Ron Paul is helping WMUR-TV pay its electric bill. Steve Forbes, the man who barely missed a bronze medal in the 1996 Primary, shows Rick Perry how it's done. Mitt Romney covers the bases–makes additional New Hampshire stops. And here we thought poor Jon Huntsman had the state all to himself.
Get those noise makers ready, here is your Primary Countdown for Thursday, Dec. 29, with 12 days until the New Hampshire Primary.
Quote of the Day: "If he wins Iowa, it's over–he's the nominee." –Jamie Burnett, a New Hampshire strategist on Mitt Romney's chances. Burnett, the state political director for Romney in 2008, is unaffiliated with a campaign in 2012.
Winner, Winner, Spaghetti Dinner? Mitt Romney's got one foot in Iowa and the other in New Hampshire. Or so it would seem. Romney's back in New Hampshire for a spaghetti dinner Friday night at the Merrimack VFW Post 8641. Is the F.E. Everett Turnpike the on-ramp to the road to the White House?
The Press: Jon Huntsman is turning up the volume. In a closing argument of sorts last night in Pelham, and Ron Paul, and he said he would be the GOP nominee. He called Paul an unelectable "isolationist." He stamped Romney as a bland "status quo" candidate.
Ricky Don't Lose That Number: Steve Forbes talks to business people this morning in Concord, the second day in a row he's the high-minded surrogate for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The Forbes List: No, not that list. We're talking about the New Hampshire Primary in 1996, when Steve Forbes was the tax reform king among Republicans. Lest we forget, Forbes captured fourth, but he mustered a respectable 25,505 votes. He followed Lamar Alexander (47,148), Bob Dole (54,738), and the Republican Primary victor that year, Pat "Go Pat Go" Buchanan (56,874). So Steve Forbes has a lot more Primary gravitas than, say, Rudy Giuliani. Here's another blast down memory lane: The 1996 Primary? It was held on Feb. 20 that year.
In the Ring: Newt Gingrich is multi-tasking. He's remaining positive, he says, in the wake of a stream of attack ads. And he's also responding as he sees fit.
Mean Machine: Ron Paul's new TV ad in NH is called "Machine." The other Texan is throwing his campaign cash around. Ryan O'Connor, editor of BedfordNH Patch, reports that for a two-week period that ends Jan. 3. The latest Paul buy is a cool quarter million dollars. (BTW, if Ron Paul gets Secret Service protection, "Machine" would be the coolest codename, wouldn't it?)
A "Granite Fortress?" E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in The Washington Post that, no matter what happens in the Hawkeye State, New Hampshire is Mitt Romney's Granite Fortress.
Adios, Gary Johnson: Gary Johnson yesterday and is now running as a Libertarian. But the former New Mexico governor's name will still be on New Hampshire's Republican Primary ballot on Jan. 10, 2012.
Intermission: Looking for a new New Year's Eve tradition? Hit the Hampton Beach Gala and ring in 2012 at the new Oceanfront Pavilion. for more information.
Slow & Steady Department: Rick Santorum yesterday picked up the endorsement of Steve Sukup, a businessman and former legislator in Iowa. File this one under conservative forces.
Is it just us, or...: is something wrong in Virginia when campaigns with millions cannot get on the ballot?
- Gingrich: Campaign worker's signature fraud cost slot on Virginia ballot.
- Perry asks court to block printing of Virginia primary ballots.
Huntsman Under Siege: Union Leader Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid has an editorial today attacking Jon Huntsman. Not Mitt Romney. Is this a badge of honor for the candidate? Does Joseph W. McQuaid think Jon M. Huntsman Jr. has an outside chance in New Hampshire?
Paul Fires Back at McQuaid [Noon Update]: The Ron Paul campaign fired back earlier today in response to the Union Leader publisher calling the Texas congressman "dangerous." Here's the snippet, via Politico: "Dr. Paul is fighting for real change and taking on the entire establishment – the neoconservative foreign policy establishment, the monetary establishment and the big spending establishment in Washington. He is bound to take a lot of arrows from supporters of the status quo, but he has broad shoulders and will never stop fighting for what is right."
Around the Horn:
- Dirty politics ahead of Iowa Caucus, NH Primary.
- Curbing Attacks Hard for Gingrich.
- Republicans shake more hands using social media. (I guess voters "like" this?)
- A Prediction Gone Wrong. An AmSpec commentary on Texas Gov. Rick Perry's lack of orbit.
The Boys Are Back: Those Jon2012Girls have tweeted away, trying to coax Mitt Romney's sons out on the campaign trail. Well, the boys are back. Josh, Craig, Matt and Tagg Romney have a full day of campaigning–and eating–in New Hampshire today. It starts with breakfast with the Windham GOP, followed by lunch at the Barley House in Concord, and concludes with a pizza party and phone bank at 5:45 p.m. at Romney HQ in Manchester.
What we'd like to see: The Jon2012Girls vs. the Romney boys in a Rock-Paper-Scissors duel.