The latest Fox News poll shows that Mitt Romney’s favorable rating and standing in the trial ballot have declined, giving President Obama his biggest lead since Romney became the presumptive GOP nominee.
That prompts Politico columnist Roger Simon to ask the question: Shouldn’t Mitt Romney be ahead in the polls by now?
Meanwhile, writing for Salon, Steve Kornacki warns that Romney could find himself traveling down the same road as Bob Dole in the 1996 presidential race.
Karl Rove says Mitt Romney could announce his vice presidential pick as early as Friday, although he believes that decision is more likely to be made next week after the presumptive GOP nominee completes a four-day tour through some battleground states.
Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal believes Romney will eschew a safe pick and make a surprise choice. Meanwhile, Politico notes that the GOP is split on the possible selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
On the presidential front, Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard writes that the election is Romney’s to win. Countering that stance is longtime Democratic strategist Robert Shrum, who argues that the Romney campaign has missed opportunities to gain traction this summer.
Jonah Goldberg writes in the Los Angeles Times that Mr. Right continues to elude the GOP in this year’s presidential race.
This is one of the amazing things about the final four. The various factions of the Republican Party and the myriad slices of the conservative mind are represented (with the one obvious missing ingredient being the lack of a Southern evangelical Christian), but none of the pieces is in the right place. It’s like playing with a Mr. Potato Head when the feet are where the ears should be and an arm stands in for a nose.
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Politico reports that Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney is burning through cash more than twice as fast as he’s raising it. It could be a sign that a protracted GOP primary fight could leave the front-runner limping into a general election fight with President Barack Obama.
Erick Erickson of RedState surveys the current Republican presidential field and doesn’t see anyone he believes can win the general election in November.
Writes Erickson: I am a firm believer that primaries make stronger candidates. But at some point you just have to stand back, take a sip of bourbon, and sigh “Damn” under your breath as you behold the carnage being wrought within the Republican Party. … The deadly consequence is a cage match between the base and the establishment both of whom are backing two deeply, deeply flawed candidates with the odds heavily against them in a general election.
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Meanwhile, Politico reports that it’s as if the conservative media over the past 24 hours decided Newt Gingrich is for real, and they need to come clean about the man they really know before it’s too late. Click here for the story.
This Web ad from Newt Gingrich’s campaign highlights some of Mitt Romney’s gaffes. The text at the end of the ad reads, “Imagine what Obama would do with a candidate like that. Only Newt Gingrich can win the debates against Obama. Mitt Romney can’t.”
Less than 36 hours separate Mitt Romney from what is supposed to be his campaign coup de grace: the New Hampshire primary. But Josh Lederman of The HIll writes that with pitfalls presenting themselves in seemingly every direction, the pressure on the front-runner is rapidly intensifying. Click here for the story.
Dan Balz of the Washington Post points out that there has been one consistent reservation many Republican voters — and others — have expressed about Romney. They question his authenticity. They don’t know if they can trust him. They wonder who he really is. Click here for the story.
Writing on op-ed piece for the New York Times, Bill Keller lays out the scenario he believes gives President Obama the best chance to win a second term. Click here for the story.
With a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, the biggest question is which GOP candidates will survive to fight another day. As Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin note, all the candidates dream of finishing at the top of the pack, but where the losers place and whether they drop out or valiantly trudge ahead could be as significant as who comes in first. Click here for the story.
Nate Silver of the New York Times us bullish on the prospects of Mitt Romney: “ … for him to fail to win the nomination, someone else has to, and it’s hard to see who that is.” Click here for the story.
Peter Beinart writes that Ron Paul isn’t just stirring controversy, he’s threatening to expose profound divisions within the GOP. Beinart details how the libertarian upstart could change the Republican Party in 2012.
USA Today reports that starting federal salaries have soared the past five years.
Embattled presidential candidate Herman Cain is claiming a “groundswell of positive support” from backers even as allegations of a 13-year extra-marital affair raises questions about his campaign’s viability, which apparently means he plans to stay in the GOP race for now.
Maureen Dowd of the New York Times somewhat sarcastically opines that maybe Newt Gingrich is the ideal man to fix Washington’s dysfunction because he is the one who made it dysfunctional. “He broke it so he should own it,” Dowd writes. Click here for the column.
Meanwhile, columnist Roger Simon, writes that this has been The Year of Living Dangerously in politics. And he blames the media.
The media have driven it. Faced with an incumbent president running a careful and as yet uninspiring campaign, and a Republican field as dynamic as wet laundry drying on the line, the press has felt obliged to step up and fill the void.
Finally, Politico offers this political cheat sheet.