Mitt Romney Giving Up?

John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary writes:

Mr. Romney has only a few days left to change the dynamic of the race before 21 states vote next Tuesday. As of yesterday afternoon, his campaign had purchased no television ad time in any of the Super Tuesday states. "If Thursday goes by without an ad buy, it will be a sign the Romney campaign is only going through the motions," says one TV advertising expert with ties to no candidate. "After all, we know he can write a check if he has to."

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt writes me that: "John: He's already up in CA with a 7 figure buy. HH" So it looks as if John Fund might be wrong this time.

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More Romney Flip-flops: Campaign Finance Reform

Here Romney is running for the US Senate in 1994
Here is Romney now.

See this for other information on his views on public financing of campaigns.

See one of my earlier posts here.

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Why Romney's changing positions will be so harmful

Even conservative editorialists at places like The Union Leader in New Hampshire and The Boston Herald find his flip-flopping offensive.

It is not just issues like guns and abortion (this piece also hits him for his changing position on immigration). I have no problem with him learning on issues, but it is getting pretty obvious that Romney is an extremely poll driven candidate. Here is a decade ago arguing against cutting farm subsidies and here he is more recently saying how essential farm subsidies. Here he is saying that strict gun control helps protect Americans' safety, but now he is a defender of gun rights. (Personally, I am not sure that he knows what the current gun control laws are.) Here used to oppose Boy Scout policy on homosexuals.

The thing that is important is not what his stands used to be nor what they are now (though I am very bothered by his current stand on global warming), but that they change so much on so many incredibly different things. My book, Freedomnomics, has a long discussion about why it is difficult for politicians with these changing positions to get elected.

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Anti-Mormon Push Poll May Have Been Done by Romney?

If this is true, it could end Romney's campaign:

Who would be behind such a thing, given that the risks to any campaign caught dragging religion into the race would be enormous? After an extensive investigation, Mark Hemingway of National Review has fingered a likely culprit: "Although the Romney campaign denies involvement, evidence points in its general direction."

Why? One plausible motive would be to gather data about public reaction to negative information about the Mormon Church. Another might be to arouse sympathy for Mr. Romney and provide him a needed pretext to give a major address on why voters should not factor in his Mormon religion when making their presidential decision.

the firm making the calls is the Utah-based Western Wats, which may have direct ties to the Romney campaign. Back in August, people in Iowa and New Hampshire who received unwanted telephone calls of a political nature were able to trace those calls back to Western Wats. The client paying Western Wats was Target Point Consulting, a firm that had been received $720,000 from the Romney campaign. Alex Gage, president of Target Point, has been identified in the media as "Romney's Data Cruncher" and part of "Mitt Romney's Inner Circle."

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt has been all over this on his radio show and his guests have argued that it is most likely funded by George Soros.

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More on Romney and guns

This is from someone who I am confident knows the facts here:

This isn't the first time we've attempted to deal with Mr. Romney on Second-Amendment issues. In 2001, the Utah Legislature passed a special bill designating the 2002 Winter Olympic venues as temporary secure areas, making it illegal to bring firearms into those venues during the Olympics. As with all secure areas designated by state law here, two requirements were attached. The first was a security perimeter around the entire venue, with metal detectors at all entrances. This, of course, was put in place at all Olympic venues. The second requirement was that gun-storage lockers be provided outside the security perimeter, where legally-carried self-defense weapons could be safely deposited.

When Mr. Romney took charge of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee, we politely asked him whether lockers would be put in place as required by law. He curtly informed us that no lockers would be provided. The absolute disdain with which he treated us left a bad taste that still lingers in the gun-rights community in Utah.

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Romney Campaign in Trouble?

Romney's campaign may be fourth nationally, but it has pinned its hopes on wins in Iowa and New Hampshire and a bounce from the coverage. John Fund at OpinionJournal's Political Diary points out that this strategy might be having some problems:

A Rasmussen Reports survey released last Tuesday showed Mr. Romney's lead over Rudy Giuliani dwindling over the course of the last month from 12 points to just three points. A survey by CNN and WMUR TV released yesterday indicated a similar downward trend: the 15-point lead Mr. Romney held over Mr. Giuliani in July is now down to a single point. Overall, Mr. Romney's lead in the RealClearPolitics Average for New Hampshire has slipped to 4%, its lowest level since the end of May.

Should Mr. Romney be worried? Yes. Is it time to hit the panic button? Not quite. The linchpin of his strategy is a win in Iowa, and right now the big lead he's built up in the Hawkeye State over the summer appears to be holding. Since winning the Ames straw poll at the beginning of August, Mr. Romney has extended his lead in the RealClearPolitics Average in Iowa by more than five points, now holding a 15.4% lead over his nearest competitor, Rudy Giuliani. . . .

If he begins to fade in Iowa, Romney's campaign will quickly implode. Romney is obviously a very smart, very polished candidate who could make a credible play for voters in the middle in a general elections, but I worry that he is out of touch with many middle America voters. I think he has had a tin ear on gun issues (becoming a life member last year or is misleading talk about hunting). The key point is the issues, not whether he is a member of the NRA. His statement that you don't need an assault weapon for hunting in discussing the assault weapons ban is what concerns people who care about these issues because it just indicates how little he actually knows about guns. I have tried to offer advice on some gun issues to people who I know are advising him, but those offers of help (now many months old) fell on deaf ears.

UPDATE: The newest Newsweek Poll should be a warning for Romney. Amony Likely Republican Caucus-Goers Romney's lead is eight percentage points over second place Fred Thompson. I think that this bodes well for Thompson and if he wins Iowa, which seems very doable, I think that he will quickly sweep the field.

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Romney could use some new advisers on guns

I have commented on this before, but the people advising Romney on guns seem to be the same people who advised Kerry. Going shooting or becoming a lifetime NRA member are nice, but they aren't what matters to most of the people who care about the gun issue. What matters is that the candidate understands the issues. Romney is such a smart guy. I have been impressed by so many of his answers on many questions, but on the gun issue there are just a few minor things that he could do to convince people that he understands the issue. For example, when he starts talking about "assault weapons" I am sure that many gun owners instantly know that he doesn't have a clue about guns.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was wrong to suggest he was a lifelong hunter even though he never took out a license, campaign rival Mike Huckabee said Sunday.

"I think it was a major mistake," said Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor. "It would be like me saying I've been a lifelong golfer because I played putt-putt when I was 9 years old and I rode in a golf cart a couple of times."

"I think American people are looking for authenticity," Huckabee added. "Match their record with their rhetoric." . .

While I was traveling last week through Texas, I heard Huckabee on the radio. No one is going to be to his right on the gun issue. He could have given you an hour discussion on why the guns covered by the so-called assault weapon ban were not machine guns and why statements that no one would ever using these so-called assault weapons for hunting show that the people who make them don't know guns. Fred Thompson and Huckabee (and even Ron Paul) will be dividing some of the same vote, but in the Republican primary it is a bigger vote than what is being divided by McCain, Giuliani, and to some extent Romney.

If Romney wants to put his Massachusetts gun record behind him, one big thing that he could do is change his position on assault weapon bans. There is an easy way to do it: point to the fact that the claims about crime going up after the ban was sunset didn't occur. I have tried offering other simpler advice to Romney people, but I have found a completely unreceptive audience.

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