In the words of one long-time Republican, "The Republicans are making President Obama look good." Well, he makes a very good point about the Republican field of presidential candidates.
It appears that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is very frustrated. Despite his energetic campaign and strong debate performances, Romney cannot score more than 25% in polls of Republican voters. The problem is that he has changed positions on key issues in an effort to win more support in his party. And, just in case some Americans haven't noticed, the Democratic National Committee has been airing a political commercial called "Mitt vs. Mitt" that drives the point home.
Romney's campaign has recently resorted to airing a misleading political ad that shows President Barack Obama saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” But then candidate Obama was merely quoting a statement that Senator John McCain had made. When the president's campaign cried foul, Romney responded, "We are obviously getting under their skin."
Romney has dutifully avoided doing any press interviews. That is until he agreed to do a Fox News interview on Tuesday. Fox News anchor Brett Baier asked Romney, "You have been on both sides of many issues." He then cited some flip-flops before asking Romney how voters can trust him. Romney responded, “Your list is just not accurate. We’re going to have to be better informed about my views on issues.” He then looked very defensive for the remainder of the interview.
But if Romney looks uncomfortable, businessman Herman Cain appears under siege. Cain has been repeatedly asked questions about allegations from Ginger White that he had had a thirteen-year affair with her. Cain has already had to defend himself against allegations of sexual harassment involving several other women.
Cain was defiant on Wednesday saying, "They have been trying to do a character assassination on me." He told a crowd of supporters in Ohio, "They are attacking my character, my reputation and my name in order to try and bring me down." Cain has even suggested that Democrats were behind the charges in an effort to help former House Speaker Newt Gingrich win the nomination. Cain has announced he is reevaluating his campaign and he would have an announcement on his future plans next week.
The big winner has been Newt Gingrich. He has surged to the front of the Republican field fueled in part by strong debate performances. But new revelations that Gingrich has earned millions of dollars since leaving office advising health care related companies and the mortgage company Freddie Mac have raised some serious questions. His personal life, a joint appearance with Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi in a global warming ad and ethics violations while in Congress are among issues that he will have to overcome.
Meanwhile, President Obama has been unrelenting in his campaign effort to get his jobs bill passed. His most recent focus has been on extending and expanding the payroll tax cut, which is set to expire at the end of the year. If the payroll tax cuts are not extended it will cost the average American family $1,000. The president has proposed paying for the tax cut by raising taxes by on Americans earning a million dollars or more. Republicans in Congress oppose him saying they want to fund the extension with budget cuts. A majority of Americans support additional taxes on high income earners.
The president's stock is rising as he has stepped up his reelection efforts. And, barring another economic set back, his chances of winning a second term are improving. Meanwhile, with a month to go before the Iowa Caucuses, the Republicans are stumbling badly towards the starting gate.