Last night was the New Hampshire Republican debate, which the consensus was that Romney hadn't been hurt by it. There were fireworks between the other candidates, though. Ron Paul called Newt Gingrich a "chickenhawk," Santorum took shots at Ron Paul, Gingrich complained about "anti-catholicism," and Rick Perry suggested putting troops back in Iraq.
Santorum has emerged as the new "challenger" to Romney after his victory in Iowa, and predictably has drawn fire for his statements. The first came from his attempt to talk about cutting welfare and government aid, when he singled out one group:
For Santorum that means cutting government regulation. Making Americans less dependent on government aid. Fewer people getting food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of federal assistance — especially one group.
"I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money," Santorum begins. "I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families."Drawing fire for that, he's now saying he said "Blah," not "Black." Which isn't being believed by many. Adding more fuel to the fire, he also went back to his favorite theme, gay marriage.
For the second time in as many days, Rick Santorum waded into the issue of gay marriage, suggesting it was so important for children to have both a father and mother that an imprisoned father was preferable to a same-sex parent.Which isn't backed up by actual professionals, and he was notably not willing to name the specific "expert" he quoted.
Citing the work of one anti-poverty expert, Santorum said, "He found that even fathers in jail who had abandoned their kids were still better than no father at all to have in their children's lives."
In Democratic news, President Obama announced that he will be hosting a forum on Wednesday about "insourcing American jobs."
“We’re heading in the right direction. And we’re not going to let up,” the president said. He announced the White House will host a forum Wednesday titled, “Insourcing American Jobs,” highlighting “business leaders who are bringing jobs back home.”
The White House’s focus on reversing the trend toward outsourcing could put an uncomfortable spotlight on one of the Republican contenders for Obama’s job, Mitt Romney, who headed up an investment firm that took over distressed companies and sometimes outsourced their U.S. production to China or other markets where labor is cheaper.Also helping is the newest jobs report, as unemployment dropped to 8.5%, along with other signs that the economy is strengthening.
Looking ahead, the "enthusiasm gap" seems to have disappeared, according to new PPP polling:
Voters who made up the core of President Obama's 2008 victory are just as excited and motivated about 2012 as Republicans, conservatives and tea party activists, according to a new survey.
The Democratic-leaning pollster Public Policy Polling finds that African-Americans, tea party supporters and young people are the three most motivated demographic groups going into the 2012 election cycle. According to PPP, 62 percent of black voters describe themselves as "very excited" about voting this cycle, while 55 percent of voters 18 to 29 describe themselves the same way. In 2008, 95 percent of blacks supported President Obama, and 66 percent of voters 18 to 29 backed him.As the Republicans continue to alienate groups in their attempt to select a presidential candidate, expect these figures to grow.