Thursday, January 19, 2012

How Gingrich's bitter ex-wife could shape tonight's debate

Updated with new poll results at 4:35 p.m.

The Republicans hold their last debate before the S.C. primary tonight, and breaking news this morning will directly shape it.

First up: There will be only four candidates on the stage in North Charleston. Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the race this morning and endorsed fellow anti-Romney candidate Newt Gingrich.

The big question, though, surrounds whether Gingrich will have to field questions about a new interview his ex-wife, Marianne, is doing with ABC News on Nightline tonight. She’s expected to say some nasty things about the man who admitted to cheating on her. But there are mixed signals coming out of the Gingrich campaign on how he’ll handle it. Some say he’ll fight back. Others say he’ll ignore it.

“It is pretty nasty to use personal tragedy for political exploitation,” senior Gingrich adviser Bob Walker tells the National Review. “That was a very bitter divorce, and you’re talking about somebody who is still, probably, very bitter.”

It will be interesting to see how Gingrich, needing to win a socially conservative state, handles it if questions about his infidelity come up. He said today he won't talk about Marianne. His two daughters, in a letter to ABC news, are defending him.

As for the Perry endorsement, we think it will give Gingrich a bounce. Perry was winning only 6 percent of the vote in Public Policy Polling’s most recent S.C. poll. But his impact could be greater than that because he’s dropping out so close to the primary and creating buzz. Gingrich was rising in the S.C. polls after Monday's debate anyway, so this will add to the momentum. A new Rasmussen poll has Gingrich trailing Romney only 30-27. But the Christian Science Monitor says that it’s not clear what’s going on with polls in the Palmetto State.

Update: Nate Silver of the New York Times summarizes six different S.C. polls that have all come out today. Three of those have Gingrich ahead slightly; two have Romney up by 7 and 10 points; and one has it as a virtual tie. Looking at the different polling methodology and other factors, Silver concludes there is "substantial momentum for Mr. Gingrich in South Carolina, giving him at least as strong a tailwind as Rick Santorum had in the closing days of the campaign in Iowa." Silver's model says South Carolina is now a toss-up.

One big question will be whether Marinanne's last-minute interview with ABC will slow Gingrich down.

CNN’s John King will moderate tonight’s debate. He tells the Boston Globe that “South Carolina gets their chest puffed out” for this primary.

South Carolina, and the Republican nomination, is still Romney’s to lose, despite Gingrich’s late surge. Pressure continues to build on Romney to release his tax returns, and you can be sure it will be an issue against Obama, especially if Romney doesn’t clear the air quickly. We at the Observer are less concerned about seeing his papers, we said in this morning’s paper, than we are about closing the “carried-interest” loophole that lets hedge fund managers and private equity executives have their fees taxed at 15 percent.

Taylor Batten


Archiguy said...

The Observer is right to take a principled stand on these financial titans taking their salaries at the 15% capital gains rate. That's a textbook example of how these people and their lobbyists game the system.

It's funny how these captains of the financial industry have become the highest compensated people in America, raking in untold millions while the middle class just sputters along. These guys create nothing, they produce nothing, they simply gamble with the money created by what's left of the working - or middle - class. And they do it with no risk to themselves.

They play with that equity, usually leveraging it with debt that they then write off to reduce their tax rate even further (and then complain about how much they pay and how unfair it is). They make cutting taxes the most important priority in the Republican Party and convince Joe Sixpack - who ends up paying a larger percentage - to take up arms in their defense.

They take this equity that others have produced and slice & dice it and package it and trade it, carving out huge chunks of cash for themselves every step of the way. And they call it "free enterprise" and "capitalism" and con ordinary Americans into voting for politicians that promise more of the same. Like it or not, this is the America they have created during the last 30 years of conservative economic policy.

Skippy said...

12:05 as soon as your heros on the left start volunteering to pay more than the legal 15%, get back to us.

The poeple in the financial industry create wealth and for you so make such a false statement speaks volumes on how just well trained you are. This coming off the heels of some of us learning that Bill Clinton is making millions for truely creating ZERO jobs and taking money from the corrupt Dem john Corzine.

You have zero credibility, I head Solyandra is hiring, good luck.

I am wondering when one of these brave liberal journalists are going to sit down with Hillary and ask her about being in a "open" relationship? What is the word I am looking for - cowards perhaps.

Brian said...

"Dems".."heros (heroes) on the left"..."liberal journalists"... sounds like you're a perfectly trained lapdog for the Rebublican half of the "two party" problem that's destroying this country. Maybe someone can oblige you by getting on here and bathering about how wonderful Bill Clinton was. In the meantime, our country tanks. Imagine for a moment a world where Bill Clinton was wrong, John Corozine is a criminal, and our tax code should be re-written to remove the loophole that allows billionaire money managers to claim a 15% tax rate by hiding their labor income under the fake shelter of capital investment return. I believe in all three, and every day a few more folks are waking up to realize that bs "party" politics is only being used by these two criminal organizations to rob this country blind and keep folks like you chasing the wrong shell.

cooldela1966 said...

Let the lady have her say! Who knows your character better than one of your ex-wives? I would like to see her on the platform with Newt and the other contenders. Tell it all, sister, tell it all!

NCdirtdigger said...

A bitter ex-wife is hardly the source I would turn to for an unbiased opinion on her former husband. Anyone who believes her is either mentally challenged or has a previous bias.