A political tip sheet for the rest of us

AP News
Posted: Jan 05, 2012 11:34 PM
A political tip sheet for the rest of us

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012


CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT: Fearful that splits in their movement will help Mitt Romney win the GOP nomination, conservative leaders want their followers to figure out which Republican to back _ and do so quickly. They are organizing meetings ahead of South Carolina's primary on Jan. 21 to discuss how to proceed. Romney won the Iowa caucuses because conservative voters split among several candidates. The concern is that that scenario will play out again in South Carolina, Florida and beyond if Rick Santorum, the second-place finisher in Iowa, and Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry all stay in the race.


Four of the six Republican contenders were out on the trail.

Romney started in New Hampshire; the state's primary is Tuesday. He then flew to South Carolina to appear with two of his highest-profile supporters: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the party's 2008 presidential nominee, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. South Carolina holds its primary on Jan. 21.

Gingrich, Santorum and Huntsman spent the day in New Hampshire.

Ron Paul recharged at home in Lake Jackson, Texas.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry also spent the day at home.


MY WALLET: Republican Mitt Romney's tax plan would boost taxes on poorer families but cut them for the middle class and the rich, according to a new study by the independent Tax Policy Center. On average, families making less than $20,000 would see their taxes increase by more than 60 percent if tax cuts enacted under President Barack Obama are allowed to expire. People making more than $1 million would get tax cuts averaging 15 percent. A spokeswoman for Romney's campaign said his plan holds the line on tax rates for individuals and families and dramatically reduces the corporate tax rate to create jobs.


_ "This president is a crony capitalist. He's a job killer." _ Romney, on President Barack Obama.

_ "Romney's economic plan? Timid. Parts of it virtually identical to Obama's failed policy. Timid won't create jobs and timid certainly won't defeat Barack Obama." _ Gingrich's new TV ad airing in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

_ "I'm not a Romney hater, but I do not believe he can take on Obama and I do not believe he is real conservative." _ Retiree John Anderson, 65, of Pittsburg, N.H., after a Gingrich campaign event.

_ "Time." _ Huntsman, when a reporter asked him to describe his biggest challenge in New Hampshire.

_ "Am I perfect? No. I've made mistakes, and I've been upfront about that." _ Santorum.


That's how the candidates will spend part of the weekend, which features a pair of nationally televised debates.

It will be their first joint appearances since Romney, Santorum and Paul finished first, second and third in the Iowa caucuses, the first voting of the nominating season. It will also be field's first appearance without Michele Bachmann, who has dropped out of the race.

ABC News and local TV station WMUR are sponsoring Saturday's debate, which starts at 9 p.m. EST, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. The moderators include ABC's Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos.

The candidates will meet again Sunday morning in Concord in a debate sponsored by NBC's "Meet the Press" and Facebook. David Gregory, the program's host, will moderate.