Tuesday, August 04, 2015

GOP speed dating.

August 04, 2015
Morning Jolt
... with Jim Geraghty
Everyone Made a Nice First Impression at the Big GOP Speed-Dating Session

Now it feels like a campaign season. Sure, it amounted to Republican speed-dating -- two minutes of basic questions, and a 30-second close -- but now we’ve seen them all get together -- well, with Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz speaking via remote from Washington.
Promotion’s Eleven.
If you didn’t watch . . . congratulations, you have a life. You didn’t miss any race-defining flubs or many shining moments. Each interaction was basically, “Hello, America, this is who I am and why I’m running for president.”
I missed Rand Paul. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio clearly would have preferred to be addressing everyone in-person. It didn’t seem like there was too much of an audio delay, but both of those guys feed off a crowd’s energy. Having done those sorts of remote interviews, I know it’s tougher when all you’re seeing is a camera in front of you.
Lindsey Graham was funny; discussing D.C.’s dysfunction, he quipped, “Maybe we in Washington need to drink more.”
Rick Perry was energized; people who haven’t paid much attention to him since the 2012 race will be surprised by how much more emphatic and assured his demeanor was. Maybe the hipster glasses are magic.
Carly was poised. Hard to believe she won’t be on the big stage Thursday night. Rick Wilson compared her to the television show Firefly last night: “Fan favorite, network doesn’t get it, beloved after.” That sounds like a particularly unjust fate, since most Firefly fans who discovered it after its exceptionally short run on Fox consider its inability to find an audience one of the greatest pop-culture tragedies of our era. Picture Arthur Conan Doyle stopping after a dozen Sherlock Holmes stories.
Sing it with me! “Take my Huck, take my Rand, take me where I cannot stand . . . I don’t care, I’m still free; I’ll take the woman who ran HP . . . Our country’s gone out of whack; fix it or we ain’t comin’ back . . . Help this land and economy, we’ll still be the land of the free . . .”
I could tell Bobby Jindal was attempting to not speak too quickly.
It did seem a little unfair to hit Rick Santorum with the out-of-the-blue lighter question, what woman should go on the $20 bill. His first suggestion was Carly.
It’s hard to discuss Christie without acknowledging the obvious -- by his sheer size, he’s a much more physically imposing figure than most of the rest of the field. Lindsey Graham could probably fit in one of his pant legs. He flashed a bit of the Christie glare; he’s clearly going to be running as the tough guy to deal with tough times. Whether there’s room for that in this crowded field remains to be seen.
This was the first time I had seen George Pataki speak since the 2004 Republican Convention. I’m still not sure what he thinks he can offer that no one else in the field can -- or where he’s been while the rest of us have been fighting Obama tooth and nail. The cameras caught Scott Walker closing his eyes for several seconds during Pataki’s remarks. We relate, governor.
Jeb Bush looks slimmer. He’s going to be a calming, authoritative voice, all the more now that Trump is in the race. Team Bush is thrilled that Trump is rampaging through the field, confident that if it comes down to a two-man race, Bush will emerge on top.
By and large, this is a group of people whose job for the past year (and for much of their careers) has been speaking in front of groups and running for office. Nobody tripped or wilted under the spotlight (even if a few appeared to be sweating).
I realize that analysis sounds suspiciously like when Jon Gruden says, “That guy . . . is a football player. He really knows how to play the game.” Hey, it was Monday night!
Our Alexis Levinson was on scene:
“Hopefully we’ll have forums where you can get into more than a one- or two-minute sound bite and really delve into what people’s solutions are,” Ben Carson told reporters after the event. But, he said, “it’s better than nothing.”
The format allowed the candidates to answer the question they wanted to answer, rather than the one moderator Jack Heath actually asked them. With just about four minutes of speaking time in each of the two rounds, there was no time for Heath to push back when candidates opted to sidestep in their answers. For the most part, candidates stuck with their stump speeches.
Last night was an appetizer for Thursday night’s big shin-dig. Allahpundit theorizes that if you’re not named Jeb Bush, maybe the 5 p.m. “kiddie table” debate is actually a better, or more useful stage:
Roger Ailes and Fox’s team will finalize the 10 participants in the main event at Thursday’s debate [Tuesday] night at 5 p.m. If they go by the numbers above, Christie and Kasich would be the last two men in. Trump nemesis Rick Perry, who’s spent the last few weeks attacking him in hopes of boosting his numbers to a threshold needed to make the main debate, would end up stuck in the 5 p.m. debate. Although, frankly, the more I think about that, the more I think it might be a blessing in disguise. If the evening debate turns into Trumpapalooza, no one will benefit except the Donald himself and maybe Jeb Bush, assuming he ends up as Trump’s main target. It’s the earlier debate where candidates will be able to present themselves without worrying about being overshadowed. And since “debates” are really just an opportunity to promote soundbites that’ll be replayed later on cable news and social media, Perry could still see his attacks on Trump being circulated on Friday. The only major advantage of being in the evening debate is that Trump’s presence guarantees a huge viewing audience. But who cares about that if you end up coming off as little more than a clown in Trump’s circus?
Er, Senator, Don’t You Have Someplace to Be?
Hey, wait a minute, if all the senators were in Washington, what’s Lindsey Graham doing there?… Oh, wait.
The Senate will vote at 5:30 P.M. EST Monday evening to file cloture on a bill that would block all taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. At that time, the four Republican senators who are running for president were expected to be in New Hampshire for the Voters First Presidential Forum hosted by the New Hampshire Union Leader, set to take place from 7 P.M. to 9 P.M. on Monday, which put the senators who are also presidential candidates in a bind. The campaigns pressed Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to move the vote, but he declined. As a result, I’m told that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul will participate in the forum remotely from C-SPAN’s Washington, D.C. studio. A spokeswoman for Lindsey Graham says the senator will be in New Hampshire for the event.
His vote wouldn’t have changed the outcome -- but I’m sure some pro-lifers will wonder if this forum was worth missing a vote this important to them.
Republicans failed to get to 60 votes for a procedural vote on a measure to cut off federal funding of Planned Parenthood today, with the vote tally 53 to 46. Republicans are, however, more likely only five votes short of the 60 needed, because Senator Lindsey Graham, who would presumably support the measure, was not around to cast a vote, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against the measure for procedural reasons.
Go Figure, Women Voters Don’t Like Pathological Liars
Many Democrats have long hoped that Hillary Clinton might expand Barack Obama’s electoral coalition by drawing in more white women voters.
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests she may have a tough time pulling it off. Mrs. Clinton is losing ground with white women and many other important slices of the electorate, the poll shows, amid a spate of reports about her email practices, speaking fees and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation.
In June, 44% of white women had a favorable view of Mrs. Clinton, compared to 43% who didn’t. In July, those numbers moved in the wrong direction for Mrs. Clinton: Only 34% of white women saw her in a positive light, compared to 53% who had a negative impression of her, the poll found.
Mr. Obama fared poorly with white women voters in the 2012 election, losing them to Republican challenger Mitt Romney by 14 points.
For Team Clinton, the latest poll numbers are a worrisome development. Mrs. Clinton is unlikely to match the African-American turnout that propelled Mr. Obama to two presidential victories, so she has to make up the difference somewhere else. Women eager to see a woman in the White House is a logical group to target.
ADDENDA: Over on the home page, a look at John Kasich, and why his rise in the polls is, at least so far, vastly overhyped. 

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