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November 17, 2011

Rasmussen: Gingrich Ahead In Iowa

Newt's time at the top.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers shows Gingrich with 32% followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 19%. Georgia businessman Herman Cain, who led in Iowa last month, drops to third with 13% of the vote. Texas Congressman Ron Paul draws 10% of the vote in Iowa, while Texas Governor Rick Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann each grab six percent (6%).

I know people are sick of the Cain-bashing, but this is a character flaw. I'm sorry, if you're running for president, a good man takes that seriously and bothers to read a briefing book.


Cain, who last week stumbled over questions about what he would do in Libya, seemed to know little about Cuba. His campaign kept reporters at bay, and when asked about the Cuban Adjustment Act and the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy, Cain seemed stumped. The policy allows Cuban immigrants who have made it to US soil to stay.

“Wet foot, dry foot policy?” Cain asked. His press handlers interrupted as Cain diverted his course and ducked back into the building. Later, when he emerged, he was asked again by another reporter. Cain wouldn’t answer. …

Cain, though, wouldn’t talk to reporters there, either. A FOX reporter asked Cain what he thought of President Obama’s easing of travel restrictions to Cuba. Cain said that was a “gotcha question.”

Wet foot/dry foot refers to our odd stance on Cuban refugees: We interdict them if found at sea, on boats, heading towards America, and turn them back ("wet foot"). But if they make our shores ("dry foot"), we grant them asylum.

It doesn't make a great deal of sense but then politics generally does not make a great deal of sense. It's filled with compromises and half-measures and odd gestures towards favored constituencies.

But the point is, like "Right of Return," this is no frigging obscure point of foreign policy. This is in fact something any reasonably well-informed citizen would know. Even if you just watch the presidential races every four years, this comes up. Especially in Florida, for obvious reasons.

Well, those reasons are obvious to me. Not so Cain, who thinks a question about the wet foot/dry foot Cuban refugee policy asked in Cuban-heavy Florida is a "gotcha." He doesn't even know what he doesn't know -- that is, this is all such terra incognita to him he doesn't distinguish between common knowledge and esoterica. It's all esoterica to him.

He canceled his scheduled meeting with the editors of the New Hampshire Union-Leader, after imposing a series of demands that seem designed to make the Union-Leader itself cancel the interview. They obliged him.

A scheduled meeting with the New Hampshire Union Leader's editorial board was canceled about an hour before it was to begin. There was disagreement over whether the meeting would be videotaped. The Union Leader typically allows filming of its meetings with presidential candidates; Cain's campaign refused to allow it.

The newspaper is an influential voice among New Hampshire conservatives.
The development came several days after Cain appeared to struggle to respond when questioned about Libya during an interview with a Milwaukee newspaper, which was videotaped and went viral after it was posted on the Internet.

Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said the Union Leader canceled.

Dennis Miller is off the Cain Train, saying he can't win after the Libya befuddlement.

This is from the New York Times, so I understand if you discount it. However, it is sourced to ex-aides of Cain -- well, I guess you can discount that too.

But this rings true to me.

And is it any wonder that Herman Cain has shed a lot of high-level campaign staff members, both within his national organization and in crucial early states like Iowa and New Hampshire? Most of these former staff members have signed nondisclosure agreements, and others would speak to me only off the record. None of them recall their former boss as a sexual harasser. But they do speak of a man so egotistical that careful self-policing would never really enter into the realm of consideration.

They also speak — bitterly — of a candidate with zero interest in policy. They speak of events canceled at the last minute to accommodate any available television interview. They speak of unrelenting self-absorption, even by the standards of a politician.

It's the "zero interest in policy" thing I zero in on. Cain is not an unintelligent man -- former math whiz and CEO? He's got brains.

Which is why I put this down to a character problem. If you're running for president, and it requires, as it does, essentially cramming for One Big Test for a month, studying briefing books, etc., and you don't do that, what can I say?

If you haven't taken the candidacy seriously enough to do something you did 40 times before in college, then why should anyone else take it seriously?

Cramming for a test is not exactly climbing Mount Kilamanjaro. It's a pain in the ass, but it can be done. It's done every single day.

To just blow off that basic homework? I don't get it.

This is where I start respecting the character of Mitt Romney for at least taking the job seriously enough to do some homework.

But hopefully it doesn't come to that. Hopefully Perry will start hitting the books himself.

Hey, don't get mad at me. You're either going to hear this now from conservative agitators or you're going to hear this like gangbusters in August 2012 from liberal agitators in the Newspeak Media. Either way, you are going to hear it.

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posted by Ace at 01:47 PM

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