Like a prize fighter getting psyched before entering the ring, Donald J. Trump was tweeting about a new poll showing he tops his challengers in Iowa before joining the other eight Republicans Tuesday night on stage at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas for the last debate of the year.
“New PPP poll just released in Iowa- up 6 points from last poll. Leading w/ 28%! Don’t worry – media won’t report it!” Trump tweeted.
Kasich A Loser
Calling the winners and losers from the 5th Republican presidential debate, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post saw Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Chrisitie and Donald Trump as winners.
On his losers list was John Kasich, Ben Carson and and Ted Cruz. What’s his take on Gov. Kasich?
“The Ohio governor needed a moment and just couldn’t find one. Thankfully he abandoned the ‘mad as hell and not going to take it anymore’ persona he had adopted for the last debate and got back to who he really is: a committed pragmatist with an impressive record of results in Ohio. But, Kasich’s ear for what this electorate wants is way off; at one point, he used his 18 years of service on the House Armed Services Committee as a proof point that he knew what he was talking about about national security matters. No Republican voter wants to back someone who touts his two decades spent inside the Washington machine.”
Another source noted that in the nearly two and a half hours of the debate, Gov. John Kasich and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina were not mentioned once by the other candidates. Reported by Vox, the Tuesday night Fight Club was full of mentions for Sen. Rubio and Donald.
Kasich came up short on talking time with the small time of all the candidates. Trump, Cruz and Rubio were the top three with Kasich coming in dead last with eight minutes and 57 seconds, according to inside.gov.
One fight club contest that landed body blows was the bout of the night between Rubio of Florida and Cruz of Texas. The two senators sparred over national security, especially Mr. Cruz’s signing of the USA Freedom Act.
Is It Over For Jeb!?
Revealing for Jeb Bush’s future were comments made by a Frank Luntz focus group. “My #GOPDebate focus group’s words to describe Jeb Bush: ‘weak,’ ‘desperate,’ and ‘whiny.’ It’s over for him. Sorry. ??” Meanwhile, Mr. Luntz watched his focus group’s reaction and declared Donald Trump the winner of tonight’s debate.
Maybe the biggest news of the night was Donald Trump’s comment that he will support the Republican nominee, even if it’s not him. Asked by Hugh Hewitt if he was ready to support the eventual nominee, Mr. Trump said, “I really am, I’ll be honest, I really am. I gained great respect for the Republican leadership I will tell you: I am totally committed to the Republican Party. I feel very honored to be the front-runner.”
Kasich Caught On Both Sides
Many candidates said to one degree or another that America will continue to be at war in the Middle East if they are elected. Criticizing President Obama for leading from behind at best and betraying the nation at worst, several of the GOP hopefuls said they would take on Russian president Vladimir Putin, one would “punch him in the noise” while another would shoot down any fighter jet that crosses into a some-day Syrian no-fly zone they would push for.
As he’s done before, John Kasich made his way to the set of the Chris Matthews show following the debate. John Kasich seemed pleased and was in TV mode. He expressed satisfaction with the time he had to talk and what he got to talk about, including encryption and the economy.
Matthews turned the conversation to terrorism and going to war again in the Middle East to battle ISIS. The Ohio governor may have thought he could schmooze his way through the segment with Matthews, but the host of “Hardball” pinned him on his own double talk about war.
Kasich said he’s for regime change, but only in Syria, but Matthews snapped back, talking over his guest as he’s prone to do, that Mr. Kasich supported regime change in Iraq under President George W. Bush. Mr. Kasich said he was for ousting Saddam at the time because it was thought he had weapons of mass destruction. That was the explanation his buddy GWBush, who Kasich supported in 2000 after his first campaign for the White House never got off the ground, used to topple Saddam Hussein. In classic Kasich form, he said that he would not have been for the invasion had Saddam not had weapons of mass destruction as the Bush White House claimed. Making millions as a Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers at the time, Kasich was for the war. thought he [Hussein] was going to be a threat to us,” Kasich told Matthews, who quickly reminded him that he was for the invasion at the time. “Didn’t the whole world?” Kasich added, using a handy, universally used excuse for all those who are afraid to admit just how wrong they were to believe what many doubted at the time.
Later in the show, Steve Schmidt called Kasich’s debate performance “middling,” upping the odds that Chris Christie will gain ground in New Hampshire by taking ground away from Carly Fiorina and John Kasich, as their campaign hopes dim even more after tonight’s performance.
In the PPP poll Donald Trump tweeted about he and Ted Cruz lead all others with 28 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Marco Rubio has 14 percent, Dr. Ben Carson has 10 percent. In single digits are Jeb Bush with seven while all the other candidates do no better than three percent. Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, and Mike Huckabee all hit that level.
Kasich ‘Not Making An Impact’
The continuing sad news for Ohio’s term-limited, crusty governor, John Kasich, is that he can’t get past two percent in the Hawkeye State. Nationally, he polls very low but got on the stage tonight solely based on polling in New Hampshire, his one-state campaign. As for the rest of the field, Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum each got only one percent with Jim Gilmore and George Pataki both showing zero support.
Adding commentary on the laggards in the GOP field, PPP had this observation about Gov. Kasich: “John Kasich’s just really not making an impact. A plurality of GOP voters- 41%- don’t even have an opinion about him one way or the other. Among voters who do have one it’s quite negative with only 22% seeing him favorably to 37% with a negative view.”
Kasich didn’t attack Mr. Trump directly in the debate, leaving that responsibility to Jeb Bush, who dusted it up with Mr. Trump. “Donald, you’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency — that’s not going to happen,” Mr. Bush said, adding, “Leadership is not about attacking people and disparaging people. Leadership is about creating a serious strategy.” Never one to turn the other cheek, Trump fired back, mocking Bush’s position further from the center of the lineup due to his collapsing support.
Kasich In New Hampshire: “I’ll be everywhere.”
In New Hampshire yesterday, Gov. Kasich was whistling past the graveyard at another one of his town hall meetings. After 41 of them so far in his new adopted state, Gov. Kasich still trails Donald Trump, Sen. Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson, in that order, according to realclearpolitics.com.
Ohio’s low-polling and off-putting governor, who has high unfavorable ratings, said he’ll be “everywhere” as he banks his future on his outcome in the Granite State.
“If I do well here, I’m going to end up being president,” he said about the primary, as reported by The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.
Gov. Kasich’s chief strategist John Weaver was quick to call the debate for his John Kasich, using the campaign’s well worn talking points as justification. The term-limited, normally combative governor didn’t shoot himself in the foot like he’s done the past two outings, but certainly didn’t stand out from the crowd either as he said nothing he hasn’t said over and over.
The best Gov. Kasich can hope for, once he doesn’t become the consensus candidate, is for a brokered convention in Cleveland next July. But that hope dimmed big time tonight when Republican National Committee leader Reince Preibus said he thinks it’s very, very unlikely that the GOP will be force into a brokered convention.