primaries of 2016, but Gallup has a new survey out asking Republicans and Democrats about the potential GOP candidates. Analyzing those candidates' familiarity and favorability among Republicans, Gallup has discovered the best known and best liked are former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Kentucky senator Rand Paul, Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, and Texas governor Rick Perry.
8:04 AM, Jun 14, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum spoke Thursday at the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington about the failure of the Republican party and its presidential nominee to speak to the concerns of middle class and working people. Politico's James Hohmann reports:
3:28 PM, Nov 26, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum says he is “open” to another run for president in 2016. Santorum was asked about a possible presidential campaign Monday at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
“I’m open to it, yeah,” Santorum replied. “I think there’s a fight right now as to what the soul of the Republican party’s going to be and the conservative movement, and we have something to say about that. I think from our battle, we’re not going to leave the field.”
3:31 PM, Sep 18, 2012 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Lots of people have already unpacked the philosophical and logical problems with Mitt Romney’s belief that 47 percent of the country is basically free-loading off of everyone else (and voting Democratic). I’m struck, however, by how the moocher theory was presaged during the primaries in the difference between how Romney and Rick Santorum talked about the moral problems inherent in the welfare state.
5:51 PM, Apr 10, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Conservative leader Gary Bauer, who endorsed Rick Santorum earlier in the year, did a good job of summing up the former Pennsylvania senator's presidential run.