From: Mayor RT Rybak, Vice Chair, Democratic National Committee
To: Interested Parties
Date: December 10, 2011
RE: What to Expect at Tonight’s Debate
Tonight, the Republican presidential candidates will meet in Iowa for their next debate. As we’ve become so used to seeing now, we can certainly expect to see the candidates fighting to prove to Iowa Caucus voters who can be more extreme while pushing more of the same Tea Party rhetoric we’ve heard in prior debates – particularly from frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
This hard-right turn for the Republican field begs the question we’ve all gotten so used to asking: when viewers tune in tonight, which Mitt Romney can they expect to see on the debate stage?
With Mitt Romney still failing to gain traction among Republican primary voters who continue to doubt his conservative credentials and worry about his lack of core values – and Newt Gingrich’s stock rising as the GOP’s leading “Anybody-but-Romney” candidate – Romney has abandoned his general election playbook in favor of a sharp turn to the right designed to drum up support for his candidacy within the Republican electorate. Will he keep it up tonight?
AFTER 2 YEARS OF “NOT COMPETING” IN IOWA, ROMNEY GOES ALL IN
In the last 48 hours, Mitt Romney has tried to revive his campaign by setting new expectations in Iowa – now he’s going all in for the Iowa caucuses. This week, Romney’s SuperPAC launched a massive $3.1 million TV and radio ad buy in Iowa aimed at boosting Romney’s declining poll numbers there.
Romney has previously taken a cautious approach to Iowa, focusing on other early Republican primary states. But with the recent Des Moines Register Poll showing a commanding lead by Gingrich among Iowa’s likely Republican caucus-goers – and Romney falling behind Gingrich in a number of other critical states – Mitt Romney is simply running out of options and it looks like he’s now playing to win in Iowa.
ROMNEY DOUBLES DOWN ON THE EXTREME RYAN PLAN THAT ENDS MEDICARE AS WE KNOW IT AND GIVES MORE TAX CUTS TO MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES
Unable to convince voters he’s still the cool-headed, presumed Republican nominee to face off against President Obama in the general election, Mitt Romney has thrown out his general election strategy, now telling Republican primary voters whatever they want to hear and launching broadside attacks against Newt Gingrich.
Romney argues that he’s further to the right on privatizing Medicare and has doubled down on his support for the Paul Ryan budget plan that ends Medicare as we know it in favor of a privatized voucher system, and gives more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires at the expense of seniors and middle class families. Romney is now hitting Gingrich hard for not supporting the controversial Ryan plan strongly enough.
The fact is there is no distinction on this issue between Romney and Gingrich. Both agree on privatizing Medicare, and both support a Republican budget plan that would increase out-of-pocket costs for seniors by $6,000 in order to give an additional $200,000 in tax cuts to millionaires. Like the rest of the Republican field, they both support the same extreme, failed economic policies that brought our nation to the brink of a second Great Depression.
The only difference is that Mitt Romney now sees his political fortunes are in doubt, so he’s changing up his strategy – throwing everything he’s got at Gingrich and running to the far right wing of the Republican Party. Just yesterday, for instance, Mitt Romney reminded voters why he’s the most extreme presidential candidate on immigration in recent memory – advocating for the mass deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants and breaking apart families and communities rather than actually addressing the realities of our nation’s immigration system. He realizes the American people aren’t buying what he’s selling – the false notion that he cares about America’s middle-class families – so he’s finally stopped pretending and has gone back to telling Republican primary voters whatever he thinks they want to hear.
It’s shameless political pandering – and Romney’s extreme positions won’t sit well with most voters in the general election next year – but remember: Mitt Romney’s running for office, for Pete’s sake. And he’ll do and say whatever it takes to win.
With Romney’s latest strategic shift, we know which Mitt will show up tonight: the Mitt Romney who’s all-in in Iowa and showing signs of desperation by saying anything voters want to hear. But what we don’t know is how far Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich will go tonight to prove who’s the most extreme, most in line with the Tea Party’s failed economic policies and most out-of-step with the average American.
While both Romney and Gingrich continue to hammer at each other relentlessly about which candidate is more committed to showering the wealthiest few with even more handouts, or taking us back to the days when Wall Street wrote its own guidelines, will either of them offer a single proposal tonight that helps our economy recover and return to a nation where working families can make it if they work hard and play by the rules?
And while Republicans in Congress continue to block the President’s payroll tax cut – threatening a$1,000 tax increase on millions of working folks next year – will either candidate stand up in support of this critical economic relief? Or will Romney dismiss it as a “little Band-Aid” like he did a few months ago, before he flip-flopped to say he supports it and then called it a little Band-Aid again just days later? Meanwhile, his own economic plan only gives the typical middle class family just $54.
Tonight, we’ll see where the Republican presidential field stands and here’s a hint: It’s not with middle-class Americans.